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Lost in translation: Siri cannot understand the Scottish accent

Users of the iPhone 4S have been struggling to get along with voice-software Siri, after the 'intelligent assistant' can't understand the accent.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Many Scottish iPhone users have found themselves struggling to use the new Siri voice-recognition feature, because the intelligent assistant cannot understand the accent.

Siri has been a focus for technologists worldwide after Apple's latest iPhone 4S came bundled with the voice-activated technology, and seemingly reacts to unexpected responses and dialectic differences -- like, "what is the meaning of life?", responding with a number of pre-defined answers.

But users of the iPhone 4S in Scotland have been left with Siri, on the most part, not understanding what has been said.

(Image source: Getty)

Scotland, the country land-attached to the north of England, still has English as its national language. While the Scots speak English, the dialect is different and the spoken word is widely considered to be more pronounced, with a unique 'Scottish twang', so to speak.

For example, as one newspaper reports, "Can you dance with me?" is interpreted as: "Can you Dutch woman?". Another example has a user trying to 'set a reminder for 12 o'clock', with Siri misinterpreting this as the word "treblecock" -- a word that does not exist.

While voice-recognition software is far from perfect, Siri is considered to be unique in its field and ahead of its game, particularly for the general consumer market.

Apple says that Siri is designed to work "in any country", and specifically the UK, Australia, the U.S., France and Germany:

"You can choose to speak to it in English, French, or German. However, Siri is designed to recognize the specific accents and dialects of the supported countries listed above. Since every language has its own accents and dialects, the accuracy rate will be higher for native speakers.

Siri will support additional languages from next year, including Japanese, Chinese, South Korean, Spanish and Italian.

But though all countries in the United Kingdom speak English natively, the accent differs greatly across the four countries of the UK.

Amid rumours that Siri could be ported to other Apple technologies in 2013, such as a dedicated television as CNET report, this gives Apple ample time to work around the nuances with various common languages.

But for Scottish users of the iPhone 4S, for now, voice-controlled technologies may not be quite ready for them yet.


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