The new feature is currently only available for Echo devices in the US
Alexa can now translate in real time between six languages
The feature only works on Echo devices in the US for now
Regular translation is already available on Alexa
Amazon's Alexa voice assistant is now capable of Live Translation on Echo devices. The new feature allows users to start a session for real-time translation between two languages, and the smart speaker will provide immediate voice-based translations to enable a conversation between speakers of two different languages. A total of six languages are supported initially, allowing for translations between English and one of the supported languages – Brazilian Portuguese, French, German, Hindi, Italian, and Spanish. The feature currently only works on Echo devices with locale set to English (US), as per Amazon.
On most Echo devices, the feature works through audio, and a session can be started by saying ‘Alexa, translate Hindi', or whatever other supported language you want to translate to. If you have an Echo device with a screen, such as the Echo Show 5 or older Echo Show, the feature also provides an on-screen transcript for the translation.
This only works on Echo devices for now, so the person you're trying to speak to will have to be in your home with you in most cases. You could also use this in a hotel in a foreign country through the Alexa for Hospitality platform, or using a battery-powered or vehicle-based Echo device, such as Echo Input Portable or Echo Auto, respectively.
Google Assistant already has a similar feature through Interpreter Mode, that rolled out for smart speakers and smart displays nearly two years ago. Amazon is a bit late to the game, but this new feature will definitely come in handy for owners of Echo devices and should hopefully roll out to Alexa even on smartphones, thereby making it much more useful in real-world settings.
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Ali Pardiwala writes about audio and video devices for Gadgets 360 out of Mumbai, and has covered the industry for a decade now. Ali is a Senior Reviewer for Gadgets 360, where he has regularly written about televisions, home entertainment, and mobile gaming as well. He is a firm believer in 4K and HDR on televisions, and believes that true wireless earphones are the future of the personal audio industry. Ali is available on Twitter as @AliusPardius and on email at email@example.com, so do send in