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Auto correction for Tamil spellings in mobiles

Karthik Subramanian
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Sellinam Tamil keyboard aims to allay inhibitions for those who type in Tamil on mobile devices

In a notable development, Malaysian computing firm Murasu Systems on Tuesday released an upgraded version of its Tamil input tool Sellinam version 2.0 that introduces auto-correction facility. The free Application (App) for Android mobile devices can be downloaded from the Google Play store.

Tamil software industry veterans and regular users, including some from the Tamil Wikipedia volunteers’ community, said the auto correct would encourage more users to share their views in Tamil. Muthu Nedumaran, who heads Murasu and is a pioneer in the development of Tamil input tools for three decades now, termed it “the first big step in a series of developments planned.”

“Until now, we were developing tools that were not taking into consideration the linguistic elements of languages,” Mr. Nedumaran, told The Hindu in a telephonic interview from Malaysia. “With this auto-correction facility, we are moving from a ‘what you type is what you get’ scenario to much close to the heart of the language.”

Spell checks have been one of the big challenges in Tamil computing. Professor N. Deivasundaram, a retired professor from Madras University and an expert in computational linguistics and language technology, said: “Unlike English which has a very limited number of suffix probabilities for verbs, Tamil has innumerable probabilities.”

Prof. Deivasundaram has developed a stand-alone programme Mentamizh, which is compliant with Microsoft Windows XP and Windows 8 platforms, that performs a spell check on a Tamil document.

Sellinam is integrated into the mobile operating system in Android and allows users to input text in Tamil in two keyboard layouts: in English (phonetic) and through a Tamil keypad. It throws up suggestions based on an internal dictionary of 1.5 lakh common words.

Sellinam currently has over 1 lakh users in Android platform and in Apple’s iOS platform.




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