Amazon is updating its Alexa voice assistant with a new feature that would users to use Live Translation. As the name suggests, the update will allow individuals speaking in two different languages to converse with each other, with Alexa acting as an interpreter and translating both sides of the conversation. The feature uses Amazon’s speech recognition technology and neural machine translation technology to work and supports translating between English and French, Spanish, Hindi, Portuguese (Brazilian), German or Italian. The Live Translation feature is said to work with Echo devices (speakers and display) with locale set to English US. The e-commerce company is yet to share its availability details.
To use the Live Translation, users would need to activate Alexa with the command, “Alexa, translate Hindi.” Users will hear a beep, after which they would need to speak out the sentence or phrase. The e-commerce giant claims that Alexa would then detect the language being spoken and translate each side of the conversation within moments. On Echo Show devices, users can also see the translation in addition to hearing it. To end a translation session, users can use the command, “Alexa, stop.” Additionally, Amazon claims that the company is planning to improve the feature with language learning and speech recognition technology to offer a better experience. The Live Translation would be helpful in the hospitality industry as foreign guests can communicate with staff members without any language barrier, the company adds. Notably, Alexa-enabled Echo devices already support translation of several words in different languages.
Over the last few months, Amazon has been adding new language-features on Alexa to improve user experience. Recently, the company extended Hindi language support to its Alexa-enabled Fire TV devices. It essentially allows users to communicate and view content on the TV in Hindi. Additionally, the company had rolled out the Multilingual Mode for Amazon Echo users in the US that allows Alexa users to speak in a combination of languages such as English and Spanish, French and English, and so on. With the Live Translation feature on Alexa-powered Echo devices, the company would hope to give stiff competitions to Google, which already offers similar translation features with its Google Assistant-enabled Nest and other devices.