The most popular English to Thai translation app for travel in Thailand is undoubtedly Google Translate. But even though Google Translate is the translator app used most by tourists, it is not the best one for all situations. Yes, Google Translate does do a good job translating Thai signs and Thai menus with its camera translation function, and it does provide you with workable translations into the Thai language. But it falls short as a Thai translation app that facilitates easy, two-way communication between you and the Thai people you meet on your holiday.
August 2023 Update: Google Translate now has a “conversation” mode on their translation app, which now makes it easy to have a conversation with a Thai person. There are still a few things which Google Translate does not have, such as the ability to adjust the speed of spoken Thai translations, but we now rate it similar to the SayHi app for facilitating English/Thai conversations.
We have experimented with all available Thai translator apps, and the SayHi Translate app (for both iPhone and Android) is the best English to Thai translator app for helping you talk with Thais. Owned and operated now by Amazon, the SayHi app is a digital translator that will help you to not only have conversations with Thais, it also will help you learn Thai. So, let’s review the Top 10 reasons why we rate SayHi Translate the best Thai translation app for travelers.
1. Its user interface is more intuitive and user-friendly, with larger buttons and clearer text. The SayHi translation app is quicker, easier, and more efficient to use when communicating back and forth with Thai people, requiring that you only have to tap your phone once (to start recording).
2. It offers real-time, two way, voice translation to and from Thai language, which means you can have a back and forth conversation with a Thai person without needing to type anything. This can be very useful in situations where you need to communicate quickly.
3. It is better at recognizing the words you speak, and Thai words that the other person speaks. If the SayHi translation app thinks that it has heard a word wrong (because the sentence sounds wrong or awkward), it will ask you if it heard you right or give you the opportunity to speak the sentence again.
4. It automatically stops recording when you or the Thai person stops talking, and delivers the real time translation quicker.
5. It is good at recognizing colloquial spoken language in English and the Thai language. The Thai conversation translations are usually not stilted or too formal, but delivered in the more casual manner that people speak. It also makes fewer mistakes due to different accents. People from different regions of Thailand speak Thai with different inflections and accents. But this usually doesn’t cause the SayHi translator app to make a mistake.
6. It offers a feature that allows you to immediately hear the pronunciation of words and phrases spoken by a native speaker (with a single tap on the phone), which can be very helpful in learning Thai and improving your own pronunciation. You can practice speaking Thai into the translation app to make sure that your spoken Thai is understandable to others.
7. It keeps a record of your conversations with Thai people, which you can go back and review (both the written Thai and the spoken Thai), which also makes it a great tool for learning the Thai language.
8. You can adjust the speed of Thai spoken translations, as well as the speed of the translations from Thai into your native language. We recommend about 30-40% on the scale for spoken Thai, which is slow but still sounds natural. You can also change the translation voice to male or female.
9. SayHi Translate is a completely free translation app, with no annoying ads or requests to make in-app purchases. Amazon can make the app free because by using the app, you help Amazon improve the translation and voice recognition services in all of its other products and services.
In case you are wondering, we are not being paid for this review or are an Amazon affiliate. All the reviews on MySakonNakhon.com are unbiased, unpaid for, and based on our personal experience.
10. More than 100 languages and dialects can be translated with SayHi Translate. So, if you want to translate Thai into another language, such as French, German, Russian, or Mandarin, you can do that with ease. However, the accuracy of the translation may at times not be as accurate as when translating English into Thai and Thai into English, because the app has had more training experience with English-Thai translations.
Now, while we do consider SayHi to be the best English to Thai translation app, there is one drawback! Currently, its camera translation function does not include Thai among the languages that it recognizes (hopefully Thai will be added in the near future). For instant camera translations of Thai road signs and Thai menus, we highly recommend using Google Translate, which does an excellent job at recognizing and translating all Thai fonts (even the very stylized ones). Google Translate is also the best Thai translation app for translating long passages of text.
Lastly, do keep in mind that the quality of the SayHi Thai translations are not always perfect. For example, in the image from the app that we posted above, you will see that it translates “How much are the mangoes?” to “เท่าไหร่มะม่วง” (tao-rai ma-muang), which literally means “how much mango”. A Thai person would ordinarily say this phrase the other way around: “mango how much” (มะม่วงเท่าไหร่ ma-muang tao-rai). But this kind of mistake will rarely cause you a problem when trying to communicate with Thais.
The key to successfully using the SayHi Translate app (or any English – Thai translator app) is to break down anything you want to say in English into short simple sentences, as the Thai language itself is usually spoken in short, direct sentences. This will greatly reduce any potential mistake made by the Thai translation app. Would you like to learn some Thai right now? Check out our 30 fun and free Thai language lessons that will teach you about Thai language and Thai culture. Also read our review of the Ling language app, which we rate as the best Learn Thai app for your mobile phone.
A Thai translation app like SayHi Translate is an indispensable tool for helping Thai students learn English. It will help them overcome the English pronunciation problems that so many Thais struggle with. What you can do is assign the students a series of common simple questions and statements involving daily life. Then ask the students to practice speaking these sentences into a Thai translation app like Google Translate or SayHi until the app always recognizes what they are trying to say in English.
Since the spoken English sentences they are practicing will be automatically translated into Thai, you will know that they understand the sentences they are practicing. And because the English sentences will be translated into Thai, this exercise will also help them recognize simple grammar differences between Thai and English, such as how adjectives are placed before the noun in English and after the noun in Thai.