WLT’s 2016 Thai Language Giveaway: Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary App

WLTs Thai Language Giveaway

This article was originally posted on WomenLearnThai.com.

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WLT’s 2016 Thai Language Giveaway…

We’ve now reached week SEVEN (the last week) of WLT’s seven weeks of Thai language giveaways. If you need a refresher of the past giveaways please read Vote THAI and WIN! | SEVEN Weeks of FREE Thai Giveaways.

This is what we’ve all been waiting for, the merging of Chris and Benjawan’s Talking Thai–Eng–Thai Dictionary with their Talking Thai–English–Thai Phrasebook. For an overview of the dictionary (sans phrasebook) please go to Android and iPhone: Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary Review.

The eagerly awaited update is so humongous that I’ve asked Chris to please itemize the details for us. Thanks Chris!

Chris Pirazzi: Paiboon Publishing & Word in the Hand…

In this contest we will be giving away FIVE copies of your choice of Paiboon Publishing’s Talking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary for iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) or Paiboon’s Thai <> English Dictionary for Android (phones and tablets).

Straight away you will be able to download the current 1.x version, which already features more than 150,000 entries, crisp sound recordings for every Thai word, ability to search by English, Thai Script or English-like Thai Sound transcription, a comprehensive guide to speaking and writing Thai, and other features to explain Thai spelling, break up Thai words into components for learning, and show Thai words in multiple sign fonts. 

You can also look forward to the massive, free 2.0 upgrade (see link for screen shots) for both iOS and Android, which is currently in the late stages of testing and which:

  • Increases dictionary vocabulary from 150,000+ entries to 195,000+ entries, almost all consisting of suggestions sent in by you.  2.0 will feature a Suggest button to make it even easier to add the words you want.
  • Adds a built-in phrasebook with more than 12,000 words and ready-to-use, customizable talking phrases organized into 250+ practical categories like “Language Difficulties,” “Hotel,” “Renting a Place,” “Food/Drink,” “Price Haggling,” “Transportation,” “Health,” “Shopping,” “Sightseeing,” “Love/Romance/Sex” and even “Swearing/Insults.” Many situational categories give you both sides of full conversations, such as when you are buying tickets or talking with doctors. As always, every Thai word, phrase, and sentence has a fluent high-quality sound recording (more than 29 hours of studio-recorded sound included).
  • Adds full-text Power Search as another option on top of the existing Alphabetical Search. Power Search finds all phrases that contain your key word(s) anywhere in the phrase, not just at the beginning. Power search searches not only the dictionary but also every single phrase and complete sentence in the phrasebook, giving you an easy way to find sample sentences for many terms, and also searches the names of categories, making the Search screen a great place to find relevant Categories as well. It’s important to understand that Power Search is not Google Translate: Power Search searches the hand-edited, fluent, correct sentences in the app and does not attempt to translate every possible sentence you might type (usually into gibberish) like Google Translate.
  • Adds an often-requested Favorites Screen that lets you organize the words and phrases you use often into multiple folders (you can even have folders inside folders, as deep as you want).
  • Lets you hear any of our 60,000+ Thai word/phrase sound recordings spoken with slow motion playback, but still at the same pitch so you can hear its vowels, consonants, and tones clearly. 2x and 4x slow supported, as well as 2x fast.
  • Features hundreds of industry-first Super Phrases that make our phrases much more useful than any other phrasebook product out there. Super Phrases have placeholders that let you customize the phrase to meet your needs, plugging in your desired date, time, color, price, distance, or travel destination into the phrase in your native language, your home currency, and familiar units, automatically translating everything to a complete, fluent Thai sentence which you can play for a Thai person with one touch. The app even features a built-in talking, translating units and currency converter and calculator that lets you fluently haggle with a vendor or talk land area with a Thai real-estate agent with both of you working in your native language and units. It’s a true communication tool that breaks past the paper paradigm and uses the unique interactive power of your mobile device.
  • Adds a new Explain Sound feature feature alongside our famous Explain Spelling, See Real-World Fonts, and Find Words Inside features. Explain Sound is for people who want to learn to speak a Thai word without needing to know Thai Script. It divides your chosen word(s) into syllables and explains their Thai Sound, showing you how to pronounce the consonants and vowels that make up each syllable and showing you similar sounds that are often confused for them, all annotated with convenient links into the relevant sections of our comprehensive guide to speaking Thai. A version of Explain Sound is now integrated into the app Thai Sound Power Search so you know exactly what the text you have typed sounds like.  This makes it much easier to get good results from Thai Sound search since you can quickly touch a play button to see if you are searching for the correct sound. This also makes it a snap to learn the sounds of Thai and your chosen pronunciation guide system. We believe this will resolve a lot of the difficulties people had with Thai Sound search in the past.
  • Makes it easier to switch sections (English, Thai Sound, Thai Script) with fewer touches. All searching is done on a unified screen with three tabs that switch keyboard, section, and clear the entry field with one touch. You can paste Thai or English words from other apps and the app will switch tabs automatically.
  • Further streamlines the process of looking up words from other apps with the new Auto Paste and Search option, which automatically searches for what’s in the system clipboard every time you switch to the so.  So if you frequently look up words from other apps, you just copy the word and switch apps. This can be streamlined even more because we now support iOS 9’s new Swipe Over and Split View multitasking feature (which Apple offers on some iOS devices; Android N multi-window support is either coming in version 2.0 or shortly after), letting you have ThaiDict and another app on the screen at the same time. Looking up a word is as easy as copying it in one app and touching ThaiDict once to begin an automatic lookup.
  • Expands on the External Links feature present in the 1.x versions. You can now activate up to four External Link icons that will take your selected word and search for it in Google, Wikipedia, online Thai and English dictionaries, or any website you choose. We provide a number of pre-configured links to popular websites, so you can easily activate this feature in a few seconds.
  • Lets you Hide Pronunciation Guides (transcription) to avoid temptation if you’re learning Thai Script.
  • Adds even more Thai and international Place Names, all of which are now shown abbreviated to one line by default so that they do not distract from more common entries. Furthermore, for almost all place names you can now touch a map icon to see that place using your device’s mapping tool (e.g. Google Maps, Apple Maps).
  • Adds huge improvements to the Help Screens, including the now more prominently featured guide to speaking and writing Thai, such as an often-requested section on telling times and dates, study lists of consonants color coded with class, info on Thai font differences, as well as many many new Categories showing you how to build Thai sentences with crucial idioms like “can/should/believe,” “if/then,” tenses, “bring/take,” and forming questions.
  • Adds a Copy Whole Entry feature for users of Anki and other flashcard tools. This feature copies your chosen Thai/English words along with their English translation, part of speech, etc. to your device’s clipboard in a CSV format that is compatible with both flashcard tools and spreadsheet tools like Excel. Great for those who like to study using these tools. Note: after the 2.0 release we plan to implement a flashcard system integrated into the app. We are interested in your thoughts about what are the most important flashcard features to support, e.g. what is on each side of the card, order of card presentation, how you report your success, what records are kept, etc. Email [email protected] with ideas.
  • Supports a new Custom URL Scheme that lets you launch ThaiDict to do a search from other apps such as flashcard tools or even from study sheets you write yourself in your own documents.

