It was already evident that Amazon has been working on bringing regional language support in India and finally, now it’s real- Alexa now understands Hindi, the most spoken language in India and the fourth most spoken language in the world, after Mandarin, Spanish and English. Interestingly, India is also the home to the largest English speaking population in the world, surpassing even countries like the US or the UK.
Commenting on the occasion, Dilip RS, country manager, Alexa Skills and Voice Service, Amazon India, said, “We conduct a lot of hackathons and seminars to educate developers in India, so that they learn and develop voice-based capabilities for Alexa. There are lot of nuances we have brought in. While we speak in Hindi, it is mostly peppered with words in English. Alexa understands the language perfectly, and replies in a neutral accent in Hindi and English, just the way we are used to.”
All Amazon Echo devices can now communicate with users in Hindi and also, the users can command Alexa in Hindi to get things done and get information. As per Amazon, using machine learning and deep learning models, it has been able to overcome the contextual and cultural challenges. Now Alexa understands Hindi better and serves relevant responses to voice queries. In India, Alexa has over 30,000 skills and right at the time when Hindi support came, already 500 skills have added Hindi support– Looks like a good start. Right now Indian users can ask Alexa to recite Hanuman Chalisa or ask for Hyderabadi Biryani recipe or can even ask it to tell Hindi jokes.
As of now, users can change the language in settings inside the Alexa app. However, in the near future, Amazon plans to eradicate this toggle and let users switch between Hindi and English in an easier way and that will be done by just automatically changing the language as users ask anything to Alexa in any of these two languages.
However, Hindi language support is not the end. Amazon has already made plans to extend the choices users get while communicating with Alexa. Over the next few years, Alexa will speak in Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, if everything goes as planned.