Last week Amazon announced that the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) is available for the UK and Germany. Amazon started selling in both countries last fall and is working with U.S. developers to optimize skills for these regions. The developer page comments:
AVS offers language and region-specific services to developers, enabling localized voice experiences. Language models and regional services are all built into the cloud, so developers don’t have to do any of the heavy lifting. Now customers can speak to Alexa and receive responses and content in their preferred language and region.
You can also set German as your default language even if you are in the U.S or UK. A key aspect of regionalizing your Alexa skill is to enable local ordering through Amazon as well as optimizing for language and regional dialect. Two graphics from Amazon show different aspects of the AVS update.
Time to Migrate Your Skills
There is also a migration guide for existing skill owners and a link to Echosim.io which is a testing tool that now supports testing your skill utterances for each of the three supported regions. These changes are another indication of relentless forward progress by the Alexa team that Google will need to match as it builds out the Assistant / Home developer ecosystem.