In recent years, voice-enabled technology has gone from a niche offering powered by a few leading providers to a must-have feature that has all but saturated the market.
It’s no longer strange for someone to request information from their cell phone, ask the “assistant” in their car for directions or order new products verbally, through a speaker in their home. Voice-enabled technology is here and it’s quickly becoming one of the leading ways people expect to interact with the Web. It’s also creating new ways for content to reach broader audiences.
ENTER AMAZON POLLY
When Amazon Web Services (AWS) launched its Amazon Polly service in late 2016, it signaled a change in the way companies without big IT budgets and AI (artificial intelligence) expertise could embrace voice technology. Amazon Polly is a Text-to-Speech API that turns text into lifelike speech, allowing users to create applications that talk, as well as develop entirely new categories of speech-enabled products without having to build it all from scratch.
Amazon Polly’s applications are wide-ranging, but when AWS partnered with WP Engine earlier this year to make an Amazon Polly plugin for WordPress, it meant greater reach for content that audiences didn’t necessarily have the time or patience to sit down and read. Using the plugin, WordPress creators can easily turn written content into a spoken, podcast-style format, and reach audiences that prefer to consume content on the go.
In the latest release of the WordPress plugin, WordPress users can automatically translate text-based content and have it read in Spanish, German, French, or Portuguese. Additional languages are expected to be added over time. The machine translation feature is powered by Amazon Translate and is now available in the WP Engine Solution Center as an update to Amazon Polly plugin for WordPress. Amazon Translate is a neural machine translation service that uses deep learning models to deliver more accurate and natural sounding translation than traditional statistical and rule-based translation algorithms.
A GLOBAL REACH FOR MARKETERS
If Amazon Polly represents the ability to reach a new audience on the go, Amazon Translate means reaching new audiences around the globe—audiences that were previously blocked by the language barrier.
Imagine offering potential customers from other countries the ability to consume your content in a localized, more personal way; or providing strategically targeted content in different regions, powered by a real-time on-demand machine translation service that allows it to be consumed in the language of the reader’s choice.
The benefits here go beyond the tourism sector, but think for a moment what it means for people from other countries who want to find out information about a particular hotel, a restaurant or any other destination that may cater to visitors from other places.
Media organizations also have much to gain here, both in terms of audiences that don’t always have time to read their content, but also new readers who will enjoy the ability to read or listen to content in their native languages.
Amazon Translate will also be of great benefit to advertisers promoting a product or a service who want to disseminate localized content into new markets. Translate means they can easily allow people to access websites, information and resources in their preferred language using automated language translations.
YOUNGER CONSUMERS CRAVE PERSONALIZATION
Translation and Text-to-Speech technologies also mean new ways for marketers to reach a demographic with rapidly-growing spending power: Gen Z, which will soon account for 40 percent of American consumers and currently represents $44 billion in buying power.
A recent study conducted by WP Engine and The Center for Generational Kinetics found that Gen Z (the generation born after 1996) has extremely high expectations for the digital experiences of the future, and one of their biggest demands is that those experiences be personalized.
By and large, the study found that to Gen Z, “personalized” meant websites would be able to anticipate what these consumers wanted, based off of personal data. In fact, half of Gen Z respondents said they would leave a website if it didn’t do so. But, personalization to Gen Z also refers to authenticity, which they resoundingly said they desire.
The study found that guaranteed authenticity is the top feature Gen Z absolutely wants from a retail or shopping website. Nearly half (49 percent) of Gen Z respondents said they want a retailer to guarantee that reviews are from real people who bought the item and were not incentivized to write reviews. One way to reach this overwhelming demand for authenticity is to use real, local content (such as reviews or ratings) with the option to translate it into the language of a user’s choice.
As the importance of digital experiences continues to rise with younger generations, so does the expectation that those experiences be localized for their consumption. Voice-enabled technologies such as Amazon Polly and Amazon Translate are prime ways to accomplish this.
PUTTING IT TO USE
Installing the Amazon Polly plugin for WordPress with new translation feature is easy, just visit the WP Engine Solution Center . As mentioned above, the current languages you’re able to utilize are Spanish, German, French and Portuguese, but over time, additional languages will be added.
Once it’s installed, take it for a spin. The use cases listed above are just a few of the ways you’ll be able to put this new technology to use. While the era of voice technology is upon us, it’s far from charted out. Translate and its applications across the WordPress ecosystem will undoubtedly herald even more exciting, new outcomes for content creators and marketers alike.