*****For immediate use January 6, 2004
World's First Speech-to-Speech Translation Capable Robot
Tokyo, January 6, 2004 --- NEC Corporation today announced the development of a robot capable of Japanese-English/English-Japanese translation of speech input through a microphone. This was realized through the development and operation of an automatic translation function in the personal robot PaPeRo that is being developed by NEC.
PaPeRo (Partner-Type Personal Robot) is a small robot capable of listening and seeing, and has been developed with the aim of acting as a personal partner to family members within the home. In order to realize an operable robot capable of conversation with a translation function, small memory and compact translation software are necessary. Through the development of a compact, high-speed speech recognition system NEC succeeded in installing this function in the small robot. The robot has been programmed with 50,000 Japanese, and 25,000 English travel/tourism related words that enable automatic Japanese-English/English-Japanese conversation. Through creation of a robot with a translation function support of two-way communication is enabled.
Recently, with the spread of IT terminals and technology in the home that is geared at all age groups, there has been a growing call for barrier-free technology that eliminates the digital divide. In 1983 NEC first announced intentions of developing an automatic translation system that was realized in 1999, and in 2001 NEC launched automatic speech-to-speech translation software 'Tabitsu' for use on notebook PCs on the market. The realization of a speech-to-speech translation capable robot is one step towards eliminating the digital divide and realizing barrier-free communication. NEC will continue to work on this system to enable hands-free (microphone-free) voice input.
About NEC Corporation
NEC Corporation (NASDAQ: NIPNY) (FTSE: 6701q.l) is one of the world's leading providers of Internet, broadband network and enterprise business solutions dedicated to meeting the specialized needs of its diverse and global base of customers. Ranked as one of the world's top patent-producing companies, NEC delivers tailored solutions in the key fields of computer, networking and electron devices, by integrating its technical strengths in IT and Networks, and by providing advanced semiconductor solutions through NEC Electronics Corporation. The NEC Group employs more than 140,000 people worldwide and had net sales of approximately $40 billion in the fiscal year ended March 2003. For additional information, please visit the NEC home page at: http://www.nec.com.
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