Whether you’re on a short trip to Thailand or studying the Thai language in-depth, this iPhone app is the one dictionary you can really use.
There are already quite a few Thai/English dictionary apps for the iPhone. Most are aimed at Thai people and so are not good if you cannot read Thai. Some do have transliteration for foreigners and even a few have sound files. But, none of them are really satisfactory or even comprehensive. That is, until now. 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. At the moment, we are talking about over 100,000 entries with more than 14 hours of studio recorded sound. Not sure how to pronounce a Thai word? Click on it to hear a Thai native speaker. Don’t like the transliteration system used? Just choose one of 12 widely used systems. Font too small to read? No problem, just pinch the word to make it larger on every page. Want to practice reading a different Thai font? No problem, just change in preferences. I have been waiting for this iPhone app to be released all year ever since Paiboon brought out the desktop version of their popular three-way dictionary. The Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary iPhone app is bigger and better than I could ever possibly imagine.
What is unique about this dictionary is that it uses a three-way system. This means that you can look-up a word in Thai, English or even by the sound it makes. So, if you hear a Thai person say a word, you can have a go at entering it using Roman letters. As you start to type, you get a list of possible words for you to choose from. As well as clicking on the words to hear a native speaker, you can also see how the word is broken down. This helps you to understand how the word is made up and also allows you to learn new words. Another mind-blowing feature is that you also get the option to see how the word is spelled. This breaks the word down into consonants and vowels, explaining which class they belong to and then tells you which tone that you should use. Want more help in understanding tone rules? You will find everything and more inside this iPhone app. There are many help files which actually go a long way towards teaching you to read Thai. Many sound files are also included in these help pages. Another nice touch for people learning to read Thai, is that there is an option to have all Thai words split up into syllables which will greatly help beginners.
Years ago, after I learned the Thai alphabet, I taught myself how to read Thai by reading a dictionary every day. I kept this up for about three months and ended up being able to read easy children’s books. Of course, there was no way for me to know whether I was using the correct tone as I didn’t have a Thai teacher to practice with. I would have loved to have this iPhone app back then. I would have certainly made good use of it. Although it is very good, there is potential to be even better. As it stands now, it is basically a talking dictionary. It could be a lot more. I personally would like to see a feature like “Word of the Day” that would encourage me to read more often. Maybe some flashcards as well. Another good feature would be word lists and maybe also bookmarking. Though there is a tab to show your recent history. I contacted Chris Pirazzi, the developer, about this and he said that there are already plans in motion to incorporate ideas like this and more in the app next year. More words will also be added. All of these upgrades are free once you have bought the app from iTunes. One final comment, the app is 271 MB. Although large it does mean that everything is on your iPhone and iPad. There is no connection to the Internet at all unless you choose to look up a word on Google.
The present price for Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary on iTunes is $24.99 which is about 753 Baht. Good value for money I think.