Businesses in Beijing are overcoming the language barrier by utilising high-tech software and a smartphone-like device to translate from Mandarin Chinese and keep the cash registers ringing.
Thousands of athletes, coaches, journalists, and technologists in China have money to burn, despite China’s “zero COVID” policy, which has blocked the influx of sports fans who would otherwise be cheering on their favourites.
In reports, ice cream store employee Wang Jianxin said, “We’ve had more customers in the last several days, and we’ve relied on this smartphone to interpret while interacting with customers.”
He accomplished it by speaking into a smartphone, which translated his words swiftly before reading them back in a sweet female voice.
Communication can be difficult when staff and volunteers are wearing masks and visors, and Mandarin has nothing in common with languages spoken by many Olympic competitors, such as English, German, Norwegian, French, and Russian.
Thankfully, gadgets like the iFLYTEK Jarvisen, a Chinese-developed artificial intelligence (AI) smart translation, are available to assist.
After ordering lunch at the Green Dragon restaurant, Team USA media attaché Nicki Hancock told Reuters, “I felt the app worked really well, it seemed to operate wonderfully. She (the waitress) answered, it said the same thing I said.”
Manager Lu Juanli has seen a few raised eyebrows from guests who have received surprising menu recommendations, such as “mushroom” being mistranslated as “fungus” and other omissions.
“Because some of our dishes have very colourful titles, there are some mistakes in the translations, which keeps consumers interested and amusing,” she explained.
Non-Mandarin speakers indicate the meals they desire on the plastic menus with marker pens, and vocal communication is done through a translation mechanism.
Even while many people find the apps and devices to be useful, there are still some things that are lost in translation.
At the ice cream parlour where Wang works, German journalist Frank Schneider recalled, “Once we had an experience when we ordered ‘cow milk.”
“However, the English word ‘cow’ was misinterpreted as ‘cough,’ causing some misunderstanding because corona (COVID-19) is one of the symptoms, and coughing is one of them. Overall, however, it performs admirably” he added.