Alexa already is multilingual. Alexa speaks several languages today; five variants of English (U.S., U.K., Canada, India, Australia), German, and Japanese.

But Alexa is ambitious and wants to be fluent in many more languages. If you’re multilingual, you can help.

With the Cleo skill from Amazon, you can pay it forward by helping Alexa learn your language, and about your culture.

“There are many Alexa customers who speak languages other than English, German, or Japanese,” said Janet Slifka, senior manager of Applied Modeling and Data Science for the Alexa Machine Learning team based in Cambridge, Mass. “With Cleo, we are reaching out to our multilingual customers who know and love Alexa already, and are seeking their assistance in accelerating our efforts to provide Alexa in many more languages.”


Janet Slifka, Alexa research scientist

Even those who speak variants of languages can use the skill to improve and shape the breadth of Alexa’s comprehension capabilities. For example, last October we began shipping Echo devices in India with Alexa using local pronunciations and including local knowledge and skills. In fact, we recently announced that more than 1,000 new skills have been added to Alexa since last fall’s launch in India.

The process of creating new languages for Alexa benefits from advances in data availability, computing power, and a subset of artificial intelligence called machine learning, in which systems improve organically as they incorporate more data.

Our scientists responsible for building new Alexa language models are especially appreciative of the data provided by Cleo. This influx of data from customers and other sources is the oxygen that fuels improvements in the scientists’ automatic speech recognition and natural language understanding acoustic, language, and statistical models that ultimately result in Alexa's ability to respond to requests such as, “Play Madonna on Spotify.”

Cleo’s creators, a team a computational linguists and data scientists who share a passion for language and dialects, have made contributing to Alexa’s learning fun by allowing users to earn points for their contributions, along with the satisfaction that comes from helping Alexa expand her vocabularies.

To get started, just say “Alexa, Open Cleo” and respond to the questions as seen in the examples below.

Alexa: Would you like to talk to me about sports, music, or something random?

User: Music

Alexa: Okay, think of a band you listened to growing up. Ask me to play them.

User: Pon canciones de La Oreja de Van Gogh

OR

Alexa: Imagine you're taking a trip to the beach. Think of a place you might visit and ask me how far away it is.

User: 青岛离这儿有多远?

Alexa: You're starting to plan your visit and the weather could make or break your trip. Ask me for the forecast at your destination.

User: 青岛今天天气怎么样?

Alexa: After a few hours by the water, you're starting to get hungry. Ask me to find restaurants in your destination town.

User: 帮我推荐点青岛好吃的餐馆吧。

Alexa has many other language skills, find them here.