RTS (Rice Transliteration Scheme) & Inscript

To begin with: Please note that I have not titled this as RTS Vs Inscript. This post is just an observation on the two schemes, as far as my knowledge goes. I am deliberately writing this in English because, RTS and Inscript are not limited to Telugu language alone. Let me begin presenting my views now:


RTS stands for Rice Transliteration Scheme. It is a Roman transliteration scheme, originally made for Telugu. But, it is suited for other languages too. (At least Indian languages – I am sure about this)
Point wise, let me put in what I know and what I have observed about RTS:
1. It is very much intuitive to learn. Infact, there is no learning involved in RTS as almost entirely it is in WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) kind of fashion.
2. RTS is very much easier to type for people who are already very much familiar with the QWERTY keyboard, and used to typing in English.
3. RTS is nearer to the way you chat with friends typing Telugu in English.
for eg: While you chat, you tend to use something like – “kyaa kar rahe ho yaar?” – This is near-RTS.
4. RTS is flexible in the sense that you have different ways of typing the same word.


A CORRECTION MADE ON 6th Aug 2007: Inscript and Typewriter layouts are different. I mentioned here that they are the same when I wrote that post. I am sorry for the error.

Inscript stands for Indian Script. It is the same layout as that of the Indian language Typewriters that were common place at Type writing institutes and Government offices. I am not sure if they are in vogue even in the IT age now, though.
Inscript is originally an outcome of the Department Of Electronics, India, adapted my Microsoft on its Windows operating system. Inscript first came in to existence in 1986.

The inscript layout has all the characters involved in Indian Languages laid out. The layout is such that it enables a user to type in minimum number of key strokes. The vowel sounds to the left and consonant sounds to the right. Perhaps, this enables us to type quicker and use both the hands to the optimum benefits.

A word of caution:

And, of course, INSCRIPT is distinctly different from RTS transliteration. INSCRIPT is a Layout. RTS is just an encoding scheme. We use ordinary QWERTY layout when typing in RTS. But, with INSCRIPT, you have to forget that the keyboard is QWERTY. You should see only INSCRIPT layout on the keyboard.

A small joke on inscript:

Imagine yourself chatting with your friend in Hindi, on some messenger, and you don’t have a Indian language plugin. To ask “how are you?”, you say “kaise ho?” in RTS – it is written as – “kaisE hO?” (or hOM?) in INSCRIPT, it is “kwms ua?”
– Imagine your friend’s face when you type: “kwms ua?” (No offence meant, people!)

However, one positive observation, which is quite obvious from this joke, is the reduction in the number of keystrokes. However, I am not sure if it makes any difference for people who are considerably quick at typing on the keyboard.

My Doubts:
1. It is known that INSCRIPT layout is designed for Indian languages specifically, keeping in mind the common features they have. Does it work well for all the other world languages too? The same Layout.
2. What is the origin of the Telugu type writer layout? or for that matter – any Indian type writer layout?


I found these links useful while attempting to write this post. These are not the only links. But, felt these gave me a better overview than others:

1.”The Inscript (Indian Script) keyboard overlay was standardized by DOE in 1986. (“Report of the Committee for Standardization of Keyboard Layout for Indian Script Based Computers”, Elec- tronics-Information & Planning Journal, Voi. 14, No.1 October 1986).” The original article can be accessed here.

2. using inscript as the input method – A blog post

3. An introductory article about RTS.

4. Software for communication in Telugu, Present and Future.

5. Indian Language Computing, from GIST to Unicode.

– Please feel free to post your views and comments right near this post, so that other viewers can share their feelings and their requirements about Indian language technologies.

Published in: on June 20, 2007 at 6:07 am  Comments (15)  

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15 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. తెలుగు వ్రాయటానికి ఆంగ్లంను మనస్సులో ఉంచుకోవటం మంచి పద్దతి కాదు. అందుకే అందరూ Inscript అలవాటు చేసుకోవాలి.

  2. Good , Informatory post.
    I will try inscript and see how difficult it is.
    I think , it is not that easy for me ! as I don’t keep my fingers on the keys. I just got used to QWERTY keyboard and type messages on the fly.

