Amazon is rolling out Alexa’s new Live Translation feature, which allows the smart assistant to interpret both sides of a bilingual conversation in real-time. Live translation only works on Echo devices and currently supports interpretation between English, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Hindi, German, and Italian.
To activate Live Translation, issue a voice command like “Alexa, translate Spanish.” Alexa will then listen for English or Spanish sentences and interpret them in real-time. Live Translation mode is audio-only on Echo speakers (of course), but the feature includes written translations on Echo Show smart displays.
Interestingly, Amazon says that it tweaked Alexa to respect “natural pauses” while acting as an interpreter. Alexa also automatically identifies who is speaking during Live Translation mode, so you don’t have to worry about taking turns or pausing your conversation to fiddle with voice commands.
Live Translation may help Amazon compete with Google Assistant, which gained the ability to interpret conversations in early 2019. Unfortunately, Live Translation is only available on Echo devices. You can’t use it on your phone, so its application may be limited to homes, small businesses, and (as Amazon suggests) hotels.