Lonely Planet Writer

Japan tests taxi translation system for Olympics

With a successful bid for the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan can expect a steady stream of tourists to head to the country for 2020. To prepare, in Tottori, a mobile carrier has started testing a translation system in taxis to help aid foreigners trying to see the sites.

A city in Japan is testing taxi translation technology in the lead up to the 2020 Olympics.
A city in Japan is testing taxi translation technology in the lead up to the 2020 Olympics. Image by Stéfan / CC BY-SA 2.0

KDDI Corp. is creating the system to translate English, Chinese and Korean into Japanese, and the reverse, using a smartphone technology, reports the Japan Times.

The passenger can talk into a smartphone in the back seat, which is then translated and broadcast to the driver.

The names of 2000 locations and tourist spots in Tottori have been added to the system.

Currently, only nine taxis have the technology, but it is being developed for the run up to the Olympics in 2020. The test period runs until the spring.