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Transliteration Key

Updated on 12-10-2020

Note: Transliteration Key is now a sub topic / subheading of Main Heading 'Release Notes' on 12-10-2020 in docx and pdf file.

1.1 Transliteration Key

There are many itransliteration keyboard schemes. Out of them two used on this site are:

  1. iTrans
  2. IAST

The "Indian languages TRANSliteration" (ITRANS) is an ASCII transliteration scheme for Indic scripts, particularly, but not exclusively, for Devanagari (used for the Hindi, Marathi, Sanskrit, Nepali, Sindhi and other languages).

The ITRANS computer package also enables automatic conversion of the Roman script to the Indic. It was used to compile the Hindi Song Book on the internet. This became an invaluable source for the words of movie and other popular lyrics of Hindi and some related languages. It also helped popularize the ITRANS romanization scheme for storing and sharing material in the Indic languages, particularly Hindi and Sanskrit, in the electronic media where the English-keyboard Roman script is a very convenient input medium.

Following transliteration key is adapted. There can be inconsistencies. We request interested readers to suggest corrections. 


Another scheme or keyboard is called as IAST keyboard. It contains diacritical marks above or below letters. Some characters in both sanskrit and roman script which are frequently used are displayed below.

For full comparison, please visit wikipedia page here. A printable copy is attached at the bottom of page.

अ = a

आ = A or aa or ā

स = sa

श = Sa or sha or śa, hence शास्त्र is written as shAstra or SAstra

ष = Sha or ṣa

च = ca or cha

छ = chha or Cha

सीता = sItA or sītā

न = na

ण = Na or ṇa

सरस्वती = sarasvatI (notice capital 'I') or sarasvatī

मणि = maNi (notice small 'i')

ॐ = OM (both letters upper case)

anusvAra (ं) i.e. dot above word is either written as n or .n or M or .m

visarga (:) is written as ‘H’

कृष्ण = kRRIShNa or kriShNa or kRShNa or krShNa or kruShNa or kṛṣṇa

Plural sanskrit words are written with ‘-s’ e.g. veda-s and not vedas. SAstra-s and not SAstras.

For full unicode chart, please visit this link, scroll down and look for the file itrans code 120108 final.pdf to either view or download file in pdf format.

Since we are primarily using itrans scheme, hence we do not follow the basic English convention of starting a new line with capital letter when it comes to writing sanskrit words. e.g. Dharma is written as dharma (without capital D).

'da' (द),

'Da' (ड),

'dha' (ध) and

'Dha' (ढ)

are four different characters.

The correct spelling is 'dharma'  (र्म). If we type capital 'D' instead of small 'd' then the word would becomeर्म (notice the difference between 'ध' and 'ढ'). Again just typing capital 'D' and omitting 'h' i.e. Darma would result into 'र्म'.

If new line starts with English word then capital letter is used. However in some instances, when IAST keyboard is used, sanskrit with first capital letter might be used. The word must contain a diacritical mark so that reader will understand that it is a sanskrit word. While using IAST keyboard, ‘sa’ and ‘Sa’ mean same word ‘स’ while ‘sa’, ‘śa’ and ‘ṣa’ mean ‘स’, ‘श’ and ‘ष’ respectively.  

Initially reader may find it difficult to read words written in ITRANS as it may not appear pleasing to eye since we are not accustomed to read capital letters in the middle of a word. The idea is to convey the pronunciation of saMskrit (sanskrit). Typing 'ā' instead of capital ‘A’ is a better option as it is more pleasing to eye. In books, this approach is used. The author was not earlier acquitted with IAST keyboard, hence initially itrans scheme is used. If time permits, we will add diacritics to sanskrit words like SAstra and shAstra would be changed to śāstra. IAST has a little problem. In MS word or Writer (document editor) or in pdf viewer and in Chrome (webkit based browser), letters with diacritical marks are recognised as different characte  

There are inconsistencies in syntax. Some words are very popular in English like sanskrit and upanishads. In this case, they may or may not be written as saMskrit and upanishad-s. Some words like vedic, Atmic wellbeing are a mixture of both languages. It is expected from readers to interpret them correctly. Sometimes SAstra is written as shAstra. Both are correct. The reason for using both is that while typing in word or writer or any document editor, it generally autocorrects correctly spelled SAstra to wrongly spelled Sastra. (Capital ‘S’, ‘sh’ and ‘ś’ mean the same sanskrit character ‘श’.  To avoid this unforced error shAstra is used.

If time permits, we will try to change attributes of saMskrit / devanagri words from regular to italics so that they can be easily spotted.

1.1.1 Keyman Desktop - An app to type in IAST format for Windows 10

Keyman desktop is a software / App that can install on Windows 10 34 bit.

Please refer the following links - Keyman Desktop Download | Help - Options | Knowledge Base

Just type language in search box e.g. “sanskrit” or “Gujarati”, download and install them.

Indiaspirituality Blog - Amrut,
May 8, 2016, 9:28 AM