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Users say Siri struggles in Japanese debut

post #1 of 68
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Apple added Japanese language support to Siri last week with the release of iOS 5.1, but some Japanese speakers are having trouble being understood by the voice assistant.

A video posted to YouTube shows a man performing a side-by-side Japanese comprehension comparison of Apple's Siri and DoCoMo's own voice-recognition feature Syabette Concier, as noted by Kotaku. Siri was able to understand basic commands, but it had difficulty registering more advanced requests.

For instance, when asked, "Is it cold outside?," both Siri and Syabette Concier provided weather data. When the speaker said, "I have a stomach ache," Siri did not understand, while Syabette offered information on the nearest hospital.

A request for tomorrow's schedule was accurately responded to by Syabette, but Siri only understood the schedule part. Siri was unable to provide a map of Chigasaki because it is limited in the location data that it can call up outside the U.S. As a local Japanese solution, Syabette easily accessed the map.

Siri was also unable to handle a search for videos of a Japanese pop singer with a gibberish name, while Syabette had no problem with it. "Seems like Siri can only comprehend simple and universal Japanese," the report noted.



According to the report, Apple's virtual assistant was able to set an alarm, but it faltered on a tongue twister and a statement about cooking curry. Loading times were also longer on average for Siri than for Docomo's version.

Apple telegraphed the arrival of Japanese Siri support last month when Siri began claiming that she could already speak the language. Last Wednesday's release of iOS 5.1 on the heels of the iPad unveiling added a Japanese-speaking Siri to the iPhone 4S.

Some English speakers have also complained that Siri does not perform well for them. The software appears to have specific trouble with several regional accents or certain variants of non-native English.

Others have accused Apple of false advertising with its Siri commercials. An iPhone 4S owner from New York sued Apple on Monday with allegations that Siri is far less responsive and accurate than depicted in its commercials. For its part, Apple has covered some of its tracks by releasing Siri in beta mode and disclaiming that sequences had been shortened during its commercials.



Some voice-recognition experts have suggested that Apple needed to release a beta version of Siri to the public in order to acquire a volume of voice samples sufficient for refining the service.

Apple's plans to expand Siri have included the hiring of new "Language Technologies Engineers" tasked with bringing new languages to the software and other cloud-based services.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 68
It's beta ok?
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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post #3 of 68
The article says Siri is slower but from the video it looks like Siri is getting information on the display faster. I can't tell if it's relevant or correct info, or which phone is verbally responding first. Can a Japanese speaker clarify some of the results?

PS: Is the UK the only male Siri voice?

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post #4 of 68
Tallest Skil says it's entirely due to user error. What's wrong with these people that they don't just accept that? It's the flawless pinacle of voice recognition and has never, ever erred when used properly. Never. Ever.
post #5 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlandd View Post

Tallest Skil says it's entirely due to user error.

Link?

Quote:
What's wrong with these people that they don't just accept that? It's the flawless pinacle of voice recognition and has never, ever erred when used properly. Never. Ever.

Nothing is flawless, certainly not voice recognition. I think the application of "beta" signifies that.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #6 of 68
stop slurring your words people!!!

LOL
He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
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He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
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post #7 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

stop slurring your words people!!!

LOL

One could argue that slurring and general apathy toward stringent pronunciation is one aspect that helps creates distinct dialects. And one could then argue that for Siri (or any voice dictation software) to be complete it needs to understand different dialects. And one could argue that it also needs to learn to understand particular user's voice patterns the way iOS learn to understand commonly used words that aren't previously in its dictionary DB. Then one could probably stop arguing.

