How to Add Phonetic Names to Contacts in Android (So Google Assistant Can Understand You)

As great as Google Assistant is, it’s not always the best at pronouncing people’s names. Fortunately, you can add phonetic names to improve voice recognition.

Google Assistant’s mispronunciation of names can be frustrating when trying to send text messages or make calls using your voice—especially if the person has a unique name (or even a unique spelling of a more common name). We’re going to show you how to add phonetic names on both the stock Contacts app on the Pixel (which is available for download in the Google Play store) and on Samsung Galaxy devices if you don’t want to install another app.

To add a phonetic name, first open the Contacts app.

From there, open the contact for which you’d like to add a phonetic name to, and then edit the contact. In the Google Contacts app (on the left, below), tap the pencil in the bottom corner. In the Galaxy contact app (on the right, below), tap “Edit” in the top right.

 

In either app, scroll to the very bottom—you’re looking for “More Fields” or “View More” options.

 

This brings up a slew of other contact options, including the “Phonetic Name” setting In the Google Contacts app (left, below), it’s directly under the person’s actual name. In the Galaxy Contacts app (right, below), it’s at the bottom of the list.

From there, just add the contact’s name as it’s pronounced—for example, my oldest son’s name is spelled “Aeiden,” but pronounced like “Aiden.” Google Assistant pronounces it “Aye-ee-den,” and doesn’t recognize “Aye-den” as a contact. Adding “Aiden” under the phonetic section fixes this issue.

If your contact has a name that doesn’t have an alternate spelling, just spell it out the way you think it should sound. For example, if you have a contact who’s name is Cheyenne, you could try the spelling “Shyenne” or even “Shy en.” You might have to play with the spelling a little bit to get it sounding how you want.

Cameron Summerson is a die-hard Android fan, Chicago Bulls fanatic, metalhead, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at HTG, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, spinning legs on the bike, chugging away on the 6-string, or being disappointed in the Bulls.