Voice actor behind Apple's Siri comes forward

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Georgia-based voice actor Susan Bennett has revealed in an interview that she is the original voice of Apple's voice-driven personal assistant in America.

Siri


With iOS 7 bringing a new voice to Siri two years after the interactive assistant's introduction alongside the iPhone 4S, longtime voice actor Susan Bennett has outed herself as Siri's original American voice in an interview with CNN. Bennett says she was prompted to come forward after a story that ran on The Verge last week gave some the mistaken impression that voiceover artist Allison Dufty, featured in an accompanying video, was the service's voice.

"I wasn't sure that I wanted that notoriety, and I also wasn't sure where I stood legally," she said. "And then this Verge video came out...And it seemed like everyone was clamoring to find out who the real voice behind Siri is, and so I thought, well, you know, what the heck? This is the time."Susan Bennett, a voice actor since the 1970s, has verified that she is the voice behind Apple's personal assistant, Siri.

Bennett began her voiceover career in the 1970s as the advertising voice of "Tillie the All-Time Teller," the nation's first automatic teller machine. She has since provided audio for GPS systems, corporate phone trees, and is heard by thousands of travelers each day as the airport terminal voice for Delta Airlines.

She laid down the audio tracks that would eventually become Siri in July 2005 as part of a project for ScanSoft, formerly a large computer speech applications company that later merged with rival Nuance. Nuance confirmed earlier this year that the company is responsible for Siri's natural language processing capabilities.

A colleague first alerted Bennett that Siri may be based on her voice soon after Apple took the covers off of the service. After listening to the product video on Apple's website, Bennett says she had no doubt. "It's obviously me. It's my voice," she said.

Several individuals with knowledge of the deal vouched for Bennett's involvement, including the owner of the company she worked with on the project, Atlanta-based GM Voices. For further confirmation, CNN brought in an expert in forensic audio, who analyzed both Bennett's and Siri's voices and said the two "are identical -- a 100% match."

Two other Siri voice actors have previously been identified. British journalist Jon Briggs reportedly provided the voice behind Siri's United Kingdom version while Australian singer and actor Karen Jacobsen is believed to have played the same role in Australia.

«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 46
    In her CNN interview, she said she recorded the voices in 2005. Apple did not use Siri until 2010. Makes me think of what Apple has in store for the next few years...
  • Reply 2 of 46

    It would have been epically cool if they could have gotten Majel Barrett to do the voice of Siri.

  • Reply 3 of 46
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,615member
    She laid down the audio tracks that would eventually become Siri in July 2005 as part of a project for ScanSoft, formerly a large computer speech applications company that later merged with rival Nuance. Nuance <a href="http://appleinsider.com/articles/13/05/30/nuance-confirms-its-technology-is-behind-apples-siri">confirmed</a> earlier this year that the company is responsible for Siri's natural language processing capabilities.

    Fun fact: In an unusual twist Scansoft actually bought out Nuance, but chose to change the company name to that of the absorbed rival.
  • Reply 4 of 46
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,615member
    It would have been epically cool if they could have gotten Majel Barrett to do the voice of Siri.

    A rival service actually code-named their voice assistant "Majel" as recognition for the old Star Trek computer voice.
  • Reply 5 of 46

    Has anyone done the audio forensics on the Surface commercials, I wonder?

  • Reply 6 of 46
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,615member
    pscooter63 wrote: »
    Has anyone done the audio forensics on the Surface commercials, I wonder?

    You'll even hear the Nuance-licensed "voice of Siri" in the Microsoft-based Ford Sync system, as well as millions of Garmin Nuvi's. It's not an Apple exclusive.

    @ Suddenly Newton: I use Aussie Karen, the topic of the Verge article, as the TBT voice on my GPS. We had a discussion about her a couple years back on a GPS forum. She was pretty attractive too back in the day.
  • Reply 7 of 46
    All it took was lies published by The Verge to get her to out herself...
  • Reply 8 of 46
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,129member

    She is an actress, not an actor.

