Apps and Software

How to correct Siri's pronunciation

For when the digital assistant absolutely butchers your name.
By Sasha Lekach  on 
The Siri button illuminated on the iPhone screen.
Sometimes the all-knowing Siri just gets it so wrong. Credit: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

As hard as Siri may try, Apple's digital assistant just can't get the hang of some names.

As someone with a difficult-to-pronounce last name, I understand. But you can give Siri a helping hand.

If you already know that the iPhone's AI struggles with certain names you can go straight to their entry in your Contacts list. Or you can filter the request through Siri's voice commands: "Change how you pronounce [insert contact's name]."

Once in the Contacts app, click on the person's entry. From there:

  1. On the top right corner, click "Edit."

  2. Under the Notes section click "add field."

  3. From there you can add the phonetic spelling for the first and last name. (This is more for you to remember next time you bump into someone than it is for Siri.)

  4. For training Siri, click "pronunciation spelling" for either the first or last name. (You should use the phonetic spelling of the name for this field, as well.)

Screenshot of Siri suggesting to open the contacts app.
Say my name. Credit: Sasha Lekach / Mashable
Options within the "add field" section on a contact's listing.
Say it right. Credit: Sasha Lekach / Mashable

To train Siri to stop saying my name the way it's spelled (it usually comes out sounding like "Le-catch"), I typed in how it sounds: "Lek-itch." My first name Siri manages to leave unmangled, so I don't have to give it guidance.

Now that the pronunciation field is part of my contact entry I can change it directly from the "edit" page.

Screenshot of my contact card on an iPhone.
Say it with me now! Credit: Sasha Lekach / Mashable

It's not always glamorous, but spelling it out for Siri helps the digital assistant pronounce names closer to what they are.

More in Siri

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