Waze, a popular navigation app, has announced an update to celebrate Chinese New Year that introduces new and improved Mandarin (both in Simplified and Traditional Chinese) voices.
Users can change their voice language preferences by going to ‘Settings’ in the app and selecting the language under ‘Voice Directions.’
The most interesting part of this update is how fast Waze was able to pull this off. Usually, voice translation into another language takes several months of recording, testing, and re-translating voices. The Waze Localization team was actually able to pull off this update in a mere 10 days. Waze Broadcasters Global Program Lead Mona Weng said:
It was a really meaningful opportunity for me because I actually learned Chinese when I moved to California in 6th grade. Having lived [across] the US as pretty much the only Chinese person growing up, I was completely disconnected from the language and culture. Translating and recording the Chinese voices for Waze [is] the culmination of almost 15 years of devoting myself to understanding and mastering the language. Since I (obviously) love and use Waze daily (it’s been a crucial tool for me to get around the severely-congested Bay Area), I was hoping to marry my love for the app with my passion for the Chinese language. This way, I can enable more Chinese speakers around the world to be able to use and experience the magic of Waze.
The new voices in Waze are available for all users starting today. If you haven’t used Waze, you can download it for free from the App Store.