Interpretation device to help medical staff, tourists

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The Yomiuri Shimbun An automatic interpretation system tailored to emergency medical procedures has been developed by the Fire and Disaster Management Agency and the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology.

The aim is to enable nationwide emergency staff to use the system through smartphones and tablets by as early as May.

With a growing number of tourists visiting Japan from overseas, more foreigners are getting sick or injured and being taken to the hospital by ambulance. The new system is expected to help medical experts perform life-saving procedures by facilitating communications with such patients regarding their symptoms.

Emergency medical staff will speak into a smartphone in Japanese, and their words will be interpreted and displayed on the handset’s screen accompanied by an audio reading. If a patient speaks in a foreign language, it will also be automatically interpreted into Japanese through the device. The system can interpret 15 languages, including English, Chinese, Korean and Spanish.

Interactions common to emergency medical procedures can be easily interpreted through a touchscreen option. For example, if a staff member selects “Check level of consciousness” on the screen, questions such as “Can you speak? Please answer” will be spoken in a foreign language.

In Sapporo, which is experiencing an influx of foreign tourists, 75 foreigners were taken to the hospital by ambulance in 2012, compared with 355 in 2016.

Because it took longer to ascertain patients’ symptoms, emergency medical staff ended up staying at the scene longer than usual in many cases, according to the city fire bureau. Therefore, making communication smoother has become a priority.Speech

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