Cortana for Windows Phone looks set to support 15 languages at launch

With all the information being revealed by the recently leaked Windows Phone 8.1 SDK, we're starting to get a much better idea of how the updated mobile OS will look when it launches in a couple of months. We got a hint, for example, of some of the capabilities of the new Cortana voice control experience that will feature in Windows Phone 8.1, thanks to icons extracted from the SDK

It was suggested last year that Cortana would launch in the United States first, with English language support only, with other regions having to wait for the feature to eventually become available. However, according to a leak posted on Polish site WPworld.pl, Cortana will support fifteen languages and regional variations at launch: 

  • Chinese - China
  • Chinese - Hong Kong
  • Chinese - Taiwan
  • English - UK
  • English - US
  • English - India
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Polish
  • Portuguese - Brazil
  • Russian
  • Spanish - Spain
  • Spanish - Mexico

The same report claims - after having tested the Polish language pack - that each of these variants includes complete support for all commands, apparently indicating that each of these fifteen languages/regions will include a full range of Cortana features at launch. 

Of course, all of this stuff remains somewhat ambiguous, and will continue to be until Microsoft finally announces Windows Phone 8.1 at its BUILD conference in April - but we'll be still be hoping to gain a few more insights through leaks and revelations before then. 

Source: WPWorld.pl via WMPowerUser | image via Microsoft

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Siri still does not understand Brazilian portuguese, Windows phone will do the honors. I guess i change from Iphone to Lumia at right time.

And yet again Microsoft has missed a chance to get to a market before the competition. How about actually supporting all features of Windows Phone for all markets that phones are sold in? In Denmark, we don't have all the Bing features - and we won't have Cortana either, by the looks of things...

arknu said,
And yet again Microsoft has missed a chance to get to a market before the competition. How about actually supporting all features of Windows Phone for all markets that phones are sold in? In Denmark, we don't have all the Bing features - and we won't have Cortana either, by the looks of things...

Does Siri support Danish yet? I know it didn't for the first couple of years.

Are iPhones not used in Denmark because they are fully Bing powered now?

This is not in Microsoft's habits to release internationally.
If they want to make a splash with it, this is the way to go though.
Can't wait. Just can't wait.

TheCyberKnight said,
This is not in Microsoft's habits to release internationally.
If they want to make a splash with it, this is the way to go though.
Can't wait. Just can't wait.

Why do people have this perception? Because of licensing issues with Xbox Video/Music? Freaking iTunes even has licensing issues outside the US - some of iTunes features just got turned on in Australia this past week.

Windows supports over 7000 languages.

Windows Phone fully supports close to a 100 languages, and dwarfs both the iPhone and even the 'open source' language support of Android.

If you want to use a computing device in a truly obscure language, you are going to need Windows. -Which is by definition, very much an 'international' product.

Because history showed that many Microsoft product are released for US only or originally.
Take the XBOX One, the TV feature (with OneGuide) is only for the USA even if, for example, Canada had full support for Media Center and its integrated TV guide for years.
And it was the same for the Zune player.

But you're right. It should be noted that this applies for consumer electronics, not Windows.

So reports of Jen Taylor doing the voice must be dreaming?

She can't be in a studio recording every word in every known language now can she.

By the sounds of it, it's Cortana in name only.

Walrush said,
So reports of Jen Taylor doing the voice must be dreaming?

She can't be in a studio recording every word in every known language now can she.

By the sounds of it, it's Cortana in name only.


No, but she can do the english version

True, but i'm wondering how from a technical standpoint this would be possible.

How does Cortana handle place names for example that wouldn't have been recorded. I'll just assume there's some sort of magic-sauce involved i don't understand, although i'm sure someone will.

i am so excited about the upcoming wp 8.1 update, especially for cortana.

it's definitely going to be a huge build this year for microsoft, that's for sure.

My mom uses it extensively due to bad arthritis in her hands. This update will only make things even easier and convenient for her.

mulligan2k said,
Who out there actually uses voice input on their phone? No one i know uses it, other than for the novelty value

you'd be surprised by how many people actually use these sort of things.

i never expected to use kinect v2 for my x1 that much, but i practically use it everyday. if cortana really is that useful and efficient, I'm sure I'll use it as well.

mulligan2k said,
Who out there actually uses voice input on their phone? No one i know uses it, other than for the novelty value

I see it used a lot on WP because of it ability to do handsfree texting and responding to text messages.

"Incoming text message from Joe Smoo, you can Read It or Ignore"
blah blah blah
"You can say Reply or I'm Done"
etc.

On WP devices with the high end microphones, you can literally hear and respond to text messages on a phone that is 30 feet away without even raising your voice.

For full time Bluetooth users it is also used quite a bit on many devices, as most newer Bluetooth have their own additional voice commands to answer, etc.


When the iPhone first came out, Apple told the world people didn't talk into their phones, so it didn't have Bluetooth and its speaker phone was trash. Sadly this perception has tainted the use of voice even for Apple after they told the world voice and Siri were 'magical'.

In a crowd or group, voice is usually worthless. However when we are with family or alone in our cars and homes it can work rather well - especially if it is a Nokia device that is able to remove background noise better than other phone designs.

mulligan2k said,
Who out there actually uses voice input on their phone? No one i know uses it, other than for the novelty value

I use it in my car. My WP speaks text messages to me, and I can reply back... all very easily, all without taking my eyes off the road or hands off the wheel.

