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First listen: New 'natural-sounding' Siri voices for the U.K., Australia, and Japan

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
New voice options included in iOS 7.1's latest developer preview make Siri's responses smoother and more lifelike for users in the U.K., Australia, and Japan.

Siri


The new voices --?provided to AppleInsider by people familiar with the content of the update --?compare favorably to their predecessors, lending Siri a more even tone and less stilted speech pattern. In keeping with Apple's intention to allow some international users to choose Siri's gender in iOS 7.1, both male and female voices were updated.



Apple similarly overhauled Siri's American voice in iOS 7's initial release, which also added a male option for the first time. Siri also gained the ability to control more features on users' devices, like opening apps and searching photos.

While no timetable for iOS 7.1's release has been made public, some are speculating that this may be the update's final beta release. A new report from BGR suggests that developers will soon receive a ready-for-release, or "gold master," build of the software with public availability to follow in early March.
post #2 of 29

The UK male voice sounds extremely realistic, like a recording (at least in the sample given). Speech recognition and synthesis has really improved in leaps and bounds over the last few years.

post #3 of 29
Translation of Japan female answer : "No!"
post #4 of 29

The Australian accents are awful.

 

I don't know if that's Apple's fault or my country's. :lol:

 

UK male is good. Brings us one step closer to Jarvis.

 

Japanese male should include Toshiro Mifune.


Edited by GTR - 2/4/14 at 2:46pm
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post #5 of 29
At last, a choice of gender for the UK voices: really good news. They do sound better too.

I thought the Australian voices sounded a little more artificial, though they do have a reasonable Aussie accent (but I'll defer to a real Aussie on that 1biggrin.gif)

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post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by seanie248 View Post

Translation of Japan female answer : "No!"


She said that she doesn't know the user's location because location services aren't available then indicates the user should activate location services.

An authentic Japanese voice would never say "no."
post #7 of 29
Do your homework properly, guys. The UK voices have been living for 2+ weeks in the previous beta.
Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #8 of 29
Nice. Not that I have Siri voice turned on or have any intention of turning it back on, but nice.

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post #9 of 29
I would the UK male voice to sound like Micky Flanagan
post #10 of 29

The Aussie accent is great! Very realistic and makes a pleasant change.

post #11 of 29

As an Aussie I think the female Australian voice is worse than the current one, and both the male and female responses are not very intelligent.  Should I read something into that?

 

I like the UK voices and their response is intelligent. ;)

 

If the female Japanese voice spoke in English I'd use that as my default one.  As it is now I guess my default one would be the UK female voice.

post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by barefootman View Post
 

The Aussie accent is great! Very realistic and makes a pleasant change.

Siri, how would a mango chutney go with my King Prawns?

 

"Bewdy bonza mate"

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post #13 of 29
Even though they're new, they're clearly using the old voice synthesis - except the UK ones.
post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by YesIAm View Post

I would the UK male voice to sound like Micky Flanagan

 

Dear God, NO!

post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by donvreug View Post
 

As an Aussie I think the female Australian voice is worse than the current one, and both the male and female responses are not very intelligent.  Should I read something into that?

 

I like the UK voices and their response is intelligent. ;)

 

If the female Japanese voice spoke in English I'd use that as my default one.  As it is now I guess my default one would be the UK female voice.

 

If you speak with an Australian accent you should set Siri's language to Australian otherwise it will not correctly interpret your natural speech; particularly vowels.

post #16 of 29
I like Alex! These new voices speak too quickly, and without enough variation in tone IMO. I hope they are extra options and not replacements.
post #17 of 29
That's all fine but really I'd like SIRI to sound like Homer Simpson. If not then, I think I like the UK voices over the US ones.
post #18 of 29
I too think the Aussie voices sound more artificial than the current ones and they have a slight kiwi accent. The other voices sound great though. I should qualify that by stating that I don't understand Japanese and my english isn't that good either. 1wink.gif
post #19 of 29
And here I was hoping Siri would be able to understand *my* voice better (and what I am asking), not the other way around.
post #20 of 29
Fair enough. I have it set this way.

