SwiftKey just made it easier to say ‘bonjour’ to your European friends

SwiftKey has unveiled new features that will make it easier for people to send text messages in different languages.

The company recently placed its high-tech neural networks system into English smartphone keyboards and has now rolled it out to three new languages.

Neural networks are a type of artificial intelligence that tries to replicate the processes of a human brain. Rather than using a digital model of ones and zeros, neural networks create connections and are effective for predicting events in a large database.

Using neural networks, SwiftKey, which features on more than 300 million devices, can “capture the relationship and similarity between words”, the company said. For example, having previously seen the phrase “Let’s meet at the airport”, the technology is able to infer that “office” or “hotel” are similar words that could also be appropriate predictions instead of “airport”.

It also understands that “Let’s meet at the airport” has a similar sentence structure to “Let’s chat at the office”. This allows SwiftKey to offer users the most appropriate prediction or autocorrection based on the sentence being typed.


“We envision that this powerful technology will fundamentally change the way we type on smartphones over the next five years,” a SwiftKey spokesman said. “Rather than solely predicting your next word, we’re working hard on building a framework for the keyboard of tomorrow. It’s just possible that using this approach the keyboard of the future could know you so well, it’d accurately predict your entire messages for you, in your tone of voice, reflecting the events that go on in your daily life.”

SwiftKey has today rolled out the technology to French, German and Spanish.


The British company, which was bought by Microsoft in February, will also allow people to seamlessly switch between five of the more than 100 languages SwiftKey supports as they type without changing their settings. SwiftKey will automatically detect the language and offer autocorrect and next-word predictions to match.

The update comes after SwiftKey revealed that more than 20% of its users type in French, German, Spanish or a combination of one of these languages partnered with another language; 38.1% have more than one language enabled; and 9.8% have three languages enabled.