Archive for Junio, 2009

Multi-lingual auto-correction on the iPhone

Junio 6, 2009

I’ve had an iPhone for a few months, and while it doesn’t quite do everything that I want — no Flash, no video recording, no laptop tethering, no BlueTooth file transfer — it does do a staggering array of wonderful things that I do like really rather a lot.  🙂

One thing that had been annoying me though is that I couldn’t find how to make it allow me to type in a foreign language without constantly proposing English corrections, e.g. when I type je or ne in French, it always wanted to “correct” them to me. Worse, it then remembered the foreign words, and ceased suggesting corrections that I would have wanted when typing in English.

However, it turns out that if you use a foreign on-screen keyboard (enable one or more of them via Settings –> General –> International –> Keyboards), then the iPhone auto-corrects to the corresponding language. Switching between keyboards is a one-tap operation on the keyboard itself, and the space bar always shows you what the current keyboard is.

That certainly solves the problem if Apple provide a keyboard for your languages of choice, but what if they don’t? I regularly email/Tweet/etc. in Esperanto, which isn’t in Apple’s list. My solution, for now, is to enable a. n. other language — I’ve chosen Czech — and use that keyboard when I’m writing in Esperanto. It’s a bit painful to start with, as it tries to “correct” just about every word, but it quickly learns the most common words and starts making useful suggestions, and it stops my English and French dictionaries getting poluted with irrelevant foreign words.

So there you go. Hope that helps. Feel free to leave better solutions in comments.