Japanese electronics and engineering Hitachi has been working on the development of a multilingual speech translation technology for smart devices. The Japanese giant has been working, as well as other Japanese companies, in speech signal processing in the wake of the 2020 Olympics with the aim of overcoming the Japanese language barrier.
Several Japanese companies have been working on machine translation over the last few years. NTT DoCoMo produced a Japanese machine translation device back in 2010 and introduced menu translators that included OCR plus machine translation at TAUS venues in Tokyo in 2014.
However, the technology does not focus only in Japanese but in several languages, it truly wants to be a Hitachi multilingual speech translation service just like Google or Microsoft add more multilingual capabilities to their efforts. This technology will be able to be used commercially as a multilingual speech translation service at service counters in several stores or information centers in public transportation systems.
One key characteristic is the background noise removal feature that excludes the speaker’s voice. Hitachi’s innovative technology can offer a speech recognition capability especially designed for noisy urban street environments where noise level can be as high as 70 dB.
The company has developed a speech signal technology designed for general purpose smart devices rather than “special purpose device”. Hitachi’s newly developed technology has been able to provide multilingual speech translation using smart devices in crowded environments like shopping centers and public transportation areas. Moreover, the new technology differs from existing apps as it can automatically recognize speech intervals accurately without pressing any button to determine speech timing for translation.
The whole process of the newly developed technology performs speech processing and machine translation in the cloud. The system is thus flexible and ubiquitous and users can use Hitachi’s multilingual speech translation service by simply installing the dedicated application into their existing smart devices.
Hitachi plans to promote the development of this technology for everyday use. Its aim is to contribute and focus on hospitality services, primarily in its home base, Japan.