Multilingual Keyboards for Android – few thoughts

If you’re using CM7, you won’t have any problems in reading off text written in Arabic, Farsi or Urdu, as it inherently supports the script and right-to-left text viewing. Alternatively, if you are on a Gingerbread MOD with an Arabic Patch, you might be able to at least view content, including your mails and contact lists with the Arabic text appearing properly. In normal circumstances, this wouldn’t be quite possible, and you’d see each character split up.

I’ve been experimenting with a few keyboards that could support multilingual text input and recognition. Currently I’m using MultiLing Keyboard, for which I’ve activated Arabic, English, Farsi and Urdu language packs. This keyboard has been developed by Hanso, and is quite good as it supports a large number of languages.

However, as often is the case with non-native apps or support packs, not everything works smoothly, so there are occasional issues. Here are some screenshots which show the typeface output of the word behtereen (excellent) in each of the right-to-left scripts.

MultiLing Keyboard - FarsiMultiLing Keyboard - ArabicMultiLing Keyboard - Urdu
       Farsi Keyboard – word on right                   Arabic Keyboard – word in middle               Urdu Keyboard – 2 words on left

So you can see, the Urdu script is kind of broken up, and I deliberately used two different characters to check if the issue remains regarding split characters. I’ve also noticed this remains a standing issue in Urdu where you use words which have the character “Alif” in the middle of a word where characters join.

I’ll keep a look out for other keyboards and see how they do well. I have tried Steve Lin’s Gingerbread keyboard for multilingual support but so far haven’t been able to make it work that smoothly as the above.

I haven’t checked other languages quite frankly because I don’t know how to write or read them 🙂

4 responses to “Multilingual Keyboards for Android – few thoughts

  1. There is also an issue of the “Paay” / “پ” which on the Android display appears as a “~” type Pakistan and you will notice is – im using CM7 RC1 on my Android

    • I’d have to agree on that… so not using that now, though holding on to CM7 as it can inherently read off Urdu and Arabic scripts easily.

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