SwiftKey – the most popular keyboard for Android – have added transliteration support for two Indian languages – Hindi, and Gujarati. The two languages are native to more than 450 million people just in India. The latest update also adds five new languages from around the world and features a few general bug fixes.
The transliteration feature allows users to type the words in the native script by typing them out phonetically in the Latin script; in simple terms, the feature would allow users to write ‘नमस्ते’ by typing ‘namaste.’
This feature is important – especially for languages where the native script is too complicated to fit within the confines of a keyboard; writing in the Latin script allows users to keep the English keyboard up – but still type out words in their native language, with the native script.
SwiftKey isn’t the first to add a feature like this – Google has an online tool for transliteration that supports more than 110 languages; Google also has the Indic Keyboard that supports eleven Indian languages with transliteration support.
SwiftKey, though, is one of the most popular Android keyboards out there because of its incredible prediction algorithms – adding this feature to SwiftKey, simply makes it even more appealing to some 450 million native speakers.
The Five New Languages
The update also adds support for five new languages from around the world – here’s the list:
- Swiss German
- Low German (Plattdüütsch)
- Kurdish (Kurmanji)
The five new languages do not support transliteration – yet – but if the feature is a success, we might see it expand further.
With the SwiftKey keyboard open, if you swipe from the left of the screen, you will find a Hub with a few settings and statistics.
The Hub has gone through a revamp, with features such as SwiftKey Clipboard, Shortcuts, and an Incognito mode that doesn’t track (or learn) what you are typing.
If you already have the Hindi or Gujarati language model installed for your SwiftKey keyboard – transliteration will be automatically enabled.
If you are using the QWERTY layout, you should be able to see Hindi words in the Latin script – or English letters. Of course, if you switch to the native script layout, you will only see predictions for words of that language in that script.
The update featuring the five new languages, transliteration support for Hindi and Gujarati, and a revamped Hub, is now rolling out to existing users.
If you don’t have SwiftKey installed and would like to give it a try, the keyboard is available via the Google Play Store.