I was just randomly surfing a list of publications on IIIT’s site here. Here, I found a report titled – “A simple approach to build transliteration editors for Indian languages” by Prahallad et.al., published in
Journal of Zhejiang University Science,
in october 2005. I was just flipping through the pages, when I noticed something, which surprisingly, I never heard before. Now… opening the drama: 🙂
Till now, whatever transliteration schems I knew were somethings like – RTS, ITrans etc and the Inscript keyboard layout. But, there actually is something called IT3 transliteration scheme, developed by our own IISc, Bangalore and CMU(Carnegie Mellon University) together. Let me put here a brief few line excerpt from it :
“There are many transliteration schemes such as ITRANS to key-in the Indian language scripts. The focus of these schemes was mainly to represent the Indian language scripts and paid less attention on the importance of user-readability aspect. IT3 is a transliteration scheme developed by IISc, Bangalore, India and Carnegie Mellon University with the primary focus on user readability of the transliteration scheme (gajapatiraju et.al. 2005)”
The authors claim:
1. It is case-insensitive
2. This scheme is phonetic in nature, the characters correspond to the actual sound that is being spoken. Thus a single transliteration scheme can be used for all Indian languages as they share same sounds.
3. Each character should not be more than 3 letter length
4. Minimal use of punctuation marks in typing a character.
– What is still un-understandable to me is, the well-known Rice Transliteration Scheme satisfies most of the needs and features mentioned above. The mappings provided in the paper also were similar. So, where is the need for IT3? Why was there no mention of Inscript, which was there since long? Why was Rice Transliteration Scheme not mentioned at all? Does it mean they were not aware of RTS? But RTS is around since, perhaps early 90s! Why was there only a passing mention of ITrans when even it was in existance since pretty long time…? Everything appears a doubt to me now!
The thing is – Such tools should have come by 2005 as far as I can guess. Why? online version of Padma must have been there in 2005! (Correct me if I am wrong). So, what is the need to devise a new IT3 scheme is my question. And … another doubt is: What happened to it after that? Whatever it was, I was kind of amused seeing this paper now, when there are so many online transliterators for Indian languages, some of which I listed here some time back. Anyways, thinking of it in another way – there were people in Universities, working on this, then.
The paper which made me write this post can be accessed here. If you are patient enough, read through 🙂