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Siri, and the Wide World of Accents

Having trouble getting Siri to understand you? You're not alone

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Siri, and the Wide World of Accents
[ Technology]

One of the biggest draws of the brand new iPhone 4S, besides the faster speeds and better camera, is the voice assistant program Siri (and more generally the speech recognition software).

The device comes ready to work with 5 different types of language – American English, Australian English, UK English, French and German. Some English speakers with are finding that Siri is having a hard time understanding what they are saying – and it’s all because of their accent.

Personally, Siri has been working almost perfectly for me since I unwrapped my new 4S last weekend. But that’s most likely because I tend to have the vocal eccentricities of a newscaster from Topeka, Kansas. If Siri was going to work well for anyone, it would probably be this writer.

Throw in a little spice when it comes to your accent, and Siri seems to get a little wonky. Depending on the accent, the speech recognition can range from missing a couple words here and there to completely mangling what you want to say.

The Apple support discussion threads have various entries that address this issue. One user claims that Siri doesn’t understand his Indian accent, while another user claims that his wife’s Filipino English is easily understood by everyone – except for Siri.

Here’s a collection of videos that folks have posted to YouTube, showing how Siri responds to certain accents. First up, here’s one that shows a Japanese man attempt to get Siri to understand the word “work.”

This video courtesy of Gizmodo Australia shows that Siri works quite well with an Australian accent – as long as you keep the Siri set to Australian English. Change that and you have a world of problems –

Next, here’s Siri reaction to an English speaker with a thick Scottish accent. It’s struggling, to say the least –

More fun from Japanese speakers. I’m pretty sure he didn’t say “read dick.”

On the flip side, here is Siri working quite well with an English speaker with an Indian accent –

Finally, here’s Siri working great with both American and British English speakers, courtesy of Stuff.tv –

What do you guys think of Siri? Are you having trouble getting it to understand you? Have you tried to get it to say anything funny? Let us know in the comments.

Siri, and the Wide World of Accents
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