How to Help Google Assistant Recognize Contacts with Unique Names

Improve Google Assistant Phonetic Names Featured

It’s frustrating when you hear people mispronounce a name, and even more so when your Google Assistant starts doing it too, causing confusion. Before you throw your phone at the wall, know that you can now teach Google assistant to pronounce your contacts’ names correctly. Google recently added the ability to teach the assistant how to pronounce names. Alternatively, you can try adding phonetic names to your contacts. Check out how you can make Google Assistant recognize your contacts with unique names.

How to Teach Google Assistant to Pronounce Your Contacts’ Names

Google recently rolled out an update that lets you teach Google Assistant to enunciate and recognize contacts’ names the way you pronounce them. The search giant noted it won’t keep these recordings of your voice.

Note: the option is currently available in English, but more languages will be available soon.

1. Open the Google app on your Android device.

2. Tap on the More option at the bottom.

Improve Google Assistant Phonetic Names Google App More

3. Find Settings.

Improve Google Assistant Phonetic Names Settings

4. Select “Google Assistant.”

Improve Google Assistant Phonetic Names Google Assistant

5. Click on “You.”

Improve Google Assistant Phonetic Names You Section

6. In this section you’ll find the pronunciation of your name in “Basic Info,” while the pronunciation of your contacts will be under “Your People.” Tap on the latter to start teaching Google Assistant how to say the names in your agenda.

Improve Google Assistant Phonetic Names Your People

7. Tap on the “Add person” button.

Improve Google Assistant Phonetic Names Add Person

8. Select the person from your Contact lists.

Improve Google Assistant Phonetic Names Contact Full View

9. Here you can tag family members and friends, so when you ask the Assistant to “Call mom,” it will know which contact to connect to.

Improve Google Assistant Phonetic Names Add Family Tag

10. Next, look for the “Name pronunciation” option and opt to “Record your own.”

Improve Google Assistant Phonetic Names Record Pronunciation

11. Once you’ve done the recording, you can have the Assistant read it back to you. If you don’t like the result, you can try recording it again. You can also select the “Spell out how it sounds & record” option.

How to Add Phonetic Names to Your Contacts

Adding a phonetic name to your contacts is much easier than it sounds, and it’s going to help your assistant get unique names right without you having to instruct it.

1. On your phone, head to the Contacts app and open up a contact that has a unique name.

2. Tap on the Edit button at the top-right corner of the contact’s card.

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3. Scroll down until you find the option “More fields” and tap on it.

Improve Google Assistant Phonetic Names More Contact Options

4. More fields will be added, including Phonetic last/middle/first name.

Improve Google Assistant Phonetic Names Add Phonetic Names

5. In this section, add the pronunciation of your contact’s name phonetically.

In layman’s terms, phonetic spelling is simply spelling words the way they sound. For example, if you have a name in French that Google just can’t seem to get right, try adding a “sh” at the beginning of the name to help the assistant pronounce it correctly.

If you’re having trouble identifying the right phonetic spelling, it may be a good idea to simply get some help from online tools such as Easy Pronunciation, which can generate phonetic transcriptions in various languages, including English, French, Spanish and German.

There’s one thing to keep in mind if you’re going to add a phonetic name to a contact. In the Contacts app on your Android device, it will be listed according to the phonetic name you entered. If you try to look it up under the original spelling, you’re not going to find it under the letter you’re expecting.

An extra tip for accessing the right contact is to add a nickname. It’s obviously not a phonetic name, but it’s an alternative if you are having problems with the phonetic name option.

Wrapping Up

Not all names are easy to spell, much less pronounce, so it’s no wonder the AI-powered Google Assistant also has some issues with doing so. The good news is the methods above should fix this problem for you so the next time Google Assistant pronounces a troublesome contact name, it can do so correctly.

If you want to learn more Google Assistant tricks, we recommend that you get up to speed on how you can activate the assistant’s Interpreter Mode on Android and read about how you can ask it to read your articles out loud.

Alexandra Arici
Alexandra Arici

Alexandra is passionate about mobile tech and can be often found fiddling with a smartphone from some obscure company. She kick-started her career in tech journalism in 2013, after working a few years as a middle-school teacher. Constantly driven by curiosity, Alexandra likes to know how things work and to share that knowledge with everyone.

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