Skip to main content

Amazon unveils Live Translation feature for Echo devices

Amazon is rolling out a new Alexa feature that will translate a conversation between two people who are communicating using different languages. The new Live Translation service will roll out on Amazon’s line of Echo connected home devices.

Echo device owners can use the Live Translation feature via voice command. Owners who want to translate between English and Spanish, for example, can say, “Alexa, translate Spanish.” The Echo device will respond with a beep, and the owner can speak in either language using regular inflection and natural pauses. Amazon will detect the language being spoken and will automatically translate each side of the conversation. Echo device owners will hear the translations, while Echo Show owners will both hear and see the translation. When done, owners can say “Alexa, stop” to end the translation session.

Amazon Echo Studio Alexa Smart Speaker

The new Live Translation feature takes advantage of speech recognition technology and neural machine translation technology. The service supports translating between English and French, Spanish, Hindi, Portuguese, German, or Italian.

The addition of Live Translation to Amazon’s virtual assistant makes the company’s Echo devices more competitive with Google’s Alexa devices. Google’s Alexa service has been able to translate conversations on the fly since 2019. This interpretation service is compatible with Google’s smart speakers, smart displays, and smart clock, as well as Android smartphones and tablets.

Amazon has been steadily increasing support for languages on its Alexa-powered Echo devices. Last year, the retailer added a multilingual mode for U.S. device owners. This mode allows Alexa users to talk in a combination of languages, including English and French, for example. Alexa works with more than 50 languages and can translate either a single word or phrase.

Amazon says its new language features go beyond essential communication between family, friends, and acquaintances. It also can help people who are learning a new language, as well as assist in the travel and hospitality industry, allowing people to communicate effectively without learning a new language or relying on a translator.

Editors' Recommendations

Kelly Hodgkins
Kelly's been writing online for ten years, working at Gizmodo, TUAW, and BGR among others. Living near the White Mountains of…
Amazon might launch a paid version of Alexa later this year
An Amazon smart display on a kitchen counter.

Amazon hasn't had much success monetizing its popular Alexa smart assistant, but according to a new report from Business Insider, the e-commerce giant might be launching a paid version of Alexa to help offset costs. The so-called "Alexa Plus" would feature generative AI, allowing it to provide users with more detailed responses that better answer their questions.

Details are scarce, but it sounds like Amazon is expected to launch the service on June 30. The team first announced it was reworking Alexa last September, which was followed by reports that over 15,000 users were helping test the service under the code name "Remarkable Alexa."

Read more
The best smart home devices for 2023
The X2 Omni dock up against a wall.

With hundreds of incredible products available, it can be intimidating to piece together a smart home. From smart displays and thermostats to smart light bulbs and video doorbells, not only are there tons of categories to browse, but each category is filled with highly reviewed products that can be difficult to distinguish from one another. If you’re in the market for a new smart home gadget or are just starting your smart home journey, there are tons of factors to consider.

If you need help navigating all the products, here’s a look at the best smart home devices of 2023 across a wide variety of categories. It’s hard to go wrong with products from big names like Ring, Arlo, Amazon, and Google, but if you need a bit more guidance, here are some of our top picks.
Voice assistant

Read more
Alexa adds new features to help with your holiday shopping
An Amazon smart display on a kitchen counter.

Alexa is one of the most popular smart assistants, and this month it's becoming even more useful. Just in time for the holidays, Amazon has rolled out three new features to assist with your trips to the grocery store.

One of the coolest new features allows you to scan your handwritten shopping list and instantaneously convert it to an Amazon Shopping list. After opening the Alexa app and heading to the Shopping List menu, simply press the Scan button to start the process.

Read more