computers and Indology

John Smith jds10 at CUS.CAM.AC.UK
Fri May 8 09:08:39 UTC 1998

On Thu, 7 May 1998, Anshuman Pandey wrote:

> On Thu, 7 May 1998, N. Ganesan wrote:
> > 5) Font translations: With the touch of a button, the tyranny of script
> > can become a thing of the past. Translations from Sanskrit, Tamil etc.,
> > can provide the original text in native script and roman with diacritics
> > eg., Saivagamas from Pondichery French Inst. can be provided in grantha,
> > diacritical roman, nagari, etc., It will be easier to switch from one
> > script to another from font-neutral files. For eg., a famous hindi novel
> > into gujarati script, a malayalam work into tamil etc., can be done
> > easily. Bilingual editions are possible.
> This is already possible using 7 and 8 bit transliterated texts and TeX
> packages. The only hinderance to full complicity is the lack of a
> standardized transliteration scheme. ISO/TC46/SC2/WG12 is discussing this
> standardization, which hopefully will result in a standard based on
> current practice.

It is possible much more straightforwardly if the text in question is
coded in ISCII: the software can simply switch from script to script on
demand. If you haven't yet done so, download ALP Personal from CDAC's
website and play with it: it's a reduced version of a DOS-based word
processor modeled on WordStar, and thus somewhat ancient in look and feel,
but it does a stunning job. A Sanskrit text can be displayed in
Devanagari, then converted at the touch of a key to Tamil, Telugu,
Bengali, etc., etc. Text entry is also far more rationally handled than
is the case when a word processor is simply given a Nagari font to use. I
assume (hope?) Apple's Indian Language Kit works in a similar way, but I
haven't ever seen it. CDAC's more recent Windows product, lEAP, certainly

John Smith

Dr J. D. Smith                *  jds10 at
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