I’ve used the IAST (International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration) a lot whilst trying to learn Hindi, to familiarise myself with the sounds of the Devanāgarī script (Hindi alphabet) without loosing the subtle differences in the pronunciation of some letters. For example, ‘okay’ is ‘ठीक’ in Hindi, but it is initially more helpful (to a non-Hindi reader) to know that it is ‘ṭhīk’, also:
- a piece of meat = टिक्का (ṭikkā),
- three = तीन (tīn)
- to be tired = थकान (thakān)
…all of which have the inital t’s pronounced slightly differently.
Most Hindi written on social networking websites seems to be in a lossy conversion which is sometimes even harder to read for a Hindi learner.
I’ve created a tool which converts Hindi in Devanāgarī into the IAST, to convert it into text which is more readable to those more familiar with the Latin alphabet.
See also ISO 15919.