Madurai

‘Tamil is not for sale’

R. Duraipandi, creator of www.tamilpulavar.org   | Photo Credit: G_Moorthy

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All the products of this cost accountant are open source

He dropped out of school in the eleventh standard. All his later education was through experience and correspondence courses. But his contribution to the development of Tamil computing has kept pace with changing tide and time. The outstanding contribution of this unsung hero from Dindigul is www.tamilpulavar.org, which will significantly improve the learning of Tamil even for native speakers. In a chat with S. Annamalai, cost accountant Ramasamy Duraipandi recounts how he was dragged into Tamil computing and explains the exciting possibilities that are waiting to be exploited.

Mr. Duraipandi has been working with the slogan “Tamil is not for sale” since his foray into Tamil computing in 1999. So, all his products are open source and available in different platforms. He describes his ventures as “non-commercial, non-profit and people-centric.” Tamilpulavar website explains the meaning, etymology, meter and usage in different contexts for any word and has links to available dictionaries.

“My desire to be a ‘computer-enabled cost accountant’ in 1988 introduced me to Tamil computing, and from there I have involved myself fully in building up online Tamil resources,” says Mr. Duraipandi.

He has been associated with the creation of ‘Tamilaruvi,’ an open source Tamil word processor; ‘Tamizh Pori,’ which translates simple Tamil sentences into English; ‘Pulavan Paalam,’ a compendium of Tamil words with meanings and cross references (now available in periyar.org) and ‘Tamilpulavar’.

He considers ‘Tamilpulavar’ a “never-ending work” as building a corpus of Tamil words itself will go on for ever. The public have contributed over 16,000 words in the 4.5 lakh head words in Tamil collected as corpus. The website also has 1.5 crore unique Tamil sentences.

Mr. Duraipandi, who has gained knowledge in Tamil linguistics through association with professors and reading, is now focussed on making his Tamil ventures community-driven.

He wants to create a hybrid software for machine translation, using the Statistical Machine Translation tools, which will overcome ambiguities in translation. He also talks of a poetry generator.

“All my work lacks recognition and authentication because I am not attached to a research organisation.”

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2017 10:56:30 PM | http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/tamil-is-not-for-sale/article18964664.ece