Amazon adds conversation translation function to smart speakers

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Amazon has added a Live Translation feature to its smart speaker. This allows the speaker to serve as an ‘interpreter’ in a conversation; the speaker tries to translate what people say into a language that the interlocutor understands.

The feature works with English on one side and one of six languages ​​on the other: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese as spoken in Brazil and Hindi. The speaker must be set to American English for this, Amazon writes.

The feature works by asking Alexa for an interpreter for the language the conversation partner speaks. To stop the function, the command ‘Alexa, stop’ is enough.

The translation feature uses Amazon’s own speech recognition, native translation engine and a text-to-speech algorithm to speak the text again. To minimize the delay, there are two simultaneous speech recognition processes so that the software does not have to start with them when the user has finished talking.

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