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How to improve Alexa's voice recognition

Out of the box, the impressive microphone arrays in most Amazon Echo and Echo-like products ensure your voice is clearly heard from across the room. Being heard isn't the same thing as being understood, and whether it's due to an accent Alexa doesn't quite process or some audio interference in the room, if Alexa doesn't get what you're saying, there's a relatively simple fix. Contained within your Alexa app is a tool to improve its ability to understand you, and as long as you have a couple minutes to spare and a quiet room that tool can make a significant difference in making the Echo, and Alexa, your best assistant friend.

Ready to send Alexa to voice school? Here's how you improve voice recognition!

Set your room up for the best results

Voice training is a process in which you are speaking predetermined phrases to Alexa so it can better listen to the differences in the way you say certain words. For the best results, the room needs to be completely silent. No music or television in the background, no one else speaking, and no chirps or beeps from your phone. Close any windows you may have open, and if you have nervous tic like tapping your ring on the counter you'll want to try avoiding that as well.

When you do start speaking to Alexa, don't alter the way you normally speak. If you try to speak with perfect enunciation when you normally don't Alexa will become trained to a speech pattern that isn't yours and it won't learn how you actually speak. Talk to Alexa casually, like your super casual robot friend that is always listening and can occasionally go shopping for you. It's not weird at all.

How to improve Alexa voice recognition

Setting up a voice training session is easy, and can be done differently for each Alexa device in your house if you want to personalize each one to a specific person. Go sit near the Echo you want to train, pick up your phone, and open the Alexa app. From there:

  1. Tap the menu button the in the top right corner.
  2. Tap Settings from the list of options.
  3. Scroll down until you see Voice Training and tap.

  1. Tap the downward arrow at the top of the screen.
  2. Select the Alexa device you want to train.

The app will now walk you through 25 Alexa commands for you to speak out loud to the device you're trying to train. Once you have completed all 25 commands, the session will be complete. You did it! From here you can choose to train other things if you have them, or you can close the app and enjoy your new and improved Alexa experience.

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter

6 Comments
  • This isn't available on the UK version, which is a shame, because it might just solve the issue where I ask my morning alarm to 'snooze' and it thinks I've said 'news' and starts reading my morning briefing.
  • that happened to me all the time too (and was terribly annoying)!!--the "fix" (workaround) i found is to say "snooze alarm" instead of just "snooze." Hope this helps!
  • question (i always wondered) re: voice training - should i try speaking at different volumes, and from all different physical locations from within the room, so she can get used to how my speech varies and from everwhere i tend to shout out to her in the room?
  • i've also thought about this but have no solid background to be fair. i would assume that during training, the more accurate the voice model is, the more successful the program will be at trying to match similar sounds. so, if you stand farther away and use unusual voice intonation, it'd likely be less accurate...?
  • Do you just repeat this process to train Alexa for a different person's voice, or does that 'overwrite' the earlier learning session? When you setup a 2nd Alexa device elsewhere in the house do you need to retrain that device independently?
  • Perhaps worth highlighting in the article that this isn't an option in the UK version of the app?