AI translation service for foreigners gains momentum in Korea

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : April 22, 2024, 13:36 Updated : April 22, 2024, 19:27
SKTs AI translation service TransTalker installed at Lotte Department Store in Jamsil Courtesy of SK Telecom
SKT's AI translation service "TransTalker" installed at the Lotte Department Store in Jamsil   Courtesy of SK Telecom
SEOUL, April 22 (AJU PRESS) - The booming tourism industry is driving the adoption of innovative solutions, with AI translation services taking center stage. These services, capable of real-time speech-to-text conversion, are removing language barriers for non-Korean speaking visitors.

Leading the charge is Lotte Department Store, a subsidiary of the Lotte Group. Recognizing the influx of foreign customers, particularly at its Jamsil branch, which is receiving roughly 700 daily inquiries. Lotte has implemented SK Telecom's (SKT) "TransTalker" AI translation system.

TransTalker utilizes transparent LED displays to showcase translated conversations in text format. This user-friendly system supports over a dozen languages, including major ones like Chinese, English, Japanese, and Spanish.

Since its April 19 launch, over 1,000 foreign customers have benefited from TransTalker at the Jamsil branch. Following this successful trial, Lotte plans to expand the service across its stores.

"The adoption of AI translation at our Jamsil branch, a global shopping hub, is a significant step," said Kim Sang-woo, branch manager. "We strive to become the premier destination for foreign customers through continuous digital innovation."

This surge in tourism is evident in data from the Korea Tourism Organization, which reported more than two-fold increase in foreign visitors compared to 2022, reaching a total of 11.03 million in 2023. SKT, recognizing this trend, plans to extend TransTalker's reach to hotels, government offices, tourist attractions, restaurants, and various businesses.

Seoul's subway operator has also joined the initiative, announcing plans to run AI translation services at 11 stations frequented by tourists. These stations include popular destinations like Gangnam in southern Seoul and the vibrant nightlife district of Itaewon.
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