Re-Introducing FLTR + the Thai Text Reader

Re-Introducing FLTR + the Thai Text Reader

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FLTR + Thai Text Reader…

Goodness have we ever been busy. As soon as the post Please Vote to add Thai Language to LingQ! hit the stands, Scott Smith, programmer Rick Bradford, and myself starting discussing other (free) possibilities for reading Thai.

Both Learning With Texts (LWT) and Foreign Language Text Reader (FLTR) were in the running. Due to ease of use, FLTR was selected. If you’d like to know more about FLTR, read Andrej’s post, FLTR: The Foreign Language Text Reader.

A mere 21 days later, and mostly thanks to Rick, we give you: Thai Text Reader (TTR).

In a nutshell: TTR hosts the parser and Thai dictionary created by Rick that makes FLTR work with the Thai language. Also on the site are files to download (pdf’s and mp3’s), as well as other resources where you’ll find even more Thai reading materials.

Now here’s the thing. This project could be better. At the moment users have to paste Thai into the parser, parse, copy the results, open FLTR, and then drop in the parsed materials. To take out extra steps, coding them into one program is doable … but …


Rick Bradford: There are some minor improvements in the pipeline to do with the dictionary and some context help via mouse-over, but as this is a volunteer project, the ultimate goal of an integrated FLTR clone would probably only be implemented if there was serious interest from the user community.

So if you are serious about being able to use a FLTR clone to work with Thai, please contact Rick: [email protected]

Giving thanks for the generous donations to TTR…

The aim of TTR is to make your life easier with a Thai parser, dedicated dictionary, and materials for download. To help get this project started four sites quickly stepped up to contribute materials: Bangkok Post, Paknam Web, Thai Recordings, and the newly updated Self Study Thai. Time was extremely short and they delivered. My thanks goes to all.

You can locate the downloadable files in the downloads folder on TTR. Below are the direct links to the materials:

Bangkok Post
Paknam: Gor’s World
Self Study Thai
Thai Recordings

More downloads are in the pipeline but as this project demanded a fast turnaround, there wasn’t enough time to get them compiled before the soft launch.

If you’d like to donate materials to Thai Text Reader the details can be found here: Donating materials. If you know of more decent resources for reading Thai, do contact us.

A recap…

I would LOVE an FLTR clone to work with Thai. Seriously. If you do too, please contact Rick at [email protected] to let him know.

25 thoughts on “Re-Introducing FLTR + the Thai Text Reader”

  1. Foreign Language Text Reader – FLTR is not displaying Korean. I’ve texted Chinese, Japanese, Hebrew, Cyrillic, Greek, etc everything shows up except Korean.

    My Windows 10 has Korean as the default language.
    I also changed the region in Windows settings to Korean.

  2. Hello Rick,
    May I please have a free desktop version of FLTR?

    “If you’d like a free, desktop version of FLTR, please let Rick know in the comments”

  3. About the Tablet vs Desktop discussion:
    I’d like to mention that any developer who is aware of the future would probably implement things like this as a web application with a responsive layout. Desktops and proprietary systems will lose in the long run while web based applications are platform independent and would provide great possibilities like APIs.

    I for myself was a software developer for a few companies. Now I only use my Android tablet with an S-Pen to learn Thai with Anki, Learn With Texts and other tools. Anything that is not web based or proprietary is a no go for me.

    Kind regards

  4. Thanks Rick for your excellent implementation of the parser.

    I’d like to mention a recommondation:

    It’s possible to implement Google TTS (Text To Speech) from their unofficial API. I use this for all my anki cards:

    The URL has the q parameter which will allow thai text but with a limited length. It will return a MP3.

  5. @Rick, sorry for the late response – I’m in a place with spotty internet. Here’s what I would like, and I hope others will say what they want too.

    Bare min: A slab of Thai text is in view. Unknown words are highlighted blue. Words that have been saved are yellow. Hovering over blue or yellow words would show the english equivalent. Selecting the english equivalent for a blue word saves it, changing the color to yellow. After reading the article, there is an option to dismiss all remaining blue words. After closing the article, statistics will be updated. Stats will show total know words (unhighlighted words). Lists of unknown (yellow highlighted) words will be available for browse or import.

