Android ICS support for Tamil and Indic languages

The latest Android Ice Cream Sandwich release was keenly awaited by Indic languages as the earlier versions did not provide native support. I upgraded the OS in my Google Nexus S and found that Tamil is supported well in some native apps. Earlier we could only rely on some external android apps or hacks to view Tamil.

You can view the screenshots below with captions to understand the issues.

Here is a summary of the issues I observed:

1. Tamil is shown well in Android’s native browser and Facebook app. However, the letters are seen scrambled in many other apps like Twitter, Music and SMS.

Inference: Android provides native support for Tamil but the apps also have to code well to show it. Is it possible to do a single app that will fix this problem in all other apps present?

2. Tamil, Bengali, Marathi and Hindi are the only Indian languages supported for now. Oh ya, it can also show English well without a problem ;)

But, how did they choose these four languages? Possible guesses:

* Languages by number of speakers (But Telugu has more speakers than Tamil) ?

* Possibility of revenue generation in these languages (Ad revenue in all Indic languages are almost nill or equal) ?

* Based on the activity online? (I would guess that it is based on the volume of content, search queries, people using Google interfaces in their language).

* Developers passionate in their own language? (very much possible)

* National language status? ( Hindi, Tamil, Bengali are national languages in different countries. But choice of Marathi can’t be explained)

Android-Tamil-Indic-languages-support
Google.co.in showing Tamil, Bengali, Marathi, Hindi and English in Android ICS browser

Android ICS Pro Tip: You can take screen shots like this by pressing the volume+power button together. The screen shots will be stored in your gallery. Then, you can share them easily across the web.

Tamil in Android mobile phones

Android OS for mobile phones is yet to have inbuilt support for Tamil Unicode fonts.

However there are some free apps that support to read and write Tamil Unicode font in Android apps and browsers:

* Tamil Visai – To type Tamil in any Android app using transliteration, Tamil99 keyboard. Using this you can publish in Unicode Tamil font in websites. You can also send Tamil SMSes to other phones supporting Tamil display.

* SETT browser – To display Tamil Unicode text properly.

* Opera Mini browser can display Tamil Websites as bitmap images. Select YES for “Use BitMap fonts for complex scripts” in the settings.

But still, there is no inbuilt support yet. So, you cannot see Unicode Tamil text in all applications. You can’t read Tamil SMSes and there is no Tamil interface yet. Since Android is a open source software and Indic market can’t be ignored for long, we can hope to see inbuilt Tamil support soon in Android.

If you are power user, you can root your android phone and install Tamil Unicode font provided by Krishnan.

If you are an application developer, you can use TSCII fonts to display Tamil letters in your app.

The latest news is that Samsung Ace mobile phone gives native support for Tamil in Android OS. ( Tip: @mayooresan )

Native Tamil support in Android OS in Samsung Ace mobile phone
Native Tamil support in Android OS in Samsung Ace mobile phone

See also:

* How to guide for typing Tamil in Nokia cell phones

Related posts:

* Tamil font converters
* Tamil typing software
* Download free Tamil fonts

Tamil Newspaper Websites

Websites of Tamil newspapers from Tamilnadu:

1. Dinakaran.com/

2. Thinaboomi.com/

3. Dailythanthi

4. Dinamani

5. Dinamalar

6. Tamil Murasu

7. Maalaimalar

8. Thenseide

9. Maalaisudar

10. Murasoli

Websites of Tamil newspapers from Srilanka:

1. Udhayan

2. Sudar Oli

3. Thinakkural

4. ViraKesari

5. Thinakaran

Do you know websites of any other Tamil newspaper from Tamilnadu, Srilanka and other parts of the world? Please let me know.

Related posts:

Tamil literature magazines websites

Tamil magazines websites

Tamil Literature Magazines Websites

Tamil Literature Magazines Websites :

1. Uyirmai ( உயிர்மை )

Besides hosting the printed உயிர்மை magazine, Uyirmmai has a column / blog page by its publisher Manushyaputhiran. The site also offers online shopping to buy Tamil books published by Uyirmai.

2. Kalachuvadu ( காலச்சுவடு )

காலச்சுவடு provides a very valuable archive of all it’s monthly publications. It is one of the very well designed Tamil magazine portals.

3. Vadakku Vaasal ( வடக்கு வாசல் )

4. Noolaham.net – நூலகம் is a non-profit collaborative volunteer initiative from SriLanka to digitize Tamil literary works from Eelam. Besides archiving many old magazines, it presents contemporary magazines like மல்லிகை, ஞானம், பயில் நிலம்.

5. Collection of many small Tamil magazines.

Keetru is one of the extensive, comprehensive and informative contemporary Tamil literature source online. The magazines hosted are intentionally selected and voice alternative and forward thinking supporting the oppressed people. The following magazines are archived here.

