Actor on being the sound of Siri
By Shoshana Kedem As the first man to voice the Siri function used by millions of iPhone users, he’s used to the question: “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”
But for Jon Briggs, it’s more than just a bit of fame.
He said that while he’s pleased to be part of Apple revolutionising the smartphone, his voice (and three women Siris) particularly helped those who are blind or have impaired eyesight.
Briggs, who is on a working trip to Dubai, sat down with 7DAYS to talk about becoming one of the most recognised voices around.
“I love the fact that Siri was the first, and I was the first, but everything’s going to have a voice fairly soon, all technology, and that will be the biggest breakthrough,” he said.
Briggs, also known for voicing BBC’s The Weakest Link, was the British Siri, while fellow voice actors Susan Bennett, the voice of Delta Airlines, was America’s and Karen Jacobsen, known for voicing GPS devices, was Australian Siri.
Briggs said although he is still recognised by iPhone users, he is better known as ‘Stan the announcer from The Weakest Link’.
Apple has since replaced them, but their original voices can still be downloaded.
“Apple didn’t like me talking about it and the four of us who were the original voices got identified, so that’s why they changed us”, said Briggs. “In case we turned out to be mad axe murderers”, he jokes.
Originally, he recorded 5,000 sentences for US company Scansoft, without knowing what the project was for. And he was sur- prised when his recording was licensed by Apple. He said the best part was opening the world of technology to those who need it most. He said: “People who are visually impaired are disenfranchised from using the technology that you and I use on a daily basis - this is why I like being Siri.” He realised he was doing something worthwhile on receiving an email from a blind user thanking him for his “crystal clear” voice, which helped him to write music. Briggs is in Dubai to work on a new venture called Little Voice, which teaches kids to maximise their speech from a young age. “We’re giving them those skills now as they're vital.”
TALK THE TALK: Briggs’ voice is known to millions of iPhone users