Translation:Who is that person?
方 can be read as both ほうand かた. ほう can be directional as explained above, but when it is read as かた it is a more polite version of 人. It also reads as かた in other cases like 使い方(how to use) or 読み方(how to read). I think that both ほう and かた make sense in this sentence, but for me if I had read it without the recording I would have pronounced it as かた.
The readings you mention are right, however in this context the author of the exercise seemed to clearly mean かた based on the answer choices. The text-to-speech (TTS) reads out ほう. This will lead the new learner astray as they will now think ほう translates as "person". The TTS should be changed to the contextually correct かた.
The thing is Japanese works like that with many characters that have multiple readings in different contexts. Until Duo have the possibility of intuiting which sound in context, then it's a problem.
Though I don't see a problem with sochira no hou as that person in this context, even though it's directional. I am having trouble explaining why grammatically, though...it just doesn't feel wrong :/
Originally both mean direction. Saying かた instead of ひと is like when you gesture toward the person with your hand instead of pointing with your finger. It means direction, the way. But if you say ほう, it sounds like you are a prince (daimyou) . In drama, a prince (a lord?) sitting on a higher place, pointing his subject with a folded fan, says そのほう. That means "you". Very arrogant. Lol
Hou is a loan word from the Chinese, fang. Pronounced as fahng not snake fang. This word is used in a lot of different ways in Chinese. 方向 fangxiang in mandarin is pronounced as ほーこー meaning direction. Another use is 方法 pronounced as fangfa or ほーほー in japanese means “way of doing things” or method.
2020.4.28 Seems like a lot of peeps are having trouble when 方 is read ほう or かた
The thing with kanji readings is characters or kana that go before or go behind or is part of a compound word can significantly change the reading.
方言「ほうげん」 local dialect
やり方「やりかた」often just kana way to do
行方 不明者「ゆくえ。ふ。めい。しゃ」 missing person (this I totally forgot about and had to do a quick dictionary search)
With that said, in the case of direction ほう
A) コンビニはどこですか？ Where is the convenience store?
B) そこ「そちら、そっち、そっこ」の方です。 It's over there.
A) トイレはどこ？ Where's the toilet?
B) 背が高い人みえる？あの人のほう。 Can you see the tall person? It's his way. (It's around him.)
there will probably be a location or directional word that would imply direction ほう
Also 方 can be ほう if it's in the expression 「V past tense」ほうが or Nのほうが meaning comparative -er or more
運動した方がいい。「うんどう」 It's better to exercise.
野菜「やさい」を食べた方が健康「健康」になる。 It's healthier to eat vegetables.
In these cases it's typical to write it as ほうが
アメリカは大きい。でもロシアの方が大きい。 America is big. But Russia is bigger. Note, it won't be read ロシアの かたが 大きい、because in the context of the first sentence about America, we are talking about countries, not people.
When 方 is read かた it'll be written most likely as kanji.
That (more polite than その) person (more polite than 人) is cute. That person is cute.
Russian people are strong when it comes to alcohol.
The person that entered the room sells cars. Note that はいったほうが車 makes no sense within the sentence.
Hope this doesn't cause even more confusion and disillusionment with studying kanji. But welcome to its world
My dictionary (JP-EN) only translates it as "this gentleman [lady]", with no indication of there being a plural, and my Japanese (for JP) dictionary doesn't mention anything that might distinguish 'one' from 'multiple'. But I'm no native speaker, so I can't be 100% sure. Perhaps the question of whether it's singular/plural (or both) is just something so plain that the dictionary didn't bother mentioning it.
There's really no plural in Japanese. So don't worry about it. You can say そちらのかた and three people can be there. そちらのかたがた is plural but this sounds like you see more people than you expected and you are wondering who they are. You don't usually say this when there are only two people.
どなた is the honorific/very polite form of だれ. https://www.wasabi-jpn.com/japanese-lessons/the-honorific-form-the-humble-form-and-the-polite-form/
I wasn't sure on this one actually, because it did seem a bit strange. As such, I asked Japanese people on HiNative (a foreign language Q&A site) if it was correct in Japanese and 5/5 of them said it was fine, albeit quite formal. You can find that question here: https://hinative.com/en-US/questions/12940914
Grammatically correct but you better not say それらの人, specially not in their presence. それ is "that thing". You can say その in this case. Plural is not used. それら is used when you want to say all of those not just one. Often used like それらすべて (all of those) and this is a little stronger than そのすべて。