Amazon introduces a Live Translation feature for its Echo devices
Amazon announces a new Alexa feature, Live Translation that will translate conversations between two different languages users. The new feature works with the help of 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. Alexa can translate a single word or phrase in more than 50 languages.
The pandemic actually supercharged voice app usage. As per NPR and Edison Research study the percentage of voice-enabled device owners using commands only once a day rose between the beginning of 2020 and early April. Smart speaker owners say they listen to more music, entertainment, and news using their devices than they did before. Studies show an average of 10.8 tasks per week from their assistant this year compared with 9.4 tasks in 2019.
To use Live Translation, an Echo device owner can issue a voice command and requires asking Alexa on an Amazon Echo device to translate one of the supported languages.
The commands like Alexa, translate French will translate between English and French, whereas Alexa stop will end the translation session. The Echo will beep during the session to specify when to speak in the other language, and Echo devices with a screen like the Echo Show will display a transcription of the conversation.
Users can take natural pauses between sentences, and Alexa will automatically detect the language in which they’re speaking and translate each side of the conversation. On Echo Show devices, users also have an option to see the translation in addition to just hearing it.
An Amazon spokesperson remarked, “We see a variety of ways customers can interact with using this Alexa feature. With the help of Live Translation, users can communicate with friends and family speaking a different language and practice speaking and learning phrases in new languages.”
The new feature is useful in the hospitality business, where guests, hosts, and hotel staff might not speak the same language. Though Echo speakers are growing in popularity and are helping users control their doors, lights, and search the web using nothing but their voice. Amazon has plans to target the service industry with programs like Alexa for Hospitality. With its platform is designed for the hotel industry, Alexa can now place phone calls in hotel rooms.
The new addition will now make Alexa more competitive with Google devices, which can leverage Google’s existing Translate service via Google Assistant. Google Home devices had introduced the ability to translate conversations in early 2019 in a wide range of languages using a feature called Interpreter Mode. Today, Interpreter Mode is working across many Google devices like smart speakers, smart displays, smart clocks, and even Google Assistant on phones and tablets. However, when Google added live translation to its Pixel Buds, the feature initially failed.
How well Alexa’s translation feature will work requires further testing after the launch. Live translation is the latest in the market language-focused updates for Echo devices.