Win an iPhone App: Talking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary

Three-Way Thai–English English–Thai iPhone Dictionary

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iPhone App: Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary…

Last year I reviewed the Three-Way Talking Thai Software Dictionary by Chris Pirazzi and Benjawan Poomsan Becker. I ended the post with:

Ah, before I go… coming next from Chris and Benjawan is an iPhone version of the Three-Way Talking Thai Dictionary. And you can better bet that I’ll be reviewing that too.

This post isn’t the review. The review to the Three-Way Talking Thai Dictionary iPhone app will come later, after my household gets over the flu/cold/whatever is. But just be assured that this dictionary is megga hot. And to show you how hot, head over to Richard Barrow’s review:

Richard Barrow: If you are only going to buy one dictionary app for the iPhone, then I strongly urge that you buy Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary. I downloaded it today and I have already deleted all of the other dictionaries that I have collected. This iPhone app, which also works beautifully on the iPad, has everything that I would ever need from a dictionary.

Chris and Benjawan gave me four apps to give away, which is fabulous. But, if the response in the comments deserve more, then I have permission to give away even more. Up to you.

To be included in the draw, the rules are simple:

  • You need to leave comment(s) below.
  • The comment(s) need to add to the conversation.

Each relevant comment gets counted, so go ahead and leave as many as you like.


The draw will run from now to Sunday the 9th, 8am BKK time. And just like in previous giveaways (Complete Thai and the software version of the Thai-English English-Thai Dictionary), two bloggers have agreed to help out.

On Sunday, I will number the reasonable comments and email the total to Snap (Chiang Mai Thai). Snap will put the numbers into a bowl, stir them around, select four (or more), and then announce the winning numbers in the comments below. Lani Cox {the missing teacher} will match the winning numbers with the names and post them here as well. Thanks you two!

Good luck everyone. It’s truly a fabulous app to win!

47 thoughts on “Win an iPhone App: Talking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary”

  1. I’d love a way to bookmark my favorite words, and the ones I have difficulty remembering, often use etc. Other than that this dictionary works like a charm with more functionality one could ever expect from a conventional (written) dictionary.

    Favorites, bookmarks, gimme lol


  2. Is there any word on this device getting converted to other smartphones…? I am actually putting off buying a smartphone until this dictionary comes available.

  3. I’m finding this app to be so incredibly useful. I’m a beginner at learning to read Thai and being able to see how so many words I know are spelled is really helping me to remember the letters and start to identify words here and there. As I become more proficient I can see the value increasing immensely! Thank you!

  4. i’m sure I have every thai dictionary produced for the iphone and this is easily the best. obviously a huge amount of experience, work and thought has gone into this … i especially love having the classifiers included with the nouns, the real life scripts and the pronunciation explanations…i probably sound like a paid advertisement but as a struggling student of thai it hits all the right buttons…thanks for the recommendation

  5. Cat, great contest and I plan on putting this app to very good use. An excellent start to the new year…keep up the good work!

  6. and the winners are:

    Karl Chambers

    Congratulations to all. Hugs from Chiang Mai ~

  7. As well as the real-world script (and different fonts), I have long wished that there was a dictionary (or a reference book of some kind) that showed how handwriting would appear, and explanations of what kinds of variations there are in handwriting.

    I have many times seen words written down on paper that bear no resemblance to what I know is written down. Especially in street restaurants where they ask people to order by writing on a pad. The readability and styles of writing vary greatly – as they do in English (or rather, latin script) too, but years of experience with reading that means that it’s intelligible.

    Also – a dictionary that is able to decode ‘slang’ or slangy spellings, would help a lot when reading the kind of output that you see in chat rooms, when reading emails or comments on Facebook, or when chatting online. Things like informal language (แก/กู/มึง as pronouns, for starters – and weird spellings like มั้ย/คร่า/แหละ) are extremely difficult to decypher when they are first encountered, and it’s only once you are comfortable with the language that they start to fall into place.

