iPhone fails to understand accents

iPhone fails to understand accents

Seasonal scene somewhere in Scottish theatre land:

“Whit did ye get her fir Christmas?”

“Ah firgoat.”

“Ye firgoat? Aw, did she gie ye hell?”

“Eh?”

“Well ye said ye firgoat”

“Naw, ah fir goat.”

And so the pantomime joke continues, for as long as the colourfully clad dames can draw it out. Eventually the smaller, fatter ugly sister will understand that her taller, scrawnier stage sibling has given a present of a fur coat. But the confusion inevitably won’t end there. “Whit fir?” The answer: “Fir tae keep her warm.” Obviously.

Oh, they’re funny things, vowels. Well, funny until we have to deal with speech recognition technology – as complaints about a new iPhone application’s inability to recognise British accents have highlighted.

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Katia Reed
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