How to type in Tamil in Computer? (Indian languages)

The current generation of tamil speaking people slowly ignores this one of the world’s ancient, rich language. Many of us don’t learn traditional Tamil typing (including me), which leads to frustration while typing in Tamil in keyboard. Google has come forward to help people like me, to type in Tamil. More than a year, there is a project called Google Transliteration is in its lab, which is going successfully.

Note: In this How-To, whatever I am talking about Tamil is applicable for most of the other primary Indian languages also.

The Google transliteration tool helps us to type in English scripts in web sites. For example, to type “தமிழுக்கு அமுதென்று”, you have to type “thamizhukku amuthendru” using your usual English keyboard. On the fly it will change English characters into Tamil characters. The special feature is, it does spelling suggestion, spell correction which is context sensitive. After using for more than a year, it seems to be very nice experience and highly user friendly.

Now let’s see how to get it done.

Go to the site Google Transliteration. Select your Indian language. I am selecting Tamil in this example. Just start typing in English phonetic style (we call it as Taminglish, it is funny!), the tool will start converting it into Tamil on the fly. Type backspace to get suggestion and spell correction. Press Ctrl+G to switch between Tamil and English inputs.

Selecting your language (click to enlarge)

Tamil to English Translation

You can select a word and click Dictionary icon in tool bar to check for English meaning of the selected word. English to Tamil dictionary also possible. Please see the screenshots given below for more details.

Selecting a word and clicking Dictionary icon
Tamil word is translated to English
English to Tamil also possible

There is another method called IME (Input Method Editor), which is used in Windows kind of desktop operating systems. By default Windows does not support this kind of Phonetic keyboard layout. So without knowing the traditional Tamil typing, you can’t type in Tamil in Windows. To fill this gap, Google has come up with Google IME.

This method is more advantageous than the web based tool which have discussed so far.

Advantage 1: No need to have internet connection to for this tool to work. Google IME is installed in your desktop and it works within Desktop itself. Where as the web based tool sends your key strokes to Google server and converts them to Tamil and displays in your text box.

Advantage 2: It can be used anywhere in your desktop – I mean any application can utilize this Tamil input method.

Google has documented nicely how to get it installed and configured. You can download here and follow this link to get it configured.Before clicking download button in download page, select the right language you want to use. The below screenshot may help you.

Downloading Tamil IME

I am using it to do some occasional tamil inputs. It is fantastic. Enjoy!

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