Seoul’s Local Government Testing Real-Time Translation On Transparent Displays At Tourist Info Counters

November 23, 2023 by Dave Haynes

Here’s another example of transparent display technology being mashed-up with real-time AI translation to help information counters field questions from travelers who don’t speak the local language.

As reported by content partner invidis, the Seoul government is running a pilot for six weeks to test the use of a transparent display at a service counter, with an employee on the other side of the see-through screen. This is almost certainly OLED, given the absence of edge lighting around the display that would be needed if this was transparent LCD.

Reports invidis:

Travelers and employees can converse through the screen in their native language. The screen simultaneously displays the translation.

The kiosks use Flitto’s AI translation engine as well as digital technology that converts audio into text. According to invidis research, the kiosks were developed by Lead Technologies. The AI ​​interpreter can speak eleven different languages: English, Chinese (simplified), Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Malay, Indonesian, Arabic, Russian, Spanish and French.

Two of these kiosks are now located in the two major tourist information centers in Seoul, one in Gwanghwamun and the other on the first floor of the Seoul Tourism Plaza. The smart translator is currently still a pilot project with a test phase of six weeks. During this time, the city, together with Flitto, organizes various tourist activities. For example, competitions should encourage people to use the kiosk.

Tokyo introduced a similar system this year and is considering a larger rollout in train stations. In Tokyo, the kiosks are called “Translation Windows” and use a ready-made system from Voicebiz UC Display.

I like this a lot. Yes, there are smartphone apps that can answer common questions, but there have been lots of times I have walked up to information counters at overseas airports and rail stations with questions that are best fielded by a person, and not a pre-baked FAQ.

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