Filipino Can Now Be Interpreted At A Tokyo Railway Station

Filipino travelers who are passing by the Shinjuku Station will be among the first few ones to see the futuristic screen

Japan just keeps on surprising and accommodating tourists in the best way possible, Filipinos included.

On July 5, 2023, Seibu Railway, one of Japan’s leading railway operators, announced that it is introducing a polyglot simultaneous translation system to help foreign travelers with their queries. 

Foreign travelers can interact with an attendant in front of a 40-centimeter-high transparent display at the Seibu Railway Shinjuku station. While this is happening, a simultaneous translation of Japanese to a foreign language and vice-versa can be easily read or seen on the clear screen in just a few seconds. 

The system, which was developed by the major printing company Toppan Inc., is designed to help railway operators respond smoothly to a sharp rebound in the number of foreign visitors to Japan after a slump during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Toppan initially provided a translation app called VoiceBiz,” said Tomoaki Nosaka, the manager of the social innovation center at Toppan in a recent interview

“But we realized that by implementing our translation engine on a transparent display, we can make it into a universal design that could help communication with both foreigners and people with hearing or speaking disabilities,” he added.

Tourist welfare

Ultimately, this futuristic device allows speakers to talk while seeing each other’s faces and observing people’s expressions and gestures. 

Further improving the experience is the fact that the transparent screen would allow the speaker to show pamphlets or other materials that could aid the conversation with the tourist.

The trial translation system will be introduced his coming weeks and can translate up to 12 languages, including Filipino, Spanish, French, Thai, Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese, Vietnamese, Brazilian Portuguese, and English. 

While the Japanese railway company has previously used translation applications, Seibu Railway representative Yajima Ayano said in an interview with NHK World that the company is constantly exploring ways to make foreign visitors feel safe and comfortable using its service. 

Accordingly, Seibu Railway plans to run the trial period for the polyglot simultaneous translation system for about three months before fully introducing the system this autumn.

Banner Art Paulo Correa

Get Hundreds of Discounts & Vouchers

Grab ₱100,000 worth of vouchers on food, home essentials, fashion finds and more!

Lush Sleep Body Lotion


Get weekly updates on new articles and deals.