The UK-based third-party keyboard app, SwiftKey was acquired by Microsoft in February this year for $250 million (approx Rs. 1,720 Crore). At that time, it is said to be used in more than 300 million Android and iOS devices. Today, Swiftkey has announced a new feature called as Transliteration for their Indian users. According to the company, when a user types “Namaste” in English, the prediction bar sitting on top of the Swiftkey keyboard shows both “Namaste” and “नमस्ते.” With this Transliteration feature, the user can type the word in English and select the Hindi word from the prediction bar instead of typing in Hindi.
Speaking on occasion, Aarti Samani, India Product Manager, said,
“SwiftKey’s aim is to always make typing easier, particularly if you speak more than one language and want to switch seamlessly between them without changing any of your settings. We’re proud to be introducing the feature in Hindi, one of the world’s most spoken languages, and Gujarati, which had previously not been possible to write in English letters.”
The Google Indic Keyboard app announced earlier this year is offering the similar feature in 11 different languages including Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil, and Telugu. As of now, Swiftkey keyboard performs those tasks only in Hindi and Gujarati. While on Google Indic Keyboard, we need to change to a different mode to get the English text in the local language, but Swiftkey is said to offer the same without making any changes. The Swiftkey app can installed through Google’s PlayStore and the Apple’s App Store on their Android and iOS powered smartphones respectively.
Though there is no announcement regarding the availability of the Transliteration feature for other Indian languages, we can expect the company to announce them soon. Earlier this month, the Swiftkey keyboard Android app received a major update introducing Incognito mode where the app doesn’t save any data and the predictions will also be stopped. In the beginning, the Swiftkey was listed as a paid app in PlayStore, but later in 2014, the developers made it free. Even the neural network feature from the ‘SwiftKey Neural Alpha’ app are implemented into the main app after almost a year of testing.