Burnz316 said,
hopefully this will be available in Australia too..

probably under UK English.. Hope not though! We don't sound Scouse or Manc or Geordie or country bumpkin

maybe similar to Cockney at times though!

ZipZapRap said,

probably under UK English.. Hope not though! We don't sound Scouse or Manc or Geordie or country bumpkin

maybe similar to Cockney at times though!

Still infinitely better than American.

No indications if you can choose different voices, or even male/female.

I will say though, that if they pull of THAT broad of language support at launch, it'll be pretty impressive.

I mean, English in the USA is difficult enough (they kind of need "New York", "Boston", "Atlanta", "Minnesota", and a bunch of other variants, I'd think :-)

I wonder if all these features will be enabled on existing phones, or if like iPhones, you'll need new hardware to get EVERYTHING...

You probably won't need any new hardware, since Cortana is just a way more advanced version of TellMe which works fine on all Windows Phone devices.

pmbAustin said,

I wonder if all these features will be enabled on existing phones, or if like iPhones, you'll need new hardware to get EVERYTHING...

The only reason you needed new hardware for Siri is because Apple wanted your money. Microsoft already said that 8.1 will work on all existing phones.

stevan said,
I want David Attenboroughs voice.

You'd miss your turning by the time David has said "In half a mile.... Turn left"

I imagine that uif they get the voice actress we all want for this then only the English pack will sound like the 'real' Cortana. So I don't mind that my native language isn't included. I just hope they don't disable Cortana in my country simply because it's not optimized/localized.

Ronnet said,
I imagine that uif they get the voice actress we all want for this then only the English pack will sound like the 'real' Cortana. So I don't mind that my native language isn't included. I just hope they don't disable Cortana in my country simply because it's not optimized/localized.

Keep in mind that Microsoft has demoed technology that translates spoken language into another language, in your voice... This might be a good use for that...

According to the leaked SDK, you can even change her name to something else. And like Siri, tell her what name she should address you with.

M_Lyons10 said,

Keep in mind that Microsoft has demoed technology that translates spoken language into another language, in your voice... This might be a good use for that...

In that case.. how dare you Microsoft! Letting us wait again just like with the XBone!

If this is the case it's a solid start and would explain why it's slipped into 2014 when it was originally expected to come with Windows 8.1 or a bit after.

Excellent!!! And people were fearful that it would be US only. I knew it wouldn't be, because this is a major feature that will be built into all of their main products, so it's important they have international testing done with customers.

M_Lyons10 said,

Development. Takes. Time.

the WP division only have a couple of poor devs without motivation. Meanwhile apple and google... they have 1000+ developers working full time on their OSs (and well paid).

WinRT said,

the WP division only have a couple of poor devs without motivation. Meanwhile apple and google... they have 1000+ developers working full time on their OSs (and well paid).

Ahh, that must explain the stellar amount of innovation they've shown recently... /s

TCLN Ryster said,

Ahh, that must explain the stellar amount of innovation they've shown recently... /s

If Athens cries but Sparta doesn't laugh.... It took WP almost three years to achieve a, almost, parity with WM functionalities......

Fritzly said,

If Athens cries but Sparta doesn't laugh.... It took WP almost three years to achieve a, almost, parity with WM functionalities......

WP May have taken 3 years to cover most of the features from WM, it also now does a lot more than WM ever did. MS is heading towards a common app store between Windows and Windows Phone. WM didn't run the NT kernel so never would have been able to do the things WP can now do.

Windows 98 or Millenium, which I ran with no issues whatsoever, were not NT as well but once XP, which replace them as " consumer" OS, came out there was no missing functionalities compared to the older ones. Fact is when MS dropped WM the company threw the baby with the dirty water.

Fritzly said,
Windows 98 or Millenium, which I ran with no issues whatsoever, were not NT as well but once XP, which replace them as " consumer" OS, came out there was no missing functionalities compared to the older ones. Fact is when MS dropped WM the company threw the baby with the dirty water.


So let's ignore the fact that 9x and NT had already been developed in parallel for years before that. Hmmm... And they still shared a lot despite the different kernel, for example the same runtime support and UI.

Your comparison is invalid.

Can I make my Cortana speak to me in UK English if I'm in the US? I have my GPS set to UK English so it says things like motorway. It makes me feel important.

Enron said,
Can I make my Cortana speak to me in UK English if I'm in the US? I have my GPS set to UK English so it says things like motorway. It makes me feel important.

I guess, and hope, so. I am in the US as well and the language of my 920 is set to UK English. My phone says petroleum not gas....

Enron said,
Can I make my Cortana speak to me in UK English if I'm in the US? I have my GPS set to UK English so it says things like motorway. It makes me feel important.

HAHA, I hope so. I've always done that with my GPS too...

Enron said,
Can I make my Cortana speak to me in UK English if I'm in the US? I have my GPS set to UK English so it says things like motorway. It makes me feel important.

Lol I'm British and have my Google Maps voice set to English US because she sounds cuter.

McKay said,

Lol I'm British and have my Google Maps voice set to English US because she sounds cuter.


You need to get laid