Today we are excited to announce the launch of transliteration support on SwiftKey for Tamil speakers. In addition Punjabi, Bengali, Marathi, Malayalam, Odia, Telugu and Kannada are now available in beta and will be released to the wider Indian market later this year.
The announcement coincides with SwiftKey’s first-ever Communications Summit, The Future of Identity, Language and Technology, taking place in Delhi today to examine how communications technology is helping the country overcome language barriers, forge new connections and achieve greater freedom of expression.
Through transliteration, Tamil speakers using SwiftKey will be able to type in these languages by spelling them out phonetically on the standard QWERTY keyboard – with next-word predictions and corrections appearing in both Latin characters and Tamil script. This allows users to type in a mixture of English and their native script without changing the keyboard.
Tamil transliteration will support multi-script typing, meaning that users can type in English as well as phonetically, using Latin characters for multiple languages. As they do so, transliterated predictions will appear – with SwiftKey’s AI predicting which language and script the user wants to communicate in. For example, for a multi-lingual Tamil speaker, who uses Hindi and Tamil interchangably, when ‘namaskar’ is typed the prediction bar will show ‘namaskar’, “நமஸ்காரம்”and “नमस्कार”.
Aarti Samani, tech evangelist for SwiftKey India said: “Mixed language vocabulary is a naturally occurring phenomenon in our country, yet historically mobile users have been let down by having to use QWERTY keyboards not designed to allow them to type as they speak and think. The upshot is that many people avoid using certain letters and matras from their mother language. A large proportion of users abandon using the native script altogether. Multi-script transliteration solves this problem. It is crucial to advancing the adoption of new communication technologies within India, while still encouraging linguistic richness and diversity, and thus helping to preserve the sense of identity, culture and tradition that is inexorably tied to native language usage.”
SwiftKey offers compatibility for 22 Indian languages, allowing millions of Indian users to benefit from the app’s pioneering adaptive keyboard layout. SwiftKey’s prediction technology is AI-powered, meaning that it continually learns from every individual’s typing behavior, vocabulary and prediction preferences – even the emoji they favor – so that the more the user types, the more effective the predictions become.
If you want to follow the Summit check out our Twitter page and the hashtag #futureofindia.
Sarah and the SwiftKey team