All around the world, there are many cultures, traditions and languages that provide diverse and valuable perspectives to our society. As the world continues to develop new communication technologies, conversation is happening more frequently and faster than ever before.
However, one aspect of communication has remained constant over the years, sharing insights into its long history with every conversation had: language. In 2020, how does society enable conversations and address the need for quick, accurate language interpretations around the world — without getting lost in translation?
Enter Pocketalk, the global leader in connecting conversations and removing language barriers. Founder and CEO of parent company, Japan-based Sourcenext, Noriyuki “Nori” Matsuda, first visualized Pocketalk in 2001 upon recognizing the need for a better translation experience. Inspired to create and encourage conversation, Nori set out to bring his dream to reality with his background in hardware and software development.
Today, Pocketalk now offers the second rendition (announced at CES 2020, began shipping in May) of its multi-sensory, two-way translation device for leisure travelers, business travellers and those requiring the need for translation services in their day-to-day lives and occupations. With the capacity to translate 74 different languages, which covers 90% of the world’s population, Pocketalk’s sleek design is built to perform in any environment to translate verbal and visual cues with ease and precision.
The newest device, portable and smaller than the average smartphone, is equipped with high-quality, noise-cancelling microphones and two powerful speakers so it’s easy to have full conversations, even in noisy environments. Whether at a busy train station or a private business meeting, users can rely on Pocketalk to guide their conversation without external factors interfering with translations. A large touch screen provides a text translation for additional clarity, and can also display text of past conversations for reference.
When users visit a restaurant in a new country or are unable to read a street sign in another language, Pocketalk’s text-to-translate camera instantly recognizes and translates text, the written word, and signs.
The newest Pocketalk also comes with a two-year cellular data plan — something many of its competitors do not — providing coverage in more than 130 areas including those not accessible by cellular device or WiFi. With consistent software updates,Pocketalk can account for slang and dialect for more local experiences. And, users never need to worry about handing over the device or their phone to a stranger when speaking with them.
While Pocketalk (the device) appeals to many businesses and individuals travelling for both work and leisure, recent events and anecdotes have helped Pocketalk (the company) provide their services to individuals and organizations in important industries performing crucial tasks that may require quick, accurate translations. For example, teachers are able to speak with parents who may not know English, flight attendants can speak with international passengers with ease at a safe distance,and first responders can communicate with individuals in emergency situations that are time sensitive and potentially dangerous for a human translator.
After the COVID-19 outbreak began, for example, Pocketalk recognized the importance of instant translation in the medical industry, setting up a relief program in March to donate 600 Classic devices to qualifying applicants at hospitals and other medical institutions; due to an overwhelming response, Pocketalk officially donated 850 units to medical professionals in 41 states. Many came back with stories of quick, pivotal translations conducted using Pocketalk in the field, with one nurse stating: “It’s in my whitecoat pocket on every shift.”
Other individuals who have used the device in important situations include first responders recently aboard the Diamond Princess cruise line quarantined in Yokohama, and volunteers during the recent protests in Minneapolis.
Pocketalk ($299) and the original Pocketalk Classic ($199) are now available for purchase on Pocketalk’s website and on Amazon. For more information, visit www.pocketalk.net and follow Pocketalk on Facebook and Instagram.
Joe Miller is the General Manager (Americas) of Pocketalk.