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Cortana won't sound like Cortana in the UK

by Mark Tyson on 25 July 2014, 11:00

Tags: Windows Phone, PC

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I waited patiently for the official release and OTA download of Windows Phone 8.1 for my Nokia Lumia 925 smartphone. It arrived last weekend. However here in the UK we were informed that while the core of Windows Phone 8.1 would all be present and correct, Cortana would be absent. After seeing all the fun Cortana conversation YouTube videos and how smart Cortana could be that was slightly disappointing…

Initially we didn't know the timescale of Cortana's laggardly appearance in Blighty but it was recently revealed, via Windows Phone UK's Twitter account, that Cortana would arrive in about a fortnight. So it's pegged for the beginning of August.

Some thought it was odd that Cortana would be delayed for the UK. However it was theorised that the delay had something to do with the local service information and other geographic differences that the assistant has to be aware of to be a useful assistant. However it now comes to light that perhaps time was also needed for other changes to Cortana: reports say, as confirmed by @ThatMicrosoftGuy, that the UK's Cortana will not be voiced by Jen Taylor and will have a British accent.

For Halo fans in the UK that might be a bit of a disappointment, after all would anyone in the UK have difficulty understanding Cortana's voice as it exists now on WP8.1 devices in the USA? As it has been confirmed no Jen Taylor, it also means that we don't get Ms Taylor doing her British accent impressions either. So it will be interesting to see if Microsoft has a big name actor for the UK's Cortana or it will be just an unknown voice artist. By all accounts we won't have long to wait to find out.

In other Cortana news: Microsoft's assistant will arrive in China on 30th July. Not surprisingly Chinese Cortana won't be voiced by Jen Taylor either.



HEXUS Forums :: 14 Comments

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Do you think Google will rebrand Google Now as a female avatar.

Any guesses on the name? Lexi would be cool… but I think I've read too much sci-fi fanfic.
Jowsey
Do you think Google will rebrand Google Now as a female avatar.
If you want a “female” avatar, rather than the Google microphone then surely there's stuff like Iris available in the Play store? That said, my Google Now speaks with a UK-female accent courtesy of SVOX and the “Victoria” voice pack.

As a counterpoint to the Halo-fans I'm sure that there's a lot of UK folks who'd not be happy with a US accent on their text-to-speech. Maybe Microsoft could get a “transatlantic” accent - although if they're looking for a recommendation then Kim Cattrall would get my vote. ;) Or if they're determined to have a sci-fi tie-in how about Amanda Tapping (Stargate SG1/Atlantis and Sanctuary).

EDIT: possible QOTW Hexus? “Who would you want to voice Cortana in the UK version of WindowsPhone8.1?”
Just for fun I'd like Daily Mail readers and the residents of Grantham to get a Maggie Thatcher-like voice.
Joanna Lumley ?

She used to do the AOL You have mail and Goodbye !
They should allow for downloadable voice packs, so record/TV/movie/media people can do recordings by a set of standardised rules. Who wouldn't want a version of:
Jazzer to be sarcastic to you
Morgan Freeman you'll get it to read everything
Sheldon (TBBT) to annoy the pants off you
Emma Watson just so you can say I got Emma Watson in my pocket
Emilia Clarke(GoT) that way it Cortana can be renamed to be Khaleesi
Rose Leslie(GoT) She does have a seductive voice
Sophie Turner(GoT) so she can tell you what a good little girl she would be.
And those of us that are fans Dr. Who, Batman, Spock, etc.

Microsoft should do this and allow them to sell these voices in the app/music store