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Amazon’s Alexa now speaks Hindi

Only about 10% of India’s 1.3 billion people know English. Yet, that is the only language Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa understands in the nation. That changes 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. Bringing support for Hindi to Alexa has been more than a year in making, company executives said, noting the unique contextual, cultural, and content-related challenges that Hindi implementation posed.
Users can now ask Alexa their voice commands in Hindi, and the digital assistant would be able to respond in the same language. The feature, which is live from the Alexa app settings, currently only supports one voice type in Hindi. In the months to come, Amazon plans to add multilingual households support, allowing members in the family to interact with Alexa in the language they 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 Hindi language on its apps and website. It has seen Hindi usage grow on the site by six times since then, he said.
“The adoption of Alexa in India has been phenomenal,” said Rohit Prasad, VP and Head Scientist, Alexa AI at Amazon. Alexa has supported some Hinglish words, combination of English and Hindi, but the company wanted to bring full-fledged support. Alexa supports variants of about 15 languages.
“A lot of how people in India engage with their smartphones and internet services is different from those of the people in the United States. For instance, in India, people often use the name of an actor instead of the singer or the band when looking for a particular song,” he added.
Amazon’s Alexa now speaks Hindi
Amazon exec Prasad onstage at an event in New Delhi
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