Japan: Panasonic made a megaphone that translates whatever is said into it

TRAVELLING is often a stressful experience, particularly when someone’s yelling instructions to go somewhere in a language you don’t understand – which is why Panasonic has developed the multilingual megaphone.

The megaphone, which pairs with a smartphone, translates whatever is being said into it. Panasonic is banking on event organizers, airline or other transport staff, theme park staff, tourist attractions, and anyone who deals with large crowds to see the device’s appeal.

The company said in a video introducing the megaphone that it aims to provide an atmosphere of hospitality, or ‘omotenashi’ to passengers entering a new country.

The megaphone can translate spoken Japanese to 300 different expressions such as “please form a single queue” in English, Korean, and Chinese.

According to Bloomberg, the multilingual device will come in handy as Tokyo gets ready for the 2020 Olympics. The Japan National Tourism Organization also recorded over 20 million tourist visits in the country this year, an increase of 23 percent from 2015 – this number is expected to shoot up to 45 million annually by the end of the decade.

Panasonic reportedly has plans to develop real-time translation for the device through a cloud-based service.