    Nice addition:
    transliteration with the english equivalent

    Some might like:
    Yellow words have the option of being dismissed, or being graded as you mentioned. But I’d rather not be forced to make a grade with a blue word; seems like an unnecessary step that will slow me down.

  6. @leosmith Oct 12th, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    It would be interesting to know what kind of features people would be looking for in such a product.

    I was envisaging something like: a slab of Thai text is in view; hovering over a word would show the English equivalent as a tooltip; right-clicking on the word would bring up options to change the 0-to-5 level of how well the word is known; plus some save & load of files. Some stuff for statistical analysis.

    I’ve got no further than idly thinking about technology options, and perhaps some idea of what aspects of such a product people would be looking for might clarify my thinking.

  7. After a spell of about 3 weeks or so when I was extremely busy with personal matters, this morning I started using the parser again. Once more I am very impressed. I have just used it to read an article about the earthquake in Chiang Mai province. I am impressed with its ability to separate technical terms like Richter and so on. It certainly helps so much in reading. To have it as a desktop app would be really great. Thanks for the work done on this so far.

  8. For tonight at least, I can now read my first three sentences in Thai. Maanii, a crow and uncle all have eyes. 🙂

    Actually an amazing feat, to my way of thinking.


  9. What a fantastic idea! I am a beginner too with Thai, although I feel I am learning more each day. This sounds like a fantastic app, and something I certainly would be interested in using. Thanks to all involved for your hard work!


  10. Jørgen,

    I think your description is accurate — useable, but far from perfect.

    I am working at adding some limited intelligence to the parser which will eliminate some common errors, plus I am steadily building up the dictionary.

    And you are quite right when you say that a desktop app could provide lots of interesting statistical feedback, to help bolster a student’s motivation.


  11. You are welcome Ron. This has been one great project to work on! I hope you enjoy Mia’s Maanii materials (she’s preparing more – they will be hosted on her site).

    Jørgen, I’ll leave Rick to answer the technical questions. As for interesting materials, we are working on finding what’s available. I know the Thai ebook market is growing (Asia books has an ebook section and there are several sites dedicated to Thai). Getting text off locked books is a hassle but doable (for personal use only, of course 🙂

    Here’s an article from the Nation: Huge growth expected in e-book market

  12. For those of you who are just learning to read Thai, the Maanii Reader One downloads (22 lessons with sound files, jpgs, Thai script, translation and translation) donated by Mia are now live: Learn2SpeakThai: Maanii Reader One

    Thanks Mia !

  13. Hi Rick,

    Thanks for the work on the parser. I have been testing the FLTR along with the parser for a couple of days now. I must say that it looks very promising. Two of the main advantages that this offers me is 1) that it motivates me to read texts because I get to add vocabulary to my vocabulary list. The process of seeing more and more “green” areas for each text one adds feels rewarding in a way that increase motivation. I guess a stand-alone app could even build on this aspect by offering the reader more statistics such as total number of pages and words read, new know words this week etc. 2) It increase the endurance when reading because one does not have to spend uneccessary time and brain power to look up words. The proccess of finding words in the dictionary is very smart, and even if the word is not there, one can just click on one of the links to the online dictionaries.

    I also see that the parser currently has a couple of issues. One of the problems is english cognates in the thai language. The way of transliteration seems to be done quite haphazardly (at least in the VOA texts I have been reading) meaning that the dictionary rarely “finds” the word even though it is in the dictionary. Another one is words with common morphemes such as การ which the parser often splits in the wrong place. Despite these problems, the text reader and parser is already usable.

    I think a desktop software would be of great use to me. My only concern is how to find enough interesting material to add to the text reader. Usually I read cartoons in Thai (mangas) because they are often interesting and written in a colloquial language with pictures that help understanding new words and context. Adding books to the text reader would be great, but Im not sure if this is possible in Thai? Are there many enough digital books available that can be added and that are interesting? And how would a text reader react to a text of 200 pages?

