Meet Susan Bennett, the Voice Actor Behind the Original Siri Voice

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Meet Susan Bennett, the voice actor whose work became the original voice of Siri—for the record, my internal jury is still out on Siri's new voices in iOS 7. In the video below, you can hear elements of Siri's speech; at the same time, you get the tiniest glimpse of the monumental effort it takes to turn recordings of nonsense strings of words into a synthesized voice, because Susan Bennett and Siri are not exact matches. As a voice actor paid by the hour, Ms. Bennett didn't know what she was being hired for by Nuance (the Dragon Speech and Dragon Dictate folks) in 2005. She didn't find out until until 2011—when Apple released the iPhone 4S and Siri—when "a colleague e-mailed me [about Siri] and said, 'Hey, we've been playing around with this new Apple phone. Isn't this you?'" CNN's companion article also has some interesting info.

Check It Out: Meet Susan Bennett, the Voice Actor Behind the Original Siri Voice

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4 Comments

Lee Dronick

I just asked Siri if she was Susan Bennett and she said “I can’t answer that.”

furbies

An unusual form of immortality.

Bryan Chaffin

Whoa…that’s pretty deep, furbies. Haven’t thought of it that way.

Of course, Apple has moved on to new voices, but still.

Lee, that’s funny. I prefer to think it’s a smart-ass response specific to the question, but it’s more likely a generic response for all such questions. I tried different iterations of that question and got “We were talking about you, not me,” which is a generic answer to other questions about Siri.

But still, funny. smile

iJack

“Of course, Apple has moved on to new voices, but still.”

You mean for Siri? Still sounds like her to me, albeit a little jerky.

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