TiPb Video: iPhone 3G S Multilingual Voice Control Challenge

Throwing any last remnants of fragile self-consciousness to the four winds, I break out my subpar French and very rusty Italian and Mandarin Chinese (Aiya!) and see if, even under the onslaught of terrible accents, Apple's new iPhone 3G S Voice Control can still do as it's told.

Note: the accent appears to be key. If you say a command in French, you can't pronounce the following name English-style and expect good results (though Chinese seemed much more English name tolerant). However, I tried some (poorly rendered) regional accents at the very end and that didn't seem to be a problem.

If you're multilingual, or have a colorful twang to your speech, give it a try and let us know how Voice Control works for you!

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

26 Comments
  • Video has been removed by user.
  • Why do the YouTube links on this site never work? And what happened to the iPhone version of the site?
  • Why has it been removed.
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=od0xBzV-HUk
    here it is
  • Fixed, sorry!
  • Which version of iTunes must be installed so as not to cause a problem with quickpwn 3.0 (jailbreak) once it is released?
  • LOL, didn't know he could speak so many languages.
    If people are having trouble with the recognition, I'm sure Apple will hear about it and get a fix going on, everything looks good right now though.
  • That was a pretty awesome test!
    @Rene Are there a large number of contacts in your phone?
    It would be interesting to do a voice control test with a large contact list to see if there are any issues...with my previous smartphone (Treo 650), voice commands were thwarted by similar sounding names in my contact list. I think this may have been one of the issues with the earlier version of the Google app, too.
    Commands like "call" and "play" are going to be much easier, even with accents because those commands are one of very few options preset on the iPhone. But what if you say, "Call Evenson"? Historically you would get "Stevenson" or even "Stephanie" as a contact. I don't know if there would be the same issue for a large music library, but contacts have traditionally been susceptible.
  • It distinguished Rene Ritchie from Ronnie Ritchie (my uncle) with no problem. If it gets confused, it tells you there are multiple possibilities and asks you to choose. Should have included that in the video, sorry :(
  • Is that a frontfacing camera on your iPhone? Or is that just one of those three sensors? Just curious :)
  • It will also recognize Klingon... :)
  • Immmmmpressive.
  • I wonder....
    what happens.....
    when you have ...
    halting speech patterns ....
    like me.
  • Yeah, okay, that was freakin cool!
  • Very impressive Rene!
  • No Polish? ;)
  • Why is this not in the 3g?
  • @BarackObama
    You might destroy the Republican Party and win a few elections.
  • Wow the accents were absolutely ridiculous at the end. HAHAHA..
    And hey I have the mirror screen protector too!
    and hey WTF is that light beside the speaker...!?!
  • @Truth
    Your display name serves you no justice
    The ending was funny. " Cawl Dee-der bawn " ^_^
  • @ Omari James
    The fanboy returns. Steve is waiting for his massage.
  • @BarrackObama
    Better than a President not knowing how to pronounce common English words or what they mean... cough BUSH! cough
  • no Arabic ? :(
  • Chinese (Cantonese)
    Chinese (China)
    Chinese (Taiwan)
    Dutch
    English (UK)
    English (U.S.)
    Finnish
    French (Canada)
    French (France)
    German
    Italian
    Japanese
    Korean
    Norwegian
    Polish
    Portuguese (Brazil)
    Portuguese (Portugal)
    Russian
    Spanish (Mexico)
    Spanish (Spain)
    Swedish
  • I'm from Northern Ireland and the Voice Control feature is terrible at picking up my accent (or it might just be my terrible accent). Pity you couldn't teach the phone to recognise your voice like some Nokias.
  • I have tried for days the new Voice Control feauture in my iPhone 3GS and it's terrible. The success rate was less than 20% in catching the correct name. It was very frustrating experience. This new function is a yoke! Apple needs to learn from Nokia, Motorola or others in voice control.