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Google Maps launches transliteration for 10 Indian languages

Google has now rolled out transliteration support in languages including Bangla, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil, and Telugu.

twitter-logoAnkita Chakravarti | January 27, 2021 | Updated 14:46 IST

Highlights

  • Google Maps has introduced a new transliteration feature for 10 ten Indian languages.
  • To begin with, transliteration means writing the same words in different scripts.
  • This new feature is aimed at people who have difficulty in understanding English.

Google Maps has introduced a new transliteration feature for 10 ten Indian languages. To begin with, transliteration means writing the same words in different scripts. Google has now rolled out transliteration support in languages including Bangla, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil, and Telugu. This new feature is aimed at people who have difficulty understanding English.

Talking about the feature, Cibu Johny, Software Engineer, Google Maps said, "Nearly three-quarters of Indians interact with the web primarily using local languages rather than English, and this number is only growing. To make Google Maps as helpful as possible for millions of Indian language users, we've introduced an updated automatic transliteration system that enables us to deliver more accurate results when users search for POIs in their preferred language. In a country where names of establishments are written with words from multiple languages and acronyms, phonetically mapping these words into their native language will help us more accurately surface the results that local language users are looking for."

Explaining how the feature will work once rolled out, he said, "Common English words are frequently used in names of places in India, even when written in the native script. How the name is written in these scripts is largely driven by its pronunciation. For example, from the acronym NIT is pronounced 'en-aye-tee', not as the English word 'nit'. Therefore by understanding that NIT is a common acronym from the region, Maps can derive the correct transliteration. In the past when Maps could not understand the context of , it would instead show a related entity that might be farther away from the user. With this development, we can find the desired result from the local language query. Additionally, users can see the POI names in their local language, even when they do not originally have that information."

In the blog, Google revealed that Hindi transliteration has witnessed 3.2x coverage improvement and 1.8x quality improvement whereas the Bengali native language transliteration has witnessed 19x coverage improvement and 3.3x quality improvement. The Odia language transliteration, on the other hand, has seen a 960x coverage improvement. Google said, "The coverage improvement measures the increase in items for which an automatic transliteration has been made available. Quality improvement measures the ratio of updated transliterations that were judged to be improvements versus those that were judged to be inferior to existing automatic transliterations."

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