Microsoft hints at more 'emotional', less robotic voice for Cortana in UK

Last week, Cortana launched in the United Kingdom and China, marking the first time that Microsoft's digital assistant has been officially supported outside of the United States. Only those who have installed the latest Windows Phone 8.1 Update can use Cortana in those new markets, and that update is currently only available for those on the Preview for Developers program

But for some who have installed the update, and who are now using Cortana in the UK, the experience hasn't been entirely pleasing. Cortana gets a different voice in the UK to the US version (which uses voice actress Jen Taylor - the 'real' Cortana from the Halo game franchise), and some users aren't entirely happy with her British replacement. 


Microsoft probably won't be making Cortana quite this emotional

Some have suggested that the UK voice sounds a bit flat and emotionless - one commenter suggested on Twitter that "she sounds kinda robotic". As WPCentral reports, Sandeep Paruchiri, a Cortana program manager at Microsoft, responded to that comment, giving a hint at improvements on the way: 

Exactly what that 'something' might be remains a mystery, but on the face of it, it sounds like Cortana's UK persona might be getting a welcome dose of emotion and feeling, to make the assistant's voice sound just a bit more natural. 

What do you think of Cortana's voice in the UK? Would you prefer to have the voice of the 'real' Cortana (i.e. Jen Taylor)? Or would you perhaps like to be able to choose from different options - maybe even a male voice? Let us know your thoughts below! 

Source: WPCentral

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24 Comments

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Pfft..Jen Taylor or nothing.

Or at least give Users the choice. A recent poll on WPCentral was pretty one-sided that people would prefer Jen.

They should get Joanna Lumley to do the UK voice. Instant win.

For Google Now I always switch to UK English because the voice sounds a lot more alive than the US version.

We need the option to have Cortana's real voice on non-US regions - I want that. Surely the response language/accent doesn't need to match my input language.

OMG THIS IS GREAT! Followed by disappointment with "WTH this isnt Jen Taylor" followed by me asking it the time, and it bringing back a BING search result for time......

Meh.

They should just make it do this:

You: What time is it?
Cortana: I don't know, why don't you look at the screen and read it yourself?

Enron said,
They should just make it do this:

You: What time is it?
Cortana: I don't know, why don't you look at the screen and read it yourself?

What if its in my pocket? Do you even headphones? It's not just time btw, it was an example of something pretty basic that Cortana decided it should turn into a search instead. It also seems to lack any understanding of context.

Me: Set my Alarm for 11:00
Siri: Ok, your Alarm is set for 11:00.
Me: Wait, make it 11:30.
Siri: Ok I changed it to 11:30.

If you try that with Cortana, you get two alarms set..... as I found out. It's just meh.

Joswin said,

Do you even headphones?

I don't even headphones.

Also, Cortana is a beta product. They are working on it and rolling out updates all the time. Why don't you contact MS instead of complaining about it here?

MikeChipshop said,
Sod it, just have the ability to download different voices like most good satnavs.
Brian Blessed FTW!

DIIIIIIIIVVVVVVEEEEE

I don't like my computers emotional. It's the best thing about them. Seriously who here likes Lt. Commander Data with his emotion chip installed?

it would be nice if cortana still caught what I was saying when I first installed dev preview cortana understood everything I said now it can only understand basic things like sending sms or opening apps

at long last!

Just please don't go the way AVAST did and insult more English by using a voice actor that thinks they are English because that's what Americans think we sound like... (Yes I have converted to the USA voice on AVAST because the UK one is so god dam bad)

o0MattE0o said,
at long last!

Just please don't go the way AVAST did and insult more English by using a voice actor that thinks they are English because that's what Americans think we sound like... (Yes I have converted to the USA voice on AVAST because the UK one is so god dam bad)

My mum has it on her laptop and it drives me nuts. "Avast virus database has been updated."

I think that maybe they rushed the UK beta out before being fully happy with it due to the constant shouting of 'we want it in the UK' - I was one of them.

We cant have it both ways folks, we cant scream and mither about release of a beta then when we get it start moaning about how its not perfect.....Its going to be improved I'm sure we all know this and the speed MS has been pushing out updates on all fronts lately gives me great confidence in the company (as opposed to the old MS).

I think you are right about this, clearly that they spent more time on the Chinese version, I thought they'd change some of her animations too specifically for the UK version.

Let's hope they won't rush windows threshold too :p

duddit2 said,
I think that maybe they rushed the UK beta out before being fully happy with it due to the constant shouting of 'we want it in the UK' - I was one of them.

We cant have it both ways folks, we cant scream and mither about release of a beta then when we get it start moaning about how its not perfect.....Its going to be improved I'm sure we all know this and the speed MS has been pushing out updates on all fronts lately gives me great confidence in the company (as opposed to the old MS).

Agreed, we shouldn't forget though that just like in the US Cortana is still very much a beta and had the robotic voice when it was first released there as well. With regards to updates for Cortana, they are all backend so nothing gets updated on the phone.

I think... anyone who uses phrases such as "pretty neat" and "kinda" and would like an 'emotional digital assistant' has no opinion on the matter! Jen Taylor is who to me? The current voice is OKish, very neutral. Maybe I'd vote for Hattie Hayridge.

Don't really understand why they couldn't just use Jen Taylors voice? I'm pretty sure many of us Brits don't have any problems understanding her accent.

I think it's more that they want to have a voice that can pull off local colloquialisms in a believable way