back to article iPhone auto-correct puts Euro tongues out of joint

A Swiss web design company, Fruahjahr, has launched a petition to disable auto-correction on the iPhone. To many non-English users this is an even bigger nuisance than bad 3G reception or poor battery life. It is almost impossible to write an email or an SMS message on the iPhone in a language other than English - the phone ' …


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  1. Thomas Davie
    Jobs Halo

    Uh, k?

    There's a language setting on the iPhone, that changes the autocorrect language too? Is this the petition of people who are incapable of searching for settings?

  2. Dave


  3. David Kelly


    There are iPhone language packs available you know ...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Well thats what you get when buying apple products... rotten fruit based crap

  5. Peter Gold badge

    Just enable more languages, RTFM

    I SMS in 3 different languages on the Jezus phone (when I use it, my Sony Ericsson P1i gets more use). All you need to do is enable the international keyboard for the language you speak, and you can switch between them with the button left to the spacebar (the virtual one, of course).

    However, I agree that auto-correct is a pain, and not just on a mobile. Whole generations of users now write "teh" instead of "the" because their error gets corrected and thus re-inforces that mistake instead of correcting it.

  6. dervheid

    This'll be because...

    the 'Merkins have difficulty comprehending that anyone would actually WANT to use any other language than (US) English.

    In some cases, the difficulty is in comprehending that any other language EXISTS. Except Spanish, of course. Well, you do need to be able to have the maid/taxi driver understand your requirements.

    (The Brit's, of course, get round this issue with 'Johnny Foreigner' by talking very *s l o w l y* and LOUDLY.)

    In short, typical 'Merkin product.

  7. Sooty

    I'm divided on this

    while i do hope they extend autocorrection to pick up the users language, i hope they don't allow someone to disable it completely

    It makes it nearly impossible for someone to write in txt spk and anything that does that is a good idea in my book.

  8. Tipjip

    Workaround enforcement

    Autocorrection works great in german, IF you spelled the word wrong. But if you spell it right Apple wants to correct you anyway and usually the suggested word doesn't exist in any language I ever heard of. I've sometimes resorted to misspelling on purpose so that autocorrection doesn't bother me.


  9. TeeCee Gold badge


    So Apple can fix the problem by removing the language packs, providing text to speech, underclocking the processor, forcing the speaker on and turning the volume up to 11?

    I like it!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Just used a colleagues iPhone to check this out.

    Using the French keyboard typing in "merfe" predicts "merde", Switch to the UK keyboard, typing in "merfe" autocorrects to "merge". And that was without switching the phones language to French, just the keyboard.

    Problem? What problem?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Why the swiss hate auto correction

    The auto correct works in any language available, but, the reason the auto correction is such a pain in the arse for the the Swiss is that they speak Swiss German for social and day to day communication - same basic language as German, but different enough to be practically unintelligible for a german speaker.

    Moreover no official dictionary exists for Swiss German, so spelling in Swiss German is a matter of preference, and also dependant on whether your from Zurich, Bern, Basel, Graubunden etc - all have different dialects. so there's no chance of the iPhone or any other device providing a dictionary for Swiss German

    We all have iPhones in the office, and a quick straw poll reveals that the autocorrection is the worst thing about the device. Nobody here wants or needs a Swiss German dictionary, just the ability to turn it off.

    Doesn't bother me though - I'm english and speak High German

  12. Michael Brown
    Jobs Halo

    International Keyboards

    Err...just enable the international keyboards for the languages you want to use and auto-correction then works for the currently active keyboard language (which is easily switched with the 'globe' button on the keyboard).

    Prior to firmware version 2.1 the auto-correction algorithm and dictionaries for languages other than English was, it has to be said, somewhat flaky, making it sometimes replace a correctly spelled word with a different one. This made typing very frustrating.

    However, since the 2.1 update this has been fixed. Since then haven't had auto correct issues with non-English languages.

    PS: there is no hidden option to disable auto correct. The option simply does not exist. Some hacks exist that ADD such an option, they are not un-hiding a pre-existing switch.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    First thing I did when I jailbroke was remove autocorrection completely.

  14. Matt


    The Swiss, being a polyglot bunch, have taken to adopting French and English words in Swiss German where the High German speakers would use a German word. E.g. "Das Fahrrad" becomes "ds Velo", as well as apparently English phrases ('handy', 'foode') -which a normal German dictionary won't recognise.

    Also, many national and multi-national Swiss companies, rather than attempt to deal with four national languages adopt English as their lingua franca on their IT systems, but the staff will, amongst themselves, communicate in their native tongue.

    No wonder the Swiss are being driven crazy by the Jesus phone if that's the extent of the language options. I would consider the ability to turn off the recognition within the confines of the text message screen vital were I a busy Swiss new-medja-type with a Jesus phone.

