Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa is getting Hindi language support for its smartphone app in India, the company announced in a statement today. Alexa in Hindi will be available to millions of Android and iOS users via the Alexa app. Amazon launched Hindi support on the Alexa app to commemorate the first anniversary of Alexa’s Hindi support in India. Over the past year, the company has added over 60 new features to enhance Hindi support on Alexa.
“India’s unique cultural and linguistic diversity has always inspired us to make Alexa more local and relevant for users in the country,” Puneesh Kumar, Country Lead for Alexa, Amazon India said in a statement. The features that Amazon has added to Alexa’s Hindi support include improvements such as asking Alexa to whisper, adjust how fast or slow she speaks, and functionalities like asking Alexa for health-related information, or asking to mimic famous Bollywood dialogues.
Kumar also said that Amazon has made improvements in Alexa’s Natural Language Understanding (NLU). He said that initially, Alexa was not able to understand words like ‘dhai’ (two and a half) and ‘tham jaa’ (calm down or stop) in the beginning, but now it can. Alexa can now understand 50 different ways to play a particular song in Hindi. The Alexa Speech Science team has reduced Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) errors by more than 40 percent since last year, Amazon said in the statement.
Apart from announcing Alexa’s Hindi integration with the smartphone app, Amazon also announced that it has added new Alexa original Hindi songs and poems, along with 20 new stories in Hindi. Users can now give commands like “Alexa, kuch gungunao” (Alexa, hum something), “Alexa, cloud rap sunao” (Alexa, play cloud rap), “Alexa, cricket story sunao” (Alexa, tell me a story about cricket), or “Alexa, dosti ki kahani sunao” (Alexa, tell me a story on friendship). To change Alexa’s default language to Hindi, the user just needs to give an “Alexa, Hindi mein baat karo” (Alexa, talk in Hindi) command.