Beijing visitors go hi-tech to avoid getting lost in translation

ZHANGJIAKOU, China, Feb 15 (Reuters) – Companies on the Beijing Olympics are getting across the language barrier through the use of high-tech apps and a smartphone-like system to translate from Mandarin Chinese language and maintain the tills ringing.

Although China’s “zero COVID” coverage has stopped the inflow of sports activities followers who would usually be cheering on their favourites, there are nonetheless 1000’s of athletes, coaches, journalists and technicians in China with cash to burn.

“Prior to now few days, now we have had extra prospects, and we have relied on this smartphone to translate when speaking with prospects,” ice cream store assistant Wang Jianxin advised Reuters.

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He did so by talking right into a smartphone and the system shortly translated his phrases earlier than studying them again in a mushy feminine voice.

With employees and volunteers typically sporting masks and visors, communication will be tough, and Mandarin has little in widespread with languages just like the English, German, Norwegian, French and Russian spoken by many Olympic rivals.

Fortunately, assistance is at hand within the type of units just like the iFLYTEK Jarvisen, a synthetic intelligence (AI) sensible translator developed in China.

“I believed the app labored very properly, it appeared to work completely. She (the waitress) answered, it stated the identical factor I stated,” Crew USA media attache Nicki Hancock advised Reuters after ordering lunch on the Inexperienced Dragon restaurant.

Supervisor Lu Juanli has seen just a few raised eyebrows as company have acquired sudden menu recommendation, with “mushroom” being translated as “fungus” amongst different anomalies.

“A few of our dishes have moderately vibrant names, so there are some inaccuracies within the translations, which makes prospects moderately . It’s extremely humorous,” she stated.

Non-Mandarin audio system use marker pens to focus on the dishes they need on the plastic menus, and verbal communication is finished by a translation system.

Although the apps and units are working properly for a lot of, there are nonetheless issues that get misplaced in translation.

“As soon as we had an expertise after we needed ‘cow milk’,” German journalist Frank Schneider defined on the ice cream parlour the place Wang works.

“However the English ‘cow’ was understood as ‘cough’, which led to some confusion — folks listed here are most afraid of corona (COVID-19) and coughing is among the signs. (However) all in all, it really works fairly properly,” he added.

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Reporting by Fabian Hamacher, Yiming Woo and Ilze Filks, writing by Philip O’Connor, enhancing by Ed Osmond

Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Beijing visitors go hi-tech to avoid getting lost in translation

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