If you have been using SwiftKey’s virtual keyboard, you probably have an appreciation for the fact that it not only helps you type faster since you can just swipe your way into words, but it also allows you multilingual typing, in case English is not your main or only language. The company has announced that they are now supporting more than 150 languages and it is indeed a milestone for them. They added 12 languages to the Beta version a few weeks ago to get to this number, or 153 to be exact.
Considering there are more than 7000 spoken languages in the world today, this number is still a small drop in the pond. But this is still very much significant for multilingual speakers, or rather typers. The support page of the app lists down all the languages that they support, in case you were curious or you can speak a lot more than just two or three ones. Note that there are only 141 listed there because the most recently added ones are still in the Beta version, and that includes Fijian, Rwanda, Tsonga, etc.
SwiftKey introduced us to one of the people behind the scenes who is personally responsible for 48 of the language models. Software engineer Julian Baley, who himself is fluent in English, French, and Mandarin, says the process of building a language at first took 4 months, but now he can make 10 models in just two weeks. To be able to build a keyboard for a language, he shares that you need at least 5,000 words and as the language grows, there are more words added.
Since there are still a few more languages that can be added, or at least those that have more than 1,000 native speakers, we can expect SwiftKey to continue to add to that list. The 12 still in beta will eventually be added to the main list and released on the main app of course.