Deciphering foreign languages will become even easier after Amazon teaches Alexa how to translate languages in real time. The retail giant is reportedly working on the feature for the voice-activated digital assistant as well as its Echo smart speakers.
Google Pixel Buds, Samsung’s Bixby assistant, and another service already offer this type of service in limited capacities, but now Amazon is “seriously exploring” the technology, reports Yahoo Finance.
Alexa currently translates basic words and short phrases in languages such as Spanish, French, Italian and German. The company aims to turn the device into a multilingual assistant that will help people in a variety of situations.
In one scenario, an English-speaking American could go to a wedding in Tokyo, and Alexa would help him or her have a conversation in Japanese. Alexa would also possess cultural knowledge that could be shared with the user.
“The cross-culture, cross-language piece is going to be big for Amazon and Alexa, and it has a lot of potential,” an insider with knowledge of the technology told Yahoo Finance.
The goal is to have Alexa translate languages on demand in real time. This would include translating multiple conversations taking place in one setting. It’s unclear if and when Amazon will roll out its translation features. Competitors who have language translating features do not have the scope of the technology that Amazon is exploring.
Amazon ultimately wants to make Alexa an intelligent virtual assistant that can answer anything with a simple voice command. There appears to be a demand for it too. Tens of millions of people have purchased Alexa-enabled devices since they first became available in 2014.