The Write Stuff
Creating a better Hebrew Keyboard
I was a seminary student frustrated with trying to type Hebrew words for my papers. By the time I would type a Hebrew word or phrase using very slow hunt-and-peck on the standard Israeli layout, I would lose my train of thought, or worse, totally forget what I was trying to learn when typing my Hebrew homework. There had to be a better way than finding a Hebrew version of Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. In fact, there is. The Hebrew QWERTY-Phonetic keyboard layout is designed for English speakers already familiar with the QWERTY keyboard layout. Hebrew letters are mapped to the equivalent English (Latin) characters (e.g. samech on the S key). Where that is not possible, the Hebrew letters are mapped to similar shaped letters English (Latin) characters (shin on the W key). Once I converted to this system, my typing speed picked up dramatically. My prayers were answered! (Had to slip that in … I’m a seminary student you know.)
How easy is it? My wife and I spent a semester in Israel to really hone our Hebrew skills. One day she borrowed my laptop to do her ulpan homework. In less than 10 minutes she was hooked. And then… she wouldn’t give my laptop back, always wanting it to do her Hebrew homework!
I looked in vain all over Jerusalem for a sticker set I could use to customize my wife’s laptop. But customizing an Israeli-layout sticker set takes a long time, and it also takes three Israeli-layout sticker sets to make one QWERTY-Phonetic sticker set. And Israeli sticker sets don’t include nikud. It never happened for my wife while we were in Israel.
When we got home from Israel, I set about rectifying this problem, not just for my wife, but for any native English speaker who wants to type in Hebrew, but for whom the effort to learn touch typing on an Israeli Hebrew layout isn’t possible or doesn’t make sense for the time invested. To my surprise, no one was making Hebrew QWERTY-Phonetic keyboards or key cap sticker sets. But now, typing in Hebrew is easy with complete hardware and software solutions from Aleph-Board!