Guidelines in a Nutshell

1. 
Get Netscape Communicator 4. The entire transliteration system is based on new technology supported by good browsers such as Netscape Communicator 4.01 or above. You can get it from Netscape's site, it's free. We make heavy use of JavaScript 1.2 and Dynamic Fonts. You don't need to install any fonts if you are using Netscape Communicator 4.0, irrespective of your machine. You just need to make sure that JavaScript and Dynamic Fonts are enabled on your Netscape browser.
2. 
Think in Bengali. The transliteration system trys to recognize symbols from what you write. You must write one symbol for each letter. Symbols are parsed from the beginning trying to match from its own dictionary. You normally do not need to insert hyphens, but when the parser fails, you may want to insert some padding characters like a hyphen, the letter 'a' or the letters 'aw'. This is typical of the way people speak Bengali. Each word is separated with a blank. Sentence delimiters are full-stops. Unrecognized letters are flagged with a "?" symbol. You must rephrase your word when you see "?" in your preview window.
3. 
Glance through the symbols first.  Take a printout of the symbol dictionary and keep it with you. It may save you some frustration while you are working.
4. 
Most letters are intuitive. But you need to be careful about some letters which are not prominently different in English. We have established the difference by using the apostrophe symbol. For example, "d'" means c while "d" means X. Generally speaking the apostrophe symbol will soften the way the letter is spoken. (This has two exceptions, "n" for e and "n'" for Z.) The symbol dictionary enumerates all such differences.
5. 
Spell difficult words explicitly. Bengali has too many symbols for joint letters. The transliteration system tries to recognize the word based on the pre-defined symbols. However, if you have a really difficult combination, you may have to spell it explicitly, but it is achievable.
6. 
Note the common matra symbols. There may be more than one way to write matras. For example, "a", "aw" are all padding symbols while "e'" and "a'" both refer to "­". Also note the difference between "i" which means "¢   ", and "ee" which means "  £". Similarly, "u" means "  ¤" and "oo" means "  §". The best policy is to choose your favourite convention and use it consistently.
7. 
Compose first, compile later. Writing a composition in the Bengali Transliteration System is much like programming. Don't get obsessed with the syntax initially. First concentrate on your composition. Once you have finished, you may start previewing and compiling to fix your mistakes. You may also choose to do it in different sessions by saving your composition, and retrieving it later.
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