Microsoft has now announced the release of smart Phonetic keyboards for 10 Indian languages in its May 2019 update (19H1) for Windows 10. The updated virtual keyboard learns from the behaviour patterns and preferences of the user and accordingly offers individualized word suggestions in Indian languages, enhancing and improving the accuracy of text input. The updated phonetic keyboards are available in Hindi, Bangla, Tamil, Marathi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Odia, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam languages.
The keyboards now allow Indian users to work in their native/preferred languages unlike before when many of them had to purchase customized Indic hardware keyboards or stickers. This has made it simple for users to input transliterated Indic text using the existing keyboards which traditionally have Latin characters inscribed on them. Transliteration, unlike translation, automatically converts text from one script to another.
The new tools will not only help in making computing inclusive they are also expected to improve typing speed and accuracy in Indian languages by at least 20%. Moreover, they make many regional symbols (like the Indian numerals) easier to input.
The new update which now comes integrated into the operating system nullifies the need to download and install any external tools, known as Input Method Editors (IMEs). Here are a few other benefits the update will offer to users:
While the updated keyboards have automatically been made available with the recent Windows 10 update (19H1), the users who have not updated their operating system could do so by navigating to Settings > Updates & Security > Windows Update. Once the update is installed, they can activate the Phonetic keyboards by going to Language settings.
The new keyboards are in addition to the Indic Inscript keyboard already available with Windows. Inscript, the official Indian keyboard standard for Indian languages, has been supported on all versions of the operating system starting with Windows 2000. It remains the default keyboard for Indic languages except for Tamil, which has Tamil 99 as the default keyboard instead.
New Phonetic keyboard layouts will work with any Unicode enabled applications and web browsers (including Edge) running over the Windows 10 operating system. Unicode is a common text encoding standard used for most languages of the world.