With The iPhone, Globalism Takes A Hit

I got my new iPhone with voice command, yesterday and immediately noted a problem: The iPhone only speaks one language. I said, "Call Mayra [MAI-ra] Peralta." And it shot back, "Calling Flavia Oliveira." It didn't like the short R's; and didn't like the "ay" pronounced like "ai."

So much for a constantly connected, world-at-a-touch device creating more understanding in a unified globe, huh? Now, when it comes to the iPhone at least, my mom's name is MEE-rah peh-RAL-ta.

UPDATE: I e-mailed Natalie Harrison, who handle's public relations for the iPhone, and she pointed me to the full list of supported languages. Spanish — along with French, Italian and many more — is supported, but, understandably, you can only use one language at a time. (Spanglish isn't supported.)

I tried the Spanish setting on my phone and it picked up my mom's name beautifully. It also recognized Wright Bryan, the name of my fellow All Tech blogger. But the iPhone's pronunciation of his name when it said it back to me was completely undiscernable.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from