An Overview of Google Input Tools (IME)

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English is the primary language while working on Computers, Software, etc. Keyboards are also mostly in English, except in some of the countries like Japan, China. These countries use their own language keyboards.

Practically, it is not possible to create that many Keyboard hardware layouts for each regional language. What if you want to write in Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Russian, Spanish, or any other regional language, without changing the keyboard hardware?

Here Input Method Editors come to your help. IME helps you to input data in a native language i.e language other than English.

Google Input Tools (IME)

Google Input Tools are the Input Method Editor(IME) available for Google services, Chrome, Android devices, and Windows. You can use these tools to easily write text in regional or any other supported language. Input tools include transliteration, IME, and on-screen keyboards.

You can type letters/words in English in typical regional format and this tool converts it in the respective native word.

Features,

  • Works online and offline also
  • Remembers correction and custom dictionary also available
  • Supports 80 regional language
  • on-screen regional language keyboard.
  • Draw the letters on the screen as per the regional language.
  • Available for Chrome, Chrome OS, Windows and Google Services like Search, Gmail, Google Drive, YouTube, and Translate

Supported languages,

At the time of writing this article, it supports regional languages like,

  • Afrikaans, Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Armenian
  • Basque, Belarusian, Bengali, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Burmese
  • Catalan, Cherokee, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Croatian, Czech,
  • Danish, Dari Persian, Dutch, Dzongkha
  • English, Estonian
  • Filipino, Finnish, French
  • Galician, Georgian, German, Greek, Gujarati
  • Haitian, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian
  • Icelandic, Indonesian, Irish, Italian
  • Japanese
  • Kannada, Kazakh, Khmer, Kirghiz, Korean
  • Lao, Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian
  • Macedonian, Malay, Malayalam, Maltese, Marathi, Mongolian
  • Nepali, Norwegian
  • Oriya
  • Pashto, Persian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Punjabi
  • Romanian, Romany, Russian
  • Sanskrit, Serbian, Sinhala, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish
  • Tamil, Tatar, Telugu, Thai, Tigrinya, Turkish
  • Uighur, Ukranian, Urdu, Uzbek
  • Vietnamese
  • Welsh

Check this link for up to date information for supported language.

Transliteration

Transliteration works on the principle of Phonetic similarity. This is similar to the way non-native English Speakers learn English. Just type in Latin words (a,b,c..) as per the pronunciation of the word and the tool converts it to the respective target language  (अ,ब,क..) characters that have similar pronunciation.

Let’s take an example of Hindi Word for illustration.

Hindi – सुप्रभात

English – Good Morning

Now when you use Transliteration, you need to type ‘SUPRABHAT’. The IME automictically converts it to सुप्रभात. As you type in you also get different probable words from which you can choose the correct word.

Input Method (IME)

Input Method Editors (IMEs) convert keystrokes to characters in another language. Below are some of the input methods provided. You can toggle them on and off by clicking on the language icon.

  • Pinyin IME for Simplified and Traditional Chinese – phonetic input method.
  • Wubi IME for Chinese – radical based input method.
  • Zhuyin IME for Traditional Chinese –  phonetic input method.
  • Cangjie IME for Traditional Chinese – graphological based input method.
  • Cantonese IME
  • Latin IMEs

You can refer to this page for further details.

Virtual Keyboard

Virtual Keyboard opens a on-screen keyboard where you can either use a mouse/trackpad or keyboard to enter the target language words. It is represented by a keyboard symbol just beside the language selection list.

Handwriting

Handwriting input opens a small window where you can write down words directly with a mouse or trackpad and click the enter button or arrow on the window to move it to the main workspace. As you keep writing the tool provides word suggestions which you can select using a mouse to move it to the main canvas.

This also supports these (,.?!'”;@ ) punctuation symbols as well. Total of 50 languages supported.

Download and Install Google IME

Google used to provide an offline installer for Google IME. This you can easily install in Windows and use it with Microsoft Word, Excel, PPT, or any other office software. Google stopped provided offline installers now.

Summary

Google IME provides tools that make writing in regional language ease. Transliteration, Input Methods, Keyboard, and Handwriting are the IME.

I prefer Transliteration as it is very easy compared to others. You can quickly write in regional language using Phonetic similarity.