Plus much more—this major release has been three years in the making and we are so excited to finally get it out to customers. 

We do not know yet how long until the release finally hits the App Store/Play Store, because we have to see how many issues we find in final testing and then (in the case of iOS) we have to plow through Apple’s onerous approval process, but if you would like to try out the new features now and you have a little time to provide us with feedback and help us track down any issues you find so we can fix them quickly (and hopefully some basic knowledge of the vocabulary of mobile devices so you can clearly describe any issue you find), we’d be interested in inviting you to our private pre-release beta program. For more info, see Sneak Preview.

Rules for WLTs Thai Language Giveaway…

The rules are simple:

  • To be included in the draw, leave comments below.
  • Comment(s) need to add to the conversation (it really does matter).
  • Each relevant comment gets counted, so please leave as many as you like!
  • If you don’t collect your prize within a week of the announcement, it will be given away to the next person in line.

Chris and Benjawan will choose the winners for this giveaway. You can enter this competition even if you’ve won in the past.


The draw will run until 10 July (Sunday), 6pm Thai time. After the winners have been selected a comment will be put below and I’ll create a dedicated post.

Thank you Chris and Benjawan for sponsoring WLT’s eight year celebration! Good luck all!

16 thoughts on “WLT’s 2016 Thai Language Giveaway: Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary App”

  1. Thanks for all your kind words and suggestions.

    Some responses below to multiple questions above….

    One thing I want to make clear is that our app takes a completely different approach than Google Translate. Google Translate takes any text you throw at it and attempts (usually abysmally) to translate it to or from Thai. Our app is a bilingual dictionary with 150,000+ entries plus 12,000+ words, phrases, and complete sentences organized into 250+ categories, all of which are professionally written, edited, and translated by a real human. So when you find a word or phrase with our Power Search, the translation you get is correct and even has annotations that help you know how to use the word, like parts of speech, word register, and glosses that help you understand important shades of meaning (is that Thai word for “glass” a drinking “glass” or a pane of “glass?”), which you will not get from Google Translate. But we do not attempt to translate any arbitrary text. We do, on the other hand, happily accept word suggestions from users and we add thousands of new words to each new app version. So in some ways, we give you quality and Google Translate gives you quantity.

    For Nam Parikh’s question: yes we do currently indicate word register (spoken, formal, vulgar, royal, etc.) for thousands of words using little pictures in each entry.

