Typing in any language using roman characters

Here is a Bing Language Labs project: Universal Text Input

You type a word phonetically, and it presents to you the proper character(s) in whatever non-roman character set you have selected.


What sort of benefits could this sort of thing have for language learning?

wow, thanks dude… I don’t know if it is/isn’t any useful per se but al’ama, I do know I’m gonna use it a looooot (chat rooms xD)

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How is practicing not learning?

How is practicing not learning? indeed.

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I believe that any contact we have with the language is part of the learning process. But to each his own.

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I tried it and I don’t think it’s so very helpful for languages not written in roman characters, as they already have input systems which work quite well. (e.g. Japanese)
I thought it more helpful for typing French faster (for which I have to use odd key combinations on my keyboard), but then again the part of chosing the correct spelling from a list takes too long especially with short words like “où”, so it’s not really faster in the end.
I don’t think this would help me in learning a language at all, it might be convenient if you’re using a computer you don’t know the settings of (e.g. in a library etc.), but I don’t really see that it could help you at home.

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Yes, that would be an option. However, I’m still struggling with the differences of German, American and Japanese keyboard settings (esp. never find the interjections), so I’ll put that off a little longer (French isn’t my priority at the moment anyway).

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@odiernod - To answer your question in regards to benefits to language learning… I don’t know, I guess it would streamline the whole process of installing an IME on your computer. Instead of installing one for each language you type you would just install this UIME. Otherwise I don’t see much difference between current IMEs and this UIME.

In my view, it is not very helpful for beginners to learn Chinese. There are two reasons.

First, In Chinese language, there are many similar sounds such as ji, qi, zhi, chi, etc , which I don’t distinguish exactly when listening to audio files. We should approximately memorize the pinyins of words, at least basic words (not necessary to memorize tones in this case) to type Chinese well.

Secondly, it presents to you the conversion candidates of proper character(s) in whatever non-roman character set you have selected, but you have to choose appropriate ones, so this way of learning or of practicing requires a certain knowledge of characters.

It doesn’t seem too useful for Cyrillic: if you are trying to enter text by ear, “что” come out like “што” and you have to really work to get the correct transliteration for “делается” (the “ся”), and it only came out right after several attempts to produce the result known in advance. As for French, there are only a few differences in the keyboards, anyway (3 that I can think of), other than the “special characters,” which aren’t handled by it, anyway.

It would seem more worthwhile in the long run to learn how to type in your “target” language, either by learning on your own computer w/ text files, or using one of the free online “learn to type” sites, or even buying a program to teach you, if that gives you more confidence.

But it is definitely interesting. Thanks, odiernod!

Its also of course a work in progress of theirs, still in its experimental stages, so any criticisms you have to its use should probably be sent to them.

今晩は! Yup, seems to work fine. I like it!

Yes, it works for me too. Thanks!

A related question: does anyone know how to set writing from right to left (as in Arabic) in Word?

@customic “A related question: does anyone know how to set writing from right to left (as in Arabic) in Word?”

  1. Activate a keyboard for Arabic or other language using the script.

  2. Open Word 2007, then click the circular Office logo at upper left to open a new menu.

  3. Click Word Options button at the bottom of the menu.

  4. In the Word Options window click Customize on left. A list of commands will open.

  5. In the list of available Word commands, switch the left Chooose commands from menu from Popular Commands to Home Tab.

  6. Find and highlight Right-to-Left Direction, then click the Add button. The command will move to the right Customize Quick Access column. Repeat this for the Left-to-Right Direction commands.

  7. Click OK to close the Word options window. The options will appear on the top tool bar as mirror paragraph marks.