Narita Airport, the main international airport for the Japanese capital, Tokyo, plans to expand its multilingual services in March 2014 to help non-Japanese speakers at the airport.
The expansion will include providing flight information in English using an automatic voice guide and upgrading the existing voice translation app and information leaflets to cover four new languages – Thai, French, Spanish and Indonesian.
Currently, flight information using an automatic voice guide is only available in Japanese and English. Inquiries are handled by English-speaking operators.
From March 2015, flight information in English, Chinese and Korean will also be available through the automatic voice guide.
The airport will also install new digital signage to welcome arriving international passengers in their native language. This will include displaying welcome messages in 25 different languages – covering all of the 33 countries in Narita Airport’s global network.
The languages will be Japanese, English, Chinese (Traditional & Simplified), Korean, French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Italian, Danish, Finnish, Russian, Turkish, Mongolian, Burmese, Thai, Vietnamese, Malay, Indonesian, Filipino, Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, Sinhalese and Palauan.
Language Translation App for Airport and Japan
The airport currently offers a speech-to-speech translation app, named NariTra, for smartphones and tablets, that offers speech translation in English, Japanese, Korean, and Mandarin languages.
The airport plans to upgrade the app with Indonesian voice output as well as text output in Thai, French and Spanish.
NariTra is a translation application for travel phrases and can currently translate spoken phrases into the following language pairs –
- Japanese to English and English to Japanese;
- Japanese to Mandarin and Mandarin to Japanese;
- Japanese to Korean and Korean to Japanese.
In order to use the app, the user has to hold the smartphone close to his/her ear and speak just as one would when speaking during a call. The app translates the spoken text and displays it on the screen. The user can also play the translated text.
A useful feature of the app is the reverse-translation feature which lets the user verify if the translation is correct by displaying the translated text’s translation back into the original language.
The app works with proper nouns associated with Narita International Airport, the names of tourist spots, station names and the names of products etc.