Local governments turn to translation apps for administration and processing of foreign applicants

With the recent revisions in the immigration policies of Japan as adopted by its national government, the country known as the “Land of the Rising Sun” has been preparing for a substantial influx of foreign workers into its society. Apart from the established contrasts in culture, customs, and tradition, one of the major challenges brought about by this recent change is the language barriers that foreigners and locals have to deal with on a daily basis.


Language barriers are common problems that persist in all countries that are open to tourists of different nationalities. These are manifested in the day-to-day interactions of tourists and locals in the community that range from slight miscommunications in giving out directions or instructions to the nearest bathroom stall to full-scale outbursts of disagreements between a local real estate manager and the foreign tourist renting a hotel space or apartment.


Photo credit to: https://www.toppan.co.jp

Imagine if these sorts of problems are not addressed in the workplace. This may very well lead to some highly troublesome situations that could have a negative impact not only on the workforce but also possibly on the business
and even the economy as well.


To prevent such an unfortunate circumstance from occurring, one of the early requirements for foreign applicants who wish to work in Japan was that they learn the Japanese language in order to appropriately communicate with their superiors and office mates. However, the need for immediate manpower in Japan is a serious issue that worsens with every passing moment.


As such, multilingual translation tools are steadily becoming relevant apps in Japan. In one article, it was reported that municipal officials of local governments in Japan have been using these translation apps in order to
communicate with foreign applicants and aid them in the administrative processes.


One official of Sumida Ward, Tokyo mentioned, “Talking in the applicants’ own languages makes it easier to convey our cooperative stance.” At Sumida Ward Office, local officials serve using a tablet terminal installed with the multi-language translation app, VoiceBiz. This business-use speech translation app is developed by Toppan Printing Co. and includes a comprehensive thirty (30) different languages in its system.



Multilingual Translation Tools Spreading in Japan



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