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How to make the iPod Shuffle speak a different language

Donald Bell shows you how to get the VoiceOver feature on the third-generation iPod Shuffle to speak in different languages for different songs.

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Donald Bell

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Making the iPod Shuffle speak a different language

The third-generation iPod Shuffle has a VoiceOver feature that can announce songs in a synthesized voice that speaks 13 different languages. By default, American users are treated to hearing the voice in English--but what if you want some of your songs announced in Turkish or Japanese?
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2 of 8 Donald Bell/CNET

Apple VoiceOver Kit

When you first connect the third-generation Apple iPod Shuffle to your computer, you'll see a prompt to download Apple's VoiceOver language kit. This kit adds all the necessary languages and voices to make the Shuffle's VoiceOver feature work, so go ahead and download it.
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VoiceOver settings

Once the VoiceOver language kit is downloaded, iTunes will pop up and show you the Summary page for your iPod. From here, you can turn the player's VoiceOver feature on and off and select the voice's default language.
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Thirteen languages

Presently, there are 13 languages to choose from, including English, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.
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Automatic language recognition

The default language you select doesn't always rule, though. iTunes is smart enough to override the default language if it thinks the artist or song title deserves to be announced in another language. This could happen if you have a thing for classical Italian music, or even if you have some contemporary songs that just happen to be made by foreign artists.
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Get info

To force the VoiceOver feature to speak the artist and title information of specific songs or albums in a particular language, select the offending songs in iTunes (hold down your keyboard's Select key for multiple songs), and select Get Info from the file menu or by right-clicking.
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7 of 8 Donald Bell/CNET

Changing the language

Under the Options tab, change the VoiceOver setting from automatic to English, or whatever language you prefer. If you want to play a joke on someone, this is a great chance to change all the VoiceOver cues to Japanese or Swedish.
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8 of 8 Donald Bell/CNET

Sync it up

After you're done adjusting the settings, just hit the sync button in iTunes and the new VoiceOver cues should sync right up to the Shuffle. If not, try unchecking the VoiceOver option from the summary pane, hitting apply, and then rechecking the box so that iTunes is forced to refresh the voice cues. If you're still stuck, an iPod firmware restore should work as a last resort.

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