The current Thai National Anthem was written in 1939 by Luang Saranupraphan (หลวงสารานุประพันธ์), who won a lyrics contest that was held when the Kingdom’s name was changed from Siam to Thailand (which literally means “Free Land” in Thai). He submitted his winning lyrics on behalf of the Royal Thai Army. The lyrics for the anthem accompany a melody written by Thai composer Phra Chenduriyang (พระเจนดุริยางค์). The first English translation of the national anthem soon followed, although it is unclear who wrote it.
Translating Thai into English is notoriously difficult, because Thai is a very compact language where things are often inferred from context, rather than explicitly stated. This is especially true in song lyrics and conversational Thai. Because of this, translators have to take a certain degree of liberty when trying to capture the genuine meaning of the Thai in English — without going overboard and adding things which aren’t there and suggested by the context.
To help learners of the Thai language better understand the Thai National Anthem, we have included in the following text, the original Thai lyric, followed by the Romanized transliteration of the Thai, then the first English translation, and lastly our own translation of the National anthem of Thailand.
Romanized: bprà-tâyt-tai ruam lêuat néua châat chéua tai
Word for Word Translation: Thailand combines blood flesh nation ancestry Thai
First English Translation: Thailand unites the flesh and blood of Thais.
2023 English Translation: Thailand joins together the flesh and blood of the Thai nation,
bpen bprà-chaa rát pà-tai kŏng tai túk sùan
Be citizens state land of Thai every part
Nation of the people; belonging to the Thais in every respect.
the people’s state, every part of the land
Yòo dam-rong kong-wái dâai táng-muan
Be-at maintain exist can all
Long maintained [has been] the independence
that has been sustained for so long,
dûay tai lúan măai rák săa-mák-kee
with/by Thai all intend love unity
Because the Thais seek, and love, unity.
by the love of unity that all Thais feel.
tai née rák sà-ngòp dtàe tĕung róp mâi klàat
Thais these love peacefulness, but arrives combat not cowardly.
Thais are peace-loving, But at war we’re no cowards.
Thais love tranquility, but when its time to fight, we aren’t timid.
àyk-gà-râat jà mâi hâi krai kòm-kèe
sovereignty will not let who oppress
Sovereignty will not be threatened.
Our sovereignty will not allow anyone to tyrannize us,
sà-là lêuat túk yàat bpen châat plee
discard blood every drop be country religious-offering
They will sacrifice every drop of their blood to contribute to the nation.
as every drop of blood will be sacrificed in honor of our nation.
เถลิงประเทศชาติไทยทวี มีชัย ชโย
tà-lĕrng bprà-tâyt-châat tai tá-wee mee-chai chá-yoh
Ascend country-nation Thai increases win hurrah
Hail the nation of Thailand, long last the victory, Hurrah.
Rise people of Thailand to our victorious throne! Hurray!
Subsequent English translations of the Thai National Anthem appeared after the first English translation was published, some of which include extra ideas or words. These additions likely were inspired by the comments of Thanpuying Somroj Swasdikul Na Ayudhya (ท่านผู้หญิงสมโรจน์ สวัสดิกุล ณ อยุธยา), a member of Thailand’s Royal Family, who explained the meaning of the national anthem as follows:
Thailand is a place where people of Thai blood and ethnicity gather to live together. Every part of the land of Thailand belongs to all Thai people. Thai people can preserve all Thai land with kindness and unity. Thai people love each other and love the country. Thais love to live in peace, but if they have to fight with their enemies. Thais are never afraid. They will never allow any enemy to threaten and destroy the independence of the Thai nation. Everyone will sacrifice their blood, every drop of it, for an enduring Thai nation, and they will protect Thailand so that it becomes more prosperous and victorious forever. – (MySakonNakhon.com Translation)
The Thailand national anthem is traditionally sung at various occasions and events. Some of the most common instances when the Thai national anthem is sung include:
If you would like to practice singing the Thai national anthem, you can check out this Youtube video, which has subtitles in Thai, Romanized transliteration, and English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrcGzLIEsAU.
To just practice reading the lyrics, you could paste them into the SayHi Translate app, and use the audio playback function.