With at least one in five British homes using smart speakers, the devices are becoming increasingly important in our day to day lives.

S4C is therefore pleased to launch a new skill for Amazon Alexa called Welsh Language Podcasts that allows people to search for specific content through the medium of Welsh.

“As the name suggests, Welsh Language Podcasts is a collection of podcasts in Welsh. But what is truly unique about it is, once you open the skill, you browse by chatting to Alexa in Welsh” said Rhodri ap Dyfrig, S4C’s Online Content Commissioner.

“This is the first time such technology has ever been developed on the Alexa system, so it’s something S4C, Mobilise Cloud Services – the Swansea based company that developed the technology and Y Pod – who provide the content, are very proud of.”

Sgíl Alexa - Welsh language Podcasts
Alexa Skill – Welsh language Podcasts

“This innovative skill is available free of charge to anyone with an Alexa device, such as Echo or Dot. It works in a similar way to App, so all you need to do is install the skill through Amazon.”

“After months of planning and trialling it’s great to see Welsh Language Podcasts live” said James Carnie of Mobilise.

“There were a fair few challenges in making sure the technology understood different commands in Welsh, but now that Amazon has approved it, the hard work has paid off.

“Although Welsh is not officially supported by Alexa, we have worked with Amazon to embed our technology inside this specific new skill. We believe that this has never been done before, so thanks to Amazon for supporting us.

“Hopefully people will use the skill to show there is a demand for such services. It’s exciting to think this can trigger more voice technology developments in the Welsh language” added James.

“My teenage son and daughter helped with testing – they can’t wait for their friends to have a go. As my wife and children are all fluent Welsh speakers, the conversation at home often turns to English for my benefit. 

“But this will be something we can all do together, in Welsh, and I will certainly be using it to practice and learn.”

Y Pod is a service that brings Welsh podcasts together in one place. With over 70 podcasts on offer, ithas something for everyone.

Aled Jones of Y Pod tells us “With more of us looking for entertainment as we stay at home, Podcasts that help with learning Welsh such as Welsh Word of the Day and Pigion (Highlights for Welsh learners) are proving really popular at the moment. Ffit Cymru and Clic o’r Archif are also in high demand. 

“You can access podcasts on music, sports, current affairs, comedy and much more. You can search by category or ask Alexa to choose something for you if you’re feeling lucky.” 

Such a development is very timely, as the number of people using voice technology is expected to increase significantly because of coronavirus as it is more hygienic than touch enabled devices. 

“If you have an Alexa device, this is a great opportunity to be part of something special and speak Welsh with Alexa. You can even do it through the Alexa app on your smartphone. It’s surreal! 

“Try it out, explore the great content on offer and make sure you rate it and leave a review” says Aled.

Welsh Language Podcasts is available at https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0876JFYX8/

For more information go to http://ypod.cymru/alexa