How Gboard is helping European languages in the digital age
Today is European Day of Languages, celebrating the many languages that are spoken every day across Europe, with events ranging from language-learning crash courses to multilingual concerts. And Europe's rich linguistic diversity is increasingly reflected online. For example, regional languages like Welsh and Frisian are more and more commonly used on social media.
We're committed to making technology work in the languages people want to use it in, for as many people across the world as possible. Our focus on bringing technology to as many languages as we can is borne out across many of our products. One example is our keyboard app Gboard, which offers smart keyboards for Android in more than 60 European language varieties, with machine learning smarts like auto-correction and predictive text. In many languages, Gboard also lets you type by voice using speech recognition.
Beyond the 24 official languages of the European Union, Gboard supports many other languages, like Welsh, Corsican, Luxembourgish, Sicilian, Scottish Gaelic, Upper Sorbian, Northern Sami, Manx, and more (see the full list on our help center). And for multilingual users, Gboard supports using multiple languages without changing keyboards, making it easy to use the right language at the right time.
Supporting such a rich array of languages poses its own technological challenges. For example, in some languages, nouns and verbs can have lots of inflectional forms. Learning the nuances of such a rich vocabulary required us to come up with a new approach to language modeling in our machine learning systems. As another example, some European language varieties, like Romansh and Austro-Bavarian, pose challenges to machine learning systems due to their relatively large degree of internal variation, with differences in the way the language is spoken from one valley to the next. For such languages, Gboard's on-device personalization can help you learn exactly your typing style.
Of course, lots of other Google products are available across many European languages. For example, Google Translate can help you break down language barriers across more than 30 languages of Europe. And the Google Assistant is available in 10 European languages, with more on the way. Wherever you are, and whatever language you speak, we wish you a happy European Day of Languages!