Siri learns seven new languages, plus English with new accents

Apple's virtual assistant Siri will soon add Russian, Danish, Dutch, Portuguese, Swedish, Thai, and Turkish to its multi-lingual vocabulary, according to reports.

Andy Wong
File - A customer configuring the fingerprint scanner technology built into iPhone 5S at an Apple store in Wangfujing shopping district in Beijing.

The latest update for iOS 8 will reportedly be diversifying more than its emojis.

According to reports, Siri will soon be able to understand seven additional languages with the release of the iOS 8.3 beta 2. The voice assistant feature will add Russian, Danish, Dutch, Portuguese, Swedish, Thai, and Turkish to its multi-lingual vocabulary, which is expected to be released later this year.

The most interesting language update will allow Siri to interpret English with an Indian accent. As India Today reports, Indian speakers were “forced to fake an American accent to get Siri to understand their voice commands.” While watching others attempt to fake an accent can be amusing, this is sure to come as a relief in one of the largest growing markets in the world.

The language (and accent) updates hint at Apple’s push to expand further into emerging markets like BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China). Siri understanding Portuguese could take Apple far in Brazil. And with booming sales in Asia, thanks to larger iPhone models, the tech giant obviously has its sites on markets outside of China, Japan, and South Korea by including Thai in the update.

Apple does not disclose how it chooses new languages for Siri, but market shares are likely to be the main influencer.

As ZDNet reports, the Netherlands has a relatively small population of 16.8 million residents, but saw a 7 percent increase in smart phone ownership in the forth quarter of last year. While Apple only holds 23 percent of the Dutch market, which is tiny compared to the 40 percent it holds in the US, that is a larger share than in Germany (16.9 percent), Italy (13.5 percent), and Spain (6.8 percent), which all have had their native tongues adapted to the feature.

As reported by 9to5Mac, Apple has been busy with updates. The iPhone maker intends to release iOS 8.2 sometime in March, iOS 8.3 as a public beta through its AppleSeed program in mid-March, iOS 8.4 and its new music streaming service during the summer, and iOS 9 in the fall. Got all that?

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