For example: Gabagool appears to be a Sicilian pronunciation for the Italian word Capicola.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #8 of 68
Siri is not a fucking mind reader. It's a small miracle it works as well as it does, considering the infinite number of pronunciations, thousands of similar sounding words, accents, contexts, etc. It will get better slowly over time, but it isn't magic, just a shit-ton of data being crunched and algorithms intended to figure out what the hell it is you just said.
post #9 of 68
Don't like Siri, return the phone.
post #10 of 68
The lag in response time doesn't seem to be too much of an issue. Both Siri and the Docomo phone respond promptly to voice input in that video. Unfortunately, Siri's response usually boils down to "Sorry dude, no idea what you're saying". The Japanese guy in the video uses clear and easy language. My Japanese sucks but I had no problem understanding anything he said. This video kind of reminded me of the one from a few months ago that pit Siris against the Google system. Unfortunately, in this video, Apple is Google.
post #11 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

It's beta ok?

Perhaps Apple needs to post a support article about what Beta means.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #12 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlandd View Post

Tallest Skil says it's entirely due to user error.

That was tongue-in-cheek.



OH GOSH, I'M SO SORRY ABOUT THAT. OW, THAT WAS A PAINFUL PUN. Of course I'm leaving it.

Quote:
It's the flawless pinnacle of voice recognition and has never, ever erred when used properly. Never. Ever.

My original overarching point, that it's in beta, had already been expounded upon by the previous hundred or so posts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

stop slurring your words people!!!

Not sure if you're entirely serious here, but that IS a valid problem. Yewanna putta suthun drawhl inya voyse, thassfine. You's betta cleannit upfowh ya's Siri yuuse, thowuh.

Originally posted by Marvin

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post #13 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

It's beta ok?

That's no excuse! The Japanese have been working on conversational A.I. for decades. Have you seen their Android equivalent of Siri?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpO57NltoAI

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post #14 of 68
Siri seems to understand me most of the time. I tried Japanese Siri on the weekend but couldn't get her to understand anything other than "atsui desu ka", which is not surprising considering it's not my native tongue.

Australian Siri sounds the most natural to me. Even the vocal pitch and inflections are spot on for the content. When she apologizes she actually sounds concerned.
post #15 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

That was tongue-in-cheek.



OH GOSH, I'M SO SORRY ABOUT THAT. OW, THAT WAS A PAINFUL PUN. Of course I'm leaving it.



My original overarching point, that it's in beta, had already been expounded upon by the previous hundred or so posts.


And I forgot to put in a smiley, because I wasn't too Siri-ous either
post #16 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Not sure if you're entirely serious here, but that IS a valid problem. Yewanna putta suthun drawhl inya voyse, thassfine. You's betta cleannit upfowh ya's Siri yuuse, thowuh.

When surveyed about whether they would purchase the iPhone 4S to use Siri, 9 out of 10 Italian gangsters said, 'Fugettaboutit!'.
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post #17 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlandd View Post

And I forgot to put in a smiley, because I wasn't too Siri-ous either

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #18 of 68
I'd like to know how you got those scars.

In other news, a Tokyo man reports that Siri, dishonoured by her failure to accurately complete her tasks, has just committed seppuku.

Fortunately, this is covered under Apple's Japanese warranty.
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post #19 of 68
"Siri" is a slightly unfortunate name in Japanese. There's no pure "si" phoneme in the Japanese language. Intead, "si" is pronounced "shi." And "shiri" means "rear end" or "butt."

Oops.

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post #20 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

"Siri" is a slightly unfortunate name in Japanese. There's no pure "si" phoneme in the Japanese language. Intead, "si" is pronounced "shi." And "shiri" means "rear end" or "butt."

Oops.

Well then what's

oh. Shiritori actually does include that in its meaning never mind.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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post #21 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

For example: Gabagool appears to be a Sicilian pronunciation for the Italian word Capicola.

Yes, and, by the same token, "baddabing" appears to be the universal pronunciation for...uh...
"baddabing"...

On a more serious note, due to the penetration of the ad campaign and accompanying fanfare, I was not aware, until Apple had to emphasize it in their statement vis a vis the lawsuit, that Siri was, in fact, considered a beta.

