There are many occasions when I type on my mobile device in my local language and grow frustrated with the experience. Sometimes the keyboard app doesn’t have, in my case, a Shona option. Or if it does the predictive text is so poor I sometimes have to autocorrect, well… autocorrect. Enter Bhala, a keyboard that is looking to solve this problem.
Bhala is a keyboard that was designed more for African languages. As I alluded to earlier, some of the apps we have in app stores weren’t designed with us in mind. Bhala on the other hand, according to its creators, uses deep learning models in order to improve the experience of writing in African languages. So far Bhala has, Shona, Ndebele, Swati, Xhosa, Zulu and Swahili. The app is available on Google‘s Play Store and I have been giving it a go for the last day or so as my primary keyboard.
One thing I’ll have to admit to all of you is that my Shona has deteriorated somewhat, not speaking but in writing. I have on a number of occasions triple checked what I wanted to say before sending a message. This hasn’t been helped with the predictive text on the G Board.
Is Bhala better than GBoard for Shona?
Definitely, I have had fewer fights with Bhala than I have with Google’s Keyboard. The predictive text gives more “ballpark” options than I am used to with the G Board.
If you are in the market for a keyboard more geared for African languages then I suggest you give this one a try. The link to the app on the Play Store is below:
Since I only speak Shona and English, I’d be curious to know how Bhala performs for Ndebele and the other languages listed earlier.