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Amazon Alexa now speaks Hindi and Hinglish on Echo devices: here’s how it works

Back in 2017, India became the fourth market for Amazon to launch its Alexa-powered Echo smart speakers in India. While the speakers gained a lot of popularity in the country, Alexa was restricted to Indian English language to interact with users. In a bid to make deeper inroads with the Hindi-speaking population of the country, Amazon has announced support for Hindi as well as Hinglish speaking capabilities for Alexa on the Echo family of voice-controlled smart speakers. The support for Hindi on Alexa has already started rolling out, and here’s how you can activate it.

How to switch to Hindi or Hinglish on your Amazon Echo device?

The simplest way to switch to Hindi on your Amazon Echo speaker is to say, “Alexa, help me setup Hindi.” Alexa will then guide you through the whole process of switching the conversational language to Hindi. However, if you don’t wish to go through that and want a step-by-step instruction for doing so, we have got you covered. To do so, you will first need to open the Alexa app on your phone and then follow the below steps:

  • Navigate to Settings and click on Device Settings
  • Choose your Echo device from the displayed list
  • Scroll down and click on the ‘Languages’ tab
  • Choose Hindi from the list of languages
  • Alexa will take a moment to download the Hindi package and will inform you when it’s done.

Voila! Now you are all set up to talk to Alexa in Hindi.

What can you ask Alexa in Hindi and how does it work?

First thing’s first, you should that while the language is set to Hindi, you won’t be able to use follow-up Alexa commands. For the uninitiated, follow-up commands remove the requirement to say the wake word and lets you have a conversation.

From the start, Alexa could understand and pronounce names of popular places, names, songs etc., in multiple languages including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and Punjabi earlier. However, now the assistant can completely understand Hindi sentences irrespective of context and regional accents or dialects. You can ask Alexa things like “Bollywood ke latest gane sunao“, “cricket score batao“, “sher ki aawaaz sunao“, or “Alexa, apne baare mei batao“.

Amazon revealed that the voice assistant has been backed with AI to understand different regional dialects of colloquial Hindi. For this, Amazon used an existing Alexa skill called Cleo, and called for Indian Hindi speakers to contribute to the development. Cleo asks users to speak certain phrases in different languages and uses the learnings to understand a language and its variations.

The company also made use of existing Indian English language data to familarise Alexa with Hindi references like names of people, places and things, different regional accents and dialects. This has enabled Alexa to understand what is known as Hinglish as well.

What about other languages and devices supporting Alexa?

Amazon announced that it has plans to expand the language base to other languages spoken in India in future. The company plans to make it easier to switch the languages and for that purpose, it will soon launch  Alexa for multilingual households.

As for non-echo devices, Amazon has announced that Alexa will get Hindi support on Bose’s Home Speaker 500, Portable Home Speaker, Home Speaker 450, and Home Speaker 300. Other brands that have Alexa-enabled devices ike Motorola, MyBox, Boat, Portronics, Sony, and others will also roll out support for Hindi soon.

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