Google Voice Recognition Having a Tough Time With British Accents

November 19 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Communication   Year: 2008   Rating: 1

Although Google finally got approval for its voice recognition upgrade released earlier this week for the iPhone, it has run into some snags overseas. Not downloading problems, but more of a language barrier.

Although there has been some amazing feedback to the voice recognition feature here in the US, people in the United Kingdom have some serious issues with the update. Mainly, the fact that it can’t understand their thick accents. “The free application, which allows iPhone owners to use the Google search engine with their voice, mistook the word “iPhone” variously for “sex,” “Einstein” and “kitchen sink,” said the Daily Telegraph.” It seems that the accents of those in the UK are responsible for limiting voice recognition technology. It makes one wonder if people will have to develop a North American accent until voice recognition is able to deal with the varied British accents.

Will there be a Universal Voice Recognition Voice?

You have to admit, accents in the UK are pretty hard to understand. I talked to a Welsh guy once and couldn’t believe Wales was located on the same island (when a Welshman said “iPhone” into the voice recognition software, “gorilla” popped up). The idea that the universal language of voice recognition might become English with a North American accent makes me chuckle, but the likelihood of that happening is incredibly slim. Universal languages just can;t seem to gain ground in the world, just look at what happened to Esperanto.

via PhysOrg

Image: revbean (Flickr,CC-Attribution)

Comment Thread (2 Responses)

  1. I don’t know how voice recognition technology really works, but I know linguistics, and you have to start from scratch with every language, accent, pidgin, creole, dialect or slang. It’s just the way it is. Look at electronic translators. They’re so imperfect, and that’s just with the most common languages in the world. Try transliterating into Macedonian and figure out how to say something specific. Good luck. You gotta go back to low tech strategies and ask a Macedonian.

    Posted by: Adam Cutsinger   November 19, 2008
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  2. LOL. I’m from England and I can’t believe the welsh are from the same island either.

    Posted by: StuartDobson   November 20, 2008
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