We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Sharp's translator offers help to tourists

Only Japanese and English supported right now

Sharp has developed a prototype personal translator that should make life easier for Japanese tourists when they travel abroad.

The prototype translator, which only works with English and Japanese, is roughly the same size as a small PDA (personal digital assistant) and sits comfortably in the hand. When a user speaks into the translator in either English or Japanese, the grey-scale LCD (liquid crystal display) will first display a transcription before offering a translation into the other language.

If the translation is done from Japanese into English, the user can press a button and the translator will pronounce the English phrase using its text-to-speech function. This function does not work with Japanese.

The translator, which was on display at the Ceatec exhibition in Chiba, Japan, relies on voice recognition software from IBM and then applies translation software used in Sharp's pocket translators to convert this text into Japanese or English as required.

Currently, the device only supports Japanese and English, but it has a Micro SD memory card slot, which allows for Sharp to add support for additional languages, said Toshiyuki Matsumara, a company spokesman.

Sharp plans to commercialise the translator at the end of this year, Matsumara said. Pricing for the device, which will only be sold in Japan, has not yet been decided.


IDG UK Sites

Best Christmas 2014 UK tech deals, Boxing Day 2014 UK tech deals & January sales 2015 UK tech...

IDG UK Sites

LED vs Halogen: Why now could be the right time to invest in LED bulbs

IDG UK Sites

Christmas' best ads: See great festive spots studios have created to promote themselves and clients

IDG UK Sites

Why Apple shouldn't be blamed for exploitation in China and Indonesia