Turns Out Siri Isn't Fluent In Japanese

Apple has the personal assistant Siri. DoCoMo, a major mobile service provider in Japan, has the Syabette Concier. With the Japanese version of Siri being recently introduced, one man on YouTube tested the two voice controlled assistants to see how they differ.

The man speaks out in Japanese to both Smarthphones at the same to see the reactions for each devices. He asks the following questions in the video.

"Is it cold outside?"

A simple question to start out the test. Both Siri and the Syabette Concier provide the man with weather forecasting in his area.

"I have a stomach ache."

Here, Siri could not understand what the man said whereas Syabette provided him with information on a nearby hospital. Siri was given two chances, but with the same result.

"Tell me my schedule for tomorrow."

Although both assistants provided with the schedules, Siri just put down whatever schedule it could find while Syabette only gave the specified schedule.

"Give me a map for Chigasaki."

This was inevitable, as being in the Beta version Siri can only provide for geographical information American users in the US. Originating from Japan, Syabette had the upper hand here.

"Look for videos of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu."

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (her name makes no sense in Japanese, too) is a teen singer in Japan known for her distinct name and flashy looks. Seems like Siri can only comprehend simple and universal Japanese. Another point for Syabette.

"Raw wheat, raw rice, and fresh eggs."

This one is a tongue twister in Japanese. Nama mugi nama gome nama tamago. If you couldn't say it, don't worry. Siri couldn't either.

"I want to cook some curry."

Syabette searched online for recipes to cook curry, but Siri could not decipher this sentence as a demand for recipes.

"Wake me up tomorrow."

Finally, Siri follows up with question asking when the man wants to be woken up, and Syabette simply sets an alarm for 10AM.

Aside from Siri's inabilities to interpret certain vague phrases or comprehend uncommon Japanese phrases, its loading time is far longer than the Syabette Concier. Not to mention how some reactions were very unnatural and rigid. It seems as though Siri is spread too thinly with so many languages to support at the same time.


    don't want to sound all negative here but shouldn't this sort of article be posted on Gizmodo, I mean they're the ones with all the Siri coverage and all. . .

    Or Geekologie!

    Who seriously romanises しゃべって as syabette and not shabette?
    Anyway, I wish I had surfing on my schedule tomorrow, too.

      Uh most people in Japan? You do realise this way to romanise Japanese is the way they are taught in Japan.

        Err, don't they teach both? As in they start with the old romanisation (without shi, fu tsu etc marked as exceptions) in grade 2 or 3 and then bump up to the standard in grade 4. Wapo-romaji Input accepts either regardless.

    Sure, but last I checked, this website was in English for English speakers


    That tongue twister is hopelessly confusing.

    "Nama mugi nama gome nama tamago"

    That doesn't sound like 早口言葉 to me, i.e., too easy to pronounce.

    Here is something more challenging:

    Tokyo tokkyo kyoka-kyoku kyou kyuukyo kyoka kyakka.
    (The Tokyo patent office hurriedly rejected the permission today.)

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now