Now I'm sure that a lot of you on this thread, the lawsuit thread, and AI in general WERE aware of it, and that many more wouldn't ever admit that they weren't, but I do remember that when Boot Camp first came out, it was very clearly described as beta.

I don't have a 4S, nor did I have an Intel Mac at that time, so I'd have had no specific reason to be aware of either one, but I really think Apple presented the issue much differently this time.

Just IMHO
post #22 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by SockRolid View Post

"Siri" is a slightly unfortunate name in Japanese. There's no pure "si" phoneme in the Japanese language. Intead, "si" is pronounced "shi." And "shiri" means "rear end" or "butt."

Oops.

English-speaking women snickered when Apple announced the "iPad" in 2010.
Apple quickly gave it a new meaning: the tablet to own.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #23 of 68
Anyone having used siri in the u.s. can hardly be surprised it's embarrassing itself in Japan too.
post #24 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


What? No Tim Cook photo with the caption, "Not sure if Sirious?"

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post #25 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

What? No Tim Cook photo with the caption, "Not sure if Sirious?"

I'd need a photo of him holding an iPhone for that, and I've yet to find one. My regular one just serves its literal purpose, not a pun-based one.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone] exists, it doesn’t deserve to.
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Originally posted by Marvin

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post #26 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by boredumb View Post

On a more serious note, due to the penetration of the ad campaign and accompanying fanfare, I was not aware, until Apple had to emphasize it in their statement vis a vis the lawsuit, that Siri was, in fact, considered a beta.

Now I'm sure that a lot of you on this thread, the lawsuit thread, and AI in general WERE aware of it, and that many more wouldn't ever admit that they weren't, but I do remember that when Boot Camp first came out, it was very clearly described as beta.

I don't have a 4S, nor did I have an Intel Mac at that time, so I'd have had no specific reason to be aware of either one, but I really think Apple presented the issue much differently this time.

Just IMHO

It's been described as beta since the beginning. I see no evidence that their documentation has changed to indicate it's beta when there previously wasn't any. It doesn't excuse Siri issues but it doesn't explain them. This tech is probably a decade off before it could possibly be great in an of itself, but until then we'll just have to take the best.

From their website:
Quote:
Siri is available in Beta only on iPhone 4S and requires Internet access. Siri may not be available in all languages or in all areas, and features may vary by area. Cellular data charges may apply.

Also in beta right now...

iWork.com -

https://www.iwork.com/signin/
Messages - http://www.apple.com/macosx/mountain...messages-beta/

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #27 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by myapplelove View Post

Anyone having used siri in the u.s. can hardly be surprised it's embarrassing itself in Japan too.

So it's not just imperfect it's so bad it's embarrassing.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #28 of 68
"

"I have a stomach ache," Siri did not understand, while Syabette offered information on the nearest hospital.

A request for tomorrow's schedule was accurately responded to by Syabette, but Siri only understood the schedule part. Siri was unable to provide a map of Chigasaki because it is limited in the location data that it can call up outside the U.S. As a local Japanese solution, Syabette easily accessed the map.

"

Yeah but this is predictable and documented, the guy testing this should have read the documentation before doing pointless comparisons. Right now, outside US, Siri does not support giving you locations or mapping data. So any request which needs location or map data is not understood or it says you that it can't provide the information. It simply does not support that outside of US so how can it ever work? That's the reason Siri is named beta right now, a lot of features what make it powerful are missing outside of US.

"Siri was also unable to handle a search for videos of a Japanese pop singer with a gibberish name, while Syabette had no problem with it."

