Help Alexa learn more Indian languages: Amazon India

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alexa in hindi
Alexa in Hindi turns 1, now available on smartphones in India.

As Alexa in Hindi celebrates its first anniversary in India, the company is hopeful that her knowledge graph will improve and it will talk to millons of people in several regional languages in the near future.

Today, users from India make hundreds of thousands of requests in a day in Hindi and Hinglish.

“I can’t speculate on our future roadmap but I can tell you the Alexa service is getting smarter every day and we’re working hard to continue to increase her knowledge graph,” Puneesh Kumar, Country Leader for Alexa, Amazon India, told IANS.

“We also encourage more Indian customers to try Cleo skill and help Alexa learn more Indian languages,” he added.

The language-learning skill called Cleo helps customers respond to Alexa in Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Kannada, Bengali, Telugu, Gujarati and other languages.

The more Indians use Cleo skill, the more the company will improve speech recognition and natural language processing (NLP) in order to prepare its smart assistant on various Echo range of devices, and third-party ones too, speak in other languages as well.

Today, users ask Alexa for diverse Hindi content such as chutkule, shayaris, kahaniya, Kabir ke dohe, Panchatantra stories, Bollywood dialogues and more.

“The customers can switch between English and Hindi when talking to Alexa without changing the language setting from Hindi to English and the other way around every time,” Kumar said.

The complexity and variety of questions in Hindi or Hinglish by customers are 50 percent higher than the range of questions asked by customers in English.

This makes it extremely challenging for the speech science teams to ensure it’s understanding of user requests is optimum.

“The Alexa Speech Science team has used the latest advances in deep neural networks, multi-dialect training, and semi-supervised learning to reduce Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) errors by more than 40 per cent since launch of Hindi last year,” Kumar informed.

It is now equipped with hundreds of new words from the Hindi vocabulary.

The Alexa Natural Language Understanding (NLU) team has been driving numerous initiatives towards improvement of Alexa’s understanding of Hindi.

Such initiatives led to a 30 per cent improvement in NLU accuracy i.e. understanding of customer requests in Hindi or Hinglish and providing the required content.

“There might still be some requests that Alexa might not understand correctly. Our teams are constantly working to make Alexa interactions more seamless,” Kumar noted.


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