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Boston Attorneys' Have Accents that iPhone's Siri Doesn't Understand

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. | Last updated on

Lawyers who are both advocates as well as Apple fanboys (or fangirls) likely got their hands on the new iPhone 4S when it was released.

The biggest draw to the newly-released model? The Siri voice recognition software.

Previously, we wrote about whether or not Siri would make a good personal assistant. But apparently there is a caveat: the software has difficulty recognizing certain individuals, especially those with a heavy accent.

Individuals have posted clips of themselves asking Siri questions in their native tongue. For many of the users, their native tongue is English.

Except sometimes their English language usage is a little different. For example, ABC News reported about one Boston native who posted a clip where he asked Siri "Can I pahk my caaar in Hah-vahd yahd? (Can I park my car in Harvard Yard?)" Siri's response? "I'm not aware of any appoints about 'haven't yet."

Not the most accurate of responses. Though, the software's limitations are relatively understandable. For Apple to configure Siri so it will understand all accents from everybody would likely be incredibly difficult.

Though it does mean that there are some who may eagerly open their iPhone 4S boxes only to find a piece of technology that they can't exactly use that well.

There is one word to describe that feeling, and that's "frustration."

This means that Boston attorneys with heavy accents might not be able to use Siri to its full capacity. Which means: no commanding the software to text for you while you drive. It means no telling it to look up the weather while you type out a brief. And, tragically, no asking Siri to find restaurant recommendations for you when you take clients out on the company dime.

Overall, Siri as an assistant could be useful. It would at least be fun. And of course, Apple says that as Siri gets wider use its voice recognition will continue to improve. Currently, the software can recognize English (United States, United Kingdom, Australia), French and German.

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