  8. I think the coolest features of the entire program are the real-world script and explain spelling sections.

    I cannot read many of the script fonts I see, so this feature obviously helps a lot.

    But, the explain spelling feature is just a sublime addition to the program and something I had been begging for on many of the online websites that teach Thai language and grammar. I truly hope more people take advantage of this section to actually understand WHY the syllables are pronounced the way they are.

  9. Hi Chris,

    I laughed at the potential for public shame when looking up the, “er, interesting” words, as you put it. Your mind works in different but valuable ways to mine!

    1 – Double click would be cool, but I’d consider swapping the options: one click for sound, double click for menu items (although see above!) My instinct says people would want to hear a word many more times often than use the (nonetheless very useful) menu functionality, and especially since one of the three menu options would now disappear due to this discussion. An ‘advanced’ preference section could deal with option swapping between one click and two, or turning the speak aloud function off altogether, though this is a bit counter-intuitive to iPhone (and your program)’s simplicity.

    2 – Hmmm, interesting question. The ‘hide/reveal’ feature could be part of your preference pane, similar place as the different transliteration systems, but in addition to them not instead of, since we want to choose which transliteration system we reveal also. On the dictionary page – since it wouldn’t take up extra space – you could have a word-sized ‘hide’ icon. Fun icon could = hands over eyes, ‘monkey-see’ style or serious icon could = a brain or a blindfold image, say? This icon would take the place of the word in default ‘function on’ setting since ‘hiding’ initially is the main aim of this function. And then one tap reveals the (chosen system) transliterated word. My choice would be all words on display hidden until revealed individually. That way I am always forced to read just Thai as I chance to look at other words, unless I ‘reveal’.

    Another idea. A button which appears in the lower menu items list (“English, Thai Script, Thai Sound, Help”) labelled ‘reveal’ or ‘hide’, once you have turned on the ‘hide/reveal’ feature. Not quite as good for me as the first idea, because I guess all words get revealed here, while only the chosen word is revealed with the first idea. But I’d be happy wth either:)


  10. One idea: perhaps a ‘quick touch’ on the word itself could be to play the word, and a ‘longer touch’ could offer your menu, or vice versa. As in the way a quick touch in iPhone Notes places the cursor, but a long touch brings up the magnifying glass and the ‘select all’ menu. iPhone users will already be well acclimatised to this kind of functionality.

    That would solve the layout issues. A potential problem I see there would be if you were looking up a particuarly, er, interesting word in a public space and you accidentally trigger playback by holding a little too long or not long enough. Also it might be confusing to new users.

    I suppose another option is to play on double-click. That’s still two clicks, but the second click requires no feat of hand-eye coordination and shouldn’t be too much harder than a single-click.

    2 – Thanks. I discovered the ‘Easy Thai’ as a ‘non-cheat’ on this thread. But I’d still like an on-page hide/unhide ALL alternatives, since on the small page in front of you it’s impossible to stop your eyes wondering toward the Easy Thai (and therefore ‘cheat’) spelling, and this does get in the way of truly testing my ability to read genuine script Thai words correctly, in all their double consonant and unwritten vowel glory!

    This of course brings up the same issue with the speaker: what kind of UI fixture would you use to show the Thai Sound transcription? Also, would it be better to have one button that shows/hides Thai Sound for all words displayed on the screen simultaneously, or to have a separate control of some sort for each word so you could show/hide individual words separately?

    – Chris Pirazzi

  11. Chris,

    Many many thanks to you and Khun Benjawan for creating this modern and comprehensive app.
    Further thanks must go to you for taking time to read our comments.

    1 -A speaker icon that is placed where it is in the grammar sections, that is small and optional might be a good starting point. Then perhaps you could get more feedback on its placement and size with time. I know I have few issues with the iPhone’s touch screen and icon size, but equally have friends with stubby fingers, or who are just plain clumsier than me, who struggle with much bigger screen icons that we are taking about.

