Amazon Echo smart devices are said to have an Irish accent in Ireland. The move will affect hundreds of thousands of smart speakers and other tech devices here.
The company has spent months ensuring that localized “th” sounds, when activated, are distinct from those in the US or UK. Likewise, words ending in “ght” sound more like Dublin “sh” than British “t”.
Alongside the new accent, Amazon has started recognizing Irish phrases in response to requests like “Alexa, what’s up?” and “Alexa, who’s your husband?”
The new accent will initially only be available in a female voice.
“When customers told us they wanted an Irish-English language option for Alexa, we knew we faced a huge challenge as there are so many different and varied Irish accents,” said Dennis Stansbury, Amazon Alexa Country Manager for Ireland and Great Britain.
“Our team of linguists created a number of different accent variations and we tested them with internal and external native Irish speakers to help us define the final accent.”
Irish accents have been trending in the tech world in recent years.
Apple’s Siri has developed an Irish-English variant, while Marvel’s has it avenger films, the digital assistant’s voice used by Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man character has a female Irish accent.
The new Irish-English language option is available on Amazon’s Echo devices starting today.
The latest software update is required and the device location must be set to Ireland.
Smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo range have wormed their way into Irish kitchens
and bedrooms replacing radios and alarm clocks.
Though theories about such devices inadvertently eavesdropping on private conversations are largely dismissed, some government officials remain cautious about discussing confidential information around them.
An IT policy guide recently advised Oireachtas employees not to discuss work information near smart speakers at home.
https://www.independent.ie/business/technology/news/any-craic-alexa-amazon-to-bring-in-an-irish-accent-42150798.html “Something crazy, Alexa?” – Amazon to bring in an Irish accent