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Need Help Writing in Indian Languages?

July 2009
Need Help Writing in Indian Languages?

Are your writing skills in one or more Indian languages getting rusty, now that you use only English in all your correspondence?

If the answer is yes, you can at least partly blame your computer. Not to worry. Help is at hand, and ironically, it’s the same computer—not to mention your Internet connection—that provides salvation. Quillpad is one option on the Web for brushing up your native Indian-language skills. It was launched by two IITians, Ram Prakash H. and K. S. Sreeram, who jointly founded Bangalore-based Tachyon Technologies in 2000 as “a playground for doing useful R&D.”

You can go to Quillpad’s editor box and, using your English-language keyboard, type your text in any one of the following languages: Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu. Almost immediately, it will be converted to the Indian-language script you picked. If you type, for instance, ‘Aap ka naam kya hai?’ (What is your name?) in the Hindi editor box, your question will reappear in the Devangiri script.

Quillpad offers the Microsoft Word program, with a Mangal font for Hindi, making the typing of letters and other documents convenient. Marathi, which also has a Mangal font, comes next in terms of popularity, followed by Tamil and Telugu, which have the Latha and Gautami fonts, respectively. Facebook’s interfaces feature many Indian languages, although transliteration is still not available. Google, on the other hand, does provide Indian-language transliteration through Orkut, its well-known social networking site.

So who says it’s not easy to type up a quick letter in an Indian language and impress an elderly relative in India?

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