    Anyway, I think the project is very interesting and I can help out if there is anything I can do.


  14. I’m just starting out with my Thai language learning. If FLTR is something I could use on my PC desktop in my learning as a real beginner and as I get more advanced, I would be very happy to use it. My thanks to Catherine for this website and all the work you’re all doing on FLTR.

  15. Hi Rick,
    The project is extremely compelling to me as a Thai teacher and I strongly believe that FLTR (Thai) would be a greatly benefit Thai readers. FLTR will help the readers to easily find the meaning of new vocabulary and improve the spelling.
    In my experience, if the text is short the tablet would be sufficient BUT for longer text desktop version is more appropriate.
    I donated Maanii book 1 to TTR and Cat will add it to site today(Sep 19th)
    Let me know if there is anything I can help with the project.
    Free Thai lesson VDOs

  16. Hello Rick,

    to get a desktop – and eventually an iPad/tablet version – will be a dream (iPhone or same size devices have a too bit smaller screen I think). I never used FLTR until now – I even didn’t know anything about it – but if something a little more friendly and easy to use exist, I will embark it for sure on my learning Thai journey. Thanks for the work you did already,

    Thanks to Catherine too, and Mia for her splendid job around Maanee books.

  17. A desktop app. would be absolutely fantastic. I for one would use it a lot to help my learning. Please, please do produce it. My only concern is that if you are writing it other than in Java, will it work on a range of platforms. Please can we have PC edition as well as Mac!! Thanks so much for all the work done so far

  18. Hi Rick, if you could do this, you would be a legend among Thai learners everywhere – they would probably write flattering songs about you in Thai 🙂 I think it’s a fantastic idea, and I’d definitely use it.

    I do use my tablet a lot, but it would be great to have something for the desktop.

  19. I’m excited to see the TTR project taking off! I hope there’s enough interest in the community to develop a stand-alone FLTR clone for Thai. I won’t need it (as you know, I’ve got my own parser), but I would love everybody to have the possibility to benefit from FLTR.

    Since I’ve written my post on the FLTR here on WLT, I’ve been using the software on a very regular basis (almost daily). It has helped me enormously to expand my vocabulary. I love the feature to store definitions and then see them by hovering over the word. I also like the color coding which I use to visually track my progress. On every encounter, I set set the color one level up until the word is ‘known’ (in case I still don’t understand it at this point, I set it back to unknown, but that happens rarely). For some reason not entirely clear to me it’s very helpful to see that I’ve seen a certain word before.

    I also use FLTR to improve my spelling by copying texts and then running them through FLTR. The software will show me typos immediately… because it won’t recognize the misspelled ‘word’. My typing accuracy has improved leaps and bounds since then, and this skill has transferred over to text chatting which I frequently engage in with friends on whatsapp.

    I’ve never used another functionality of FLTR, but I could imagine that it might be appreciated by some learners: the possibility to export new words to some SRS software like Anki.

    Anyway, just wanted to stop by and wish the project all the best! Many thanks to Rick who pulled off the parser, and to Cat and Scott for organizing the rest!

  20. I wrote this on the thread at but I’ll add it here so we can keep all of the feedback together:

    I have a tablet and use it for my language learning but I see it as a supplement. The vast majority of my study is done with my desktop. I would prefer both, but if I had to choose one or the other I’d much rather have it for the desktop.

  21. Rick, voting for a desktop app is a no brainer for me. It’s the difference between getting an integrated desktop app, or nothing integrated at all.

    Here are two other positives:

    1) Finding, copying, and pasting is far easier on a computer.

    2) Plus, FLTR has the ability to export to Anki (and I imagine BYKI and more) so a desktop app does not nix being able to quiz using smart phones and tablets.

    As a programmer I know you’ll have more positives in mind (some I won’t understand 🙂

  22. To amplify the above, what I was talking about was a stand-alone desktop app with an integrated Thai dictionary.

    So, a bit like a single-language FLTR (but written in a proper programming language rather than Java).

    There are many advantages to this from a programming/database and performance perspective, but I get the feeling that many people like to learn Thai via their smartphone or tablet, on the move.


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