Australian accents always sound wrong when reproduced in foreign t.v. shows or films (and by Siri). Usually its too harsh or exagerated. Maybe that's the way we sound to non-Australians. This is why I prefer the UK English voices.

I actually didn't even realise Australians spoke with an accent until I went overseas. :-)
post #21 of 29
One accent 'to fit all' in most countries is asking for trouble, especially as they get far more genuine sounding. Forgiving a slightly mechanical voice for not sounding like the speaker isn't from 'your neck of the woods' is one thing but I bet we will soon hear complaints that these realistic voices are 'not from around here'. I am certain the Scots would prefer a Scottish accent, but Apple better do at least a west and east coast option if not a highland one also... and so on! So my bet is, sooner or later we will be able to choose regional dialects.
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post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

One accent 'to fit all' in most countries is asking for trouble, especially as they get far more genuine sounding. Forgiving a slightly mechanical voice for not sounding like the speaker isn't from 'your neck of the woods' is one thing but I bet we will soon hear complaints that these realistic voices are 'not from around here'. I am certain the Scots would prefer a Scottish accent, but Apple better do at least a west and east coast option if not a highland one also... and so on! So my bet is, sooner or later we will be able to choose regional dialects.

If the technology gets very good it might even be able to mimic certain individuals instead of just regions, such as your choice of movie star.

post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

If the technology gets very good it might even be able to mimic certain individuals instead of just regions, such as your choice of movie star.

I must read up more but I confess I thought they still used real people's voices which entailed many hours of grueling recording not synthesized voices. But yes, one day, no doubt that will be the case. Just as one day I am convinced the Avatar type movie technology will get so good they will be able to make James Dean or Humphrey Bogart movies again and we won't be able to tell the difference.
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post #24 of 29

If they poured all their development time and money into making one really good American voice for english-speaking markets I doubt anyone would care all that much.


Edited by Crowley - 2/5/14 at 8:19am

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post #25 of 29
It really gets on my nerves when reviewers review or demo siri! DO YOUR RESEARCH! When an accent/dialect is first selected it is presented as a low quality "Compact voice" at first to save space on the phone. When a dialect is chosen, left alone, connected to wifi power the HD version of said dialect will be downloaded automatically in the background. That's why the Japanese & Australian voices sound terrible in the SoundCloud window above. Siri doesn't sound that terrible when fully downloaded.
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post

If they poured all their development time and money into making one really good American voice for english-speaking markets I doubt anyone would care all that much.

That would have my vote.
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Edited by digitalclips - 2/5/14 at 10:58am
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post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by donvreug View Post

Fair enough. I have it set this way.

Australian accents always sound wrong when reproduced in foreign t.v. shows or films (and by Siri). Usually its too harsh or exagerated. Maybe that's the way we sound to non-Australians. This is why I prefer the UK English voices.

I actually didn't even realise Australians spoke with an accent until I went overseas. :-)
No, you've got that wrong. *We* don't speak with accents, *they* do.

I agree about foreign shows. If the role is played by an Australian, I think they're often told to "ocker it up". If they're not Australian, then usually it sounds like Dick Van Dyke's cockney. Even worse are the people who can't tell the difference between Australian and New Zealand accents, and get the vowels wrong.

To me, the accents on the Australian Siri voices didn't sound too bad, but the overall quality (or natural-ness, I suppose) seemed a lot worse than on the UK voices.
post #28 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anome View Post

I agree about foreign shows. If the role is played by an Australian, I think they're often told to "ocker it up". If they're not Australian, then usually it sounds like Dick Van Dyke's cockney.

 

I think that's probably a universal rule for acting any accent.  British English as spoken by a native actor acting in a US TV show or movie normally sounds like a caricature of the language, and an American actor (or Australian, though you guys seem to be better at it generally) attempting the same will usually be even worse. 

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post #29 of 29

Please please please Apple, a Sirified Joanna Lumley! :)

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