"Siri, that's not my name!"
Apple's personal assistant can create emails for you, set appointments, and find information on the web. Siri can look up what movies are playing or calculate exchange rates. But, if you have a name like mine, Siri often just can't pronounce it. I don’t mind Siri mangling my own moniker, but it tries my patience when I set up an appointment or read an email from someone else with a challenging name.
A new feature in iOS 7 lets you teach Siri how to pronounce a name. Whether it's your own or the names of friends, it's easy to tell Siri how a name should sound. Sort of. Remember, it's still a computer voice, and some names just won’t sound perfect.
1. Start with your own name
Say "Hi Siri." If Siri responds by cheerfully pronouncing your name like a Martian might, just say, "That's not how you pronounce my name." Siri will ask you to say your first name.
2. Speak slowly and clearly
Siri will listen to you, acknowledge what you’ve said, and then offer you three pronunciations to choose from. Tap the play button next to each one, and then tap Select for the one that's closest to your name.
If you're not happy with any of them, tap Tell Siri again and then start over, speaking more slowly.
3. Teach Siri your last name
Do the same for your last name. Choose the correct pronunciation from the choices Siri presents you. If you have an uncommon name like me, you may need to try this a couple of times.
4. Teach Siri other important names
Siri wraps up the training session by confirming its pronunciation of your name.
If it irks you to hear Siri's creative pronunciations of your friends' and colleagues' names, you can go through your contacts and correct the ones you use the most. Just tell Siri, “That’s not how you pronounce person's name.” Siri will lead you through the same process.
I couldn't get Siri to correct its pronunciation of place names. So, if you live in New Orleans, for instance, you'll just have to put up with hearing "New Ore-LEENS" instead of "New ORE-lins" for now.
5. Tweak your settings if necessary
Another thing that might help is to make sure Siri's Language setting matches your accent. Go to Settings > General > Siri, and then tap Language. I live in the United Kingdom, but since I'm American, I set the language in Siri's preferences to English (United States). However, I set my Region settings to reflect UK dates and times. (Tap General and then International).