Docomo Translator phone helps you order sushi whatever the language

You're in a foreign country, you can't speak the language, and you are desperate for sushi. What's the plan? Well if you are a Docomo customer, it's simple. You start the network's Android voice translator app and start talking to your phone.

The app - which launched in November and demoed in Europe for the first time - comes with two options, Face-to-Face translation or over the phone translation, and automatically translates the speaker's voice into another language as if thy were speaking through an interpreter.

Understandably the lead language is Japanese, but the Face-to-Face option, which Pocket-lint tried on the Docomo stand at Mobile World Congress, translates Japanese into 10 different languages for Japanese customers travelling abroad.

Supported languages include Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai.

In our demo with a Japanese representative on the Docomo stand at MWC we were able to have a quick conversation in our native tongues very easily by simply talking to the phone and passing it to each other. 

Where the service gets more interesting, however, is that it also supports over the phone translation in three languages, Japanese to Chinese, English or Korean, allowing customers to have real-time conversations wherever they are. Yes, it's like the Babel Fish from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

If all this sounds familiar, it's because Google Translate offers users the ability to translate conversations, but not as fluid as the experience here. Docomo wouldn't say whether it was using Google Translate as the backbone to the service.

The free service is already being used by 1.6m Docomo customers, with the operator hoping it will continue to grow in popularity. Sadly a spokeswomen told us that there are no plans to release the cloud-based app to other operators around the world. Let's hope that changes soon.