Can Automated Translation to English Expand Audience for Japanese Books?

In News by Dennis Abrams

From the Nikkei Asian Review: With a goal of making Japanese books accessible to international readers, Media Do automates translation.

Image – iStockphoto: MonsitJ


By Dennis Abrams | @DennisAbrams2

The Goal: ‘Quick, Full Translations’
At the Nikkei Asian Review, Keiichi Kamei reports that, electronic book distributor Media Do will develop “an artificial intelligence-based translation system to make its ebooks available for English-speaking readers.”

By doing so, Media Do hopes that it will be able to reach a wider market as well, as Kamei writes, “to promote digitization at a time when Japan’s book market is shrinking.”

Two Tokyo-based AI startups have joined forces with Media Do on the project—Internet Research Institute and A.I. Squared. Kamei reports that Media Do plans to invest around 1.1 billion yen ($9.82 million) to purchase around 20 percent of each company.

The two startups are reported to have created a proprietary tech ofr “summarizing and translating” text.

As  in most NLP (natural learning process) scenarios, the technology is meant to grow its English and Japanese vocabulary and grammar, to create progressively adept translations.

In its first step, Media Do will offer users of its e-bookstore automatic summary service, anticipated to be launched by the end of 2017.

In 2018, Media Do is to start converting Japanese summaries into English, with the hope that this will draw international readers interested in Japanese books as well as to increasing traffic at the site. The ultimate goal is described as “quick, full translations of ebooks using AI.”

Media Do tells Nikkei Asian Review that its technology will be both less expensive and faster than “conventional translation services.” It also expects that its service will be helpful in selling business and academic ebooks written in Japanese to international readers.

The full Nikkei Asian Review by Keiichi Kamei is here.

About the Author

Dennis Abrams

Dennis Abrams is a contributing editor for Publishing Perspectives, responsible for news, children's publishing and media. He's also a restaurant critic, literary blogger, and the author of "The Play's The Thing," a complete YA guide to the plays of William Shakespeare published by Pentian, as well as more than 30 YA biographies and histories for Chelsea House publishers.