Alexa Update Adds Live Translating, Text Commands, and More
Amazon is constantly upgrading and improving its digital assistant to give you new features and more ways of using Alexa. The latest Alexa update now lets you translate between English and another language in real-time, share your shopping list with family and friends, and more. Here are the best new features you’ll get with the new Alexa update, how to use them, and how to manually update your Alexa device so you can start using them right away.
How to Use Alexa as a Live Language Translator
With the latest Alexa update, you can now use your devices to have a conversation with someone that speaks a different language. The new Live Language Translator feature turns Alexa into a real-time interpreter between you and another person.
To use this feature, simply say, “Alexa, translate English to [second language].” Your device will instantly start translating anything you say into that language after a short pause. It is still a bit clunky at this point, but it offers a great way to convey something clearly to someone who doesn’t speak English and vice-versa.
So far, Alexa can only translate to and from English and six other languages, including Spanish, German, Italian, French, Brazilian Portuguese, and Hindi. You can use the Live Language Translator on any Echo device, as long as your location is set to the US and the system language is set to English US.
You can also switch between languages easier with the new Alexa update. All you have to do is say “Alexa, speak [language]” or, if you’re bilingual, say, “Alexa, speak [language 1] and [language 2].” Then Alexa will respond in the same language that you use to talk to her.
How to Share Your Alexa Shopping Lists
With the recent Alexa update, you can now share your shopping list with your friends and family members. This feature makes it easy to tell dad to pick up bread and butter when he goes to the store, and he won’t forget a single item again.
To share a shopping list with someone, you first need to create a shopping list. You can do this in the Alexa app by going to More > List & Notes > Shopping, then tap the plus sign icon in the top-right corner to add an item. Or you can just ask Alexa to add items to your shopping list.
To share your shopping list, just say, “Alexa, share my shopping list.” Alexa will then ask who you want to share your list with. Once you say the name of someone in your contacts, they will receive a notification on their phone, which they can tap to see your list.
How to Add Your Fire TV Devices to an Alexa Routine
You can now add your Fire TV to Alexa routines with the new update. For example, you can set up a routine to pause your TV and turn your smart lights on when you say, “Alexa, I’m going to the bathroom.” When you say, “Alexa, I’m back,” Alexa will resume your show and turn off the lights again.
To set your Alexa Routines, open your Alexa app and tap More > Routines. Then tap the plus sign icon in the top-right corner and enter a routine name, a trigger, and an action. You can set the trigger to any voice command you want and set the action to Fire TV. The app lets you pause and resume the video, navigate to the home screen, and open apps.
How to Text Commands to Alexa on iOS
The Alexa update lets you give Alexa commands without saying a word. You can now use the Alexa app to text Alexa commands like “turn off the lights in the bedroom.” This works just like using a voice command, except you don’t have to shout at your device if it’s in another room.
To use the Type with Alexa feature, simply open the Alexa app and tap on the keyboard icon in the top-left corner of the home screen. Then type any command into the text bar and tap Send. This feature is currently in the testing phase, and it is only available for iOS users now.
How to Update Alexa
To manually update your Alexa device, press the mute button until you see the red light turn on. Then leave the mute button on and wait for Alexa to start updating. This could take up to an hour or more.
Press the mute button once. The mute button either has an icon of a microphone or a circle with a line through it. Once you press the button, you should see the light ring turn red.
Wait for Alexa to say that it needs to update. This might take a few minutes or up to an hour. If it is taking too long, you can unplug your device for 10 minutes and press the mute button immediately after you plug it back in.
Leave the mic on mute and wait for Alexa to finish downloading the update. The device will restart when it has finished updating. Once the update is finished, you should hear the familiar start-up music and Alexa saying, “Hello.”