    For Robert Vargason, yes the slow-mo playback works for all Thai recordings including the ones of complete sentences in the phrasebook. We added your 75%/85% suggestion to our wanted list; in 2.0 we have 50% and 25% (and 200%) speed. For the E/T, T/E or E only phrase idea, can you say more about how you would use that? Would it be for hands-free drilling in a car like audio flashcards?

    After 2.0 we hope to add a flashcard module and are interested in everyone’s feedback about which flashcard features are most useful. Since we could never offer the huge, complex feature set of general-purpose flashcard apps, we want to know the top set of features useful in 90% of cases. For example, what to show on each “side” of each card, what order to show cards (SRS vs other methods), how you tell the app if you got it right (yes/no, levels, etc.), how/when to retire cards, what statistics to keep on past results, etc.

    For multiple folks who asked about Isaan: we have thought about an Isaan version from time to time; Kun Benjawan has a paper Lao dictionary and so that might be a good starting resource if we decide to bring that dictionary in as an app, especially as tourism increases to the neighboring countries.

    Thanks Kris for the RID suggestion. I’m not sure what the licensing issues are but I added it to my list to check out. Generally speaking, our app targets native English speakers who are learning Thai but having a Thai-Thai definition would benefit advanced learners and save a step in looking up in another app/dictionary.

    For Kris’ question about the Android dictionary and SD cards: for the 1.x versions, the app has a tiny (6MB or 0.006GB) core that always installs in internal memory (this is an Android requirement for apps like ours that come with their own keyboard) and then when you first install the app, it downloads the big (380+MB or 0.38GB) dataset of dictionary entries and sounds to what Android OS reports to us is your SD card (specifically, your “external files directory,” which is an Android OS concept). So far so good, and on many devices this does what you want. Unfortunately, like everything in the Android world, sometimes device vendors try to get “clever” and make “improvements” to Android, one of which is that some devices will direct us to store the big file in your internal memory even though we explicitly ask Android “where’s the external files directory?” So for 1.x it depends whether the place your device tells us is the “external files directory” is the place where you want to store the big file There literally tens of thousands of different vendor/device/android version combos so we cannot know ahead of time, so you’ll have to try it. One of the issues that we’re still looking into for our 2.0 release is whether there is some way we can address this Android ecosystem mess in our app by giving you some kind of choice of where to put the file. The problem is that, at least in previous Android versions, there was no easy way for an app to present an easy-to-understand list of choices of where to store the file; the only thing we could offer would be a totally geeky UNIX file path that only a tiny fraction of customers would understand and that would be totally device-specific (you’d probably have to root your phone to even find the correct path to type in). We heard that in recent Android versions, Google might have made some improvements that would let us offer you a meaningful choice of locations without being a computer programmer. We’ll see how that pans out in the next few weeks.

  2. There are so many things that get me excited about this App!
    These things are high on my priority list and the designers have really scoped this out perfectly.
    Without restating all the great features of this application I would like to say “thank you”for a couple of them which seem like they have be designed “just for me”.

    Language is a dinosaur compared to the life of the internet.
    A simple, yet essential feature of any language learning tool is the ability to use it anywhere and everywhere. No need to be online all the time! Wow! I often use a non connected tablet so this makes me very happy.

    Having “adjustable Thai fonts”. Yippy! I know I am not alone here but these obvious necessities are often omitted and make a massive difference.

    Before I go I have to mention “searching in Thai script”. If you are also learning to read and write Thai, having a feature like this is a built in way of teaching spelling, writing, reading and understanding how sounds are weaved together. Wonderful!
    I cannot say more.

    Learning Thai is like being on a long and mountainous road trip, the scenery is sometimes breathtaking, and there are other times when the car breaks down in freezing rain. Courage and stamina are needed to fix the flat and keep going.

    Paiboon Publishing’s Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary App would make the journey much easier, more fun and a lot less bumpy.

  3. Agreed. Vocabulary acquisition only works if you have a framework of sentences to put new words into. And the real world font feature is going to be so helpful too. A suggestion for I thought of would be to colour code (or otherwise clarify) words depending on their usage eg. slang / spoken Thai / written Thai / formal Thai / royal Thai. That would be great for a language which has more variation between levels than English speakers are used to!

  4. I was reading the article on the Scrabble championships being held in Bangkok. I was struck by the fact that the Thai former world champion has memorised about 90 per cent of the words in the English dictionary, but still speaks only rudimentary English.

    It made me think that learning words alone is likely to make me fluent in Thai, even though I’ve learnt hundreds if not thousands using my English thai english dictionary. The big plus for me about this product will come with the upgrade and in particular the built in phrasebook.

