Just how exactly does Siri learn a new language? In today’s interview with Reuters, Apple’s speech team head Alex Acero offered a behind-the-scenes look at how Siri is being taught new languages, a process that involves script-writing, capturing voices in multiple accents and dialects and using machine learning and artificial intelligence to build and evolve new language models over time. The system requires a team of people tasked with reading passages of manually transcribed text.
Before actually updating Siri, Apple first rolls out Dictation support for a new language.
Siri currently speaks 21 languages in 36 countries. By comparison, Microsoft’s Cortana supports eight languages tailored for thirteen countries, Google Assistant speaks four languages while Amazon’s Alexa works only in English and German.