Brief: This article shows you how to type Roman Hindi in Ubuntu. Same steps will allow you to type in other Indian languages on Ubuntu Linux.
I’m sure that there are a lot of different languages worldwide. But, did you know that India has 22 major languages?
Almost all the Linux distros provide support for Indian languages/keyboard layout — but typing is where the issue arises.
It takes a pretty long time to get acquainted with the key bindings (Regional characters mapped to English alphabet keys).
To overcome the above-said frustration, transliteration keyboards were invented. Transliteration keyboards are something that let you type in English, transliterate them phonetically to the selected target language immediately.
So to use a transliteration keyboard comfortably, you don’t need a month, not weeks — but just an hour or a day at the very most.
Type in Hindi and other Indian languages on Ubuntu Linux
The Intelligent Input Bus (IBus) is an input method framework for multilingual input in Unix-like operating systems. It’s called “Bus” because it has a bus-like architecture.
You can use IBus to type in your own language in most GUI applications.
Here, we will be using IBus to transliterate English to Indian regional languages i.e Hindi (to be specific).
Step 1: Install and set up IBus
Open the terminal (ctrl+alt+t) and run the below command
sudo apt install ibus-m17n
That’s it. Now add IBus to your startup applications.
Open Startup Applications app. Once launched, you need to click on Add. Fill the details as shown in the screenshot below.
For the Name and Comment box, you can set your desired text. But the Command box is important.
So for that you can just copy-paste the text below (as shown in the screenshot below):
Log out and log back in to refresh the session.
Step 2: Adding languages to keyboard
Go to Settings >> Region & Language.
Now use the ‘+‘ below the “Input sources to use” to add your desired language.
You will now be asked ‘Add an input source‘, just click on 3 vertical dotted button to proceed.
Next, search for any language like ‘Hindi’, or the language you want to use. Click on ‘Other‘ to find the languages listed.
Once you find the languages listed, select any of them (here, Hindi phonetic) and click on the “Add” button.
Finally, you can see that our selected language has been added to the list of input sources.
Step 3: Add the language to the system
In addition to installing IBus, you also need to install the desired language to the system. This can be done easily from the settings.
From within the “Region and Language” menu, click on “Manage installed Languages“.
Next, you will notice “Language Support” window. Here, you need to click on “Install/Remove Languages”.
Now, all you have to do is search for your language, select it and hit “Apply“.
Step 4: Typing in Indian languages on Ubuntu
By default, English will be your typing language. You can use keyboard shortcuts in Ubuntu to change that.
Press Super key (Windows key) + Space or Super key + Shift+ Space to select the next language that you added. If you added multiple languages, you may need to press Super + Space multiple times to check the transliteration language.
It shouldn’t take long to get used to IBus. So, that’s a good thing.
That’s it. You’re ready to go. I found IBus really very helpful in having a computing experience in one of my regional languages.
You may also want to read about typing Indian rupee symbol ₹ on Ubuntu.
If you found this article useful, do share it along to help more people. Also, feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments below.