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Amazon to bring in an Irish accent for Alexa Echo smart device

As well as the new accent, Amazon has started to recognise Irish phrases that will respond to queries such as “Alexa, what’s the craic?” and: “Alexa, who’s your man?”

The new Irish accent will only be available in a female voice for now

Adrian WecklerIndependent.ie

Amazon Echo smart devices are to have an Irish accent in Ireland. The move will affect hundreds of thousands of smart speakers and other tech gadgets here.

The company has spent months making sure that when activated, localised “th” sounds differ from those in the US or Britain. Similarly, words ending with “ght” will sound more like the Dublin “sh” than the British “t”.

As well as the new accent, Amazon has started to recognise Irish phrases that will respond to queries such as “Alexa, what’s the craic?” and: “Alexa, who’s your man?”

The new accent will only be available in a female voice, for now.

“When customers told us they wanted an Irish-English voice option for Alexa, we knew we had a big challenge on our hands as there’s so many different and distinct Irish accents,” said Dennis Stansbury, Amazon’s Alexa country manager for Ireland and the UK.

“Our team of language experts created a number of different accent variations and we tested them with internal and external Irish natives to help us define the final accent.”

Irish accents have become trendy in the tech world in recent years.

Apple’s Siri developed an Irish-English variant, while in Marvel’s Avengersmovies the digital assistant voice used by Robert Downey Jr’s Ironman character has a female Irish accent.

The new Irish-English voice option is available from today on Amazon’s Echo devices.

The latest software update is needed and the device’s location needs to be set to Ireland.

Smart speakers such as Amazon’s Echo range have crept into Irish kitchens and bedrooms as a replacement for radios and alarm clocks.

However, despite theories about such devices unwantedly listening in to private conversations being mostly dismissed, some government officials remain cautious about discussing sensitive information around them.

An IT policy guide document recently advised Oireachtas staff not to discuss work information around smart speakers at home.

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