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Off topic: Do You Often Switch Keyboard Layout?
Thread poster: Heinrich Pesch

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 02:57
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Apr 10, 2016

Do you always keep the same keyboard layout regardless of your target language? Probably this depends on the languages involved, as you cannot write let's say Russian on an English keyboard layout. If you have to switch, does it often result in typing errors or not?
I'm so used to FIN/SWE keyboards that I also type German on it, but the differences are minor, Y and Z interchanged. For the ß I have a shortcut in Word, otherwise I use Alt+255, and ü I do with two strokes. But I wonder how an Spanish-Polish-Spanish translator would manage all the different special characters, and typing Russian would require complete re-training of my hands.


 

Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:57
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
I used to Apr 10, 2016

Yes, for Russian I used to. I had sticker labels on my keys to mark the Russian keys and a shortcut set in Windows to switch between keyboards quickly. But now I don't have the labels on my keyboard because there are plenty of virtual Russian keyboards, so I just connect to one of those (without having to switch in Windows) and type as normal.

For German I just use ALT codes for the non-English letters.


 

EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:57
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
Yes, all the time, Apr 10, 2016

as both Czech and French (my 2 main target languages) have special characters. I use my Czech keyboard layout for English. For French, I use Canadian French layout, as the basic layout is the same as in Czech - except for Y and Z, which is a mistake I sometimes make. I have a Czech keyboard and I just remember where my French special characters are - but they are in slightly different places on my notebook, which drives me crazy.

 

Francisco Vare
Poland
Local time: 01:57
Polish to Spanish
+ ...
ES/PL/ES translator here Apr 10, 2016

I use Spanish, Polish and English on an every day basis in my translations. While I have no problem when writing in English (I can use the PL or the ES layouts and the differences are practically zero), I so need to change keyboard layouts when translating ES or PL because of the special symbols and the Spanish accent marks. It had become so automatic for me that I don't feel it bothers me anymore, but just in case I have a list of ALT codes always near me in printed form.

 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:57
Member (2008)
Italian to English
I don't need to Apr 10, 2016

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

Do you always keep the same keyboard layout regardless of your target language? Probably this depends on the languages involved, as you cannot write let's say Russian on an English keyboard layout. If you have to switch, does it often result in typing errors or not?
I'm so used to FIN/SWE keyboards that I also type German on it, but the differences are minor, Y and Z interchanged. For the ß I have a shortcut in Word, otherwise I use Alt+255, and ü I do with two strokes. But I wonder how an Spanish-Polish-Spanish translator would manage all the different special characters, and typing Russian would require complete re-training of my hands.


I work in Italian and English and fortunately, my Apple Italian keyboard works perfectly for both languages. The Mac operating system maps all the keys correctly.


 

Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 01:57
English to Russian
+ ...
Using only two layouts for many languages Apr 10, 2016

I work under MS Windows and use the standard Russian layout for Russian, and for all my other working languages (which all use the Latin alphabet) I developed a custom universal layout containing the diacritics for all European languages: á à â ǎ å ą ă ā ä ã ø ß ð þ ż etc. To type, for example, the letter é on this keyboard, I press [AltGr]+['], then [e], for ø - [AltGr]+[/], then [o], for ç - [AltGr]+[,], then [c], and so on. It also contains special characters like °, ×, µ, ½, ¾, €, ¥, ₪ and others. If anyone wants a copy, drop me a line. Alternatively, one can easily make such a custom layout using the Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator tool - it's really easy to use.

[Edited at 2016-04-10 09:41 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-04-10 09:47 GMT]


 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
No, I don't switch Apr 10, 2016

As I often work with Danish, and as Danish has three letters more than English (æøå), I have a Danish keyboard. These extra letters are frequently used in Danish, so it would not be practical to type several Alt codes in every phrase. The main difference from an English keyboard is the symbols are placed differently.

As I also need to write French often, I've found a Danish keyboard more suitable for French than a French one. The French keyboard layout lacks all the uppercase accented characters and ÇœŒ, and it doesn't have the dead accent keys, which would allow me to type the accented uppercase characters in two strokes. The Danish keyboard layout has them (`´¨^~).

For ß in German and œŒçÇ in French, as well as for sometimes useful symbols such as µ®©™‰²³·•–—…°, I use Alt combinations, but these characters don't appear so often that it's a problem.

German keyboards are designed to handle all European languages, so if I wasn't so used to the placement of the Danish letters, I would switch to a German one.

