Amazon Translates Alexa Conversations Feature 3 New Languages in Global Expansion
Amazon introduced the Alexa Conversations feature of the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) two years ago to streamline how developers create voice apps. The tool, which skips the need to anticipate every variation of a user’s interaction with the skill, is now available in more languages and locations as part of Amazon’s ongoing effort to attract voice app developers to the platform.
Alexa Conversations became generally available last March after a long beta. The feature’s goal of making building Alexa skills more user-friendly centers on cross-skill goal completion. Developers can outline the main goals and key elements of the voice app, but Alexa Conversations then handles designing a model to anticipate what users might actually say, framing the response to shepherd users toward the designer’s goals. Developers don’t have to write as much code or spend nearly as long gaming out how their voice app should respond in every scenario as a result. The update widens the linguistic and geographical reach of the feature to include German, Japanese, and Spanish. It also adds Australian, Canadian, Indian, and British versions of English, as well as the U.S. version of Spanish.
“Alexa Conversations uses AI to bridge the gap between what you can build manually and the vast range of possible conversations,” Amazon explained in a blog post. “Alexa Conversations helps customers experience natural conversations with less development effort, freeing you to focus on creating a quality experience instead of on flowcharts.”
Amazon already uses Alexa Conversations in several of its own services. Alexa’s reading recommendation tool uses it to come up with ideas when asked about what to read next, and the Alexa Greetings feature for Ring doorbells relies on the feature to interact with people and direct them to leave messages or where to drop off packages. The idea of simplifying purchasing for users and shortening the development of complex skills has obvious benefits for Amazon. A less explicit boon is that encouraging more developers to use Alexa leads to the voice assistant becoming better rated overall since users will have a more positive experience with the voice assistant.
“Conversations are more nuanced than simply understanding words and sentences,” Amazon wrote. “Your skills need to flex while gathering inputs and accept too much or too little information out of sequence. Skills need to automatically track across topical shifts, reference context, and adjust to corrections. Supporting these conversational patterns make Alexa skills feel more natural and delights customers in new ways.”