Out of the box, Alexa does a great job understanding human language. I’ve noticed, though, that some updates to Alexa can actually degrade the device’s ability to understand phrases and words. Amazon states that voice recognition should improve over time and for the most part that’s true. But, occasionally Alexa gets Windows-itis where an update can make things worse.
For recognition, though, Amazon provides a way to kick-off a Voice Training session. Through the Alexa app for iOS and Android, you can initiate the training session, which is a series of 25 phrases that you must speak directly to the device.
I’ve had to do this twice since owning my Alexa devices, once most recently after an update. After running completely through the session, I can attest that Alexa does recognize voices, phrases, and requests much better. I’ve also heard from others that people with thicker accents (say, Southern US, New England area, or even Irish or Scottish) can benefit from running a Voice Training session. Unfortunately, the Voice Training option is currently not available outside the US.
To run a Voice Training session:
- Open the Alexa app on your smartphone, tablet, or on the web at: http://alexa.amazon.com.
- Open the left navigation panel, and then select Settings.
- Select Voice Training.
- At the top page, make sure to select the specific device you will use during the session.
- Select Start Session.
- Speak the phrase in the Alexa app to your device, and then select Next.
- When you reach the end of your session, select Complete.
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