Posted by: Andrea Day | October 21, 2011

Male v’s female voice – Now Apple gets involved

Really interesting article in the Guardian this week discussing the Apple’s default choice for using a female voice in the US for Siri and a male voice in the UK.

Although Apple haven’t commented, it is thought that the long and short of it is; American’s are in a hurry and it is easier to hear a high pitched female voice, the British like to be told what to do with someone with authority – typically, a male voice.

Voices for traffic bulletins in the UK are very often female.  This is probably just because in the main, breakfast jocks are male and more thought is given to the balance of the genders on air, than actually delivering the information.

It would be great for there to be consideration at who is best at the job, rather than the gender behind the voice.

Prejudices behind our digital voices | Life and style | The Guardian.



  1. The BBC no longer appears to choose announcers/presenters for the unique quality of their voices and their articulation skills. Professional speakers on radio should be as talented as Premier League footballers, top surgeons etc. They should be the best of the best in terms of diction, enunciation, articulation and breathing. They should be trained professionals; far better at what they do than we are.Sadly, more and more often they are not.
    For many of them, it’s quite hard to work out exactly why they have the job at all.
    Contrast Radio 2’s Lynn Bowles with Sally Boazman; Lynn has a beautifully modulated voice with total control over dynamics. Sally can’t get her words out without drawing rasping, highly audible breaths. Simply poor unprofessional technique. And the female DJs – Anne Nightingale and others – compare very badly in terms of controlled clarity with the likes of Ken Bruce and Steve Wright. (You’ll see from the inclusion of Ken Bruce that this is not a plea for a revival of accent free Received Pronunciation.)
    And BBC TV announcers seem to be even less likely to be chosen for their vocal skills.
    It’s like Chelsea saying anyone can be a footballer when we all know they can’t.
    The professional spoken voice on the radio should be trained to be as compelling as a professional singer’s. They should be so distinctive as to make you want to listen to them. As it is, most females and a lot of male announcers simply make me change channels as soon as they start speaking.

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