Google Research

Automatic Keyboard Layout Design for Low-Resource Latin-Script Languages

Abstract

We present our approach to automatically generating keyboard layouts on mobile devices for typing low-resource languages written in the Latin script. For many speakers, one of the barriers in accessing and creating text content on the web is the absence of input tools for their language. Ease in typing in these languages would lower technological barriers to online communication and collaboration, likely leading to the creation of more web content. Unfortunately, it can be time-consuming to develop layouts manually even for language communities that use a keyboard layout very similar to English: starting from scratch requires many configuration files to describe multiple possible behaviors for each key. With our approach, we only need a small amount of data in each language to generate keyboard layouts with very little human effort. This process can help serve speakers of low-resource languages in a scalable way, allowing us to develop input tools for more languages. Having input tools that reflect the linguistic diversity of the world will let as many people as possible use technology to learn, communicate, and share their thoughts in their own native languages.

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