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You can now talk to Alexa in Hindi, here’s how


Amazon’s Echo devices powered by the Alexa voice assistant have been around in India for almost two years now. For the longest time, Indian users had only one language option to interact with Alexa and that is something Amazon calls Indian English. It’s basically the way Indians speak in English as opposed to someone from the US or UK. You get the drift.
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Now, the company is rolling out support for the most spoken language in India and the fourth most spoken language in the world — Hindi. Starting today, Alexa can understand commands in Hindi and respond back in the same language.
You could say Amazon is late to the party because Google rolled out Hindi language support to Google Assistant last year. That said, from the demos we saw on stage at a press event for the announcement, it seems Amazon has done a good job of making Alexa more contextually aware of Hindi language conversations.


How did Alexa learn Hindi

Amazon used it’s existing Alexa skill called Cleo to crowdsource the language-learning for the AI. The Cleo Alexa skill prompts users to speak certain phrases in different languages such as Hindi, German, Italian, etc. It then applies all these learnings to Alexa, making it better at understanding a language and its variations.
This is pretty similar to how most AIs are trained. One really popular example of crowdsourced AI training is how Google trained its image recognition AI by having people on the internet identify things like crossroads, trees, and cars in CAPTCHA tests to prove that they are humans not bots.
Apart from applying learnings from the Cleo skill to teach Alexa Hindi, Amazon also used existing Indian English language data to understand Hindi references like names of people, places and things, different regional accents and dialects, as well as mixed language commands (a mix of Hindi and English are known as Hinglish).
For instance, if you ask Alexa “Who is your favorite actor?” the answer will be different based on the context of your location and language.
How to set up Alexa in Hindi

Support for the Hindi language is now rolling out to Alexa. If you own an Amazon Echo device, you will be able to interact with Alexa in Hindi or Hinglish to ask questions, set alarms, check your calendar, shop, control smart home devices, and pretty much everything else Alexa is capable of doing. In addition, 500 third-party skills will now support Alexa in Hindi.
You will, however, not be able to use follow-up Alexa commands in Hindi yet. Follow-up commands make it easier to continue a conversation with Alexa without having to say the wake word each time you talk to the AI. Support for follow-up mode will remain limited to the English language for now.
To set Hindi as your preferred language on your Echo smart speakers or displays, open the Alexa app on your phone and follow the steps are given below.
  Go to Setting > Device Settings.
  Choose your device from the list.
  In Device Settings, scroll down to find the Language tab.
  Tap on Language and choose Hindi from the list.

Once you choose Hindi as your preferred language, you can continue using the current language until Alexa tells you that it can now talk in Hindi.
What about Alexa in Hindi on non-Echo devices?
Starting today, Alexa will also be available in Hindi on a range of Bose smart speakers like Home Speaker 500, Portable Home Speaker, Home Speaker 450, and Home Speaker 300.
Amazon says brands like Motorola, MyBox, Boat, Portronics, Sony and others will soon update their Alexa-enabled devices to support Hindi.
What’s in store for the future of Alexa in India?



In the future, Amazon will introduce Alexa for multilingual households. The feature will save users from the pain of switching languages each time someone wants to interact with Alexa in a different language. Amazon wants Indian English and Hindi interactions to work seamlessly and Alexa for multilingual households will facilitate the same.
Amazon also stressed on its commitment to India as a priority market for its voice-supported smart home devices. Currently, 17 third-party brands and 40 device types support Alexa integration in India. Amazon says it will continue to grow this partner base in the coming future and introduce more of its own Alexa-powered devices in the country.

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Only about 10% of India’s 1.3 billion people know English. Yet, that is the only language Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa, which was launched in India two years ago, understands in the nation. That is changing today.
At a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday, the e-commerce giant said Alexa now supports Hindi, a language spoken by roughly half a billion people in India, as the company looks to expand its reach in the nation. Bringing support for Hindi to Alexa was in the works for more than a year, company executives said, noting the unique contextual, cultural and content-related challenges that Hindi implementation posed.

Users can now ask Alexa their questions in Hindi, and the digital assistant will be able to respond in the same language. The feature, which will begin rolling out through a software update to Alexa devices starting today, currently only supports one voice type for Hindi. (For English, Alexa offers multiple voice types.) In the months to come, Amazon said it plans to add support for multilingual households, which will enable members of the family to interact with Alexa in the language they each prefer.
Support for local languages has proven immensely beneficial to customers in the past, Manish Tiwari, head of devices category business for Amazon India, said at the event. Amazon last year introduced support for the Hindi language on its apps and website. It has seen Hindi usage grow on the site and app by six times in recent months, he said.
Rohit Prasad, VP and head scientist of Alexa AI at Amazon said the adoption of Alexa in India has been phenomenal, though he did not share any figures. Prior to today’s update, Alexa supported some Hinglish words, a combination of English and Hindi, but the company said it wanted to bring full-fledged support.
“A lot of how people in India engage with their smartphones and internet services is different from those in the United States. For instance, in India, people often search the name of an actor instead of the singer or the band when they are looking for a particular song,” he added. Alexa supports variants of about 15 languages, executives said.

Amazon exec Prasad onstage at an event in New Delhi
Today’s announcement comes months after Amazon added a Hindi voice model to its Alexa Skills Kit, enabling developers to update their skills in India to support the more popular local language. More than 500 skills on the store already support Hindi, Prasad said today. Google smart speakers gained support for the Hindi language late last year.
Amazon says it offers Alexa customers in India more than 30,000 skills across various categories, including cricket, education and Bollywood. The company’s voice assistant is available to users through its smart speakers — Echo Dot, Echo Plus and more — and over three-dozen devices from other manufacturers, including Sony, iBall, and LG, the company said.
Hindi should also help Amazon’s smart speakers maintain their lead over Google’s in India. Amazon commanded the local smart speakers market with a 59% market share in 2018, according to research firm IDC. (Google launched its smart speakers in India months after Amazon. IDC has not updated its findings since March this year.)
Indian language internet users are expected to account for nearly 75% of India’s internet user base by 2021, according to a report by KPMG and Google. By the same year, nine out of every 10 new internet users in the country will likely be an Indian language speaker, the report said.
Both companies are locked in a global battle to win users through their digital voice assistants. And they should be: In many markets, including India, first-time internet users are increasingly showing that they are more comfortable engaging with their phones through voice instead of typing. Search through voice queries is growing by 270% year-over-year.


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How to talk With Amazon Alexa In Hindi How to talk With Amazon Alexa In Hindi Reviewed by AshishParmar on September 19, 2019 Rating: 5

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