    Then you get flash git-ettes like my sister, who will send me a text in Swiss German, then, to re-inforce the point, switch to English half way through.

    Coat. Tuer.

  15. Tom

    Oh man, I hope they let us turn it off.

    God, the auto-correction winds me up so much. For a start, it's the wrong way around. When it suggests a word, you should have to tap the word to accept it, not carry on typing to accept it. I particularly hate it when you type in something you would like to search for, the suggestion pops up without you noticing, and on hitting 'Search', it changes your search term. Bag of shiy.

    Just let us turn it off.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You see the trouble with not checking your facts -

    - is that you end up looking like a pillock. "It is almost impossible to write an email or an SMS message on the iPhone in a language other than English - the phone 'corrects' your words into English as you type" is just plain false, as others have pointed out. And it may drive page hits, but some of us block ads anyway...

  17. Kev Beeley

    It can be annoying in English too

    Every time I sign my name on an EMail it immediately wants to correct it to keV...

  18. Dave Murray


    "the 'Merkins have difficulty comprehending that anyone would actually WANT to use any other language than (US) English."

    I wasn't aware that pubic wigs spoke any language let alone have a strong liking for US English over all others. Well guess you learn something every day.

  19. Anonymous Coward


    another notable thing is that it changes "fuck" to "duck" and "fucking" to "ducking"

    rather annoying when you want to say "fucking keyboard"

  20. Mark


    Funny, that's how us Americans speak Spanish- It's just like English, but slower and louder.

    If you type slowly and in all caps, does the iPhone recognize that it's a foreign language?

  21. Peter Gold badge

    Lovely feature: the ability to disable automatons

    I must express my intense dislike of a lot of such automation. In a way, I find it insulting that software authors think we can't be trusted with our own languages and force this crap on us, and they are not the only mini-Hitlers that think that way. IMHO, this falls into the same hate category as "humanising" equipment:

    - I would like to stick the head of the idiot who designed the reminder beep into my microwave in said microwave and switch it on (he planned ahead, won't work with the door open) - I didn't get to my age without realising that microwaving heats up things, thank you, and after 5 minutes this MAY just have become irrelevant. Its mechanisc, I like that I can ignore the damn thing when I damn well want to.

    - The persistent nagging of practically EVERY software package on Windows post install which wants to restart the box while you're working (it's MY system doing work for ME and it's MY decision to interrupt my work), to the point that you have to be incredibly careful what you type because the damn thing could pop up, interpret a keystroke not meant for it and nuke your fight to meet a deadline by downing the box, losing your work and let you swear for 5 minutes while it reboots and sorts itself out (assuming you're lucky and the update didn't bluescreen the house of cards called Windows). Yes, auto-update is off now, thanks.

    - The Tamagochi bleep of a Motorola v3i when you're not immediately check whatever event happened this time (which eventually earned it being replaced by anything-but-Motorola after it met an unfortunate accident involving the floor, my heel and accelerated full bodyweight).

    - the "instant" spellcheck which means that you cannot flow a constant, focused stream of thought onto the system without a - hang on, what's wrong with "spellcheck"?

    The term "user friendly" does NOT mean "assume the end user has room temperature IQ, design accordingly". It means making technology capable of adopting to the specific user in question. It means not ramming something down an end user's throat without offering him/her the opportunity to choose otherwise. It means checking with users if whatever you've invented actually has a use so the end user doesn't have to remove it.

    User friendly means thinking from the users' perspective, and from this specific, technically capable end user's perspective I would gladly like to reacquaint a number of designers with their creations.


  22. John Carter
    Paris Hilton

    it works if you set several keyboard layouts

    auto correct works fine for me in english and french. It's just a question of changing the keyboard which you can do direct from the keypad. Sounds more like people trying to write in french or german with the english keyboard layout. Hit the key like a 'planet' guys to change!!

    Paris because she probably wouldn't know the difference either

  23. OrsonX
    IT Angle

    @sooty re: txt spk

    This was quite a dull discussion until I read that comment regarding the "txt spk" !

    I am considering getting an iPhone (currently 50:50 vs. Xperia), and whilst I hate SMS and txt spk it is sometimes a necessity (on PAYG to same money per txt). Are you seriously telling me you can only compose text messages on the iPhone in "text speak" as it were?

  24. Chris iverson

    at This'll be because...

    Its more god jobs has deemed that all your language be damned. must learn to speak proper English

    yes yes, im going

    merkin that speaks Spanish and German

  25. fluffy

    It's damned annoying all around

    What I really hate is when it gets the idea that I've made a typo even when I'm just writing a word which isn't in the dictionary (due to being specialized jargon or a name or whatever), and sometimes it gets quite insistent on "correcting" something even if I've given it a very strong hint about wanting to use a word that's very similar to the one I'm typing, when the one I'm typing has explicit punctuation in it (usually an apostrophe) which then gets wiped out when the phone decides that the apostrophe must have been a typo (which is odd since it's basically impossible to insert one by mistake).

