Apple has posted listings on its jobs page for “Siri Writer/Editor” in Japanese and Chinese, indicating that the company will ramp up its efforts to improve the service in East Asia.
According to the listings, the company is looking for candidates who are native speakers of Japanese or Chinese, with “current and direct exposure to Chinese culture over a sustained time period.” The introductory briefing reads:
We’re looking for a creative individual who is also a native speaker of Mainland Chinese to help us evolve and enrich Siri, Apple’s virtual personal assistant, for our Chinese market. The ideal candidate is someone who is keenly aware of Chinese culture, loves language, and has the writing ability needed to craft and customize culturally appropriate dialog for China.
In English-speaking regions, Siri can hold its own in a theological debate, but in Asia it’s borderline bloatware. Here in Taiwan, Siri can perform basic functions like open apps, search Wikipedia, and call friends. But it doesn’t have access to local directories, and when users try to engage Siri in conversation, it usually hits a wall and gets confused quickly. My colleagues in mainland China, meanwhile, report that Siri can pinpoint the nearest Starbucks when prompted in English, but not when prompted in Chinese.
Apple’s job description states that it hopes to find a candidate who can “identify opportunities for cultural enhancements” and “help evolve Siri as a distinct, recognizable character.” Maybe in a year’s time, Chinese Apple users will have the chance to wax poetic with Siri over the The Art of War.
(Editing by Paul Bischoff)