Ford's SYNC Voice-Control System To Learn 19 Total Languages By 2012

We have no idea how to say "awesome" in Russian, Japanese or French, but your SYNC system probably will in due time. It's a little like The Matrix, but with your car in place of Neo. Ford has just announced that their SYNC system will expand its vocabulary from three to 19 languages, with the new tongues to be available first in Europe in 2012 with introduction in the Ford Focus. What's crazy about this is that SYNC is a voice-controlled system. That means that SYNC will have to understand and report in 19 languages -- that definitely wasn't easy to code.

With the additional 16 vernaculars, Ford will offer voice recognition capability, powered by Nuance Communications, in more languages than any other automaker offering voice control. Of course, we suspect OnStar and the like are right behind, but good on Ford for pushing progress. Ford leverages significant investments made by Nuance to support the broad dialect coverage required in larger regions such as the United States. Additionally, regions such as Europe present unique challenges, in part because of the proximity of different countries and the resulting need for multilingual solutions.

For the customer, that means SYNC can recognize 10,000 voice commands in any one of the available 19 languages, and can cope with variances in accents, vocabulary and local dialects. If a German customer, for example, is driving in Italy, the system can provide directions in German but will use the correct Italian pronunciation for street names. Within each international market, a unique set of abbreviations for text messaging also has been identified. For example, “cvd,” short for “Ci vediamo dopo,” was added for SYNC to read aloud, which basically means “See you later” in Italian. As with many SYNC advancements over the years, the expanded language capabilities will be done via a software update. There's no indication when the update will be available for older/other models, but hopefully it'll be soon. The full (new) list of supported languages is below.

With the language expansion, SYNC with MyFord Touch will be available in:

    * U.S. English
    * U.K. English
    * Australian English
    * European French
    * Canadian French
    * European Spanish
    * U.S. Spanish
    * European Portuguese
    * Brazilian Portuguese
    * German
    * Italian
    * Dutch
    * Russian
    * Turkish
    * Arabic
    * Korean
    * Japanese
    * Mandarin Chinese
    * Taiwanese Mandarin (supported through Mandarin Chinese)