Today major Japanese carrier NTT Docomo announced the launch of a new translation app called Hanashite Hon'yaku. The app is designed to translate phone or face-to-face conversations from Japanese to English, Chinese, or Korean into text or a voice readout. Hanashite Hon'yaku will launch on November 1st and will be available for free for smartphones and tablets running Android 2.2 or higher. Support for French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Thai will be added later in the month.
NTT Docomo also announced the October 11th launch of an augmented reality translation app, Utsushite Hon'yaku, which will translate text using a smartphone's camera. Although some of these features already exist in other translation services like Google Translate, the combination of both apps will provide a strong, free translation option for Japanese speakers.