Google Assistant can now converse in two languages at a time

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Google Assistant

Google Assistant is now getting powered with bilingual support for the households where more than one language is used.

Currently, Google Assistant supports a number of languages including English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Japanese. But users can select only one as their preferred language. To converse with Assistant in another language, they need to change the language settings.

But with the update, Google Assistant will allow users to set two preferred languages, so that they can use any of the two languages for queries without changing the language settings.

“Multilingual households are becoming increasingly common, with several sources indicating that multilingual speakers already outnumber monolingual counterparts, and that this number will continue to grow,” wrote Johan Schalkwyk, VP and Ignacio Lopez Moreno, Engineer, Google Speech, in a blog post.

“With this large and increasing population of multilingual users, it is more important than ever that Google develop products that can support multiple languages simultaneously to better serve our users.”

Google is using its spoken language identification (LangID) technology to distinguish between the pairs of languages. The LangID technology comes powered by deep neural networks, which is also used in speech recognition, voice detection, speaker recognition, etc.

The working of multilingual support for Google Assistant goes in three steps— identifying the multiple languages, understanding them, and then optimizing them for Google Assistant users.

Users can now select two of the six languages Google Assistant currently supports. The multilingual support is a highly-requested feature and it is something the Google team set its sights on years ago. The search engine giant will bring trilingual support to its digital assistant in future.

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“With today’s update, we’re on the right track, and it was made possible by our advanced machine learning, our speech and language recognition technologies, and our team’s commitment to refine our LangID model,” added Johan.

“We’re now working to teach the Google Assistant how to process more than two languages simultaneously and are working to add more supported languages in the future.”

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