Chiang Mai Thai

Ever wanted to learn Thai, in Chiang Mai? I did just that from November 2010, returning home in October 2011. If you don't want a headache, start HERE, it will explain the preceding posts. I'm Snap, Stray's other half. COOEE is our (other) travel blog.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Read it to me in Thai please.

My boss at my last job used to entertain himself proof read his emails and documents by copying and pasting, then listening to them into a program called 'Read Please'. One day he joked about having a dirty novel read back to him in 'Marilyn's' voice. But, that's another story.

I've used the program myself, just to ensure business letters and the like, sound up to par. It got me thinking! With learning Thai, it's kind of frustrating when you start to construct sentences, but can't hear the words strung together...melodically, tonally.

My Thai-English-Thai dictionary is like my bible, but I can only hear the words individually, the same goes for Thai Language, another invaluable recourse.

The translate function on Google appears to offer only audio in English and my search for PC software that's capable of turning Thai text to speech, has led me on a bit of a goose chase. Too many broken links, links to iPhone Apps and non events, to list (Vaja, Salika, Nectec, ISpeech, Thaiedit...) But then I came across this.

It's a little labour intensive. First I have to type out my sentences in Thai using a virtual keyboard, then copy and paste them into the 'enter text' box, change the language to Thai and then click 'say it'.

She does tend to balk on some words...but try it for yourself and let me know what you think. Even better, if you know of an online or software program that's more efficient, please let me know.

Here are some phrases I prepared earlier, if you'd like to give it a quick whirl. Be patient, it takes Narisa a few seconds to digest the words before she says them.

สวัสดีค่ะ คุณชื่ออะไรคะ ยินดีที่ได้รู้จัก คุณสบายดีหรือคะ พบกันใหม่ค่ะ
Hello What's your name? Pleased to meet you. Are you well? See you again.


See what else we're up to at Cooee!


  1. This is a sweet find Snap :-) I'm on the road right now but I'll be sure to play around with it on my return!

  2. @Catherine Darn it! I thought you would be the one to come to my rescue, for sure. Isn't there some sort of down-loadable program that does this more efficiently?

  3. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaay back I started searching for the same but I didn't find anything much. There's the iPhone app... you talk into it (and so on).

    But I promise that I'll look into this when I'm on dry ground again.

  4. Ok, I asked around and no one I talked to knows of anything exactly like this.

    I also ran it through some of the sentences I have here (easier than typing). Except for the length of words and such in places, it's quite ok.

    When I showed it to a Thai friend she said (and I'm quoting): "good for reference but only about 90%..."

    And that's about the same as Google Translate and others so it's not really behind in the available technology (in my thinking, anyway).

  5. @Catherine I guess 90% is better than nothing, but it surprises me that there isn't such a program for PCs...what with pocket and iPhone translators. Perhaps it can be next on your long list of to do's :)

  6. List of to-dos? This technology is waaaaaaaaaaay over my blond head :-D

    I do like the idea though. Pasting in copy is quick. I'd love to add it to my site but not for $9.95 per month.

  7. @Catherine Yes, there is the matter of the price. I wasn't prepared to pay that either.

  8. Hi Snap,

    Great tip-off re the talking head online - just spend a gleeful half an hour there. All above board conversations of course.

    Couldn't help noticing that you type with a virtual keyboard - do you not use the Thai language setting on your computer? You can buy dual English/Thai language stickers for your laptop or keyboard, and hey presto you've a bilingual laptop at your fingertips.


  9. @Jon yes, I'm still typing with a virtual keyboard. I recently added Thai to my computer, but haven't had enough energy to tackle it yet...the stickers sure would make it less of a headache, I'll put them on my shopping list. I've tried on several occasions to find a Microsoft Thai Language pack which can be used with the installed Text to Speech program, but no such luck yet.

  10. Good stuff Snap. I honestly have found a Thai keyboard and typing Thai has helped me familiarise myself with the language in a major way.

    Twitter is a great place to occasional post Thai updates and get involved in Thai conversations, though I make heavy use of as my proof reading buddy.

    Text to speech would be interesting indeed

  11. @Jon I've heard that Thai2English is a very good resource and quite accurate, I'll give it a go. I'll also ask my teacher and school staff about the MS Text to Speech function. As far as I can ascertain, the Thai pack is in a MS update (somewhere)...but then I hit a brick wall or go around in circles.


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