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back to article Orange speaks out with new voice

In between sulking with Nokia and billing customers for imaginary debts, Orange UK has changed the voice used for its menus and automated systems, opting for something a little more matey and a little less BBC. While other operators test femtocells, broadcast video, or prepare to do battle with the imminent iPhone, Orange has …

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Democracy

Democracy hard at work for you. The majority are idiots, having a vocabulary of about 50 words – then we must change all of the news readers, to reflect this! You speak of the BBC as if it is the last bastion of proper speech – when was the last time you seen BBC news? 1975? I am watching Al Gezira just to listen to proper English!

If you were to pole 100 people on the street about the diode bridge, I am sure that 80 will have something to say. That does not mean that you have to listen.

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Anonymous Coward

hmm

must admit shes got a smoooother voice!! Not so sure on the accent tho....

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Come on Orange, look after your customers first.

I wish orange would just get their priorities right and start looking after customers properly. The new 'voice of Orange' does nothing for me, if anything it's starting to sound like ringing Eastenders!

Never mind changing your tone Orange, start listening for a change!

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English

As long as Ruth is English, and not an annoying telly advert Scot ('Oarrhenge' themselves being the worst offenders in the use of an annoying telly advert Scot).

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@voshkin

"If you were to pole 100 people on the street"

You'd probably be arrested. :)

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Anonymous Coward

Have u noticed..

That on pay monthly, if you check to see how many minutes or texts you have left the new voice tells you the remaining minutes/texts but the old voice chips in with "anytime any network minutes" (providing thats the type of plan you have of course)

Unless its just me going mad :)

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Democracy

If you were to 'pole 100 people on the street', I imagine you'd end up locked up in prison for quite some time. We're not that democratic!!

Good grief.

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Anonymous Coward

Indglish anyone?

I suppose "Ruth" is better to listen to than the person you may eventually get to talk to. At least I can understand Ruth.

But seriously, what was wrong with the old voice? What a waste of money - especially as they haven't introduced any new services, functionality or even changed the script!

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@voshkin

Before you comment on other's English standards get yourself a dictionary.

Firstly, you watch Al Jazeera for the English, not Al Gezira.

And if you were to pole 100 people on the streets I'm pretty sure you'd be arrested before you reached double figures.

When requesting people's opinions you carry out a "poll"

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Silver badge

Mediocre choice...

They should have invited Muffy Mount or Tara Novara...

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Anonymous Coward

They probably did it on the cheap...

I used to work for Orange... about 18 months ago they were actually doing auditions for a change of the voice internally... no doubt to do it on the cheap... but it probably took management 18 months of sitting around on space hoppers to do something about it.

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Anonymous Coward

pseudo Vicky Pollard

She sounds like her accent is "whatever, I am part of the youf (sic) of great britain, and I is well cool".

Orange can 'speak out' as much as they want but after 12 years with them I'm giving them the boot at the earliest opportunity to move to an operator whose data price plans better reflect the era of web 2.0 in 2007 and not Compuserve bulletin boards in 1993.

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Anonymous Coward

Fank you for callin' Orange, yor 'eld in a queue init.

After reading your tag line I thought it was gonna be yet another Geordie (I thought channel 4 had them all under contract)... But no, it was worse!

I'm not sure where she's supposed to come from, it's the kind of voice you'd expect to hear coming from a private school in Basildon, if they had any.

As an Essex boy, who actually works in the IVR business I have to say I used to be impressed with the Orange IVR, the clear menus, the consistent intonation across prompts that were obviously recorded many years apart... Not any more!

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argh

I don't really appreciate being ask if I want to check my credi' (no t). Bring back the old voice!

There is also a mix of old and new when topping up.

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Have u noticed (Old voice, new voice)

150 (customer services) is mostly in the new voice.

"Anytime" prompts are the old voice "Anytime GPRS", "Anytime Texts" and so on.

123 (answerphone) is completely in the old plummy voice.

Hmm "Estuary English" accent. Most (British) people prefer an authoritative, femail voice on automated system. The Germans like a strong male voice. When speak to a "real person", celtic accents are found to be more popular.

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@J Thompson

I quite like the Scots accent, particularly on a female. Claire Grogan? Yum!

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Dumbing down..

