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Monday, 5th October 2015
In Japan Travel News,

Robot translators could be future of tourism in Japan

Japan is well-known for its innovative use of robots and is now looking to use them to break down the language barrier between visitors and locals.

From the beginning of 2016, a partnership between Kinki Nippon Tourist and FueTrek will look to provide small robots, tablets and wearable devices to act as translators, reports TTG Asia.

Several languages will be able to be interpreted simultaneously using the new technology, meaning international groups will all be able to communicate freely.

Small businesses that regularly come into contact with tourists, including hotels, restaurants and other attractions, are expected to be the key market for the new services.

A large proportion of firms in Japan's travel sector have admitted that finding a sufficient number of staff with good language skills is proving a problem.

Robots equipped with language recognition software could help to overcome this, although there is no substitute for the human touch.

James Mundy, PR manager at Inside Japan Tours, said: "We are always up for new ideas to help people get the most out of this wonderful country and culture, but I am not sure a little robot and tablet will do it.

"I think Japanese people will still appreciate a foreigner making the effort to actually speak their language with the use of a phrasebook. The effort goes a long way and makes for more meaningful interactions with the people of Japan."

Japan has seen an increase in the number of visitors travelling to the country in the past three years, with Japan Tourism Marketing reporting some two million incoming tourists in July this year alone.

This has led to an improvement in tourist infrastructure in many areas, but the beauty and charm of the nation are the true draws.

Related news stories:
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Two robots marry in Japan (29th June 2015)
Japan launches new talking robot (28th January 2015)
Japanese theme park to get Robot Kingdom (27th April 2016)
International Robot Exhibition launches in Tokyo (4th December 2015)