Adaptxt – the Indic Text Input Tool for Handhelds and Tablets
In this tech-talk session, I want to talk about an application that has been a great help bridging the language gap and digital divide across the globe.
Chances are that you have already heard of Adaptxt. Adaptxt is an acronym formed out of two words of “Adapt” and “Text”. The idea is that the tool offered under the aegis of Adaptxt is adaptable to the text. And it comes really true to its name.
Adaptxt is a keyboard cum dictionary application made particularly for mobile devices and tablet computers. As you are already aware, almost all of these devices come with only one language input tool i.e. English. That is, if you want to write something on these devices in a language other than English, chances are that you will not find any way to type type because your language is not supported by the device manufacturer. Device manufacturers like Nokia, Samsung, Micromax or several other companies that come with different software platforms, take it granted that the people’s basic need is to be able to type in English and therefore they provide support just for that language. Developing support for other languages requires much more than just localization of the software platform. It requires a lot of feedback from native language experts (linguists) as well as other resources. Therefore features like being able to type in Hindi or Bengali or Tamil is not available by default on mobiles or tablets that come with Android, Symbian or Windows Mobile platforms. If you want to be able to type in Hindi or other numerous languages, you will have to resort to external softwares and install them separately on your own.
Plethora of non-standard applications
If you are a novice, you would not have the knowledge of which application is good for your language. If you search of Hindi typing tool for Android or Symbian phones, you will get quite a few results of Google Play or Nokia’s OVI store. It will be hard for you decide which one to choose. You cannot rely much on the star ratings as I believe that those ratings and reviews can be manipulated to lead you astray.
The best tool for a multi-language environment for your device
If you are looking for an application that can support multiple languages in which you want to be able to type and write posts, emails and do various other things in the language of your choice, I would suggest you opt for Adaptxt.
Why is Adaptxt the best?
Adaptxt has several features and utilities that you can count on and that will enhance your user experience. Some of them are enumerated below. I have also tried to compare Adaptxt with other note-worthy applications made with the goal of providing input tools in other languages.
The first best thing about Adaptxt is that it provides you power being multi-lingual.
So, while being global, you can go local as and when you wish to. For example, if you want to be able to type in Hindi, English and also in some other languages such as French, Gujarati or Bengali, you can do that without any effort (I literally mean it, just check out the latest Adaptxt version on Android phones). Adaptxt provides you the capability of changing your writing language in one click or swap (so to say for the touch-screen device holders).
Adaptxt encourages you to be a polyglot
So, say for example if you wanted to write in Hindi and you went for some applications that are made only for Hindi, it will be hard for you to switch to other languages. You might have to tap or key press several times to get into your phone settings and do the necessary changes to change your writing language.
For a person like me, who wants to write in at least three languages (in India you would easily find people who knows three languages, almost everyone knows at least two languages and there are quite a few people who know more than three), having Adaptxt installed on my phone is a boon. I write in English most of the time, but at times I prefer to write Hindi in Devanagari or Gujarati in its own script. If I did not have Adapxt I might have had to install at least two different applications for writing in Devanagari and in Gujarati. Also, I have Bengali installed on my phone. So, if I sometimes want to jot together a few words in Bengali (and that too in Bangla script), I can do that without taking any extra efforts.
Best Predictive Text
All the languages that come with Adaptxt have the text prediction installed by default. Adaptxt is a single platform and all the languages that are added to it have the same functionalities as other languages. So, as I type in Hindi, also get the words suggested on the go. So, my typing or keying-in speed is enhanced by a lot more time. This kind of text prediction facility is not there even on my PC or laptop. To tell you the truth, writing something on mobile or laptops is a lot more cheerful experience than it is on PCs or laptops. Adapxt predicts what you are going to type next and gives you suggestions for the next word based on the context and on grammatical rules. My experiment says that when I type Hindi using Adaptxt, I save a lot of keystrokes and save a lot of time as I just have to pick the suggested words and I no longer need to type the full word all the time.
This predictive facility is available in all the languages Adaptxt offers.
Best Keyboard Layouts
Keyboards in Indian languages are not something that people are very familiar of. Each of Adaptxt’s languages comes with a carefully designed keyboard of the script the language is typed in. For example, Devanagari script is used for many languages written in South Asia, including Hindi. Hindi has its own keyboard (which is based on the BIS standard INSCRIPT keyboard layout) but Marathi does not use the same keyboard and has some customizations made to inculcate some Marathi specific characters like ळ which are not used in Hindi.
As I said above, keyboards are not something that is very common to the educated mass in South Asia. Typing was left to the typewriters or printers/publishers until the digital devices came and people started typing themselves. But there was not standard keyboard there that were known to the common people. Also, there was no standard. Even though there is a standard keyboard layout proposed by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) named INSCRIPT recommended for Indian languages, there are only a handful of people who know how to type using this keyboard layout. Please note that the INSCRIPT keyboard was meant to be mapped on QWERTY keyboard and it is not suitable for small screen devices or even bigger touch screen devices. So, some modifications have to be made to bring the standard keyboard so that the users still get the best of best experience while still sticking to the benefits of following the standard keyboard layout.
However, this might not suit well to all. Hindi or for that matter other Indian languages have seen quite a few keyboards. And there are people out there who are used to having their own personal keyboard layouts. For such people, Adaptxt offers a really magical facility. They can simply design their own keyboard layout with different colors and reshape the size of the keys they desire.
Adaptxt also corrects your spelling and encourages you to write correct spelling of words. I love this feature of Adapxt. This is good for any language. A language can thrive only when there is a spelling standard maintained by its users/speakers. Adaptxt helps achieve this. For a language like Hindi, there is a lot of spelling mistakes as one can witness on the internet. With the freedom of internet, anyone can write anything on the web and publish it instantly. This means that there is no one to correct you whether you are making a mistake or not. In such a situation an application that can suggest you what is correct comes as a boon.
Hindi’s spelling corrections comes from a carefully crafted dictionary. And I for sure can guarantee you that Hindi’s dictionary as provided by Adaptxt is the best most comprehensive ever provided by a speller application (including Microsoft’s Office proofing tools. Yes, I have used Microsoft’s Hindi proofing tool in MS word and I can tell you that it is pathetic in terms of suggesting correct words. Chances are that more than 30% of your words will be marked as incorrect while they are just perfectly fine).
Hinglish and Multilingual Suggestion
Another important thing about Adaptxt is that it also offers Hinglish as a language which you can use to write things you like the most in Roman. Hinglish seems to have caught up with the youngsters and people prefer to write Hindi in Roman. The Hinglish dictionary comes with a great list of words and it offers you suggestions as you would. It already knows the context about what you are going to type gives you relevant suggestions most of the times so that you do not have to type the whole word. Hinglish comes as a great fun thing not for just North Indian people but also for people throughout South Asia as the words included in this dictionary is truly South Asian in nature.
Many other Features
There are several other features that I am sure you would love to explore. For details about more features, please visit the Adaptxt website.
You can also view some of the interesting promo views on Youtube. The links are as follows:
Here are some more screenshots of the Hindi Keyboard Layout