US users will be able to speak Spanish as well as English to their Alexa devices, following the roll-out of a new update.
The update is rolling into three markets, the US, India and Canada. It opens up a new level of functionality for Alexa devices in bilingual households.
In the US, the voice operated device will be able to respond in either English or Spanish, depending on the language in which it was asked a given question.
In Canada, the two available languages are Canadian English and French. In India the two available languages are Indian English and Hindi.
So, in a US household, if some family members, for example, were learning Spanish, but spoke English, they could swap seamlessly between the two languages, at least in theory.
Amazon said in a statement: “With billions of people in the world speaking more than one language, many homes are not homogenous when it comes to languages anymore. So for those customers, we’re rolling out Multilingual Mode.
“This will be available in three pairs to start: in the United States – English and Spanish, in India – Indian English and Hindi, and in Canada – Canadian English and French… US Spanish and Multilingual Mode will be available starting next month and we will continue to build.”
This feature has potential to be widely used in the USA. Spanish is the nation’s second most popular language, with an estimated 41 million Spanish-speaking US residents. That equates to more than one-in-ten Americans.
Amazon definitely aren’t first to the party though. Google assistant got geared-up for multilingual functions back in 2018 and Siri has been multilingual even longer.
Late though they are, this update will be a huge boost for some Alexa-owning families.