In preparation for the next summer Olympic and Paralympic games, which will take place in July and August 2024, the Paris Transportation Authority (RATP, in French) has developed a machine translation (MT) application that about 6,000 transport station agents are expected to use to communicate between French and 16 languages, according to news outlet France 24.
The Olympics will last two weeks, and with thousands expected to visit Paris at that time from all over the world, the transportation authority decided to develop an app called “Tradivia” (video in French) which comes at a cost of EUR 2m.
The app is a speech-to-speech translation utility designed by accessibility company Ava. The company says the app has been installed and tested on 20 metro agent tablets and the expectation is for its full deployment for accessibility and multilingual services ahead of the games.
Tradivia has actually been tested in the entire metro network already. France24 also mentioned that platform announcements are now also available in English, German, Italian, and Spanish, with Mandarin and Arabic expected to be available before the Olympics begin.
The app has been customized to serve people using the Paris metro, containing information such as station names, schedules, routes, and types of tickets available. Tradivia is said to have an advantage over publicly available MT because it makes sense of the complex Paris metro system.
According to a statement given by Valerie Gadot, customer experience head at RATP, there was a real communication problem, and “agents can’t be expected to answer queries in all languages.”
There is no mention of Tradivia on the RATP’s site at this time, but there is mention of a multilingual, customized search engine for metro services called Zenway. That service is available in seven languages and displays information such as maps, points of interest, and available amenities at different stations.