It's important for my typing speed to use one single keyboard layout only. As for Apple laptops, I realised, when having a look at their current models, that it appears to be impossible to get a keyboard with numeric keypad to the right, and that would be a showstopper for me. The modern IT trend seems to be to give the user fewer and fewer choices.

When I worked in France, I ran into their AZERTY keyboard, and the result was that with QWERTY at home and AZERTY at work, I made typing mistakes all the time, both at work and at home. I ended up buying a Danish keyboard more and taking it to work to restore my typing speed.

Recently the French have started discussing whether to update their keyboard layout so it can actually be used for writing correct French, but with the speed things happen in France, I wouldn't expect to see a result in this century, and probably only after countless protests and strikes and civil unrest in protest over making existing keyboards worthless, demanding the government pay to replace them, not to mention gangs of intellectuals writing floods of heartfelt articles about how changing anything would interfere with the French cultural heritage and threaten the survival of French as a dominant language across the planet.


 

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:57
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
No, I don't need to switch Apr 10, 2016

In the case of English plus another European language, it's much easier to use the European layout and not switch at all, as Thomas and Tom mention.

The only symbol I miss out on is the £ sign, so I've remapped it to Shift+3 using AutoHotKey.


 

Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 01:57
Member (2005)
English to German
I don't need to Apr 10, 2016

... as long as I stick to English and German. ALT codes it is.

For a few weeks, I've been texting in French with my new neighbour (him on the mobile and me on the PC - the wonders of technology). I haven't bothered to find code for the c-cédille, and all my texts look like crap. But I'm still too lazy to look it up.

Another interesting question is if you can switch physical keyboards with the same layout. I can't. I have a shelf full of old Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite wavy monstrosities, just so I can plug in another one in any emergency. Make me type on someone else's keyboard, and I'll look like a schoolchild on an old mechanical typewriter. Muscular memory is strong.


 

esperantisto  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:57
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
Depends Apr 10, 2016

This depends on the operating system/device. I have to switch layouts anyway because of routinely using at least two kinds of scripts (Latin and Cyrillic), but patterns differ.
Linux
Linux is the absolute winner in terms of typing convenience. On the one hand, you can have an infinite number layouts enabled but limit switching to two most frequently used (this behavior is set up via the windows manager settings [KDE and Gnome are equally convenient to me, don’t know about others] or via installing the old good kkbswitch). On the other hand, there are the international layout plus the compose key sequences that cover virtually all Latin-based characters and many common punctuation and technical signs and whatever you may need. Thus, I can type in all those ã, ŏ, ŭ, ñ, —, °, ç, ż, ą, ŵ, ŝ, ß, ả, č, ņ, ģ, ×, «», “”, ə, ḧ etc. without switching, which I am doing now. So, I use separate layouts only for a couple of mostly used languages, and for the rest I use the int’l layout.
Android
Touchscreens of mobile devices are typist’s nightmare, IMHO. I prefer using Multiling or Multiling-O keyboards and I have to switch to a particular language because this enables language-specific word suggestions for faster typing.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:57
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Numeric keypad Apr 10, 2016

Thomas T. Frost wrote:

....it appears to be impossible to get a keyboard with numeric keypad to the right, and that would be a showstopper for me.


My Italian Apple keyboard (now about 10 years old but still going strong) has a numeric keypad but I've never used it and I don't know what it's for!


 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
They used to be available Apr 10, 2016

Tom in London wrote:

My Italian Apple keyboard (now about 10 years old but still going strong) has a numeric keypad but I've never used it and I don't know what it's for!


What I found was that they used to be available but aren't today.

It's a matter of taste, but I find it's faster and more convenient to type numbers with a numeric keypad, as it's much like using a calculator.


 

Meta Arkadia
Local time: 06:57
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Wired Apr 10, 2016

Thomas T. Frost wrote:
What I found was that they used to be available but aren't today.


You can still buy a "wired keyboard" (with numeric pad), and they are available as an option when you buy an iMac.

Cheers,

Hans


 

Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 18:57
French to Spanish
+ ...
No. Apr 10, 2016

Spanish and French, no problem. Same keyboard. ñ ç ü ¿ ê ¡

 

Liviu-Lee Roth
United States
Local time: 19:57
Romanian to English
+ ...
yes, I use it. very easy Apr 10, 2016

Since Romanian has a few special characters, I click on SHIFT+ALT once and get the extra characters ă, î, â ș, ț. If I click twice, I get the German layout and if I click three times, I get the French alphabet.

 
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