We have a new release of SwiftKey Keyboard for Android bringing Japanese Romaji support out of beta – and into the main app! This update also resolves an issue with fonts in Android Marshmallow, among other key fixes. Download or update now at Google Play:
Now, some background on typing in Romaji: Japanese writing is a combination of three different scripts – Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. Hiragana and Katakana are syllabic Japanese scripts, called Kana. Kanji refers to Chinese characters also used in Japanese, which have the meaning of a whole concept.
SwiftKey’s Japanese input method allows you to quickly and easily create Japanese writing, made up of Kanji or Kana, using the familiar Latin QWERTY layout. As you type in Romaji, what you type will be converted in the appropriate script. Just like with SwiftKey’s other language models, the keyboard learns from you over time, offering the autocorrect and prediction that you’ve come to know and love.
When typing in Japanese on SwiftKey, the text input field is filled with Hiragana phonetic characters. The top prediction may be a Kanji character or a phonetically spelled ‘word’ in the Hiragana or Katakana scripts. If you’d like, you can set it up so that when you hit the spacebar, it will ‘always insert a prediction’ or ‘complete the current word’. You do this in the ‘Settings’ section of your container app – just open from the SwiftKey Hub.
Depending on what you are writing, the top prediction can include Kanji characters or Kana (Hiragana or Katakana) characters. The candidate bar can show a varying number of predictions (which users can scroll through) in the Romaji layout, as Japanese words can be written several ways, depending on context. As a result, the number of predictions shown to you may vary depending on what you’re typing.
If you don’t see the prediction you had in mind, simply click the arrow key on the far right side of the candidate bar. This extends the panel, giving you more predictions to choose from. Selecting one of those predictions (or ‘candidates’) will insert Japanese characters.
You can find the Japanese language model as 日本語 under ‘Languages’. SwiftKey allows you to type in up to three languages simultaneously and that’s no exception with the Romaji layout. We chose this layout to go to the market version of the app over the 12-key Hiragana method specifically for its ease-of-use for multilingual typists.
You can switch between languages simply by swiping the space bar to change your selection. This feature is new for users of our Japanese beta, so make sure to try it out! To learn more about selecting and switching between languages, check out our Support article here.
Speaking of languages – we’re also announcing today that we’ve hit support for 100 languages on SwiftKey Keyboard for Android! Check out more of the details here.
You can also find a rundown of Frequently Asked Questions on our Help Center.
The SwiftKey Team