Amazon might give Alexa more intelligent real-time translation powers


Alexa can already translate basic terms and phrases in German, French, Italian, and Spanish but Amazon wants to improve on the system.

Down Detector reported a huge spike in the number of people reporting problems with the digital assistant, the brain in some of Amazon's connected home products like the Echo smart speaker, starting at 9:39 am ET. Someday, we're hoping it will hold a more intelligent and more natural conversation with the translation included as one of Alexa's skills.

Alexa would have an understanding of the Japanese culture, which is generally more formal and conservative than American culture and would incorporate its knowledge into translations.

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Amazon Alexa is already capable of translating short sentences in English into 36 different languages, including Arabic, Hindi, Indonesian and Thai. Running with the latter example, one of the goals would be for Alexa to differentiate between asking "What do I say to the father of the bride in Japan?" and "What do I say to the master of ceremonies at a wedding in Japan?" Context and cultural awareness is something that's still missing.

Word of this potential Alexa upgrade suggests that Amazon is getting more serious about taking Alexa mobile. Google Pixel Buds has a similar feature and obviously work with a Google Assistant. is also reporting with Alexa. All of this is probably tied to ongoing troubles with Amazon Web Services - many apps that depend on AWS have experienced downtime earlier today. Just like Microsoft translator and Google Translate, Alexa could place many language translators out of business.