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Teaching Alexa to speak Hiberno-English

Alexa first launched in Ireland in 2018. But it launched with an English personality and it seemed to not understand some things that Irish customers asked it. That’s because there’s a big difference between British-English and Hiberno-English. Our slang, our turns of phrase, our unusual syntax are all part of what makes us Irish. 

Amazon Alexa came to me to solve the problem. As they worked on the getting the right ‘newsreader neutral’ Irish voice, I worked on what Alexa should say and what it should know.  

We launched it in Nov 2022 and now hundreds of thousands of Amazon Echo owners in Ireland can ask Alexa things like: 

•    “Alexa, what's the craic?”
•    “Alexa, what's the best Irish film ever?”
•    “Alexa, do you have notions?”
•    “Alexa, who is your man?”
•    “Alexa, who is your one?”


I also weeded out content that was too British-centric (“Alexa, fancy a cheeky Nados?”), all the while staying mindful that the feature may be launched in Northern Ireland in the future and the fun answers have to work for all communities. 


The press seemed to love the Irish-centric language, questions and answers too. 

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