Damn you autocorrect!

Following the boom of the mobile phone industry in recent years, text messaging, a.k.a. SMS, has become the medium of choice for millions of people around the world. It’s simple, it’s quick…and it’s free! I, for one, hardly ever call my friends on the phone or send them e-mail anymore: I ‘text’ them instead. Besides, text messages aren’t just text anymore. You can now send pictures, voice messages, funny stamps and so much more, all via SMS.

Another remarkable feature of text messaging – and, actually, of most word processing software – is called autocorrect. As far as I know, it doesn’t exist for the Japanese language. Therefore, if you have never typed a message in a foreign language, you may have never heard of it. So, what exactly does it do? Well, if I misspell a word because I’m typing too fast or because I don’t know the correct spelling of the word, autocorrect “guesses” the word I’m trying to write and corrects the spelling. Let’s say I’m trying to type the word friend, but my finger slips twice and I type f-r-u-w-n-d instead (u is next to i and w is next to e on the keyboard). When I move on to the next word, the software will automatically change that word to friend. As a result, although I tend to type very fast on my phone, the messages I send contain very few – if any – typos. Brilliant, isn’t it?

However, the downside of this is that a lot of SMS users now rely too heavily on autocorrect and push the Send button without checking their messages. Unfortunately, autocorrect isn’t quite foolproof. If your finger slips a little too much on your phone’s keyboard, or if you are writing an unusual word, like a person’s name, autocorrect may guess the wrong word. For example, the Japanese name Fumie isn’t recognized by autocorrect and changes to Rumor. When that happens, your message may not make sense anymore, or it can sometimes mean something very different than what you intended and lead to very awkward situations.

So, if you ever write an SMS in a foreign language, make sure to carefully re-read your message before sending it!



他にもテキストメッセージにはスゴイ機能があります。それは自動訂正機能。私が知る限りでは、日本語には予測変換機能はあっても訂正機能はありません。多言語でタイプしたことがある人は聞いたことがあるかもしれないですね。タイプするのが早すぎて間違って単語を打つと、自動訂正機能が単語を推測して自動的にスペルを訂正してくるという機能。例えばfriendを f-r-u-w-n-dと間違って記入した場合でも、自動的にfriendと正してくれます。結果、早く文字を打っても間違った言葉をそれほど打たなくて済むのです。素晴らしい機能だと思いませんか?