    One idea: perhaps a ‘quick touch’ on the word itself could be to play the word, and a ‘longer touch’ could offer your menu, or vice versa. As in the way a quick touch in iPhone Notes places the cursor, but a long touch brings up the magnifying glass and the ‘select all’ menu. iPhone users will already be well acclimatised to this kind of functionality.

    I am guessing some clever iPhone tech-heads will have much better suggestions for one-click / ‘one shake’ options to play words. Either way, I think it is a pretty essential function which nearly all people would opt for.

    2 – Thanks. I discovered the ‘Easy Thai’ as a ‘non-cheat’ on this thread. But I’d still like an on-page hide/unhide ALL alternatives, since on the small page in front of you it’s impossible to stop your eyes wondering toward the Easy Thai (and therefore ‘cheat’) spelling, and this does get in the way of truly testing my ability to read genuine script Thai words correctly, in all their double consonant and unwritten vowel glory!

    Thanks again,

  12. Nils Bastedo Jan 5th, 2011 at 10:34 am
    |Does the app have voice recognition so that
    | I can speak and get translations?

    No voice recognition at this time.

    I’m curious if anyone here has found a Thai voice recognition product on any platform that really works (or even kind of works :)? We could consider licensing it.

    |Does it provide audio examples for the Thai words?

    Yes, you can click any Thai word and hear a high-quality recording (not a robot voice) of a native Thai speaker (Kun Benjawan herself!) saying the word. The app includes more than 14 hours of studio-recoded sound.

    |Using what system are the Thai words written
    |(Thai, standard phonetics etc)?

    All Thai words are shown in both native Thai Script and your choice of 12 different phonetic/Thai Sound/pronunciation guide systems, including the Paiboon+ system but also IPA, RTGS, Easy Thai, and many others.

    Much more detail can be found here:

    – Chris Pirazzi

    – Chris Pirazzi

  13. Hi, this is Chris Pirazzi from Word in the Hand, makers of the Talking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary along with Paiboon Publishing.

    Yes we are reading!

    Shem Jan 5th, 2011 at 2:54 pm
    |1: … Give us a speaker icon for all words please.

    Yes that’s definitely a possibility. We could add an option to turn on speaker buttons in the definitions.

    I’m curious how you would want the speaker icons to appear. During development, we actually did have speaker buttons inline with the dictionary text, as we have in our Windows software, but we found that the resulting display was quite cluttered, and, more seriously, it was hard to touch the little speaker buttons due to the inherent nature of a device with finger input vs. mouse input. In general on iPhone, anything you touch has to be VERY big, relative to a PC app, because you can’t really do precision picking with a finger. So, that means either:

    a. you have to set the text to be quite large so that the speaker icons are correspondingly large, or

    b. we have to make the speaker icons themselves big even if the text is small…but this creates a fairly unpleasant visual layout that most people would say wastes space. It might be ok if the user could enable or disable this feature, though.

    That is why we went with touching on the word (which is already big) rather than adding a small button. But we are definitely open to ideas about how the speaker button could appear. Any suggestions?

    |2: I am (endlessly) still learning to read and write Thai.
    | I’d like a function which allows you to easily hide or reveal
    | the transliteration …

    Also a very cool idea. Will add it to our list for future revisions!

    One thing you can do now, as has been mentioned above, is to enable Easy Thai.

    Easy Thai spells out the sound of Thai words using Thai letters (where possible) rather than Roman. Easy Thai is more or less the same thing you will find in Thai-Thai dictionaries like the Royal Institute dictionary, although the Royal Dictionary leaves out enormous numbers of details while Easy Thai captures the full set of vowels, consonants, tones, and stress.

