Santhosh Thottingal

I am a language computing professional and a typeface designer.

I lead various language computing projects at Swathanthra Malayalam Computing. Many of my works on Malayalam computing enable millions of Malayalam users on their computers or phones. I maintain a number of free software projects related to Indic language computing too.

I have done significant contributions to Malayalam digital typography. I have designed two popular Malayalam typefaces named Chilanka and Manjari. Also maintains a number of other Malayalam unicode fonts. You can see all of these fonts in SMC website. I also have an article in Malayalam Wikipedia


For my contributions to Malayalam language, I was honored with Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman by the Hon. President of India in 2019. Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman by the Hon. President of India is in recognition of my contributions in the field of Malayalam language. The award, instituted in 2016, is given to the substantial contributions to languages such as Sanskrit, Persian, Arabi, Pali and Classical Oriya, Classical Kannada, Classical Telugu, and Classical Malayalam. This is given to young scholars in the age group of 30 to 45 years. The Presidential award carries a certificate of honor, a memento and a cash prize of ₹1 lakh. These awards are announced once a year on the occasion of the Indian independence day on 15th August.

I also received Mathrubhasha Puraskaram 2019 from the Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady.


Wikimedia Foundation

Currently I am working as Principal Software Engineer at Language Engineering team of Wikimedia Foundation. I work on MediaWiki language support, internationalization, localization, input methods for large number of languages in which Wikipedia exist, fonts, translation tools. I built the machine translation infrastructure of Wikipedia, one of the machine translation system with largest language support - 250+ languages. I live at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India. I work remotely. I joined Wikimedia Foundation in 2011 September 1st.

I work 4 days per week for WMF. This is not a WMF work policy, but I chose with a 20% pay cut. I use Fridays for my own learning, type design and such personal projectcs.

As principal software engineer, my work is mostly in the following categories:

  • Technology - I review the code written by team members. Help them understanding the systems and projects. I help designing the architecture of the projects. Helps in technical decision making. I also do coding for some of the critical architectural components. I help other teams in the organization by prividing consultation and reviews

  • Product: I help the team's product manager by giving inputs into decision, timelines, estimates. I provide creative concepts that can be incorporated into the product. I help writing documentation and status reports

  • Project: Faciliate the build to deploy life cycle by working with developers, test engineers, analytics and dev ops

  • Team: Mentoring, hiring interviews, sharing knowledge and helping self learning.

  • External: Opensource projects, interaction with peer organizations/companies, social media, blogs and standardization bodies.

See: My thoughts about the Principal role


From 2005 July 10 to July 2011, I worked at Infosys. This was my first job after graduating from engineering college. I mainly worked on Java, J2EE based projects at Infosys for clients like Airbus, Boeing(for Boeing Dreamliner), General Motors, Toyota and Texas Instruments. When I was resigning, I was working in technology architecture group as junior architect.

My role was mostly technology troubleshooting and helping senior architects. In the last 2 years at Infosys, I had a rather interesting role as extreme programmer where I was sent to various campuses to help engineering who are miserably failing to deliver on time. I was expected to replace a few engineers, learn the project in a day or two, finish the project as fast as possible. If you think that I need to work weekends and nights for this, you are mistaken :-). I worked only 8 hours and only 5 days per week in this role. I visited Pune, Bangalore, Chennai offices for this kind of adventures. I was also part of technical interview teams.

Another interesting project I worked there was for Texas Instruments. They wanted a single person with special project budget to work on experimental projects that are technically complex and time sensitive. I helped them to build their electronic component datasheet indexing and searching project using Apache Lucene and Solr.

For a short duration in 2010, I worked for Apple. This was another assignment to help a team missing their deadlines to deliver. I visited Bangalore campus for three months. For that short period of time, I owned the email santhosh at :-)


I studied in state public schools near my village at Palakkad. After 10th standard, I went to MES Kalladi College, Mannarkkad for Pre-Degree. I did my Engineering(Computer Science) at NSS College of Engineering, Palakkad under University of Calicut. Since I was from an economically backward family, I never had to pay education fee, even for my Engineering degree, thanks to Kerala goverments scheme to support students.


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