  3. You wrote a great post. My comment has only compliments. 🙂

    1) You should have titled the post.
    “RTS is way better than Inscript”, because that’s what you wrote. 🙂
    2) Its your post and I respect your right to write whatever you want to, in what ever biased way you want to. 🙂
    3) Regarding your joke(sic.) , please read this post again : 🙂 http://veeven.wordpress.com/2007/06/09/inscript-tips/

    ఆర్యులకు విజ్ఞప్తి,
    ఈ టపా చదివి ఒ అభిప్రాయానికి వచ్చే ముందు. ఈ టపా కూడూ చదవగలరు.

    – రాకేశ్

  4. @Rakesh:
    Where did I support RTS? Reg that joke, its a fact right? I am not supporting RTS in it. I am only saying that it is the best possible way in that particular scenario.
    I just gave a set of statements. To my knowledge, there are no factual errors in it. Just because I like RTS and I wrote this post need not mean that I support RTS in this post.
    I mentioned both points in favor of and against both, to my knowledge. Hope you got my point, atleast after this clarification… 🙂

  5. Lets see what happens to me when I need to type in RTS. If I need to write ఆ. These are the steps I follow.
    1. I think about how to type ఆ in RTS. -> I get to ‘aa’ or ‘A’ here
    2. Find the position of ‘a’ on the keyboard and type it.

    But, if I have to type the same thing using inscript,
    1. I just need to press the key ‘ఆ’.

    (I don’t need to map ఆ to ‘E’ and then find E and type). In this simple example itself I am reducing half of my work :). If I have to type bigger words my work reduces further.

    So, basically RTS is good if the keyboard is a set of english characters for you. But, if you think that the keyboard is just a set of buttons that can hold any character, inscript is better.

    Just my opinion.


  6. @venkataramana

    may be you are new to the keyboard. Most of the people who usually use computers in their daily usage, doesn’t really look at the keyboard while typing. It is not needed for them really search for ‘a’ on the keyboard, it is well practiced. It is also difficult to ask everyone to practice on a new type of keyboard for a different language purposes.

    As we really see the example, DOE found Inscript in 1986. Very few used it, due to the difficulty of training. Transliterators are popular just because of the ease of typing.

  7. I made a serious error in this post and no one pointed to it till now… I myself did not know that it was a fault until somebody corrected me today. Inscript layout is not the layout of Telugu Typewriter/Indian language Typewriter. It is different from Typewriter to considerable extent itseems.

  8. Try this extension: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3972
    I think you will like it.

  9. very interesting. i’m adding in RSS Reader

  10. […] సౌమ్య గారు INSCRIPT కీబోర్డు వాడకం గురించి […]

  11. > It is known that INSCRIPT layout is designed for Indian languages specifically, keeping in mind the common features they have. Does it work well for all the other world languages too? The same Layout.

    It’s used extensively in typing all scripts that descended from Brahmi. Notable non-Indian scripts include Thai, Burmese, Khmer and Sinhala.

  12. > may be you are new to the keyboard. Most of the people who usually use computers in their daily usage, doesn’t really look at the keyboard while typing.

    With all due respects, the difficulty with the Inscript keyboard layout is rather overblown. There is a bit of a learning curve, true, but I find that I type Telugu faster with Inscript than with any transliteration scheme.

    The trick – and here’s where things become ironic – is to not look down on the keys; you need to train yourself into ‘seeing’ ర when you see ‘j’, for example.

    The other crucial tactic that people miss is that how logical the Inscript layout is; left hand is for అచ్చులు, right for హల్లులు. The top row is for దీర్గాలు, the middle for ‘regular’ గుణింతాలు. It sounds complicated, but once you get the hang of it, you wouldnt want to go back to RTS.

    Should know; that’s how I taught my grandmom to write emails. 🙂

  13. Can some one please tell me how to use RTS in windows7, i am eager to learn my lost telugu back, telugu madurum.
    my email id is chandoos@optonline.net

  14. Hi, I am a hindi translator and I have been using Google IME transliteration software for 2 months. I want to know how successful is it? I have just started in my career and before taking up big projects wherein I will be translating some lakhs of words into hindi, i want to make sure that the tool I am using is perfect. how successful is it in hindi typing/translation industry etc as learning inscript typing is going to be one hell of a task but I am prepared for the same if need be. Pls point out some other demerits apart from the ones listed above if any.


  15. Languages available for activation in Windows7 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HkGSRsOUYY

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