    So Easy Thai is still not exactly the feature you’ve asked for, but it does force you to at least read Thai letters in order to to cheat and read the pronunciation guide 🙂

    – Chris Pirazzi

  14. Having been living and working in Thailand for 10 years and already able to speak some Thai, maybe about 1000 words this is the prefect iphone application for me as it will enable me to expand my vocabulary further in the most easiest and convenient way when ever I need to. A new Thai word every day, what could be easier so fully recommend even for those who already have a limited knowledge of Thai language. A must purchase I think!

  15. errrm ok, not about the app directly (but I would like to win it :)).

    I have an Ipod Touch for media and it would sit nicely on that by the sounds of it.

    I use android for my phone and have just started working on a Chinese Reader application hopefully will have something on the marketplace soon and then keep working on it. Basically somewhere you can write / import / paste Chinese text and then touch words to get pop-up definitions.

    I was hoping to do this with Thai initially but then I discovered android prior to version 2.2 doesn’t natively support Thai text.

    So if I win this it may inspire me to try to write some Thai apps for android in the future. Worth a punt anyhow.

  16. I try my best to learn Thai, but its not realy easy for a blond man. 😉
    6 month ago I tried several iphone thai apps but there was absolutely nothing that worked for me. At the moment Iam learning Thai with the great audio CDs from Benjawan Poomsan Beckers language course – German version: Thai fuer Anfaenger (English: Thai for beginners) together with her printed Thai-English English-Thai dictionary.
    And as long as I can not read Thai, Romanised phonetics are absolutely nesseary!!! 🙂
    Hope somewone will understand me when I go on the 26th of January to Thailand for 5 month. (learning by doing) 😉
    Perfect timing that they released the App in December, so, that App is mine, winning or not! 😉
    Thx for your blog!

  17. I am just learning basic Thai at the moment and am finding it difficult enough as it is without the hundreds of different transliterations and then trying to decipher which is the best one for me. If this is truly as good as it’s reviews, I would welcome it.

  18. Josh, BYKI Thai went live sometime in November. Due to travel and the holidays I’m behind on reviewing apps, or it would be on my site by now. Time…

  19. @Cat – they did? When did this happen?

    Argh! I’m always the last to know; it’s not like I’ve been waiting a year for them to put one out or anything…

  20. I agree with Shem about the speaker icon. Two clicks is one two many, especially if the functionality is already in another place in the app.

    One thing I’m wondering is if there is any fuzzy logic associated with the dictionary. I realize this is a huge undertaking for any type of language software; but, for example, if I were to type in ใม่ instead of ไม่, it would be nice if the dictionary could automatically ask “did you mean…” to help me find the right word.

    Bookmarking and vocab lists can be part of the same functionality, actually. When you click to bookmark a word it then prompts you add it to a word list (or create a new list) if you want.

    Another thing that would be nice would be for some kind of designation in the dictionary for “common words” meaning words that you will come across very frequently during day-to-day speaking. (Or perhaps even just a default vocab list of common words.)

  21. Scott, so true – when I did my review of Thai dictionary apps, I was surprised at how many dictionaries mostly went one way. Good luck!

    Richard, “It is like learning two (or more) languages at the same time” that’s how I felt when faced with transliteration. And with Thai learning materials using different methods, it’s even more work to make your way around the language.

    Josh, Byki does have a Thai version for the iPhone. The downside is that you cannot add lessons/words. Btw – I haven’t checked to see if they’ve corrected the mistakes from the desktop Thai before creating the app:

    David, the Easy Thai is a good alternative (and I can see it’s going to be popular).

    mandalaysamu, uTalk HD is for learning basic Thai by repetition and games (words and phrases). The Thai-English Three Way dictionary is a dictionary with sound. It’d be great if they attached a learning app to it though… (due to size, not in the dictionary, but as a separate app).

    Nils, the app does not have voice recognition, but what a great idea! It does have audio for all Thai words in the dictionary. There is a list of transliteration styles you can choose from. The app gives you the Thai script, the transliteration of choice and English = Three way.

    Ben, I wish you luck as well 🙂

    Shem, Thanks for adding your suggestions – I know Chris is reading this. I especially asked for the transliteration/cheats not being visible as well.

