Amazon Alexa is set to receive a multilingual mode to understand a pair of languages simultaneously, the US e-retail giant announced at its Devices event in Seattle, Washington. The new update will enable Alexa-powered devices to work with both Hindi and English simultaneously in India. Amazon will also bring English and Spanish support in the US and French and English support in Canada to begin with the new update. The multilingual mode will roll out as early as starting next month.
With the addition of the multilingual mode, users in India will be able to talk to Alexa both in English and Hindi at the same time without the need to switch the device language. This means that if a user would be able to ask for the weather in Hindi, Alexa will reply in Hindi and when they ask something in English, the voice assistant will respond in English.
Amazon believes that the new multilingual mode will be useful for the households where family members speak in multiple languages -- or at least two different languages.
"With billions of people in the world speaking more than one language, many homes are not homogenous when it comes to languages anymore," the company wrote in a blog post.
Apart from understanding Hindi and English at once, Alexa-powered devices will initially get support for English and Spanish in the US and Canadian English and French in Canada.
A guide for developers to enable multilingual mode using Alexa Voice Service Device SDK has also been provided.
Amazon Alexa isn't the only voice assistant that's bringing multilingual support for Indian consumers. Google Assistant that is a competitor to Alexa, received similar multilingual update last year. Google also added Hindi to the language pairing in addition to Danish, Dutch, Korean, Norwegian, and Swedish as well as the original languages, namely English, Spanish, German, French, Japanese, and Italian.
India is one of the big markets for voice assistants. Just earlier this month, Amazon announced Hindi and Hinglish support for Alexa. Google at the annual Google for India event last week also unveiled English and Hindi support for real-time translations on Google Assistant.
Google's voice assistant notably supports Hindi since March last year, whereas Google Home devices started supporting Hindi since November. The Mountain View company also spotted testing 14 new languages in beta, including Tamil and Telugu, to expand Google Assistant in the Indian market.