Google IME: Typing Indian languages made super easy

Typewriter KeysHere comes Google’s latest baby – Google Transliteration IME (Input Method Editor) – a freeware tool that allows you to attain mastery of typing 14 different languages including Indian scripts such as Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu.

What makes the job easier is the phoenetic transliteration feature that allows one to type in any of these languages using a roman keyboard.

Users can type a word the way it sounds using Latin characters and Google Transliteration IME will convert the word to its native script.

This is very different from translation – which is conversion of a word or sentence  from one language to another while keeping the meaning intact. With transliteration one converts the sound of words from one alphabet to another.

Earlier on, I had reviewed two very useful transliteration tools – Avro Keyboard and QuillPad. While both these  tools are superb at their respective tasks, they suffer certain limitations. Avro Keyboard – a desktop application, was designed to type only Bengali. QuillPad supports multiple languages – but one has to be online to be able to use their editor.

Google IME is an offline application that transcends these boundaries by providing support for a multitude of languages without being dependent on internet connectivity. The application sports extremely useful features like dictionary support for completion for common and rare words, personalized correction memory, typographic customizations, quick web search etc. A full list of features is available on the Google IME page.

Google IME: Status WindowOnce installed the IME can be fired up via the Language bar or through shortcut keys. It manifests itself in the form of a small floating band (status window) at the bottom right corner of your screen. The leftmost icon denotes the application itself and doubles up as a dragging handle. The second icon represents the input language and can be used to switch back and forth between it and English. The third one is used to launch a virtual keyboard while the last one brings up the application menu.

Google IME: Suggestions

Once you start typing in your favourite editor, a small suggestions window pops-up displaying completion lists based a customizable dictionary which allows addition of new words in case none of the suggestions match with what you want. The correction memory keeps a note of this and next time you start typing in the same sequence of letters, your preferred word will be shown at the top of the list.

The virtual keyboard is mighty useful too and comes to your aid when you just can’t dig up the correct sequence of keystrokes required – specially in the case of complex joint characters –  for a successful transliteration.

Google IME - Virtual Keyboard

As of now Google IME only supports 32-bit Windows 7/Vista/XP. For other platforms, there’s always the online Google Indic transliteration tool. One drawback is that the supported languages are not bundled in together and need to be downloaded individually – as per your requirement. This helps keep the baggage at a bare minimum, though!

So… how about you grab a copy of Google IME and run down your experience by me.

[via The Official Google India Blog]

Change your default Bengali font in Windows XP with Font-fixer

Bengali Character SetIf you do a whole lot typing in Bengali and are bothered by the fact that XP always gets you started with that ugly font named Vrinda, here’s a quick fix for you. Font Fixer is a tiny utility (72 KB) that provides you with a one-step solution for setting you default Bengali font in XP to whatever other font you desire.

Under normal circumstances this isn’t directly possible as XP doesn’t come with any configuration option related to this. This feature is sort of hard-coded into Windows. With Font Fixer, you …

just select which font you want to make default for Bangla language, and with just a simple reboot, no patch and system file change, you get it, in a safe and easy way and restore the original setting anytime.

The noteworthy features of this little tool are:

  • Font Fixer Screenshot

    The ability to revert back to the original settings at any point of time.

  • Being able to set the default font (for Bengali Language) in Internet Explorer – a bit of information that is used by your computer to display a Bengali web-page when no embedded font information is found on the site.

  • Automatic font-smoothing using ClearType.

  • Auto-detection of Bengali fonts installed on your system, so that you don’t have to wade through thousands of fonts in order to set the default one.

Regular users of Avro Keyboard – the English to Bengali phoenetic transliteration software will find this tool particularly useful.

Give it a shot and let me know how helpful you found this tool to be.

Avro Keyboard: A terrific English to Bengali Phoenetic Typing (Transliteration) Software

Avro Keyboard by OmicronLab is a really terrific Bengali typing software that performs on-the-fly phoenetic transliteration of typed text in English – which means that those who require to type in Bengali, but are unfamiliar / uncomfortable with the layout of the Bengali Keyboard can simply zip ahead and type the Bengali text as they’d spell it in English and Avro would insert the corresponding Bengali characters for them automatically. Cool, eh ?

Avro has been designed to work with literally any UNICODE compliant text-editor. When you set it to Avro PhoneticTransliteration mode and start typing, a tiny window pops-up allowing you to enter the text in English. Once you hit Space/Enter/Tab it’s converted immediately to the corresponding Bengali text and pasted in your editor.

For example, if you type “ami banglai gan gai” – the output you’d get is: Ami Banglai Gan Gai

It also has this continuous parsing method where you needn’t press Space/Enter/Tab – the parsing occurs for every character as you type.