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Japan's metro system adopts special translation screen to help foreign tourists while traveling

A special translation screen has been put in place by authorities to give foreign travelers a personalized experience while traveling in Japan.

Japan's metro system adopts special translation screen to help foreign tourists while traveling
Cover Image Source: YouTube/Photo by 13WMAZ

Travel is essential when it comes to personal growth as it makes individuals put themselves out there and explore unknown territories. It is also a great revenue resource for many countries. In 2023, tourism is expected to have a revenue of $855 billion as per Statista. To encourage people to travel more, it is important that facilities are put in place to make it a smoother experience for tourists.

Japan has taken a very meaningful step towards completing this objective by putting into place a Translation Screen in one of their prime metro station, reports Inside Edition. Through this screen, travelers—especially foreign tourists—will have an easier experience in communicating their needs.

Image Source: Pexels/ Photo by Oleksandr P
Image Source: Pexels/ Photo by Oleksandr P

Statista in 2023 found that Japan earned $40 billion from tourism. In order to sustain and grow this revenue, Japan has come up with a translation screen. Post-pandemic, the influx of global travelers in Japan has increased, and in order to maintain that growth, the authorities are looking to incorporate features that help tourists on foreign soil. This gives tourists a more intimate and independent experience in the country as the language barrier is not an issue anymore.



 

The problem of the language barrier is not minuscule as, according to the survey conducted by Lonely Planet, 10% of adults do not travel because of complications due to language. However, this will not be the case anymore for the tourists going through Tokyo’s Seibu-Shinjuku train station because of the Smart Screen. This facility will be mainly available in stations to help global travelers both with their common queries and also in understanding their path in the complex system of the Tokyo metro.



 

The whole process takes place in a cubicle. A human attendant is present in the cubicle with a screen in front of them. The screen is 15 inches high and 27 inches wide and separates the tourist and the attendant. The tourist can say their question in front of the screen after pressing a button, which is then translated and communicated to the human attendant. The whole system has 11 languages. The human attendant's answer is then displayed on the screen in the tourist's chosen language. There is no third-party app present in the process. This is beneficial as oftentimes the translation by third-party apps is literal, and may miss out on certain cultural peculiarities and lead to confusion. Moreover, it also removes the necessity of WiFi. One tourist said of their experience, “It might sound a bit weird, but like, you feel safe immediately because you know there's a human on the other side.”

Image Source: Pexels/ Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric
Image Source: Pexels/ Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric

Since the whole system is controlled by authorities, tourists can rest assured that the information they are getting is accurate. It can help them navigate the place even if they do not know the language. Ayano Yajima, the Seibu Railway Sales and Marketing supervisor, shared his opinion with Euronews, saying, "The display we have introduced can automatically translate between Japanese and other languages. When customers speak in a foreign language, the station attendant can see it in Japanese, and when the station attendant speaks Japanese, customers can read the sentences in their own language."

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