    Talen, the Easy Thai does help a great deal. But I’m afraid that with my natural bad spelling, I’ll remember the Easy Thai and not the proper Thai.

  22. I have to agree with all the comments about Romanization and it’s good to hear there is an option in the app to turn it off. It really is counter productive once you start learning to read.

  23. I’ve been waiting for this app all year, it’s amazing.

    Two software updates I would recommend to the developers. do you think they read this??

    1: In the notes and grammar section you can listen to examples by clicking on a speaker icon next to the word: this is great – one click to hear the word. In the normal dictionary section you have to touch the word, then touch ‘play’, which is two clicks. That’s one click too many! Give us a speaker icon for all words please.

    2: I am (endlessly) still learning to read and write Thai. I’d like a function which allows you to easily hide or reveal the transliteration when a word is presented. That is, I want to try and read the Thai word without transliteration help first, then easily reveal (ie one click on the same page) the transliteration to see if I am right or not.


  24. I’m just starting out learning the Thai alphabet and learning to recognize some words. This app looks like a wonderful resource to always have in my pocket. I was excited to see another giveaway offer after missing Richard’s. I’m crossing my fingers!

  25. Wrote this on facebook a while back and am copying and pasting. If these q’s have already been answered here, I apologize.

    Does the app have voice recognition so that I can speak and get translations? Does it provide audio examples for the Thai words? Using what system are the Thai words written (Thai, standard phonetics etc)?

  26. As a regular reader of Richard’s blogs and tweets, I’ve purchased the uTalk HD last year, which is also a great app I believe. To compare the two apps what are the main differences between the two? Is the Talking Dictionary more helpful in the study, or more like a dictionary?

  27. I’m having a heck of a time learning to read and this Easy Thai method sounds like a great way to get used to alphabet rather than transliteration. I need to get to a point where I’m visualizing the words in Thai when I’m saying them rather than Latin letters.

  28. To continue from my conversation on Cat’s WLT Facebook page, I’m not a huge fan of transliteration, either, but I outright refuse to accept some of the conventions being used. Paiboon’s system seems the least buggy to me by a long shot.

    I have several copies of the book version. I keep one in my car, one in my backpack, and several in my house. I bought several iPhone Thai-Eng dictionary apps and I wasn’t very pleased with any of them.

    I do agree with Richard’s statement about moving away from romanization as quickly as possible. One problem I have, however, is that I just don’t have enough of a grasp of the language yet where I can type in the Thai word I need a definition for. I love the idea of being able to type in the Thai sound using English and finding a definition.

    Now if we could just get Byki to convert their software to an iPhone app I may be the happiest Thai learner in history!

  29. Hi,

    Spotted this on Twitter but somehow missed Richards draw.

    I have self studed Thai for awhile but struggling with motivations probs at the moment 🙂 So all new widget/SW ets. are more than welcome. This dicttionay is very usefull as well of course.

    Fingers crossed!

  30. Thanks Catherine, I hadn’t spotted the “Easy Thai” option which turns off Romanization and uses, like Hamish wants, an easier way of pronouncing Thai words using Thai letters. I am firmly in the camp that says move away from Romanization as quickly as you can. It is like learning two (or more) languages at the same time.

  31. I have looked at a few Thai/English dictionary apps, and most of them are unfortunately aimed at Thais wishing to understand English. Even (or especially!) the printed dictionaries that you can buy round Bangkok are all aimed at Thais learning English, and don’t get me started on the pretty naff ‘Talking Dict’ accessories.

    This dictionary sounds like a really good app that is designed specifically to work the other way round. And for that I am very happy – so much so that I would like to ‘win’ a free version! 🙂

    Wish me luck!

  32. Michel, Chris is indeed doing seriously good work on this app. And this is just the beginnin. Nice.

    Gordon, welcome (glad we could entice you out 🙂 Carrying around dictionaries are a pain, even the small ones. So good luck on the iPhone app draw, and Happy New Year back!

