According to The Asahi Shimbun, foreign languages were no barrier to Japanese customers at a cafe staffed by foreigners in Tokyo’s Roppongi district on 10th of Oct, when a major mobile phone carrier in Japan, NTT Docomo Inc., set up shop to promote its translation app.
The leading mobile phone carrier recruited non-Japanese to work at the one-day pop-up cafe who speak eight mother tongues, each among the 10 languages including English and French the speaking app can convert into Japanese, and vice versa.
Serving Japanese customers in their own languages with the aid of a tablet computer, the staff spoke into the device, “What would you like to order?”
The app repeated the question in Japanese, in both voice and text displayed on the screen.
Megumi Nakaya, 30, ordered a cheeseburger from a Chinese attendant.
“I hope Japan will become a country where foreign visitors do not encounter language barriers, as we are going to host the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Nakaya said.
NTT Docomo’s campaign reflects recent trends where the increasing numbers of foreign visitors give Japanese people opportunities to communicate with them in their daily lives and in a business environment.
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