Siri coming to Ireland but not configured to native speakers

24 Oct 2011

The iPhone 4S

Apple has confirmed voice-control feature Siri will be enabled in every country, but as it is configured to US, UK and Australian English, it may have difficulty recognising accents not native to those regions.

Last week, there was confusion as to whether Siri would be arriving in Ireland or not. An Apple spokesperson confirmed Siri could understand UK English, US English and Australian English, along with French and German. However, Apple did not clarify whether or not it will actually be on the iPhone 4S in Ireland.

Apple’s support page was recently updated to confirm Siri will indeed appear on the iPhone 4S in every country, but it may have difficulty understanding accents not native to the US, UK or Australia.

“Siri can be enabled in any country, and you can choose to speak to it in English, French or German,” said Apple.

“However, Siri is designed to recognise 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,” said the company.

There were a number of cases seen where Siri had difficulty understanding people with different accents to the ones localised to Siri.

US-based venture capitalist MG Siegler found that while Siri understood him when set to US English, it had trouble understanding him when set to UK English.

9to5 Mac also posted a video showing Siri didn’t work too well with users in non-native English-speaking accents.

However, having a limited version of Siri on the iPhone 4S in Ireland is better than not having the service at all and, if the feature becomes popular, it will surely be localised to Irish dialects in time.

The iPhone 4S will be available in Ireland this Friday.