Microsoft-owned SwiftKey unveiled its transliteration engine last year in November which allows users to seamlessly type in the Roman script, but write in Hindi and Gujarati, along with "Hinglish" and "Gujlish" - and of course English - all the while seamlessly switching between the languages. Now, at an event in New Delhi, the company has announced expansion of support for Indian users with new features and support for eight additional regional languages.
SwiftKey’s transliteration technology will be available for 70 million Tamil speakers across India, while support for Bengali, Kannada, Malayam, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, and Telugu is now available in beta mode and will be released commercially later this year, Microsoft says. Thanks to transliteration, Tamil speakers will now be able to use SwiftKey to type in their native language by spelling words out phonetically in English. SwiftKey will throw corrections and next word predictions in both English and Tamil, allowing you to write in a mixture of Tamil and English, as you prefer.
It also supports multi-script typing which enables transliterated predictions to appear in multiple languages. So, for example, a multilingual Tamil speaker who uses Hindi and Tamil interchangeably, when he types the word namaskar, the prediction bar will show the word in English, Tamil, and Hindi simultaneously.
SwiftKey India’s Aarti Samani said in a statement, “Creating transliteration support for Tamil in particular has been a huge challenge for the business as the language contains a total of 247 characters – far too many to fit on a single screen. However, our mission at Swiftkey is to create technology that fits the needs of each user, rather than imposing restrictions and limitations on how they type and communicate, and we’ve been greatly encouraged by the feedback we’ve received to date from users across India. Our goal moving forward is to continue to innovate, expand our support and ultimately help more and more citizens express themselves through messaging.”
SwiftKey has also shared some insight on how Indians use emojis, and it claims that North Indians use the Face Blowing A Kiss emoji the most. Users in the South are more inclined to use the Party Popper emoji, while users in the East love the bikini emoji the most. In the West, people love the Bouquet emoji, and users in the Central region use the Rose emoji the most.
For those unaware, SwiftKey was acquired by Microsoft early last year, and it already offers keyboards in 22 Indian languages.