Word Prediction in Arabic.

The next challenge other than our search for an open source option for an Arabic TTS is going to be word prediction.  I felt it was time to start to define the requirements and how realistic we can be when it comes to working with a language that does not have an easy way to see breaks in words as was discovered when working on the spell checker.

Word completion is available from Nuance as T9 Write in Arabic and I have seen this working on an Android phone.  It is not totally successful, but does at least try to offer the correct word at times when a few characters are entered. It is also possible to use the swipe technique on the Arabic onscreen keyboard, as illustrated in the above YouTube video – Continuous T9 in Bada 1.2 arabic .

So we are looking for an Arabic corpus that will allow us to offer alternative words once typing has begun as well as the next option.  This plug-in will help those using the toolbar to increase typing speeds and possibly ameliorate any word finding difficulties or severe spelling problems.   Word prediction can be helpful for those who tend to type at less than 25 words per minute and can jog the memory when a few words are listed.

Texthelp word prediction

Texthelp Read and Write Gold being used with the rich text editor in WordPress

The word chosen can be added to free text via a single keyboard entry – usually a function key but number keys can also be used.  On the left word prediction has been illustrated using TextHelp Gold Read and Write, that support this type of text entry.  ClaroRead, Easy

Tutor, Soothsayer, Co:Writer, Penfriend and several other desktop applications offer similar functionality as can be seen on Emptech

The ATKit word prediction plug-in is for use in a browser when writing on the web – filling in forms, using Google docs or creating a blog or wiki   The toolbar plug-in is not designed to replicate an app for text editing when writing messages on a phone or iPad and it will not be able to offer all the options available with a desktop solution. .

One issue already beginning to cause concern is the possible removal of Google Tashkeel  – This is a very useful service supporting the diacritic symbols. We are watching to see what will happen with several other Google services  disappearing such as Google dictionary.  However,  the Google transliteration service is still available which at least allows us to practice typing words in one language and then with the selection of the space bar see them converted to Arabic.