Is this so that we don't get discouraged by fleeting grasp of the english language the operators have? If you're ringing abbaaaht a phone query......

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Tim

New Hidden Menu Option

If you dial 150 (or 07973 100 150) to talk to Orange Customer Services, wait for the call to be answered. You can then dial **#5 to listen to a 'hidden' menu that allows you to change your voice prompts. There are two English voices (Ruth and Tim), and what sounds like a variety of foreign language options. The final option, 9, allows you to record your own voice prompts for what seems to be the majority of prompts.

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beaten to the chav joke

This brought the excellent Chav a l'orange comment post by andjw in response to the network problem report to mind.

you can just imagine the message when they experience a PSTN link fault cant you?

due to our network goin' going all Pete Tong, you wont be able to get fru at the moment, so just take a chill pill and try later, we know this cause a problem wiv ya Julie, but we ain't bovvered!'

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Anonymous Coward

Uurgh

Orange used to have classy advertising and a whole string of unique selling points. There's nothing unique left any more and the changing of the voice is just another attempt to dumb down to the lowest common denominator. Instead of trying to do things differently all the MNOs are trying to be more like each other, and that strategy will end up in tears when they all become nothing more than utility providers of bandwidth, and it will be who's cheapest that wins.

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OK, Orange has a new voice.

Its the words that need to change.

--- Still waiting for a reason to be a customer.

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If you are on a business contract...

No change - you ring 345 for business support, and you still have the old voice prompts. Having listened to the 150 voice, I have to say that I am in the bring back the old voice camp....

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beaten to the chav joke - corrected version, please deleted my previous post

This brought the excellent Chav a l'orange comment post by andyjw in response to the network problem report to mind.

you can just imagine the message when they experience a PSTN link fault can't you?

due to our network goin' all Pete Tong, you wont be able to get fru at the moment, so just take a chill pill and try later, we know this cause a problem wiv ya Julie, but we ain't bovvered!'

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Rob

And since no-one else has picked up on it...

"when was the last time you seen BBC news?"

...isn't exactly proper English either.

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@ J Thompson

I'm sure the Welsh (and not just the Scots) would be pretty cheesed at your demand for an English voice. By the way, the Scots accent (with the obvious exception of Glasgow) has been voted on many occasions as the most trusted, including in a survey of 4,000 people by hear-the-world.com.

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Noooooo...

my head expects the posh bird and my ears get something twangy with a hint of helium and non-descript accent. i prefer posh bird voices - not sure why - maybe its more importent to think about the reaction than than the voice - hmmmmm....

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Looks like you...

They've made an interestingly poor choice of voice. Particularly phrases such as:

"looks like you don't have that <something> bundle"

What was wrong with "I'm sorry but you do not have a <something> bundle on your account" or similar.

The informality of it is particularly irritating on a business account. Presumably the same informal casual approach can be expected from the staff when you get through. Oh no, wait, it already is.

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Title

"As long as Ruth is English, and not an annoying telly advert Scot"

So much for a "United Kingdom", eh?

"By the way, the Scots accent (with the obvious exception of Glasgow) has been voted on many occasions as the most trusted"

It would be nice if people could comment from first-hand experience but unfortunately most like to perpetuate misconceptions from stories that have made their way through several mouths. Having visited Glasgow a number of times I can say I was surprised when I found out it wasn't the kind of place people kept telling me it was.

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Awful chavvy illiteracy does not convey the impression of a professional service

"If y' callin' abou' a mobile query, press wuh'-h'n"

"y'"???? What kind of illiterate verbless chavspeak is that?

I could barely parse what she was saying, the first time I heard it, and surely that *must* be the most important aspect of any automated voice system? She also speaks somewhat *too fast* to be easily comprehensible. An automated system usually only gets one chance to make a good impression, so speaking slowly and clearly is key.

And the way she mispronounces "one" just put me right on edge..

<nails/blackboard>

It's particularly crucial to pronounce the numbers clearly since these are how we have to respond to the system.

I am sure (I've never been there) that there are many very nice people in Thames-estuary-land, and that there are many very intelligent people in Thames-estuary-land, but I'm also sure it's not an accent that tends to rank highly in the "accents we like to hear when we call automated systems" lists..

