Amazon Finally Lets Alexa Speak German And The Queen’s English

Developers in the United Kingdom and Germany will now be able to build “skills” for the Amazon Echo that are localized in their own language.

According to an Amazon Developer Blog post, the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) is available to all European developers working with voice-enabled products that can integrate Alexa. The Amazon Echo became available in Europe in September of 2016, with British and German customers the first ones outside of the United States to benefit.

AVS localization gives developers access to language and region-specific experiences, Amazon said. Alexa will now be able to listen and respond in three languages—American English, the U.K. English and German. All of the language models and regional services are hosted in the cloud so developers only need to incorporate a few lines of code to make Alexa multi-lingual.

American developers have had access to AVS since June of last year. The number of Alexa integrations has increased significantly in the last six months. The voice-enabled device market is predicted to grow exponentially in 2017, which is one reason why localization has become essential for customers and brands.

For example, an Amazon Echo customer based in London will have the U.K. English version of Alexa installed out-of-the-box. The primary marketplace for that customer will be Amazon.co.uk, with Alexa tailored to provide information that is specific the U.K. The same applies to customers who will have set Germany as their primary marketplace.

The launch of AVS localization means that developers are not limited to American English when building Alexa skills. A German-speaking customer who lives in, say, Boston, can switch the primary language to German but retain the local U.S. setting as the preferred shopping or skill option.

Developers involved in global projects can test out skills in three languages without an actual device. The Echoism.io website has been updated to show how Alexa sounds on devices registered in the U.S, the UK and Germany, with developers able to toggle between the three language options available.

Multi-language or localized skills can be tested on Echoism.io.

“AVS localization provides you with language and region-specific services to expand your audience and delight new customers,” said AVS content marketing manager Ted Karczewski, in the blog post. “With a few lines of code, you can upgrade any product with Alexa to access localized languages and skills in the UK, Germany, and US. Now your end customers can speak with Alexa and receive responses and content in their preferred language and region.”

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David Bolton
Former ARC Writer
Reading time: 5 min

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