As part of the localization, voice assistants, Apple is the undisputed leader. Thursday edition of Reuters published an article which refers to the effort made by the Cupertino company in that direction. In order to “train” voice assistant new languages, Apple is spending huge resources and it is the knowledge of many languages is the main advantage of Siri over the competition.
At first glance it seems that Apple has lost leadership in the field of virtual assistants, and Amazon, Google and Microsoft on the contrary has made good progress.
However, this only applies to the American market. A large share of smartphone sales still accounted for the European market, and that outside US, Siri outperforms Google Assistant and other assistants. Microsoft claims on the localization of Cortana running 29, Google and Amazon promise to add support for new languages “in the near future.” But Siri already supports 21 languages and localized in 36 countries. For comparison Cortana “knows” only 8 languages, Google Assistant – 4, Amazon Alexa — 2.
“Apple when introducing a new language attracts people for pronunciation of phrases in various dialects and accents, which then manually transcribed, with the result that the computer has a clear text for learning, says Alex Acero. Apple also captures a range of sounds. How to build a language model that attempts to predict the sequence of words. Then Apple rolls out a “dictation mode”, which translates text to speech in a new language. When users use dictation, Apple captures a small percentage of audio recordings anonymously. These records along with background noise and pronunciation shortcomings are transcribed by real people, which allows to improve recognition accuracy and to reduce by half the percentage of errors”.
After we gather the necessary amount of data, Apple starts recording Siri answers to the most common questions. Then a voice assistant continues to get updates every two weeks.
As stated by Charles Jolley, the Creator of the assistant Oslo, a limitation of Apple’s approach to developing a virtual assistant may be an insufficient number of employees. “You can’t hire enough workers to create a system for each language. Responses need to be synthesized. Otherwise it will take years.”
But it’s something to work in the company of Viv – the creators of the voice assistant Siri. “Viv was created specially to solve problems of scale intelligent assistants, – commented on the article Dag Kittlaus, CEO and co-founder of the Viv platform, which was purchased by Samsung last year. The only way to surpass the limited functionality of today’s assistants – to make the system open and allow people to learn”.
Viv is the technology that will underpin the Bixby, the new voice assistant Samsung. According to rumors, it will be submitted along with the Galaxy S8 at the end of March.