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NetEase ramps up smart translator development

By Cheng Yu | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-09-08 13:54
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Customers try out the second-generation intelligent translator from NetEase Youdao at the company's AI open house in Beijing, on Sept 6, 2018. [Provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

NetEase Youdao, the online education brand of China's second-largest gaming publisher NetEase Inc, is stepping up its development of intelligent translators to tap the potential of the lucrative translation hardware market.

"Artificial intelligence, fintech and IoT (internet of things) will be the gold ore over the next 10 years," said Zhou Feng, CEO of NetEase Youdao.

"Strengthening our presence in intelligent hardware including translators can supplement Youdao's AI business to a great extent," he added.

He predicted that several million intelligent translators will be sold in the future if they can offer customers a more fluent translating experience.

Zhou made the comments on Thursday during the launch of NetEase Youdao's second-generation smart translator in Beijing.

The newly unveiled gadget can provide offline voice translation between Chinese, English, Japanese and Korean. It also offers online translation in 43 languages.

Liu Renlei, deputy president of NetEase Youdao, said the intelligent translator aims to tap into the rising demand for translation while traveling.

"Offline translation has been the company's main innovation in intelligent hardware as there are more scenarios when people travel abroad," he said.

NetEase Youdao, founded in 2005, focuses primarily on educational products to improve the efficiency of learners. Its e-dictionary has gained momentum in China, with the number of users exceeding 700 million early this year.

Up to now, over 100,000 of its first-generation intelligent translators have been sold.

The company said that it is also expanding to foreign markets, including India and Southeast Asia, to seek more growth opportunities.

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