Starting this week, Amazon's Alexa voice assistant is now able to act as an interpreter, translating in real-time a conversation between two people speaking different languages.
The feature has been available on the Google Assistant for some time now, but it's still a useful new addition to Alex's abilities.
- How to use the Google Assistant as a real-time interpreter
- Google's live interpreter comes to iOS and Android phones
- How to get started with Alexa: A complete guide to what it can do
Called Live Translation, the feature works best on Alexa devices with screens, like Amazon's range of Echo Show smart displays. That way, you can hear Alexa's translations but also read them on the screen.
All you have to do is ask Alexa to "start a translation session", then begin your conversation. Alexa will automatically recognize which two languages are being spoken, then translate after each person has finished their sentence.
There are some limitations for now. The feature is currently only available to Alexa users in the US, and it is limited to six pairs of languages, with English being half of each pair.
Google added interpretation to the Assistant in 2019GearBrain
Essentially, Alexa can act as a live interpreter between English and Spanish, French, German, Italian, Brazilian, Portuguese and Hindi. The location of the Alexa device needs to be set to US English for the feature to work, at least for now.
Amazon says: "The Live Translation feature leverages several existing Amazon systems, including Alexa's automatic-speech-recognition (ASR) system, Amazon Translate, and Alexa's text-to-speech system, with the overall architecture and machine learning models designed and optimized for conversational-speech translation."
When you are done with using Alexa as a translator, just say: "Alexa, stop".
Google added a very similar system to the Google Assistant back in February 2019. Working on smart speakers and displays, it can translate in real time between any two of 26 languages, including Dutch, French, Greek, Hindi, Japanese, Russian, Thai and Vietnmese. The feature was added to iOS and Android phones at the end of 2019.
Echo Show 5 -- Smart display with Alexa – stay connected with video calling - Charcoal