Siri struggling with Japanese, beaten by local competition

Siri struggling with Japanese, beaten by local competition
Last week, Siri became smarter. That is because with the release of the iOS 5.1 update, Japanese was added to the list of languages that Apple's virtual assistant could speak. However, users are now discovering that Siri is not as fluent in Japanese as its local competitor Syabette Concier is

Syabette Concier is provided by local carrier NTT DoCoMo and serves the same purpose as Siri. After the iOS 5.1 update was released, someone decided to pit both voice-guided assistants against each other and find out which one was superior. What's more is that he was kind enough to post the showdown on YouTube for the whole world to see.

The video, which we have embedded below, is in Japanese, but here are some of the questions that Siri and Syabette had to provide responses to:

  • Is it cold outside? Both services provided weather information, although Siri was slightly slower.
  • I have a stomach ache. While Syabette provided directions to the nearest hospital, Siri was unable to understand the user's request. Siri was given another chance, but she failed again.
  • Give me a map for Chigasaki. Once again, Syabette scores as it is tailored for the Japanese market. Siri, on the other hand, is unable to provide directions outside of the U.S.
  • Look for videos of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. If you do not know who Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is, worry not. Siri does not know either. Syabette, however, is well familiar with the awkwardly-named Japanese pop singer.
  • I want to cook some curry. While Syabette responded with cooking recipes, Siri could not understand that the request had anything to do with cooking.
  • Wake me up tomorrow. This time Siri worked as expected and asked the user at what time he wanted the alarm to go off. Syabette automatically set an alarm for 10:00AM.

So, when it comes to Japanese, it looks like Siri still has a lot to learn, not to mention the various English accents that she has yet to master. Have you, guys, had any troubles with Siri? Or has she always responded to your input as expected? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments.

Related phones

iPhone 4s
  • Display 3.5" 640 x 960 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 0.3 MP VGA front
  • Processor Apple A5, Dual-core, 800 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB



1. CivicSi89

Posts: 349; Member since: Jul 23, 2011

(In my best asian accent) WHAAAAAAA???? Yea i actually do speak some Japanese. and i tried siri.. didnt work all that well. I wonder if i can convince them to make a Siri Ebonics Voice patch. My brother has one. and he wants to kill her for not understanding him. haha!

2. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

And Apple will once again reiterate it's still in Beta, as usual...

4. iamcc

Posts: 1319; Member since: Oct 07, 2011

Which it is...

6. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Exactly, but remember the iFans always knocking Android because of "half baked" betas. Well how about the "half baked" Siri? Not doing too well in English, not to mention Japanese!

9. Astreo

Posts: 105; Member since: May 05, 2011

Actually i rarely have any problems with siri not understanding me in english. cant knock the japanese since i dont speak it though.

3. nyamo

Posts: 274; Member since: Mar 19, 2011

lol at docomo. crazy japanese with everything needing to be moe. even the voice tries to sound cute.

5. SlimSoulja86

Posts: 660; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

They need Steve Jobs to tell them that they're saying Japanese the wrong way! #iFanWithDaDifference


Posts: 59; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

Where is the zoombie zulu language

8. SlimSoulja86

Posts: 660; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

Don't disrespect other ppl's languages! Dumb ass!

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.