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Voice of Apple’s Siri speaks

Voice actor has fallen far from the tree
Thu Nov 10 2011, 13:44

THE MAN BEHIND THE VOICE of Apple's Siri voice-activated personal assistant in the UK has spoken about his part in creating the feature, despite being asked not to by the secretive fruit themed firm.

You already know the personal assistant as Siri but part of it, around 5,000 sentences, is actually Jon Briggs, a man who recorded his voice for Scansoft five years ago. Since then Scansoft acquired Nuance and took its name, then licensed its technology to Apple. As a result Briggs is now talking to people all over the world as Siri.

"I did a set of recordings with Scansoft five or six years ago, for text-to-speech services," said Briggs in an interview with the Telegraph.

"Five thousand sentences over three weeks, spoken in a very particular way and only reading flat and even. Then they go away and take all the phonics apart, because I have to be able to read anything you want, even if I've never actually recorded all those words."

Those words can be heard in a variety of places, such as GPS navigators and on the BBC's Weakest Link quiz show, according to the report. Packaged together as "Daniel", they are the only licensed male voice response recordings in the country.

Apple has asked Briggs not to comment on his role, telling him that Siri is more than just one person, but since he has never signed a contract with the cappuccino company, he does not seem to be particularly bothered.

Having only realised that it was him that was responding to questions from Apple users when he saw a demonstration on television, he is laid back about the whole affair.

"I got paid a decent sum by Scansoft," he said. "I love Apple's products and I think Siri is a game-changer." µ


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