There’s a lot of options out there for Android keyboard apps, and a lot of them are good choices, too – Swype, Swiftkey, 8pen, and my personal favorite, Thumb Keyboard, among many, many others. I came across one today that offers a relatively novel feature: it automatically hooks in to Google Translate to allow you to input text in any supported language. TypeSmart Keyboard is still in beta, and free for the moment. If you have to translate between multiple languages often, it’s definitely worth a look.
It works like this: simply type a word or phrase into a text field in the normal way, or use Android’s voice input via the Microphone key. Then hold the Microphone key, tap “Translator,” and select your to and from languages. TypeSmart then sends your text to Google Translate and retrieves the translation, foreign characters, punctuation and all. Even for those of us who are native speakers or bilingual, this could represent a significant time savings versus using the official Google Translator app, or even hunting down the special characters that populate your language of choice.
TypeSmart supports most of the advanced features that soft keyboard junkies are used to: multiple layouts, haptic feedback, text prediction, spelling correction, et cetera. It even features Locale settings and themes for the hopeless tweaker. The developer Comet Apps hasn’t said when the beta program will end, or how much the app will cost when it goes gold, but for those of us who frequently use multiple languages every day, it could be a godsend. You can check it out now in the Android Market.