    Also, when I'm typing in a hurry, often I'll make subtle typos which people would still be able to understand - BUT the iPhone corrects those typos into entirely different words and what comes out is a big pile of nonsense.

  26. Jean-Paul

    no real news available?

    I can't believe this is deemed newsworthy. Is the editor off ill or something?

    Sure the Swiss have a challenge with their mixture of languages but the same can be argued for other dialects and the generation that can't spell.

    For one the iPhone is the only device I am aware where you can change the input language on the fly. To me as someone who speaks an write in about 4 languages, makes life so much easier. Of course it was not at the first iteration of the iPhone but when launched in more regions across the world more languages are becoming available. Well done apple finally a device that works across the globe.

    I don't know who the muppet was that said it has an American focus, but obviously they have not used this device.

    I can under stand why not to switch off the auto suggest feature. It makes sense to do that on a normal keyboard or even with a t9 engine. But this works quite different in that you can't possibly be exact in touching the keys hence it takes the pattern and area around the key into consideration as well. I would not want to use the keyboard without it.

    Fair enough I have got mine for nearly a year but it only took a week to get used to it, tops! There is one assumption though, you need to know how to spell in the first place.

    For the Swiss, perhaps they should take a leaf out of the book from another geographic area in the world where people just don't care about the spelling. As such perhaps use their phonetic dictionary when it gets released.

  27. Rob


    autocorrect on this thing does my frigging head in half the time, no matter how many times I write new entries it never remembers them, and always changes things to the wrong word, it takes me ten times longer to write a message than it ever did with good old numpad based predictive text, or a proper keyboard, with actual buttons, yknow; the thing that makes touchtyping possible,something you can feel

  28. Anonymous Coward

    @Jean-Paul: Nothing wrong with the Swiss

    I can't believe the sheer arrogance of what I'm reading here.

    "For the Swiss, perhaps they should take a leaf out of the book from another geographic area in the world where people just don't care about the spelling. As such perhaps use their phonetic dictionary when it gets released."

    Explain to me why the Swiss aren't justified about complaining about this "feature"? Why should they accept a less than correct approach to spelling?

    They have their language, their way of handling the mixture of languages they speak, and if you want to sell a product into that market you should support whatever the local user requires.

    Your suggestion the Swiss should change what they do equates to the same arrogance you get from most software companies (they're not all US) who blithely assume they're so good you just have to change your business processes to accomodate the (usually highly inefficient way) they coded their apps. BS.

    It's my money, my business, and -in the case of the Swiss- their diverse (and IMHO interesting) use of multiple languages. If you can't adapt to that, well, especially with the Swiss hype only goes so far. The Swiss are nothing if not brutally practical, and I don't expect it to take long for someone to overcome the problem by simply hacking the phone (AFAIK there is a solution out there - but it requires a hacked phone).

    And they would be right to do so.

  29. Tom Thomson

    Many comments are arrogant, narrow-minded tripe

    So all you guys who think that little Globe thing is the solution to all spelling correction problems think that the languages available include those required to correct sentences like "Cha chreid mi gu'm bi a chanuin so 'sa fon sin" or "Nish, ta Pobblyn Celtiagh kiarail sheeyney yn obbyr oc dys y çheer vooar Oarpagh"? Or you just think that people who use languages that the wonderful Apple hasn't inculded should have to put up with the auto-correction nonsense (and for our languages, it IS nonsense). Actually, the thing is probably hopless even in English: how many of "porpentine", "sleekit", "lauch" will it get right (just to pick three words that can be found in extremely well-known works). When I want to refer to a specific modern Q-Celtic language of dialect, instead of the generic "Gaelic" I am going to write "Gaidhlig" or "Gaeilge" or "Gaoluinn" or "Gaelk", and I'll bet the wrotten Apple phone screws up on those too.

    The statement that there shouldn't be a way of turning autocorrect off is arrogant nonsense stemming from those narrow minded bigots who think that the languages they know about are the only ones in the world.

  30. Jean-Paul
    Jobs Horns

    @anonymous coward

    I think the fact that you guys/girls are posting anonymously is saying something in the first place. Calling others names is something more about your own


    The problem is how is the iPhone developer supposed to know when you a) don't follow an

    Official dictionary. B) no other phone is providing the dictionary and c) you don't

    Even dare to post your own name.

    Stop whinging about an unoffocial dialect and get another phone that does support Swiss. Good luck.

    Ps. I am off Dutch origin which is my native language. Very small amount of people in the world that speak/write it. And all you Swiss do speak either german, French or Italian anyways. So the choice is yours. You don't have to buy it, you can always go to the competition who might provide a choice. You have got a choice as a consumer and my advice is to vote with your feet and get something better. Good luck!

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