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Multi-language support (T9 included)

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by hydrelisk, Jun 18, 2010.

  1. hydrelisk

    hydrelisk Lurker
    Thread Starter
    Jun 18, 2010

    Jun 18, 2010
    Hi every one,

    as such it may not be a frequently asked question (even though I found some times it was asked and partially answered -or fully answered, but I don't enough the system to work the inners out completely-) but it seems to me quite fundamental for the OS possibilities (meaning that language polyvalence is good when you can switch everything at the level authorized by the OS, and bad if you use some applications designed for your local version).
    The fact is I don't own any Android yet, nor my present phone be a very smartphone (fine phone, N95, but not a strongly ergonomic phone), so I may be sound newbie to the topic.

    The question itself is quite simple: can you change language parameters of Android and to which extent, and with how much ease? In particular, because I really am newbie to the question, is -if it is necessary to go to the maximum of it- reinstalling the OS to another language doable, legit and free? (it is not obvious that because it is basically based on Linux and because it is offered free with the material you can legally and for free, and even less easily, reinstall an OS version optimized for you phone because let's say the phone exist in two different places and so of course the local operators propose the phone with good settings for the local language needs).

    In the following I'll take the example of Japanese support because it is what I'm interested in and because it is a good example (the Japanese local market is so well developped that we cannot say that good language support doesn't exist for a particular phone optimisation: it exists, and in fact generally it is really really efficient given the difficulty of this language and its homophones, conciseness and so on. Plus it is a quite closed market so it not obvious that everything switch easily from japanese version to occidental version). On a PC it can already be quite a task to manage cohabitation between japanese and a western language (especially if it not the basic english system... I'll go on taking my case as an example, because I use french): where windows have developped efficient IME tools even for non japanese computers (nor keyboards), the question is solved less brutally on linux usually, and in general the adaptation tools are not quite as powerful I believe (at least not as simple in comprehension) the fact that linux is intrasically customisable (and that language is part of this customisation, you don't have to buy either japanese either english version to your retailer.. except of course if your using a specific system and ask a specialized retailer for a very specific version, which may not be very customisable at wish. That is exactly why I ask about Androids, which are not as universal as a mere PC) helps to solve problem radically if needed, just by taking what the japanese people use (it may require OS reinstallation to be fully compatible, but in pratice I don't need it, it's well thought). As long as your have japanese keyboard linux is excellent (otherwise i still prefer windows, they've put money to be ergonomic with non japanese pc).

    The question become very crucial on a how language compatibility is done for a cell phone. Basically I guess the keys are the same anyway (not what is printed on them, but usually you have a the choice in number of keys) when there are some (and if it is a touch keyboard, well no excuse), but since typing on a cellphone is a pain in the *** the T9 or alike dictionaries are essential. And a good predictive text system is the one that it is used locally by a whole people, not any system which may have been developed by some lonely geek to fill a need.
    I am confident that a full language change can be made some way or another (and for a PC as far as I need it it's well enough, because usually you can do from one language-the most complicated, japanese here- most of the things in the other, and you need full switch on a very few cases. But for the dictionaries, even though for example the japanese can type in english they don't have efficient dictionaries on classic phones. Nor the english can do japanese on T9. A I'm not speaking of french! So since a smartphone is supposed to be convenient enough for emails for exemple, only a fully multi-language system could be efficient on the matter: if you could install dictionaries for several languages, those you need, as well as quickly switching input methods, it would be awesome.

    To be honest I don't really need a multi-lingual cellphone solution, this question is more out of coolness/geekness of the feature, and because I believe that if it lacks now then even if it would only be helpful once in a while, those "once in a while" would be a pain because whatever apps will be developped on the question it won't be as complete as a OS-thought solution.
    The question occured in my mind because I am currently in Japan, and I have seen a multi-lingual input system quite impressive on the Japanese Ipad (though still more thought for Japanese people, and do want a mainly european system for daily messages.. plus I guess such ambivalence is only on the japanese OS, and that you cannot install it easily with the benediction of Apple on a western product. And yeah an iPad is not a phone, so it's not what I need) so that I wonder what are the possibilities on an Android.
    (to say the least I have discovered the difference between typing japanese and then convert the whole thing into correct characters through a simple IME such as the one from windows and letting a japanese cellphone type for you... You can really make whole phrases automatically this way. If you wonder I'd say the gap is as far as having a T9-phone that understands that 733 is "see" and one which after that propose you "you" then "later" then "on" then "Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday/../Sunday" in its choices. If you don't know the language well it's very convenient, and if you do it reminds you to be a little more inventive than that! But of course on my phone I'd like that in addition to standard french T9-or touchscreen equivalent-, and english T9, not instead of... Just a damn good gadget feature! For now I switch between different cellphone, doable-and necessary for SMS messages in different countries- but so boring)

    Sorry to have mixed a fundamental and technical question with what I would personally find very useful, but I think examples are the best way to explain what convenience really is when speaking of a phone. Because it would help many people at least occasionnally (trip, language learning, bilingual persons who constantly switch between languages..) if advanced-language support could be easily switched between language settings.


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