Typing Thai

The Glossary presented a particular challenge. The terms were written in Thai characters at the beginning of each glossary entry. My first thought was to type the characters myself. I managed to get a Thai keyboard installed on my MacBook Pro, and pulled up the keyboard after changing my little flag by the date to the Thai one. This really was daunting however. I was squinting at the keyboard viewer, trying to distinguish each lovely curly letter from the next, to replicate what I saw in the book. On some letters there are elegant flourishes which top them like extra sprinkles on an ice cream cone. I had to type the flourish, then the letter, to create the finished compound letter. Kind of like a Spanish ñ or German ü. A lot curlier though.

For banana, I managed to type


Luckily though, when I was investigating the pronunciation of the words in the Vocabulary section, I had stumbled upon Google Translator. Returning to it, I typed in “banana”. Google Translator gave me


Eureka! I have to tell you it’s a lovely soft word too. Here, you can listen:

They were not all that simple though. In fact I soon came to feel this might just be the most challenging section. Cardamom produced a different word than Jennifer’s translation, and the sound didn’t seem anything like the transliteration she had provided. Then I noticed Google Translator was providing me with other options, cardamom powder, cardamom seeds, and then… cardamom pods! And that was it. Cardamom pods.


I did make a decision here to put “Cardamom Pods” in the entry rather than simply “Cardamom”.

Then came “Celery”.  Google Translator gave me a word that had “f̄rạ̀ng” at the end, a clue that they were referring to our celery, not theirs, as in the Vocabulary section, Farang, was translated to mean, “Foreigner, foreign, non-Thai”. It looked as though I’d have to find the English word for Thai celery to translate into Thai, or I’d have to find the characters on the Thai keyboard to type in, to translate to the English.


Progress at this point slowed.

On a whim, I typed in “Thai Celery”. Then I saw my characters. They were not in the same order though. I copied them out, arranged them as in Jenn’s book, then changed the translator to Thai to English.


Close. Google Translator noted that it was translating the proper word below instead.


This is slightly different than Jennifer’s version, but very close. (I think I am going to have to find someone who can read Thai.)

Also Jennifer notes that Thai celery is hard to find in the States. I wonder if that’s still true. Hmmm. I wonder if Ranch 99 has it! I wonder if the letters are written in Thai there?

Chilli peppers, thankfully, was the same the first time.

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