The makeup of the average household is changing as many people choose to quarantine with both immediate and extended family members. There are now more multi-generational families living together, which in some communities, brings multiple languages into the home.
With the availability of multilingual mode on Echo devices, more members of a household can interact with Alexa without changing the settings. In the U.S., multilingual mode allows bilingual customers to switch from English to Spanish, and vice versa, as they instinctively do while chatting with friends and family. For these customers, switching from one language to another happens naturally, and their experience with Alexa should be able to keep up.
If a customer has Alexa set to English, yet asks a question in Spanish, Alexa will either respond in Spanish or ask if they want to change their language settings. The experience is so easy that 76% of customers using Alexa in U.S. Spanish access the experience through multilingual mode. Here are some customer comments about Alexa’s multilingual mode that we’ve received so far:
  • “Multilingual Alexa is fantastic! My daughters at home speak Spanish with my wife and me, but when they are by themselves, they talk to Alexa in English. It works well.”
  • “It can be used by the entire family. My mother and father-in-law don’t speak English, so having Alexa in Spanish at home will be helpful because they can use it too.”
  • “I set the timer for the kids in English now that they have e-learning. That way they know when they have to go back to the computer for a meeting. The music requests are in Spanish as well as the weather.”
  • “My son says, ‘Hey Alexa, tell my mom que la quiero mucho.’”
  • “I speak Spanish but I think in English. I will look up a recipe by saying, ‘Alexa find me a recipe of Pollo al horno.’ The recipe is in Spanish but I am thinking about it in English.”
We’ve recently launched multilingual mode in new countries and languages including Germany, Spain, France, Italy, and Japan. Our U.S. customers can take advantage of the new language pairs as well. So if your nonna speaks Italian, she can switch between English and Italian or your cousin can switch between English and Japanese.
We’re also constantly looking for new ways to have Alexa support a variety of language needs from customers. This week we rolled out Live Translation to US customers, a new Alexa feature that assists with conversations between individuals who speak two different languages. Live Translation uses Amazon’s speech recognition and neural machine translation to help you communicate without a human translator. The feature can translate between English and French, Spanish, Hindi, Portuguese (Brazilian), German, or Italian. Just ask Alexa to translate any of the supported languages on an Amazon Echo device. For example, “Alexa, translate Spanish” will translate between English and Spanish."
In addition to Live Translation, Alexa can also translate a word or phrase in a desired language into supported languages. Just say, “Alexa, how do I say apple in Spanish?” and Alexa will respond with a translation.
We see a number of opportunities for customers to interact with this Alexa feature, including communicating with friends and family who speak a different language, and practicing speaking and learning phrases in new languages. In addition to Live Translation, Alexa can translate a word or phrase in a desired language into any of the 50+ supported languages. Now just say, “Alexa, how do I say ‘apple’ in Spanish?” and Alexa will respond.
We still have a long way to go, but these new offerings get us one step closer to the universal translator of our science fiction dreams. In the meantime, we’re excited to make Alexa even more multilingual, helpful, and informative on behalf of customers. Learn more about multilingual mode here and live translations here.