Google Translate Helps Police Recover Tourist’s Phone

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Google Translate helped Taiwanese police recover a tourist's lost phone.

As more international tourists visit Taiwan, there are bound to be language barriers that are difficult to overcome. Taiwan’s police departments are not equipped with staff fluent in multiple languages, but they can find a solution when the need arises. In some cases, apps and other technology can make the situation easier to handle.

A Japanese tourist reported her mobile phone missing last Friday night. She and her companions wanted to hurry to recover the phone that was accidentally left in the back of a taxi, but they did not know what to tell the police. Police officers at the Luzhou District precinct in New Taipei did not speak Japanese and the tourist and her companions did not speak Mandarin, making the report difficult.

An officer on duty took the initiative to use Google Translate to aid in communication with simple language, Apple Daily reported. As full sentences in the Google Translate app can get garbled, particularly when using the text-to-speech function, the police and tourist had to rely on single words and short phrases to communicate. With the addition of body language, Officer Feng Chih-kang (馮志剛) was able to understand that the woman had left her phone in a taxi.

Police were able to contact the taxi company and the driver returned the mobile phone to the police station. The Japanese tourist was grateful for the swift thinking of the police.

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