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  • Writer's pictureSatish Murthy

A Polyglot of a Voice Bot

Qualyon Outbounder, which is a Voice Bot designed to make outbound phone calls, recently added the unique capability of being able to speak two languages, and seamlessly switching between the two.

Listen to a Sample Voice Call

How Does it Work?

Let's look at this with an example for a service feedback voice bot that works in Hindi and English. The Outbounder will start off in a pre-selected language - this can be English for one customer and Hindi for another. When the call is initiated, the customer may still speak in a different language. Outbounder will shift to the language customer is most comfortable in. There really are three possibilities:

Implicit Language Acceptance

If the Outbounder starts off by saying:

Hi, is this a good time to talk?

And the customer says:

Haan, boliye ("yes, please speak" in Hindi)

There are two things to note here:

  • Customer is comfortable with Hindi

  • Customer understands English too

If the system is designed to handle Hindi, it may be preferable to shift to Hindi. However, if the system does not support Hindi, it may still be possible to continue in English.

Implicit Language Change Request

Let's say the customer says:

Kaun bol rahe ho aap? ("who is speaking?" in Hindi)

Now we can't be sure if we can continue in English. Best to switchover to Hindi is possible, and if Hindi is unsupported, check if we can continue talking in English, or arrange for a callback from an agent who knows Hindi.

Explicit Language Change Request

Sometimes, either initially, or somewhere in between when the customer concludes that she can no longer manage to continue in English, she can ask for an explicit language change:

Hindi maloom hai? ("Do you know Hindi?" in Hindi)

As before, depending on what language is supported, the Outbounder decides which language to continue in

More Languages?

No reason why the Outbounder cannot switch between more languages. However, the synthesized voice may not be the same for two languages. Imagine that a female voice is talking in one language, and is instantly changed to a male voice for some other language. Can be quite disconcerting!

One way out is to use human voice over files. So if the requirement is to support English, Hindi and Kannada, it may be possible to find someone with a good voice and diction for all of these languages. However, there are disadvantages to using human voice over files over synthesized voice. That would be a topic for another blog. Stay tuned!

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