* Pudhu Visai ( புது விசை )
* Dalit Murasu ( தலித் முரசு )
* Puthagam pesuthu ( புத்தகம் பேசுது )
* Chemmalar ( செம்மலர் )
* Puratchi Periyar Muzhakkam (புரட்சி பெரியார் முழக்கம் )
* Samuga Needhi Tamil Desam (சமூக நீதி தமிழ் தேசம் )
* Vizhippunarvu ( விழிப்புணர்வு )
* Sinthaniayaalan ( சிந்தனையாளன் )
* Kanavu ( கனவு )
* Maatru Karuthu ( மாற்றுக் கருத்து )
* Tamil Desiya Tamilar Kannottam ( தமிழ் தேசிய கண்ணோட்டம் )
* Maatru Veli ( மாற்று வெளி )
* Ilaignar Muzhakkam ( இளைஞர் முழக்கம் )
* Penniyam ( பெண்ணியம் )
* Karunchattai Tamilar (கருஞ்சட்டைத் தமிழர் )
* Manmozhi ( மண்மொழி )
* Kavitha Saran (கவிதா சரண் )
* Tamil Sanror Peravai cheithi Madal ( தமிழ் சான்றோர் பேரவை செய்தி மடல் )
* Ani ( அணி )
* Anangu ( அணங்கு )
* Sanjaaram ( சஞ்சாரம் )
* Thankkai ( தக்கை )
* Vangi Uzhiyar Thingalithaz ( வங்கி ஊழியர் திங்களிதழ் )
* Inmai ( இன்மை )
* Neythal ( நெய்தல் )
* Punnagai ( புன்னகை )
* Unnatham ( உன்னதம் )
* Theemtharikida ( தீம்தரிகிட )
* Uthapuram ( உத்தப்புரம் )
* Anicha ( அநிச்ச )
* Vizhi ( விழி )
* O Podu ( ஓ போடு )
* Vanam ( வனம் )
* Pudhu ezuthu ( புது எழுத்து )
* Thaagam ( தாகம் )
* Maatru Maruthuvam ( மாற்று மருத்துவம் )
* Kadhaisolli ( கதை சொல்லி )
* Kootaanjoru ( கூட்டாஞ்சோறு )
* Ungal Noolagam ( உங்கள் நூலகம் )
* Pudhiya Thendral ( புதிய தென்றல் )
* Kudhiraiveeran Payanam ( குதிரைவீரன் பயணம் )
.

Do you know website of any other Tamil literature magazine? Please let me know in the comments.

Related posts:

Tamil magazines websites

Tamil newspaper websites

English Tamil Translation Software

Is there a (free) English – Tamil translation software for download / online?

The answer is YES. Visit Google Translate for translating Tamil to and from many languages. This is an alpha version so you may not get the best result always.

There are some long running machine based translation research projects at Universities. But none have given usable product yet. Google is the first to offer translation services for tamil. They also give a translation toolkit that can be used for any language. Wikibhasha is another translation toolkit for Wikipedia developed by Microsoft. Right now thier efficiency for Tamil translation is very rudimentary. It is supposed to get better when more users use it.

Google says that it can bring better automatic machine based translation for Tamil too, if it can get millions of pages of documents with English and Tamil translation side by side. One place where such translated documents may reside with the legal department of the country. It’s in the Government’s hands to give them for public research if not to a private company like Google.

Related posts:

* கூகுள் தானியிங்கித் தமிழாக்கம்

* English to Tamil translation freelancer resources

* English to Tamil dictionary websites

Tamil computing forums

Tamil computing forums:

1. Free Tamil computing group – Free Tamil computing group is a good place to discuss, announce various topics related to Tamil computing. The group is quite active and has lot of friendly people.

2. INFITT – INFITT is a well known Think-Tank  for Tamil computing. The group has lot of veterans and plays a key role world for policy decisions regarding Tamil computing and Tamil Internet. It is a must for any Tamil computing enthusiast to know what’s happening.

Tamil Text to Speech software tools

List of Tamil Text to Speech synthesizer tools. All these software can be downloaded or used for free:

1. Tamil Text to Speech tool from MILE lab, IISc – This converter is a recent invention by Dr. A. G. Ramakrishnan and his group. Kudos for them. The converter is in beta stage and exceeded my expectation in its quality.

2. Dhvani – The conversion quality is not as good as software from MILE lab, IISc. But Dhvani is a free software for Linux that can be used offline and provides support for many Indian languages.

3. eSpeak – A free speech synthesizer for many Indian languages. You can watch an inspiring story of a government blind school benefiting from this software.

4. Auvai Text to speech converter from Gopi – This tool by Gopi is still in development. I expect it to be a promising one considering Gopi’s other tools. I am linking it here so that interested people can work together.

If the current alpha level technology grows, it can be useful for everyone including the blind people. Do you any other tool for text to speech conversion that works for Tamil and Indian languages in general?