The Maltese keyboard now available on mobile devices
Users of Android-based smartphones and tablets now have the facility to type in the Maltese language thanks to an app freely available from Google Play, the app market for Android devices.
The Multiling Keyboard is easily downloaded and installed to provide the Maltese special letters and vocabulary when typing anything from SMS to whole documents and social media updates.
The Kunsill Nazzjonali tal-Ilsien Malti (National Council for the Maltese Language) is behind this initiative.
In fact the council’s executive director Thomas Pace and Carl Farrugia worked on the project.
They contacted the creator of the Multiling Keyboard and worked closely with him to include the Maltese language according to the standard Maltese keyboard (MSA 100:2002). The app was tested extensively before it was updated on Google Play. Besides Maltese, this particular app supports many other foreign languages.
Apart from the choice of input of Maltese characters, the app also has a dictionary with suggested words, similar to the English T9.
“The council notes with satisfaction these developments in the use of mobile technology,” Mr Pace told i-Tech. “As a result the Maltese language can be used for expression on smartphones and tablets. These initiatives are to be commended as long as they are practical to implement and helps who wants to use them. The Maltese language is thus present and accessible on the latest means of communication.”
Asked for the reason why this facility is only available for Android-based smartphones and not for the Apple iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry or Microsoft Windows Phone handsets, Mr Pace replied that Android is very popular but they are checking on the availability for other devices from other manufacturers. “We are checking on iOS and BlackBerry. We haven’t come across a similar application to include the Maltese language in it. We would like to make a public call for support in this respect. Ideally the app needs to be free of charge; it must support Unicode, and can be integrated with the keyboard.
“There are other iOS apps where you can type in Maltese and then copy/paste but these are not practical. If we cannot find such a ready-made app we would have to develop one from scratch.”
iPhone and BlackBerry developers who can support this initiative can contact the council on [email protected] or visit its Facebook group page “Il-Malti u l-Informatika”.
For those who are still unsure on how to write jargon in Maltese, Mr Pace suggests that “mobile” can be written as “mobile” (in italics) or “mowbajl” (without italics). The same goes with regard to “tablets” and “teblits”. No official decision has been taken on whether such foreign words have to be written the same way but in italics or a phonetic translation into Maltese is best.
More information on the Maltese keyboard for smartphones and tablets is available from www.kunsilltalmalti.gov.mt