How to Write Facebook Status updates, Emails or Documents In Your Own Language

There are several easy to use methods that will quickly get you writing those emails, documents or even Facebook status updates in your own language. And it's just as easy to switch back to writing in English.

 Some things are best expressed in your first language. And now technology it making it very easy - and for free. Two types of options are available. One that requires downloading and installing software. And the other that doesnt - but is slightly cumbersome to use. Your choice will depend on whether you have rights to install software on the PC you use (office machine?) or whether you are using a tablet or mobile.

Google Transliterate

Let's start with the easy one that requires no software to be downloaded and installed. All it needs is a web browser. It's as simple as navigating to Google Transliterate (bookmark it), selecting the language you need and get typing.

Google Transliterate
Google Transliterate in action
The key thing to remember here is that the translation is phonetic. Which means you need to type in English and the tool automatically translates as you move to the next word. The screen shot on the right shows me typing the Muslim greeting of "Salaam Alaikoom" - exactly like that and the tool produces Arabic text for it (because I chose Arabic). It would have produced Urdu had I chosen that language.

Once you are happy with what the tool has produced, copy-paste the content to wherever you need - document, email, facebook, etc. As you've seen this is easy to use but can get cumbersome when the text gets large and you have to copy-paste often.

Of course, Google being it's brilliant self seems to have foreseen this and has made built-in transliteration available in Gmail and Blogger - tools that need involve a fair bit of writing.

IME (short for Input Method Editor)

IME (Input Method Editor) In Action
The other option is where you need to install software before you can start. The software I am suggesting is Google Input Tools for Windows. This tool currently supports 22 different languages: Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, Persian, Greek, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Russian, Sanskrit, Serbian, Sinhala, Tamil, Telugu, Tigrinya and Urdu.

Chose the language or languages you need, download and install the software (here are some instructions in case you are new). The next step is to perform configuration that is specific to your version of Windows. Note that Windows XP users will need to perform this extra step to make the tool work. Once you are set up, the rest is easy.

Open up any application you like (say Facebook) and just before you start typing, look for a language bar in your task bar (the one with the Windows Start button) and click it. You should also see your system default language selected (as shown in the screenshot on the left). Click to select your additional language as the current.

And then back to Facebook, type away in English - and watch it "transliterate" your English typing into (in my case) Marathi! See screen shot below.
Posting a Facebook status update in Marathi
It's as easy as that. And it works pretty much wherever you can type. Don't forget to select English once you are done :)

If you still have questions or got stuck somewhere, let me know. In the meanwhile, enjoy writing in your own language :)

See also: Translating Wikipedia articles with Wikibhasha