Google Maps Enhances Discoverability in 10 different Indian languages with Automatic Transliteration

In today’s times, there is no doubt that one of the most commonly used technical apps is Google Maps. Whether it is finding your whereabouts in a new city or simply finding the shortest route when you are running late, Google Maps is our go-to-guide.

However, nobody can deny the instances where this application has failed to identify the destination or the location due to India’s regional diversity. In order to counter this, Google has announced an upgrade in the application. Google Maps can now transliterate search results in ten new Indian languages!

This update is beneficial for both the tech giant and its users. Google Maps will be able to reach and help its “next billion users” whereas, its audience will be able to enjoy better efficiency and productivity in their every-day life.

Google Maps

What is Transliteration? How will Google Maps use it?

Transliteration is the method of conversion of one language script into another. Google Maps will use this method to convert words from regional languages to easy-to-find English words.

For example, if you want to go to মাদার টেরিজা সরণি (Mother Teresa Street) in Kolkata, and are unable to do so as you don’t know the directions, then worry not! Google Maps in Bengali would transliterate into the meaningful English name and show you directions.

However, if a certain Bengali user types in গোয়েঙ্কা হসপিটাল (Goenka Hospital), the application would automatically show results of the nearest hospitals. This is because there are certain words such as গোয়েঙ্কা (or Goenka) which the app would not be able to transliterate. Therefore, it would shift its focus on the word হসপিটাল (hospital) and provide the next best result.

Thanks to Google Maps, you would no longer have to get confused by the different directions provided by the passersby!

So, which regional languages can Google Maps now be accessed in?

Finally, the big reveal is here!. Google Maps can be accessed in 10 different regional languages such as Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telegu, Gujarati, Kannada, Punjabi, Malayalam, and Odia. 

“To make Google Maps as helpful as possible for millions of Indian language users, we’ve introduced an updated automatic transliteration system that enables us to deliver more accurate results when users search for POI in their preferred language,” said Cibu Johny, a Software Engineer in Google Maps.

He also added that in a country where the names of establishments are written with words from multiple languages and acronyms, phonetically mapping these words into their native language will help us more accurately surface the results that local language users are looking for.

How did Google Maps achieve this upgrade?

Google has added an “ensemble of learned models,” which helps to transliterate the names of the points of interest (POI) into the above-mentioned local languages. This feature will be hugely beneficial for Indian users to locate nearby train stations, petrol pumps, hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants, bus stops, banks, and numerous other services.

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