Apple TV’s Siri’s initial eight-country limit due to pronunciation training

“Despite Siri’s availability on iOS in over fifteen different languages and over thirty countries, the voice assistant’s support on the new Apple TV has remained limited to eight countries: Australia, Canada, Great Britain, United States, Germany, France, Spain, and Japan,” Mitchel Broussard reports for MacRumors.

“In a new report by MacPrime, the importance of ‘film and television content’ — including altering the phonetic pronunciation of movie titles and actor names — was given as the main reason behind this initially small Siri support on the new Apple TV,” Broussard reports. “Since the new Apple TV is fueled by an extensive Siri voice search functionality, Apple feared that releasing the feature to a more global audience, who may run into problems and become frustrated, would dilute its overall appeal.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: There’s a lot of detail to get right when it comes to pronunciation of titles and names. Better to have it done right than to shove it on the market half-baked (like some other parts of Apple TV currently).

The single worst feature of the new Apple TV – November 4, 2015
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Apple releases tvOS 9.1 beta 1 – November 3, 2015
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TouchArcade reviews new Apple TV: A discoverability nightmare, zany controls, and loads of potential – November 2, 2015
Terry White reviews Apple TV: Feels like an ‘unfinished’ product – November 2, 2015
ZDNet reviews Apple TV: A diamond in the rough – very rough – November 2, 2015
Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


  1. I wish they’d researched a bit more about naming it “Siri.” Since I speak Japanese, there’s no way I can say it in English pronunciation. Siri never understands when I call her name. Plus, Siri means hind end…

    1. Siri comes from the name of the company Apple bought that had the voice technology.

      Im sure no matter the name it is called someone would complain about what it sounds like in their language or that they can’t pronounce it properly.

      Perhaps each country(language) should have their name for their Apple voice assistant.

      1. Yes and I believe part of the agreement was that they retain the name so this one can’t early be put at Apple’s door. And as you say it will always be problems somewhere, indeed the Japanese have over the years been terrible at not seeing the implications of apparently innocent naming upon other languages, so a certain irony there.

        I think it would be a marketing disaster to have different names in different markets, something car companies gave up on years ago because of the expense, confusion and widespread negative effects of so doing.

    2. “Siri” is an homage to its origins, S.R.I – Stanford Research Institute. The original researchers who created the tech, left to write a real world application using some of the technology from that program, so they decided to call it Siri.

    3. orenokoto, your post made me wonder if anyone has performed a linguistics study on a method for developing acceptable product names for international use, especially now that voice recognition is gaining widespread use.

      If you survey the world’s languages, are their certain phonemes which should be avoided (e.g., “v” for Russians)? Are their groups of phonemes which closely match a word with negative meanings or associations (e.g., GPT is pronounced in French as “J’ai pété” or “I’ve farted”, the Chevy Nova was renamed for the South American market because “no va” means “it won’t go”, or other words/sounds like “Hitler” that are associated with terrible historical events)?

      There are many examples of botched names for international products (see for an interesting list), and many of them are quite humorous. I would think that someone would have performed a detailed analysis and/or developed a software tool that would enable a company to vet or select a name based on a set of filters (e.g., distribution: worldwide, Europe, SE Asia, etc.).

  2. I think it was a stupid choice to cut out Siri. We could have used the English version (or any of the the eight) until the Swedish is ready to launch, as we did with Siri on iOS.

    1. There does seem to have been very unfocused thinking around this launch which has been seen previously too. Someone needs to take control and in particular JI needs to show he can do it if he is truly in control of overall design. That was I thought to try to unify the overall experience not make it more flaky in parts.

  3. I do agree with MDN’s take but the criticism would be over the (by all reports) poor alternative input method to it, using the remote. Particularly so as there is no iPhone/iPad support to get around that poor interface at present. That seems to be the greets frustration awaiting users at present.

  4. No french for Canada… Very disappointing, ’cause Siri runs
    well on iPad in french. If I had known I would not have bought it. They’re nevertheless making it the major selling point on their Store french page. A little bit dishonest, unacceptable coming from Apple. Have to wait for an update now.

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