    I really enjoyed the original dictionary and I use mine everyday. But life is not organised from A-Z so I think the use of the 250+ categories is only going to help the words and phrases stick so much better than any list of words. For me anyway, that’s the way I can think and learn.

    The same goes for the full power search. This upgrade is going to make it so much easier to find the words and phrases I need in the way that real life throws them up. I think it’s going to put the authors back to the front of the providers, if they weren’t there already!

  5. I think this will be an amazing application, a real lifesaver. So much more even than a great dictionary. Up until now I have to use a lot of analogue media to accomplish the same (Paiboon Dictionary with pronounciation, Josef Rohrer Dictionary, SE-ED monolingual dictionary, English by Example, …) which are far too heavy to carry around.

    My highlights:
    * Power search through all phrases sounds like an awesome feature, that way one can always look at real world examples of how a word is actually used.
    * Slow motion playback is a great feature, although I would prefer to have a 80%/75% speed option. And I hope it works for phrases too.
    * And I’m also looking forward to the Real-World Font feature, because nowadays one encounters a lot of hard-to-decipher fonts in real life.

    Suggestion for future releases (if it isn’t already included in this one): An option to listen to random phrases in the format E/T, T/E or E only (one phrase after the other until you press stop).

  6. As I live and work in Isaan too, I love Mark’s idea of Paiboon Publishing making an app for speaking Isaan. It would make learning unwritten languages so much easier if there was speech to text translation available whether Isaan – English or Isaan – Thai (or both in one!)

  7. This looks excellent and incredibly practical for everyday Thai learning. It goes so far beyond most Dictionary apps that it isn’t even comparable… there is so much I’m excited about: the Super Phrases, ease of unit conversions, topical glossary, slow motion playback and all the sound clips being done by native speakers are a great asset. I think the Power search tool will really speed up my acquisition of Thai, as I retain new words so much better in the context of sample sentences. Then to be able to organise these as I want to in a favourites screen is so convenient to be all in the same app. I can see this will become indispensable if I win this giveaway!

  8. This looks amazing! I’m constantly disappointed in Google Translate when it comes to finding a translation for a saying or phrase. This would solve that issue! I also love that you’ve included native Thai speakers giving clear pronunciation. I’m coming up on a year of studying Thai and have been looking for resources that go beyond beginner levels. I would use this several times a day!

  9. I’m a beginner with Thai, and this looks like a great tool. I just thoroughly read through the description of the Thai Phrasebook (which is included in the Dictionary). I am really impressed with its features, but especially with the ability to look up words by typing English letters for the sounds in Thai that you hear. I do not spell well in Thai yet, so guessing which Thai letter to type — and then finding those letters! — has kept me from learning more words and phrases. Another challenge for me is seeing sentences in Thai and having difficulty distinguishing where words begin & end. It sounds like the app helps with both of those challenges.

  10. Oh, maybe a suggestion for future versions. It would be so nice to have a Thai explanation for each word too. My experience is that Thai-Thai dictionaries are often more specific and clear than Thai-English dictionaries…. I don’t know about the copyright on the older RID dictionary, but I see it has been copied to tens of android applications and websites… so maybe you could do the same (copy the entries)?

  11. Ok, I don’t have this one yet and I would like to know if this application can be installed on SDCARD or if it needs to be place into the phones internal flash memory. I use the Royal institute dictionary for Android, but a disadvantage is that it will only work from the phone’s internal flash.

  12. I have downloaded the trial version of Paiboon Publishing’s Talking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary for Windows PCs and found it easy to use and very readable. The Thai letters come out big and clear and the speech is also very clear. I recently purchased the Paiboon Publishing’s Thai for Beginners android app and am very impressed with the extensive lessons. It is also great for learning to read Thai. A dictionary would be a great supplement for helping me to pronounce Thai words. I am living in Yasothon Province where not much English is spoken, the only language I know well. Although standard or central Thai is taught in the schools, the local dialect in my village is Isaan Thai. Maybe someday Paiboon Publishing’s would make an app for speaking Isaan.

  13. I need a fast way to translate English to Thai. Sometimes I’m on my own with students little and older. This would make my job of communicating easier.

  14. I find Paiboon publishings materials extremely useful as they not only contain normal dictionary but also thai in English script. This eases the look up a lot if you are not able to read Thai well. I have been using the dictionary as my primary even when taking Thai at the university as it is in most cases have been comprehensive enogh for daily use. I look forward to seing this extended version and will keep promoting Paiboon materials to others trying to learn Thai even at higher levels. Keep up tha good work

  15. That’s really a superior giveaway. I just testing the new version and have to say it’s the best Thai dictionary I ever used. Not only because it also works offline, but it has more functionality than a dictionary only. Its really a great workbench for learning Thai and is adjustable to one’s personal preferences.
    I really would be appreciated if I would be a winner and can use the app after finishing testing when the new version is published.


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