Google Research

Latin script keyboards for South Asian languages with finite-state normalization

Proceedings of FSMNLP (2019), pp. 108-117

Abstract

The use of the Latin script for text entry of South Asian languages is common, even though there is no standard orthography for these languages in the script. We explore several compact finite-state architectures that permit variable spellings of words during mobile text entry. We find that approaches making use of transliteration transducers provide large accuracy improvements over baselines, but that simpler approaches involving a compact representation of many attested alternatives yields much of the accuracy gain. This is particularly important when operating under constraints on model size (e.g., on inexpensive mobile devices with limited storage and memory for keyboard models), and on speed of inference, since people typing on mobile keyboards expect no perceptual delay in keyboard responsiveness.

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