New App Translates Thai Dishes, Food Terms In To 7 Languages

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If you love Thai food but aren’t quite sure what your favourite dishes are called in Thai, there’s a newly launched app that aims to solve such a dilemma. It’s called ‘Thai Food Terms’ and it’s available on iOS and Android platforms.

The app can translate some 1,600 Thai dishes and culinary terms into seven languages – English, Chinese, Japanese, German, French, Italian and Spanish. The translation comes with an accompanying image and audio recording for pronunciation purposes.

Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Arts and the National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (Nectec) launched the Thai Food Terms app on Thursday, following years of research that was carried out.

Aside from the obvious language translation benefits, the app aims to set a standard for Thai food terms and also lessen confusion among foreigners – as program coordinator Assoc. Prof. Saraphee Gaston explained – about such things as how the term ‘curry’ can refer to either massaman, choo chee or kaeng phet curry although each one is different.

Massaman is a non spicy Indian-style curry, choo chee is usually made with fish and coconut milk while kaeng phet is a spicy curry.

Another example of potential confusion is in how there are three words in Thai for three kinds of basil – kra phao, ho ra pha and maeng luk – each of which is used to cook very different dishes. But in English the three are all called Thai basil.

The list of dishes and terms featured in the app ranges from main meals like som tam (spicy papaya salad) and tod man pla (fish cake), desserts and snacks to ingredients used in cooking, cooking methods, herbs and drinks.

A ‘lite’ version of the Thai Food Terms app can be downloaded for free, while the full version costs 2.99 USD.

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