     

    Edit

     

    Withdrawn comment, it is technically correct if someone wishes to describe a woman performer as an actor. Simply annoys me, same thing as when some US movies/TV Series have female officers called "Sir".

  • Reply 9 of 46
    cash907cash907 Posts: 893member
    ... Ok? Glad to see what CNN considers news-worthy this week. Not like anything else is going on right?
  • Reply 10 of 46

    Hmmm...so that must mean that the voice of the personal assistant Iris is no other than Ms. Ttenneb Nasus...right right?!

  • Reply 11 of 46

    replying to the guy who said she recorded this for Apple in 2005:

     

    She did NOT record if for Apple in 2005.  You obviously can't read.  She recorded it in 2005 for another company, and Apple gained the rights to use it in later years.

  • Reply 12 of 46
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post

    ... Ok? Glad to see what CNN considers news-worthy this week. Not like anything else is going on right?

     

    No news is good news....
  • Reply 13 of 46
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by daphreev View Post



    In her CNN interview, she said she recorded the voices in 2005. Apple did not use Siri until 2010. Makes me think of what Apple has in store for the next few years...

     

    She did NOT record if for Apple in 2005.  You obviously can't read.  She recorded it in 2005 for another company, and Apple gained the rights to use it in later years.  So her voice in Siri has no relevance whatsoever to what Apple has in later years.  They will buy/borrow/steal  what they need when they need it, just like this.

  • Reply 14 of 46

    @saarek

     

    As you may have surmised, you really don't want to get involved in American politics, the sexual subset being no exception.  Absurdity is power.  Ignorance rules.  But most folks just brush it all off and get on with the shopping.

  • Reply 15 of 46
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ChazzMatt View Post

     

     

    She did NOT record if for Apple in 2005.  You obviously can't read.  She recorded it in 2005 for another company, and Apple gained the rights to use it in later years.  So her voice in Siri has no relevance whatsoever to what Apple has in later years.  They will buy/borrow/steal  what they need when they need it, just like this.


     

    1) Chill out.

    2) Regardless, she did it 5 years before they used it; seemed interesting to me.

    3) You made an account to say that.

     

    lol

  • Reply 16 of 46
    zozmanzozman Posts: 391member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ChazzMatt View Post

     

     

    She did NOT record if for Apple in 2005.  You obviously can't read.  She recorded it in 2005 for another company, and Apple gained the rights to use it in later years.  So her voice in Siri has no relevance whatsoever to what Apple has in later years.  They will buy/borrow/steal  what they need when they need it, just like this.


     

    Riiiiigght...............SECURITY!!! 

  • Reply 17 of 46
    rot'napplerot'napple Posts: 1,839member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by saarek View Post

     

    She is an actress, not an actor.

     

    Edit

     

    Withdrawn comment, it is technically correct if someone wishes to describe a woman performer as an actor. Simply annoys me, same thing as when some US movies/TV Series have female officers called "Sir".


     

    Just don't call Barbara Boxer "Ma'am"!

    /

    /

    /

  • Reply 18 of 46
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,569member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by daphreev View Post



    In her CNN interview, she said she recorded the voices in 2005. Apple did not use Siri until 2010. Makes me think of what Apple has in store for the next few years...

     

    To your point most people have no idea how long it takes to bring some product ideas to market especially when you are one of the first doing it. The track pad used on the laptops was in development at apple for over 5 yrs before it finally showed up in the first Powerbook.

  • Reply 19 of 46
    If you take apple's "Alex" voice,which was around for a couple of years before Siri, and you raise the pitch, you get the Siri voice. And conversely lowering the pitch of Siri's voice gives you the Alex voice.
    I don't think she is telling the truth. There is plenty of information about how the Alex voice came to be that is available by the way so the notion that all of this is very secretive is not accurate either.
  • Reply 20 of 46
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Maestro64 View Post

     

     

    To your point most people have no idea how long it takes to bring some product ideas to market especially when you are one of the first doing it. The track pad used on the laptops was in development at apple for over 5 yrs before it finally showed up in the first Powerbook.


     

    That was exactly the point!

Sign In or Register to comment.