Well, trying to use telugu transliterators online for the past many days and I myself involved in making one, I cannot but resist writing about the Indian Language transliterators available on the web, in my blog. I prefer to keep this post in English for the only reason that – even non-telugus who stumble upon this post will come to know of the different options they have if at all they want to type in Indian languages. Let me tell you that this list is not exhaustive. This includes only those transliterators that I came across during my random walks on the web, with my mouse and its cursor. This is not an indepth study of the programmatic details of the transliterators. I might indeed talk about the program sometime but, then, this is majorly written for awareness about other options and not to tell the technicalities. There are two reasons in writing this post. One being to satisfy myself and the second being – to collect and compare various transliterators so that, not just me-even others might benifit from the “dicourse”.
Caution: All this, I used on Firefox, Fedora Core 5. So, perhaps, the interface might differ on Windows browsers, I am not sure.
By and large, of all the tools that I have found, I have felt that this extension of firefox is the best thing of all. Well, this is a firefox extension, which enables you to read non-unicode telugu content on the web on browsers like firefox which can’t display them properly. Ofcourse, the task for which I use it is to do literally everything ranging from searching in Indian languages to Blogging and mailing. On my scale of 10, I would give it a 8.5. 8.5 because of three reasons. One is that I cannot save offline whatever I type in Padma. The other is that – this does not work in google docs.😦 and the last one is that it does not provide direct typing in to telugu. I should again select the text and convert it to Telugu.
This is an online converter which supports nine Indian languages. It is also very much usable. However, somethings in its encoding makes the already lengthy RTS even more lengthy. Quick typers used to RTS might have to stop, wait and go. Like the above two, it provides toggling between English and Indian Language, which is highly necessary. It has only one textarea unlike Lekhini, which is in a way good, as you can see at the same place if you typed rightly or not. One positive point I would like to say on its side is that – it provides the transliteration for 9 Indian languages, unlike Lekhini. I rate this on the scale as 7.5/10. The reasons being the same as lekhini and one more – You cannot see the keypad map and the typing window at the same time in this tool, which makes it an unfriendly user interface.
This is THE most intelligent typing tool I saw till date, I can confidently say. I don’t think this ever made a mistake in all my trials with it. It corrects itself and presents to us the most probable output. for example, I type: mIru elA unnAru in lekhini or padma or higopi. Here, I type – miru ela unnaru? – and presto! I see the same output in Telugu – “మీరు ఎలా ఉన్నారు?” -which not only means lesser effort in typing, but also the software understanding our needs. Quillpad is presently incorporated in Rediffmail and rediffbol. It even has this facility of sending an e-mail. However, this is quite vulnerable enough to spam, perhaps. Since it is incorporated in rediff client, the complaints about copy-paste and saving files are not as greatly noticeable in this one, perhaps. Nevertheless, I never used it much. I can’t say why. I rate it as 8.5/10. My only complaint in this case being – it is not a simple keystroke like Lekhini or Higopi or Padma in this case. You have to go to the drop-down and change the Language. The advantage of this is – you can write a single post in multiple languages. But, how many people exist, who write so? Toggling between Indian language and English would have been better.
5. Telugu toolbar plugin for Firefox:
This is another avatar of Padma kind of mapping. It is good. I used it only for a short while, before realising the potential of Padma. But, I liked it to some extent. Since it is instant typing, the question of copy-paste or save does not come here. That depends on the application in which you are using Telugu toolbar. My one and only complaint about this is that – it would have been perfect had it worked in rich-text areas where you type mails or write blogposts. It worked in Blogger textbox but not in wordpress text area😦 (This was sometime long back. I don’t know about the situation now). I rate it as 8.5 only for the above reason. I would not have hesitated to give a 10 if only it had the facility to type anywhere online.
6. Telugu Type pad by Vishal Monpara:
This is a kind of passable interface and typing tool. Here, and only here I saw a wierd mapping of having “E” for the short sound “e” and “e” for the long vowel sound “E”. That is, to type – “cheque” in Indian language, you should write “chEk” and not “chek” :)) It supports 8 languages. I saw this tool being used somewhere else too. But, I am unable to recollect right at the moment. However, nothing is special in this tool. It is just an average tool. 7/10 perhaps.
This is the most cumbersome tool that I have encountered so far. I am talking only about the typing tool and not about the other products of Bhomiyo. The very mapping itself is wierd and without any reason. To type “amma” keystrokes are: Am\m. It does not make sense for me in any sense. To type “Alochana”, it is |l?cn. The ? is because, no mapping is provided there for the long – “lO”. The only option you have is to go to your mouse and click the button. I have already cribbed about it sometime back…so, not anymore. I can’t rate it above 5 or 6.
This has all the facilities of copy-paste, open-save stuff that I mentioned before. Nevertheless, I did not use it that much, for the reason that there is some problem with the telugu page. Further, I think it is still under development, from what I understood in chat conversation with Omkar Joshi, the maker. I am looking forward for its full-fledged version with a lot of hope. Its not fair to rate now, but, I expect it cannot be below 8/10. The story behind “gamabhana” in the words of Mr Omkar Joshi – ” gamabhana : in marathi when child starts to write on a slate these are letters to begin with ga ma bha na n i didnt hav ne other name in mind by the time i decided to giv it a name :)”