ATOK, which stands for “Advanced Technology Of Kana-Kanji transfer,” is a Japanese input system developed for writing text in Japanese.
The basis of a Japanese input system is the process of phonetic input in romaji (Romanized Japanese scripts) or kana (syllabic Japanese scripts), and converting the phonetics into kanji (Chinese characters used in Japanese).
In Western languages, characters entered from a keyboard form words themselves, and the thoughts of the typist are conveyed directly. With Japanese, however, an additional “conversion” step where the entered phonetics are converted into kanji, katakana or other characters is required. As this conversion process distracts the typist from their thoughts, it was thought to be difficult to convey the thoughts of a person directly when typing Japanese with a PC.
JustSystems has pursued research and development into (Japanese language) natural language processing that “avoids hindering a person’s thoughts,” ensuring that within the series of tasks a person performs to think and express themselves, they are not hampered by cumbersome operations or sense the annoyance of using a machine.
This effort culminated in the creation of ATOK. Since the first iteration of ATOK in 1985, it has continually evolved in step with JustSystems’ commitment to developing more comfortable Japanese input systems.
The High Frequency of Conversions from Kana to Kanji
Drove the Need for a “Natural” System
Allocating the space bar to the operation of converting text entered into a PC to kanji was our doing here at JustSystems. There is a reason we made the space key available for this task while the program was active, even though Japanese keyboards have a henkan (“convert”) key. Traditionally, the space bar is for inserting spaces between words while typing English. We came across the realization that when entering Japanese, it was perhaps more natural to use this space bar to convert text into kanji a phrase at a time, and would more closely align with Japanese sensibilities.
Bring Customer Issues In-house to Develop Solutions
“Corrective learning” which learns patterns of input mistakes and instantly gives correct conversion candidates, and continues to carry on various “mechanisms” such as addition of correcting confusion of humbling word and respected word to proofreading support function Japanese input system “ATOK” that I did. Now that e-mails and the Internet have become widespread, such as buzzwords and current affairs terms added, dialing and spoken words can be converted into the correct Kana kanji with a single shot while improving the conversion precision, personal needs of “obvious” We have responded to you as soon as possible. Also, Justsystem’s strength is that sales representatives who noticed problems with customers’ issues or solutions that are “language professionals” such as newspaper publishers, publishers, etc. bring their voices to the company and apply them to product development. We are steadily responding to customer’s voice, such as automating ATOK’s internal dictionary distribution and developing grammar proofing support tools.