Why Robots Can’t Write and Talk Funny

In an effort to make reading long form articles easier, a publisher is using a voice to text emulator. My friends have noted on my articles that the emulator has a British accent because the publication is British. When I write, I write in American English and then I convert it to British English. I also have a tool that helps me in the conversion process.

When I was in college, I lived in London for one semester. The English people would look at me strangely because they didn’t understand my American English. My favorite instance of a miscommunication happened when I walked into what I would call a coffee shop.  I asked the waitress, “May I have a cup of tea, please?”

The waitress kept looking at me. Then finally, after I said it three out three or four times, she said, “Oh you want a cupa’ tea.”

Every once in a while as a writer, I get in trouble for misspelling somebody’s name. Today I got in trouble for the talking robot. mispronouncing the name of a new automotive company. The PR person contacted me immediately, “it’s pronouncing our name wrong. Can you fix it?”

The talkbot does not have a way for us to program her to say the word correctly. The only option we have is for the option to be shut off.

My email to my editor stated, “Kill—voicing robot–per PR Rep!”

This is what happens when an automotive company creates a brand and a new word and spells it in an nontraditional way. Note to new brands– “Don’t assume pronunciation in the English language.”

I went back to the article and used the text-to-speech function in Microsoft Edge. The female more robot sounding voice spelled out the letter of the company name because the name is all caps.

At least it didn’t interpret the ALL CAPS AS SCREAMING!