INTERVIEW: Meet the Company Behind Public Announcements in Airports Worldwide, in Our Languages
As an internationally renowned provider of customized unified passenger information platform used at airports, railways, marine ports and within public transportation networks, Simpleway's integration focuses on one matter -- to connect all the individual channels together so that they work in unison.
Prague-based Simpleway meets the demands of airports all over the world by providing natural public voice announcements. The service covers more than 50 languages and indirectly exposes the world to the beauty of Southeast Asian languages.
For Southeast Asia, it is not just the Javanese language that is supported as previously reported by Seasia, but Malay, Thai, and Vietnamese as well.
Seasia has been given the golden chance to find out how languages get selected and how Simpleway managed to gather all the voice talents.
Simpleway CEO Petr Otoupal told Seasia that the recent story of how the Javanese language announcer went viral across social media platforms globally was one of the many happy moments to the company.
"We were absolutely delighted to see it go viral, and particularly to see the joy that it brought. We work hard on gathering professional voice talents from across the world, and while our company if absolutely focused on making a better customer experience at airports and travel hubs, it was really lovely to see the happiness that our Javanese announcement brought.
"Everybody in the office was really delighted," he said.
In handling voice announcements, Petr explained the process had been pretty tough because they only looked at professionals to occupy the position.
"We always use professional voice talents for our announcements and often, when we get a request for a language we don't already have in our library, we turn to the internet to find the perfect talent.
"Their delivery is absolutely vital - their voice has to be perfectly clear with some authority, but also have an element of friendliness to it," said Petr.
Instead, he added, it actually was not difficult to find the right talents for the Southeast Asian languages.
"I suppose it's because these languages have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of speakers. It can be a bit more challenging with languages that aren’t widely spoken, like Bislama.”
To date, the Malay language has been deployed to the Auckland Airport using a Malaysian voice talent named Yugee Ramasamy, a 29-year-old professional pianist who is currently living in Prague.
Meanwhile, the Vietnamese language announcements are delivered through Tran Thi Nga and has been requested and used by the Dubai International Airport, now one of the busiest international airports in the world.
The Thai voice talent which is currently based in Thailand, also has been recording the announcements to be deployed for Dubai International Airport and will go live in Auckland Airport in September this year.
Having announcements in different languages is all about getting passengers on to their planes, trains or metros with minimal fuss and disruption.
In handling such business, Petr admits there is a real 'beauty' to all the different Southeast Asian languages.
"The voice announcement side of our business is staffed by people who love languages. I guess you could say they are language nerds, and they love hearing all languages. There is a beauty to the languages. I could listen to Bahasa Melayu all day - but I wouldn’t know what they were saying!.”
Concurring on a statement that native or mother tongue languages themselves can easily unite people of a nation whenever they meet or be in the airports, Petr said such Southeast Asian languages have added color and good vibes to Simpleway's operational system.
"Language, of course, does unite people. But it is also about making sure that passengers can get to where they want to go easily, and having announcements in the passengers’ native language helps that.
"As for Simpleway, as I said earlier, we get a real buzz from working with all these different languages and delivering the best voice announcements in the world,” said Petr.
Simpleway was founded by Jakub Maler and Andrej Zachar in 2005 in Prague, Czech Republic.