Like it or not, certain accents, and perhaps more so, the well-spoken-ness, regardless of accent, tend to convey a more professional approach than others. And being greeted by an automated system only marginally less grating than EastEnders really does not give the impression of a professional and competent organisation..

I dread to think what you'd hear if you have 33 minutes remaining..

"Y' got feh'ty-fh'ree minutes uv talk time remainin'."?? :-P

(At present this is actually spliced unnaturally with a different voice speaking the numbers, weird!)

The previous Orange voice, while perhaps edging on being just the tiniest smidge too "snooty" for my liking, was at least clear and professional-sounding.

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Anonymous Coward

@Chris Hamilton

"By the way, the Scots accent (with the obvious exception of Glasgow) has been voted on many occasions as the most trusted, including in a survey of 4,000 people by hear-the-world.com"

Doesn't work for the vast number of tartan skirt wearing politicians we seem to have acquired. <orange voice>I wouldn't trust 'em to burn if I soaked 'em in petrol!</orange voice>

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@ The anonymous poster at 15:01

If you want to insult an entire country, at least be man enough not to hide behind anonimity. Now, I am starting to see why this country is tearing itself apart.

At the end of the day, who gives a monkeys about accents? Is it really that important? Do we have nothing better to worry about? Forget terrorism, climate change (?) or rising crime! The Orange voice is a Geordie and I don't like that! ;-)

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dire

sorry but only have one word

SHIT

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It can't be a real voice surely?

I don't think I've ever heard anyone speak like her apart from on jingles for Slough's late StarFM... She embraces glottal stops with gay abandon - bring back the last girl - at least she sounded like someone you could trust, and who probably learnt that trust whilst mucking-out horses during her youth rather than someone who'll fall onto you in a cheesy nightclub then demand bad things to be done in the toilets.

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Anonymous Coward

Ruth

"[Ruth] is an experiences voice over artist" says her web site, http://ruthgibson.co.uk/

If I spoke like that I wouldn't advertise it on my web site.

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@ Greg Mills

You wouldn't happen,by any chance, to know the cheesy nightclub?

:o)

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Anonymous Coward

@Chris Hamilton

I was only reply to your statement about people trusting the Scots accent, and the fact we have a lot of Scots in the house of commons, a place not exactly renouned for containing trust worthy people!

And I'm staying anon cos I think you might have a dirk,

or a claymore,

or a telegraph pole,

or no underpants!

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Diced and sliced

On my Orange Pay-as-You-Go the 453 balence enquiry message sounds much more conspicuously diced and sliced than it ever used to, with differing levels and, I think, a mixture of the old and new voice for different words and phrases.

(old voice) "Hello, your remaining credit is" - (new voice) "twelve" - (either old voice or new voice in a very different studio setting, deeper anyway) "pounds, and" - "twelve" (drops a semitone) "pence." (new voice, robotic even though shouldn't be diced'n'sliced) "In - your - free - evening - calls - you - have" (coarse/new) "blah hundred and blah-de-blah" - (old voice) "minutes," - (new voice) "however many" - (old voice) "seconds" - (new voice) "of on-net calls remaining" ... "if you're done, just hang up."

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Minority changes majority

Well, yes, agree with a number of posts. Seems that the plum Orange voice (Corrie Corfield, Radio 4 newsreader?) is old hat, so in comes dumbed down voice that speaks without moving it's jaw by the sounds of things. Maybe soon we'll press 6 to vote for X Factor :o)

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Vodafone is no better

Granted, I've never heard Orange's "Ruth" (having left Orange years ago for reasons too long to be interesting), but really, Vodafone's "Vicky" ("VICKY??") is no better. Makes me cringe every time I have to hear her.

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Jane Copland

The old voice belongs to Jane Copland, who can still be heard on UKTV History channel. Apparently she was a continuity announcer on BBC Scotland in the 80s, then moving to Channel 4. You can even listen to her here:

http://www.voicefinder.biz/?page=casting_room&subpage=details&id=360

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That Jane Copland demo

Think it was recorded when Orange were in their exciting, intelligent technology driven phase (orange at home, etc.)

What a shame they dumped it all.

Put it this way, if I were to have a voice controlled server to control my lighting, heading, etc, I'd definitely want it to sound like her.

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