Seoul deploys multilingual interactive translation kiosks

The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) is rolling out the country’s first interactive multilingual translation service kiosks.

The kiosks will be located at tourist information centres and aim to promote city tourism by eradicating any language barriers.

AI-powered translation service

The service has been developed in collaboration with the tourism startup and language data specialist Flitto to enable international tourists to converse with Korean guides in their native languages. SMG hopes it will enhance the convenience of tourists to explore Seoul.

Using the translation kiosk, people can talk in real-time in 11 different languages: English, Chinese (simplified), Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Malay, Indonesian, Arabic, Russian, Spanish, and French.

The kiosks utilise artificial intelligence-powered translation engine and digital technology that converts audio to text to translate the voice of the speaker’s language, and directly displays both the spoken and translated text on the screen.

One of the features includes a transparent screen that allows people to face each other as if in real conversation, designed to increase the sense of reality.

The kiosks will be installed for a pilot operation at two major tourist information centres in Seoul, one in Gwanghwamun and the other on the first floor of Seoul Tourism Plaza.

To promote the active use of the kiosk by visitors, Seoul will hold special events for tourists during the six-week test operation period with Flitto and also hold lucky draw sweepstakes at each site for tourists who use the kiosk to enjoy duty-free shopping coupons and souvenirs.