Barbra Streisand: I called Tim Cook to get Siri to pronounce my name right

Technically Incorrect: In an NPR interview, the singer says she dislikes how Siri says her name and the Apple CEO agreed to make the change.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

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It takes just one call to make Siri get it right. Apparently.

Barbra Streisand/VEVO screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Let me tell you about pain.

Actually, let Barbra Streisand tell you.

The renowned singer and occasional actor gave an interview to NPR that was aired on Saturday.

In a surely unrehearsed moment, interviewer Scott Simon asked her about Siri.

Streisand revealed the extreme distress Apple's personal assistant had caused her.

"She pronounces my name wrong," she said.

Indeed, her second "s" comes out with a "z" sound when uttered by Siri's digital chords. Everyone who's anyone knows that her second "s" should be soft.

This was clearly deeply upsetting to the performer, so she took dramatic action.

"What did I do? I called the head of Apple, Tim Cook," she said. "And he delightfully agreed to have Siri change the pronunciation of my name finally with the next update on September 30."

Apple didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, but you can surely imagine the Apple CEO immediately walking out of a meeting with senior Chinese figures to take her call.

You, too, likely feel La Streisand's anguish. That an inanimate machine fails to pronounce your name is akin to Clint Eastwood not getting the right response from the chair he sometimes talks to.

Streisand is said to have diva tendencies. She insists that this isn't true. She has, in the past, described herself as "quite ordinary."

Dear Barbra, I'd like you to know that your Siri pain is intensely ordinary.

I've tried to teach Siri how to pronounce my last name over and over again.

She doesn't even get close. Her grasp of Polish diphthongs is akin to my local raccoons' grasp of foreign policy.

It's not as if she just gets one letter wrong.

When I dictate my name to her, she offers me two versions. Neither resembles the actual pronunciation. One, indeed, is like someone reading each letter individually after seven martinis and a Newcastle Brown Ale chaser.

Dear Barbra, could you pass me Tim's phone number. I need to do something about this, don't I?