The Translated Skill for Amazon Alexa smart home devices, can currently translate short sentences from English to 37 languages. The skill has been installed by 1,3 million users from June 2017 to September 2018 and is one of most used Alexa app worldwide. It has been featured by The New York Times as one of the most fun and useful skill available for Alexa devices. Everyday around 5000 unique users ask the skill for translations.
We decided to create the skill since we wanted to give users access to professional translation technology in a simple way. Alexa can’t do translations natively. So we decided to give users this feature and see how they react if they like it or not. After each release, we focus on users reviews in Amazon stores and conduct internal tests with potential users. That way, we add new features and refine core ones in order to satisfy the widest group of users and try to give them the best voice user interface experience.
Our Translated Alexa skill is based on a three-layer stack. Amazon’s own engine captures audio and performs natural language processing based on a intent/entity model defined by us. The user’s intent (e.g. “I want to translate”) and the entities (“hello from english to spanish”) are sent to Translated skill server. The server will translate the requested sentence from the source to the target language using MyMemory and create the translated text audio using some 3rd-parties text-to-speech services.
The result: the requested translation is spoken in an accent native to that language a second after the command has been received by Alexa.
Have you tried it yet?