Google Translate now include Thai

After trying for some time, I realized long time ago that Thai is a hard language to learn. Not only is the tonal aspect of the language a significant obstacle building a vocabulary with ease, but also the writing is challenging with a new abstract alphabet, tone marks etc.

One thing that sets apart Thai from the other languages I have been used to is,  that it in order to read any text, you really must master an extensive vocabulary in advance. Otherwise otherwise you will not be able to tell the words from each other.

Reason being is that spacing between individual words is not used in written Thai. Sometimes you will not even see spaces between sentences either.

And that should present a challenge for anybody, even Google. For a while I thought Google might never come up with a translation service for Thai, but now they apparently surprised the world with a new splendid service again :-)

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It is still a bit rough though. You can see some examples on translation difficulties here at absolutelybangkok.com and even my first test translation using “Good luck”  in Thai (one of the few short phrases I know), it came up with “Fortunately ask.“.

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So behind the scenes, it looks like Google is applying a dictionary translation. Initially breaking the Thai text down to atoms, then translating them individually and finally composing an English translation. Following this approach, everything here is by the book. But sometimes this algorithm will fail – this translation is a good example.

Notice, however, there is an option build in called “Suggest better translation“. So, if you know for a fact that a translation can be approved, you may contribute with your new suggestions, like I have done here:

Not sure when the suggestion will be reviewed and approved/rejected, but at least we have the option.

Makes me happy to be a Google stockholder. Another example of empowerment to the internet masses…

Cheers
Torben Brams

2 Replies to “Google Translate now include Thai”

  1. However, it translates get ????? (Chok dee) that also means good luck correctly. It will probably improve overtime as more and more people suggest a better translation.

  2. Aha – so WordPress might have a problem with Thai characters in comments after all. Anybody know if this is a setting I have forgot somewhere or a real issue?

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