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Sanya makes plans to become 'language barrier-free'

By Ma Zhiping | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-07-15 20:43
Foreigners enjoy the beach and sunshine in Sanya, which is seeing steady growth in overseas visitors. [Photo/Xinhua]

The tropical tourist city of Sanya launched the building of the city into the country's first "language barrier-free" international city on Sunday, highlighting development of new facilities and services intended to bring brand new experiences and convenience to international visitors.

Popularly known as the "Oriental Hawaii", Sanya — which lies on the southern tip of Hainan Island — received about 21 million tourists last year, with more than 816,000 inbound tourists among them according to statistics from the Sanya tourism authorities.

Construction of the Hainan Free Trade Zone and a free port with Chinese characteristics are bringing more tourists, overseas investors and business people to Sanya. Increasing entertainment services, commercial activities, international sports competitions, exhibitions and events are generating huge demand for quality multilingual services, officials with the city government said.

According to its working plan, construction of the language barrier-free city project will cover four areas, including the establishment of sign systems, service networks, translation services and information services.

Chen Tiejun, member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Sanya Municipal Committee and executive vice mayor of Sanya, said Sanya will first focus its efforts on promoting development of language barrier-free service centers for foreigners, immigration affairs and making multilingual services available at major government departments.

"In the meantime, Sanya will explore development of new advanced language services by taking advantage of new technologies, such as real-time image translation and simultaneous artificial intelligence interpretation," the vice mayor said.

"The language barrier-free project will help Sanya build a convenient, intelligent and humanized service platform that will provide all-weather, multidisciplinary and multilingual professional translation services for people who come from overseas to either tour or work in Sanya," said Lin Yiping, director of the Sanya Municipal Service Center.

Since last May and as part of the language barrier-free project, Sanya has introduced AI language service products developed by Hainan Two Monkeys Technology Co Ltd on a pilot basis in 11 public service spots, such as the Sanya Phoenix Entry-Exit Frontier Inspection Station, Sanya Railway Station, the Sanya Public Security Bureau and the Sanya No 425 Hospital.

"The Entry-Exit Intelligent Language Service System developed by the Hainan company has effectively solved problems related to the entry and exit of multilingual visitors, and remarkably improved the efficiency of the customs clearance process of foreign tourists," said Cao Li, director of the Phoenix Entry-Exit Frontier Inspection Station.

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