Bilingual Frustrations, Still in 2013 (With Siri and Dragon Dictate) [en]

[fr] J'adore Siri, mais qu'est-ce que j'aimerais que les logiciels à "intelligence linguistique" puisse fonctionner en mode multilingue. En tant que bilingue, je trouve extrêmement frustrant de devoir (a) m'en tenir à une seule langue (b) me souvenir dans quelle langue j'ai "configuré" le logiciel en question!

Before leaving for India last year, my earbuds died, which I took as a sign to head out and upgrade my iPhone, something I was due for sooner or later (in Switzerland, your mobile phone is tied to your subscription, and you get a discounted phone every one or two years).

This means I got an iPhone 5, and was finally able to play about with Siri. I love Siri and voice commands/dictation in general. But as a bilingual person, I find it really sad that there is no voice command to switch languages. I do it many many times a day! Bilingual mode would be the best. Sure, it would double Siri’s vocabulary, but I’m sure with today’s technology and if Siri knows which two languages I’m speaking it’s doable.

Plus I read in a forum (link lost since then) that changing languages resets all the “learning” aspect of Siri? That really sucks and should qualify as a bug.

When will people making software that has language intelligence understand that there are bilingual people out there who juggle with two (ore more!) languages constantly throughout their day? I have exactly the same grief with Dragon Dictate.

Remember: most people are multilingual. And if you’re interested in bilingualism, you should be reading François Grosjean‘s “Life as a Bilingual” blog.

2nd Back to Blogging Challenge, day 3. Others: Nathalie Hamidi(@nathaliehamidi), Evren Kiefer (@evrenk), Claude Vedovini (@cvedovini), Luca Palli (@lpalli), Fleur Marty (@flaoua), Xavier Borderie (@xibe), Rémy Bigot (@remybigot),Jean-François Genoud (@jfgpro), Sally O’Brien (@swissingaround), Marie-Aude Koiransky (@mezgarne), Anne Pastori Zumbach (@anna_zap), Martin Röll (@martinroell), Gabriela Avram (@gabig58), Manuel Schmalstieg (@16kbit), Jan Van Mol (@janvanmol). Hashtag:#back2blog.

2 thoughts on “Bilingual Frustrations, Still in 2013 (With Siri and Dragon Dictate) [en]

  1. Oui, je me fais la même réflexion pour Dragon Dictate. En même temps, vu la qualité de mon accent anglais, je ne me risque pas trop… quant à l’allemand, OMG (bilingual) je me souviens quand je devais dicter mon numéro client à l’automate du call center, ça finissait toujours en “ich kann nicht verstanden” et double attente pour le conseiller.

  2. I agree, it’s frustrating to have to even have to think about which language I’ve set Siri to. I probably use it less because of that.

    I appreciate when software lets me be flexible with languages. At least I can set Siri into a different language that my iPhone’s interface, and I can have multiple keyboards and a regional setting and nothing needs to ‘match’. It shouldn’t be a big deal, but I’ve dealt with so much inflexible, monolingual software that it is.

    One tiny thing that brings me joy when I use it, is the ability of the Fantastical app I use to understand me even when I mix French and English in the same phrase (I know it is much easier to parse text than speech, but at least it doesn’t assume I’m monolingual).

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