Same related problem here. This kind of request is highly dependent on the local culture given also that Japanese pop singers are not known at all outside of Japan. Docomo is a local company and can easily adapt its solution to recognize this sort of thing. This will come to Siri with time.,,,

Docomo does not provide its solution in US let alone France or Germany. Apple is dealing with a much bigger solution which has to support multiple languages, culture and locations. If Docomo would provide its solution in US, it would be quite disastrous.
post #29 of 68
Siri is being able to read and reply messages in Japanese, for me is great, I don't have to translate those kanjis anymore.
I just wish locations in Japan would work but... Well it is beta. Do you know there are many dialects here? (hougen) it will take time to be perfect

So far it is OK.
post #30 of 68
While Siri is having some trouble with Japanese, she is still a cunning linguist in my book.
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post #31 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by tnt View Post

Siri is being able to read and reply messages in Japanese, for me is great, I don't have to translate those kanjis anymore.
I just wish locations in Japan would work but... Well it is beta. Do you know there are many dialects here? (hougen) it will take time to be perfect

So far it is OK.

Just curious. How many dialects are there in Japan, and are some quite different from the more common?
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post #32 of 68
I also live in Japan and it works well when it comes to recognizing the language itself. Again, it has difficulties if you ask it data that it does not have because the support is not there yet.
post #33 of 68
I just told Siri "I have a stomach ache".. and it said it doesn't know what I mean.

if it doesn't answer when asked in engrish...
post #34 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

It's beta ok?

Then Apple shouldn't be making it the focal point of their ad campaign, let alone making it work flawlessly in those.
post #35 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by redbarchetta View Post

Then Apple shouldn't be making it the focal point of their ad campaign, let alone making it work flawlessly in those.

Has your Safari ever crashed? Has Mail ever said "Could not connect to server"? I guess Apple should just fill their 30 seconds with all possible errors and issues that could potentially be experienced¡ Fucking ridiculous!

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #36 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by milkmage View Post

I just told Siri "I have a stomach ache".. and it said it doesn't know what I mean.

if it doesn't answer when asked in engrish...

Maybe Siri doesn't want to be sued for practicing medicine without a license. It would be one thing to be accused of not understanding the user, and a whole different thing to be accused of giving bad medical advice.
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post #37 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Has your Safari ever crashed? Has Mail ever said "Could not connect to server"? I guess Apple should just fill their 30 seconds with all possible errors and issues that could potentially be experienced¡ Fucking ridiculous!

Nice slippery slope fallacy. Neither of those are listed as beta, and I can't recall them being the focal point of an entire product in advertisements.

(But to answer your question: Yes, Safari crashed on me all the time, hence why I now use Chrome on my Mac.)
post #38 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by redbarchetta View Post

Nice slippery slope fallacy. Neither of those are listed as beta, and I can't recall them being the focal point of an entire product in advertisements.

(But to answer your question: Yes, Safari crashed on me all the time, hence why I now use Chrome on my Mac.)

So if it's in Beta they should spend their 30 second ads giving you examples of how a tech won't work under certain conditions but if the tech is NOT in beta then you don't have to show any possible issues that could arise. Perfectly sound reasoning¡

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #39 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

So if it's in Beta they should spend their 30 second ads giving you examples of how a tech won't work under certain conditions but if the tech is NOT in beta then you don't have to show any possible issues that could arise. Perfectly sound reasoning¡

That's not what I said. On a Mac, you have alternatives to mail, Safari, and any other program. This is not the case for Siri or the iPhone.

I have a problem when a company markets a "BETA" product, for which there is no alternative, and one that works as poorly and frequently as Siri does.
post #40 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by redbarchetta View Post

That's not what I said. On a Mac, you have alternatives to mail, Safari, and any other program. This is not the case for Siri or the iPhone.

I have a problem when a company markets a "BETA" product, for which there is no alternative, and one that works as poorly and frequently as Siri does.

1) You're upset that you can't have any and all virtual assistant programs built into your OS or that Apple doesn't want their server-side Siri system to be accessed by others? Those are the only two options, and they are both stupid, because there are alternatives on the App Store. 2) We're talking about the iPhone 4S —the only platform that supports Siri — so I have no idea why your mentioning the Mac all of a sudden.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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