Alexa will begin to speak Spanish in American households this October
If you speak Spanish or want to practice it, Amazon’s Alexa has just joined the U.S. market to help you.
Amazon launched multilingual mode for its Alexa-compatible devices, the company announced on September 25 during the Amazon Device Event 2019 in Seattle. The new multilingual mode will initially be available in the United States where it will work in English and Spanish; Canada, where it will offer support in French and English; and India (Hindi and English).
These bilingual modes mean that American Latino households can use their Alexa devices in both languages simultaneously. Alexa will change languages and use new natural voices using neural network processing to provide more real and expressive responses.
This multilingual mode is just the beginning for the device.
The company's senior vice president of devices, Dave Limp, pointed out that there are “millions of homes worldwide that have dual speakers, and sometimes three languages, in a single home,” understanding how beneficial multilingual options are.
Now the user can change to “Spanish United States” and benefit from all the options in your own language, like weather forecasts or Latino playlists, news, control the actions of home apps, set alarms, and reminders.
The Spanish version launch will be available on a selection of Echo devices: Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Spot, Echo Show, Echo Show 5 and Echo Plus.
The retail giant’s sales and market expectations don’t seem to be affected by last April’s scandal when its employees admitted to listening to the voice recordings of Echo customers and other Alexa-enabled smart speakers.
"This information helps us train our voice recognition and natural language understanding systems so that Alexa can better understand your requests and ensure that the service works well for everyone," Amazon said in a statement.
Jeff Bezos' company does not explicitly state in its terms and conditions that its employees review customer recordings, although Alexa's privacy settings do offer users the possibility of not helping the company "develop new functions."
Amazon employees had access to the customer's name, account number and device serial number for each voice clip.
The staff is played a clip and then any word that Alexa has not been able to understand is isolated. The company's technicians can correct the transcript, and send those results back to Alexa AI so it can listen to users more accurately in the future.
According to Jake Moore, a cybersecurity specialist, "it has long been feared that smart technology and social media are listening more than we think," he told The Independent.