  33. Hi Catherine, I’m usually too lazy to post on your site, although I love reading it, and that lazyness together with the inconvenience of carrying any dictionary (I have Becker’s – well 2 actually as I wore out the first one – and Mary Hass’ Student one, and the DS one with the cd) but the only one I ever seem to have handy now is the free True Thai Dict one that is on my iTouch, and nice though it is it is very limited in content. Stu Jay will be disappointed that I have not been lugging a paper copy around since his last CTF course like some of the others have. :-0 and to address this lack of commitment on my part, and the shortcommings of the TrueDict, I have also been tempted to buy the IPhone app. But now you have dangled a free one in front of me I’ll wait and see if my Xmas comes late! 🙂 P.S.Happy New Year to All!

  34. Well, I went ahead and finally gave apple my credit card details, solely to get my hands on this app. I bought the old school printed edition back in July and from that moment on I knew I wanted an iPhone app. As a beginner/’hopeless’ student of thai, the three-pronged attack of English and Thai script as well as Thai sound (phonetic) search is really useful – however – my favorite part of the app is the ability to hear each and every entry read aloud by a native speaker (so useful when the Thai alphabet still perplexes you). Someone said it previously in relation to the windows version – it would be nice to have the option of choosing a male speaker (perhaps something for later versions). I’d also appreciate it if a few more phrases or even colocations were included (I couldn’t find ยินดีที่ได้รู้จัก for example) but all in all this is easily the best app and dictionary on the market.

    (I’m not deleting my Reading Thai app just yet though).

  35. Paul, apologies for that. I could have put the contest out sooner but time (mine) and holidays (everyone’s) didn’t mesh. But hey, now I can get a quote from you for my review (if you are game).

  36. I went ahead and bought this one already. I have to say that I’m pleased with it – it was worth the expense. Of course winning a free one would have been nicer, but too late now 🙂

  37. This App is introducing the functionality I was most missing from the Paiboon/word in the hand Palm application: it is talking!
    I have using the palm app since years and i can only testify that Chris, the IT developper, is doing a serious job! I love is apps!

  38. Great to hear Cat. Once one has got the hang of the Thai alphabet there really is no need for transliteration at all. Indeed it becomes an annoyance. So to know that their is an easy Thai option is fab. Even if I don’t win the raffle I think I’m now sold on it.

  39. Talen, me as well. A big thanks goes to Richard for his great review.

    And you will certainly get an earful when I settle into the review as there’s a lot in this dictionary (with more to come). Mac people especially will love it as there is no PC emulator to start up.

    But for now, I’m on a kleelix brigade of one… (who knew cats could catch colds… and sneeze and do other equally disturbing things).

  40. Cat, as you can guess I have quite a few apps piling up and all of them have been good in one way or another but this is the app I have been wanting to get.

    Richard Barrow’s review is definitely worth noting but I still want to hear your thoughts.

  41. Hamish, you are in luck as they do have true Thai spelling. I was traveling during the beta stage of the app but I was able to help out a bit with beta testing. One of my requests was an app without transliteration. Chris suggested that I switch to Easy Thai. In Easy Thai, you are given the option of tone markers (MLH) or not. Selecting no tone markers gives you true Thai.

  42. Richard Barrow’s review of this app looks like a resounding thumbs up. I have played with a review copy of the desktop version and it looks to be very good. I think that the inclusion of Romanised phonetic look up will be of great use to many newbies, but of course I am pleased to see that Thai script is bold, front and centre. I use True’s free Dictionary App but it is very basic and doesn’t have all the whistles and bells that this one does. One thing that neither appears to have (unless I have missed something) is phonetic Thai spelling – like Banjawan and Chris use in their books to accompany the true Thai spelling(e.g. สวัสดี = สะ-หฺวัด-ดี). Add this and I think the app would dispense with all necessity to ever consult another dictionary 🙂


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