After spreading its reach by incorporating Hinglish, which is an amalgamation of Hindi and English, Amazon’s Alexa will soon be able to penetrate a wider population in India as the team is getting ready to introduce a number of Indian languages in the home voice-based assistant.
“Yes, we are working on infusing regional languages capabilities in Alexa for the Indian market but these are early days,” Rohit Prasad, the Vice President and Head Scientist for Alexa told IANS.
While Alexa can often understand Hinglish (a combination of Hindi and English) commands, there is still difficulty in incorporating commands which the Indian market is aiming at achieving. Also, the users can respond to Alexa’s English with a number of Indian languages which include Tamil, Kannada, Bengali and Marathi.
“For us, it is a contextual, cultural as well as content-related challenge as the question is not that Alexa just needs to understand Hindi. This part we can do relatively easily but Alexa needs to be Indian when it speaks in Hindi as there are several dialects and accents out there which Alexa has to understand and react accordingly,” Prasad added.
Prasad further explained that these challenges were more culture dependent as opposed to being dependent on language.
“These are challenges which are not language dependent but more culture dependent. We believe in introducing a wholesome experience to delight our customers and not something that is half-baked. We are working on to solve these issues in the Indian context,” Prasad said.
Amazon has forayed into the Indian market and has made its presence felt with Cleo, software which people use to learn Hindi and other languages through Alexa. The primary aim of this software tool was to get Alexa to start talking in Indian languages.