I am developing an app for the Google Assistant and making Spanish translations.

My question is:

  1. How should chatbots (the Google Assistant) refer to the user, and
  2. How should users refer to the chatbot?

I have done some research, and I found that chatbots probably should use usted because when talking with a stranger formality is supposed to be used. However, I don't know how people normally "treat" chatbots.

I am required to provide examples of "invocations": sample phrases the user can say to the Google Assistant to bring up my chatbot.

The built-in example is:

Hablar con Mi Aplicación

This further confuses me; am I supposed to use the infinitive? I assumed I should use the imperative because you are commanding the chatbot.

When asking a chatbot to do something, should the user use imperative for usted, imperative for tu, or infinitive?

  • 1
    AFAIK, chatbots are based on AI, which is made up to satisfy you and is not going to judge you. So... you choose, right? You should be able to order "tutéame", and the assistant should do it forever haha.
    – FGSUZ
    Commented Dec 29, 2018 at 1:06

1 Answer 1


This is a question that will depend on the individual application / environment. In the case of Google's system, the norm is to use refer to the user informally. That means using but ojo, not all users use when talking informally. I doubt that Argentinian users (normally use vos) or Costa Rican users (probably use usted) would feel comfortable switching to just to interact. This would be a case where you would want to let the user interact in all three manners, even if your program responds only using one of them (which is how most Spanish speakers interact anyways, I don't use vos just because my Rioplatense friends do, but they don't find it odd that I only use ).

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