Amazon Alexa May Soon Morph Into A Real-Time Universal Translator

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

Citing "several sources familiar with the matter", Yahoo Finance reports that the engineering team responsible for Alexa is "seriously exploring" adding language translations and other capabilities that could benefit different languages and cultures.

Assuming the sources' claims are accurate, Amazon's Alexa could one day be a cross-culture tool that includes, when necessary, language translations.

So for instance if someone from the US attends a wedding in Japan without knowing a word of Japanese, Alexa would help the person hold a conversation in the local language. Doing so would turn Alexa devices into multi-lingual assistants that aid users in communicating with different languages. It would ideally have an understanding of Japanese culture as well and would incorporate that knowledge into its translations.

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. Context and cultural awareness is something that's still missing.

Amazon wants real-time language translations to work on any Alexa-enabled device on-the-fly.

Amazon does not have a page that tracks the status of consumer products and complaints. Google caused a stir when they demonstrated real-time translation via the Pixel Buds. Having been with Amazon for two years in the role of Senior Manager of Alexa AI, Ram was also the lead of the Alexa Prize, a university competition which tasks teams with creating a socialbot that can converse "coherently and engagingly" with humans for 20 minutes.

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