Language translation tools are nothing new and they've been evolving significantly over the past few years, especially with the new-found power of AI, which companies have been tapping into for their translation services. But sometimes it can be hard to communicate with someone else even if you speak the same language, and Amazon might become one of the first companies to help you in those situations.
A newly-published patent essentially describes a system which would determine the accent spoken in an "input audio portion" from a speaker and then render it as an audio file spoken in a second accent so as to make it easier to understand for the listener. The accent of the parties involved could be determined automatically based on location, phone numbers and area codes, or through manual selection, for instance.
As would be expected in today's day and age, the system would also be powered by artificial neural networks and AI, training and making it more accurate over time. This could allow Amazon to leverage the many Alexa-enabled devices out there to train its technology, which would already be providing a massive pool of data in any case.
Though they may not seem immediately obvious, there are some scenarios where this technology would be useful. Perhaps the biggest example would be tech support since many companies have a centralized support service for customers in different countries. This system could make communication easier between support assistants and customers. A similar logic could be applied to traveling and tourism, where the technology would make it easier to communicate with locals.
Naturally, the existence of the patent doesn't necessarily mean that Amazon will make such a product or service available to the public anytime soon, if ever. Still, the idea of translating accents is pretty interesting, seeing as most translation efforts usually revolve around cross-language communication.