After introducing Hindi and Hinglish language support for its digital assistant Alexa, Amazon has now rolled out its multilingual mode for the Indian audience, that is, the digital smart assistant can interact and respond in English, Hindi and Hinglish simultaneously. Alexa is the brain that powers Echo hardware, which was introduced in India two years ago and only supported English language until last month. Amazon says this multilingual mode will be useful for Indian households where users speak in Hindi and English interchangeably.
Until now, consumers had to switch between Hindi and English modes to interact with the Alexa in respective languages. The launch of the new feature will allow customers to switch between English and Hindi when talking to Alexa without changing the language setting. For example, if a customer asks about the festival of Diwali in Hindi, Alexa will reply in Hindi, and when asked for the information in English, it will respond in English. To set up the new feature, existing Echo customers can change their device language to English/ Hindi via 'language' options inside the device settings on the latest version of the Alexa app.
For the Echo devices with display including Echo Show and Echo Spot, users can swipe down from the top of the screen to access the settings section and change the language. This works on the latest software and if the users are unable to see the above mentioned language setting, they can ask the Alexa to update the same using 'Alexa, check for software updates' command.
Additionally, users can also ask, 'Alexa, how can I set up multi-lingual mode?' for help with the set-up.
This is Amazon's major step to make Alexa more 'Indian' as it will be able to understand customers speaking to her completely in Hindi or Hinglish in multiple contexts and varied regional accents and dialects.
"India has uniquely challenged our AI teams with its cultural and linguistic diversity. We are thrilled to bring a suite of AI advances in multilingual understanding so that customers can interact with Alexa in different regional variants of colloquial Hindi. We are also grateful to Indian customers who contributed to Hindi development through the Cleo skill," says Rohit Prasad, Vice President and Head Scientist, Alexa AI, Amazon.
Alexa can answer all sort of questions, play music, read the news, set timers and alarms, check the calendar, provide sports scores, control lights at home, use over 30,000 English skills and much more. In Hindi, Alexa can respond on diverse content such as jokes, shayaris, games, Kabir ke dohe, Panchatantra stories, Bollywood dialogues, more than 500 Alexa skills and even spellings of words in Hindi.