Microsoft has quietly released a new product called Indic Language Input Tool, which is aimed at Indian users. Indic Language Input Tool enables input of text in Indian languages on any webpage and application. The initial release supports Bengali, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil and Telegu and is available as a desktop software as well as an online utility. The Indic Language Tool utilizes free-form transliteration, which means there is no learning curve. Users can type the desired text in a natural manner (phonetically) utilizing English script and the utility will automatically transliterate it.
The web version works through a bookmarklet and works with all popular browsers including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Chrome and Safari. It’s refreshing to see a Microsoft product which is cross-browser compliant, since Microsoft products are notorious for not playing well with alternate browsers. Once you have installed the bookmarklet, simply click on it whenever you wish to activate the Indic Language tool. Any text you type is automatically transliterated on a word by word basis. Languages can be easily toggled through a floating icon, which is added to the currently active text box.
The desktop software utilizes the language bar and works with any offline utility (as long as it features a text box). If you don’t see the language bar even after installing the tool, you will need to enable it manually from Control Panel–>Clock, Language and Region–>Change keyboards or other input methods.
Techie Buzz Verdict
Microsoft Indic Language Tool is a joy to use. Its biggest strength is that it works pretty much everywhere and anywhere. The interface is minimalistic and never gets in your way. On most occasions, Indic Language Tool is bang on with its transliteration. And, in case it gets things wrong, you can easily enter the correct text from the on-screen keyboard. The developers – Emerging Markets Labs team of the Microsoft India Development Centre, have done a fabulous job. Indic Language Tool is still in beta, hence there may be some issues. I had some trouble while installing the Desktop version (for Bengali). There are also few minor oversights like missing punctuations. But, if you are willing to look past these issues (which are to be expected from any beta product), you will definitely be impressed with Indic Language Tool.
Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)