Air New Zealand turns to translation headphones to tackle language barriers

Air New Zealand turns to translation headphones to tackle language barriers

Air New Zealand has rolled out translation headphones on its flights to help tackle the language barriers that can arise during travel.

The airline says it is one of the first corporates globally to trial a customer service use case for Google’s wireless Bluetooth Pixel Buds headphones which enable live translation of 40 languages via the search engine’s Pixel handset.

Air New Zealand chief digital officer Avi Golan said the airline has a number of multi-lingual employees and there are times the relevant language speaker is not on hand so technology could play “a pivotal role”.

“We operate to 30 international destinations and our customers speak an even more diverse range of languages,” he said. “Google’s Pixel Buds could assist in areas such as check-in and boarding as well as inflight to help our staff communicate effectively with international customers.

“Both Air New Zealand and Google put people and technology at the heart of their products and experiences and it’s been excellent exploring how translation technology like Google’s Pixel Buds could enhance our customer experience.

“In this increasingly digital world our customers expect us to provide a fast and personalised experience. It’s crucial we embrace technology solutions and collaborating with like-minded partners helps us keep ahead of the game.”

Air New Zealand says it has an aspiration to be a leading digital airline. It has also begun using artificial intelligence, augmented reality and social robotics.

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