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Input English, output Tamil

ARGUABLY, TAMIL is the fastest growing language in terms of use in computing in this part of the world. A range of software, shareware and applications emerge nearly every other day from different corners of the Tamil speaking world.

But some of them stand out. Like `AzhagiNo.1', touted as the most ``transparent'' Tamil Transliterator working under Windows.

Minus the frills, it is a simple dual screen application, where one can type Tamil words in English script on one screen. Simultaneously and synchronously, the Tamil word appears in Tamil script in the lower screen.

For example, on typing (in English) ``Vanakkam, Eppadi Irukkeenga'' the words appear in Tamil simultaneously.

Editing can be done with ease as its creator B. Viswanathan says, it has a ``very fast English-Tamil key mapping'' making it user-friendly. It is loaded with several exciting features, and thus ``it challenges all existing Tamil transliteration software for speed, innovation and ease of use''.

What makes the work laudable, is the fact that Viswanathan suffers from a chronic and extremely disabling `Colitis' disease for the past 12 years. After quitting his job with a software firm, the software architect used his convalescence period to create `AzhagiNo.1''.

``In 1999, I wanted to write down the lyrics of an A.R. Rahman song and store it in the computer. I downloaded transliteration software. But I found it difficult to use and the Tamil text generated was not perfect. The English to Tamil key mapping was not intuitive or immediate, nor was the exact phonetical equivalents created,'' Viswanathan notes.

Thus was born his urge to create his own software that would be ``transparent'' and synchronous.

``One need not connect to the Internet to create Tamil documents or mails, need not have a Tamil keyboard (A normal English keyboard is enough) nor know Tamil typing.

``Type in English, get in Tamil. As simple as that. As one edits the English text, the Tamil transliteration gets automatically edited,'' he notes.

The English text one types is always visible and available for editing, copying or saving. More importantly, to receive the Tamil text, recipients do not require Azhagi software, one only needs to have a particular font.

Using additional features available in the software's commercial version, one can directly type English text in MS-Word, Excel, Outlook Express, Hotmail.

``You can e-mail the Tamil text and its corresponding English Text as an attachment, via all e-mail clients. One can chat directly in Tamil in MSN or Yahoo! messenger. Both English and Tamil text are sent automatically.''

Mixed language text is also possible.

Viswanathan can be contacted at Vishu@vsnl.com.

By K. Ramachandran

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