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Google Are Working On A Scottish Accent Voice Recognition Project

The tech giant is seeking people with Scottish accents to record a set of phrases in the hope it will improve its speech recognition software.

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Most Scots know all too well the pain that comes with trying to use Siri, or other voice recognition software.

@thoughtland / Twitter

Siri was introduced for iPhone 4S in 2011, and people almost immediately noted that the voice recognition app was deeply confused by Scottish phrasing and dialect. The issue is so widespread that it has even sparked comedy sketches, like this scene where two Glaswegian guys get stuck in a voice-operated lift.

However, Google's equivalent might be about to get better at recognising Scottish accents, thanks to a callout spotted on Reddit's Edinburgh page.

Scott Barbour / Getty Images

A Google contractor from an international speech-recognition company posted on the subreddit on 2 August and said it was "recruiting to collect speech data for Google", including Google Chrome and Android's OK Google feature.

The post went on to give more detail about the kinds of phrases volunteers would be asked to read out.

reddit.com

The request has since been deleted, but a cached version of the page was still available at the time of writing.

It was titled "Looking for Scottish&British Accents [Remote Work] [Male/Female] [Android/PC] £9-40/hr" and said volunteers will be required to record various phrases like "Indy now" using the Google Chrome browser, that only Android phone and PC users were required, and that adults would be paid £27 for taking part.

The data collection is being coordinated by a speech recognition company called Appen, which didn't respond to BuzzFeed's request for comment.

google.co.uk

However, BuzzFeed understands that the samples are being collected as part of Google's constant and ongoing voice-improvement efforts around the world.

Appen is also recruiting children for the recording task, although they will need to provide parental consent and proof they're under 16.

Twitter: @appenglobal

The company, which has offices in San Francisco, Sydney, and Davao City in the Philippines, is offering more compensation to children (£30 as opposed to £27).

In short, things might be about to get much better for Scots who use Google voice search apps.

Twitter: @daftlimmy

Perhaps, if we're lucky, accurate search results like this won't be so much of a huge surprise to Scots in future.

Hilary Mitchell is the Scotland editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Edinburgh.

Contact Hilary Mitchell at hilary.mitchell@buzzfeed.com.

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