LiveTalk, an AI-enabled Communication Tool, Translates 19 Languages on the Spot!

Transforming Entire Organizations by Actively Hiring Diversified Human Resources

Have you heard of the term “diversity”? In the context of Japanese corporate culture, this word refers to “corporate diversity programs,” which promote actively hiring diversified human resources. Such programs are a management approach to make the most of individual and group differences (diversity) in order to transform entire organizations. Through respect for different characteristics, these programs facilitate smooth communication and increase the potential to generate new value.

The Japanese government is promoting diversity. For example, it implemented the Amendments to the Act on the Promotion of the Employment of Disabled Persons of Japan in April 2016. There are now increased opportunities for physically disabled persons inside and outside Japan to participate in international events held in Japan. In line with these changes, more attention is being given to projects to facilitate linguistic communication with the hearing impaired, for example.

Since corporate activities are increasingly globalized, companies now have greater needs for mechanisms and tools to facilitate communication with employees from outside Japan.

LiveTalk—a Communication Tool with AI and a Multilingual Voice Recognition Feature

Against this backdrop, in May 2015 Fujitsu released LiveTalk *, a communication tool that helps the hearing impaired participate in conversations. This tool was designed to support communication by quickly translating speech into writing. Although the tool was originally developed for the hearing impaired, so far approximately 100 organizations have used it, including companies, hospitals, local governments, and educational institutions. Fujitsu has strengthened LiveTalk’s functions to improve its utility by making it compatible with smart devices (November 2016) and using a cloud-based voice recognition engine with high recognition accuracy.

While the original LiveTalk translated spoken Japanese into written Japanese, globalization has led to heightened needs for products and services that can facilitate international linguistic communication between, for example, a non-Japanese language and the Japanese language.

*: The official product name is FUJITSU Software LiveTalk.

Global Marketing of LiveTalk to Promote Conversations among Diversified Populations around the World

Fujitsu and Fujitsu Social Science Laboratory (Fujitsu SSL) included a multilingual voice recognition feature and translation engine with AI in LiveTalk. The tool has been upgraded into a communication tool that helps facilitate conversations among diversified populations.

The new LiveTalk recognizes voices and automatically translates 19 languages **. The translation engine with AI enables the tool to produce more accurate translations ***. Users can view the translations of speakers’ voices in the languages of their choice on PCs and smart devices.

Fujitsu SSL’s unique technology for displaying a translation the moment the speaker begins to talk (patent pending) reduces the time lag between the end of speech and translation display. This enables individuals to communicate at the same pace and rhythm as regular conversation. The tool can also facilitate smooth communication among multiple speakers because even when people talk at the same time, the tool can identify each speaker and translate their words separately.

Fujitsu and Fujitsu SSL are exploring opportunities to market LiveTalk globally in FY2017 or the following year. By offering LiveTalk, the two companies will work together to support conversations among diversified populations in various locations and on various occasions, such as multilingual meetings at companies and support for visitors from outside Japan at international event venues and sightseeing spots.

Fujitsu will continue to employ the power of ICT to solve communication issues within diversified populations.

Example screens and configuration of automatic multilingual translation

**: LiveTalk recognizes voices in 19 languages and automatically translates between these 19 languages: Japanese, English, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Korean, French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Portuguese, German, Italian, Polish, Dutch, Danish, Finish, Swedish, Norwegian, and Catalan.

***: Employing the translation engine with AI has improved translation accuracy for the following 10 languages: Japanese, English, Chinese (Simplified), French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Portuguese, German, and Italian.