Amazon Wants To Turn Alexa Into A More Complex, Real-Time Translator

Cultural context is the hardest part of speaking a foreign language. Amazon's Alexa could change that

Amazon might give Alexa more intelligent real-time translation powers

People using Amazon's smart-assistant Alexa on Friday, either through an app or one of Amazon's many Echo devices, are finding that the typically attentive assistant isn't working as it normally does.

So for instance if someone from the USA attends a wedding in Japan without knowing a word of Japanese, Alexa would help the person hold a conversation in the local language. One way that the company is planning to do so is to add the ability for Alexa to translate between languages in real time. DownDetector.com is also reporting with Alexa. Amazon Alexa and Echo are down across the US. The Pixel Buds' real-time translation feature received mixed reviews. However, Amazon is said to be pushing to make Alexa into a "true multilingual assistant" that will be able to perform more complicated translations.

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Alexa can already translate short phrases and words in Spanish, German, French and Italian but cannot decipher more meaningful or contextual situations that languages often need.

The outage has evoked comparisons Amazon's Super Bowl ad in which the digital assistant looses its voice and is replaced by less-than-helpful celebrities. When you finally do get something out of Alexa, it will be the fact that it's lost connection. Alexa will also be mindful of the Japanese culture, which is more formal and conservative than American culture. "Delighted to have had the opportunity to create and lead Alexa Prize and to experience this legendary Day 1 company from the inside".

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With Alexa going mobile, real-time translation would come in handy when visiting another country and trying to do something as seemingly simple as ordering food or asking for directions.

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