Speak in your own voice with clever Ford in-car tech

A minor bug-bear for us Brits can be the fact that we have to force technology to speak to us in proper English. If you use Word, you’ll need to fiddle around to switch it to “English UK” and we have to put up with devices called “Honor” (instead of “Honour”) and phones that want to go into something called “Airplane mode” instead of “Aeroplane mode”. Aggh!

Speak in your own voice with clever Ford in car tech

Don’t even get me started on flavour, humour, labour, centre, litre, lustre, organise, realise, recognise, colour, catalogue, carburettor, encyclopaedia, aluminium or orientated. Yes, orientated. That’s how it’s supposed to be done son.

Let’s not go on about how we spell it “thermometer” but measure a “metre”. We’re all a bit screwed up. Don’t mention “virtualization” either, or the fact that I work with “datacenters” all day. Yes, we have adopted the American “program” for computer code but still use “programme” for TV shows. We’re special, and that’s that.

However, it gets worse, because when I dare to use voice-recognition technology, I open my mouth and this comes out..

(More here)

The result is a confused computer, wondering what the heck I’m trying to blurt out. Sure, speech recognition is getting a bit better, but you can sometimes find yourself speaking in a mock “posh English” voice or some strange mid-Atlantic twang to get things working. On my last car I had to speak to the Bluetooth kit in a very strange way to get it working, so it’s good to see that Ford have come up with an in-car system that can actually understand the big range of accents here in the UK.

Here someone tried a variety of .. umm.. accents (some are a bit iffy, but it shows that the Ford Voice-Acivated SYNC system works) to test it out..


The system lets you navigate, play music and make calls. It can understand 17 different languages and, after saying just a few words, your local accent will be remembered. Here in the UK they recorded people of all ages and from various different areas to create a system that actually works. Accents for other countries – such as Germany – are also in there, so it should stop frustrated drivers shouting at their car just to make a call.

Full details below. We’ve asked Ford to loan us a Focus ST or a Focus RS500 to “test” for a few weeks but they’ve suddenly gone all quiet. Still, at least they’ve not owned up to fudging lots of emissions tests and deceiving millions of customers, eh VW ???

Ooohh topical. See what I did there? 🙂

Full details below..