Saturday, December 18, 2010

Changing Name Pronunciation in Lync Server 2010

Lync Server 2010 uses speech grammars to make meeting entry and exit announcements.  For example, "Jeff Guillet is now joining" is played to all meeting participants when I join a Lync meeting if the meeting is configured to play announcements.

Lync mispronounces my last name as "Ghill-ett" instead of "Ghee-AY", so I have a vested interest in finding out how to correct this.  :)

Unfortunately, it's not doable in Lync 2010 RTM since Lync reads the user's displayName attribute in Active Directory for announcements.  If I change the displayName attribute to a phonetic spelling of my name, "Jeff GheeA", it affects how my name is displayed to other users in Exchange 2010 and the Global Address List (GAL).  Bummer.  :(

Exchange 2010 Unified Messaging has a more mature way of handling speech grammars.  It uses the msDS-PhoneticDisplayName attribute, if it is set, to pronounce a name.  If msDS-PhoneticDisplayName is not set (it's not by default), Exchange uses the displayName attribute.  You can use ADSIEdit to set the msDS-PhoneticDisplayName value.

This not only affects how Exchange UM pronounces a name, it also affects voice-enabled directory lookups.  For example, if someone using a Outlook Voice Access auto attendant tries to look up my name using the correct pronunciation, "Ghee-ay", Exchange will find a match.  Without setting the msDS-PhoneticDisplayName attribute, users may need to mispronounce my name to find a match.

For a more detailed explanation of Exchange speech grammars, see Speech Recognition of Names by Exchange 2007 Unified Messaging on the Exchange Team blog.

I'm hopeful that Lync will be updated to use the msDS-PhoneticDisplayName attribute in a future release. 10:33 AM