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Japan’s Magic Megaphone That Translates Into Four Languages

  • 19
  • 09
  • 2016

One of the biggest struggles when traveling outside one’s home country is learning how to deal with the language barrier. Not understanding the Japanese language, for example, means that travelers to Japan must use sign language, body actions, or simply, not communicate their wishes.

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In most daily situations, small communication problems are expected. However, when serious issues arise and you are unable to understand emergency instructions or crucial information, a person could be in real trouble.

As per usual, Japan has potentially solved this communication issue.


Panasonic unveiled a special megaphone into which a user speaks clearly in Japanese. The information is then translated over the speaker into one of three languages: English, Korean, or Chinese.

While it was originally developed to aid relief workers and help communicate during natural disasters or high traffic events, it is now being further developed with the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo in mind.


As the number of tourists to Japan is expected to increase, so does the megaphone’s importance. It is now being trialed in Japanese airports, such as Narita which experienced extreme difficulty communicating with foreign tourists during heavy blizzards in 2015.

The next Olympic event will be held in Tokyo and has already been dubbed the “Olympics of the future.” Aside from the magic megaphone, we can expect to see a significant number of robots aiding tourists with directions, transport, and translations.

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