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Review: Byki Thai Language Course

Byki Thai

UPDATE: Byki has been discountinued. Pity, as it was the best language learning software of its kind. If you run across similar please let me know

Byki (Before you know it)…

If your language learning style of choice is a SRS (Spaced Repetition System), then Byki might just be the one for you.

And you might also be glad to know that instead of painstakingly filling a SRS with vocabulary and sound, you can start learning right away with Byki’s 2,000 words and 500 phrases.

How Byki works…

Byki Thai Steps


  • Preview: An introduction to each set. I put mine on auto flip to get a speedy glance through sentences and phrases.
  • Recognise: You can choose to self-report what you hear and see, or type in the answers.
  • Produce: Match the English by saying the Thai word out loud, or by typing in Thai script.


  • Multiple Choice: Self explanatory.
  • Fill in the Blanks: Ditto.
  • Pronunciation Practice: Record your voice, then compare sound files.
  • Word Whirl: Thai script and English float around the screen, sound follows.
  • Concentration: Card matching game.
  • Four Square: Card matching game.

Take a Test:Byki Thai Steps

  • Self Reporting: You are on your honour here!
  • Written: Read using Thai script or English, then type the translation.
  • Listening: Listen to Thai sound files, then type using Thai script.
  • Diction: Similar to listening.

Also included:

  • Learned Items: An ongoing record of your status and progress.
  • Look: A review of the present list.
  • FAQ: Everything about Byki.
  • Edit: Edit existing cards, or add new.

Making Byki all yours…

Another strength of Byki is the ability to edit or add new cards. By doing so, Byki makes it easy to change the lessons to suit your personal preferences.

For instance, adding transliteration from thai2english.com is just a matter of tweaking existing flash cards.

And when you are at a beginner’s level of reading Thai, sometimes spaces between words makes it easier. Once again, it’s an easy edit.

If you so choose, on each card you can see the Thai script, then the transliteration, then the English translation. Making this so? Easy. And when your Thai improves, turning the option off is also easy.

When you run out of Byki lessons as well as user generated lessons, creating your own is a cinch.

So looking at it that way, Byki is the software that keeps on giving. And all for US$49.59.

Byki the master importer…

I started out using the SRS method by first inputting my Thai lessons into Anki, then ProVoc and others. With Byki, my efforts are not lost as I can grab what I’ve created, no prob.

Byki also has the ability to pull in spreadsheets or word docs. Another personal plus, as I have a growing must have vocabulary list for the Thai language.

And (for personal use only), I can import sound from other non SRS Thai language courses.

I can also share what I’ve compiled with other Byki users… which is sort of the reason I’m writing this post… hinthint

But, enough of my opinions already. You can see for yourself by downloading the free Byki Thai Quickstart.

SRS resources…

Byki (Before you know it) from Transparent Language:

Byki Thai Quickstart Free download.

Thai Byki Deluxe 4 The complete program.

SRS – Spaced Repetition System:

What is an SRS? 1 Khatzumoto shows the way with SRS.

What is an SRS? 2 Khatzumoto goes into more SRS detail.

SRS Products:

Anki A program designed to help you remember words and phrases (Mac, Windows, Linux and Debian).

ProVoc Easy-to-use vocabulary trainer (Mac).

SuperMemo A learning method that makes it possible to learn fast and retain memories for years (Windows).

The Mnemosyne Project A flash-card program to help you memorise question/answer pairs, but with an important twist: it uses a sophisticated algorithm to schedule the best time for a card to come up for review (Mac, Linux and Windows).

10000 Sentences Resources:

10,000 Sentences How.

10,000 Sentences Input Before Output.

10,000 Sentences Learn Any Language.

10,000 Sentences Answers To Questions.

Note: Just so you are aware, at this time there are a few basic mistakes in the vocabulary. Byki says that they are in the process of correcting the snafus (don’t hold your breath).

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My passion is promoting the Thai language. Fullstop. Oh, and traveling. I'm passionate about that as well. And photography too.

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  1. Hi Julie,

    I’d be more than glad to help.

    Just let me know what you need from me…

  2. Hi Catherine,

    I work for Transparent Language, the maker of Byki. We noticed your blog entry. It looks like you’ve had very good experiences using Byki. Would you be interested in helping us write up your Byki experiences as a user case study?

    Smiles, Julie

  3. Hi Cat,

    Could you contact me directly via email? Then we can begin a conversation in private about how to do this.

    Thanks, Julie

  4. I’m waiting to sing along with the little elephant ช.ช้าง and to say oh shet with the god of light.

  5. Hah! Me too Jessi. It’s been an amazing amount of work. Of course, you already know that :-)

    Then today, after spending the morning working with the graphics and sound (again, I thank you) I spent 5 hours with my Thai teacher, having an extended class on the background of the different Thai idioms.

    My head is ready to explode. Totally.

  6. 5 hours with a teacher could be real suffering for me. But it’s interesting to know the background of Thai idioms. I probably don’t know a lot of them. I hope you’ll share them in this blog soon.

  7. Due to BKK traffic, our class is usually 1.5 hours. But as I had so many questions, she (thankfully) stayed on to help fill in the answers and tweak a bit.

    For instance… for easy reading, I break the Thai script apart using thai2english.com. Problem is, I was breaking apart word groupings too. So we went through the whole lot and stuck them together.

    For idioms… I have three interesting books tucked away. I’ll eventually get to reviewing them in detail here. I’ve also collected a great deal of idioms from around the internet and in conversations so they’ll be added too. Idioms sure make a language rich!

  8. This is pretty nifty … and inexpensive. Beats out Rosettta Stone price-wise. Language has always fascinated me, but unfortunately I little talent for it. I downloaded the quickstart to give it a whirl. Thanks for the info, Cat!


  9. Good luck on the quickstart (did you get Chinese lessons? I know you prefer that language)

    If you go for the upgrade, you can import all sorts of great lessons into the program, then keep adding new words you need to learn.

    Right now I’m inputting Everyday Thai for Beginners – Script and sound.

    I just found out my hotel room in Korea doesn’t have Internet, so looks like I need to keep myself occupied.

    This’ll do it :-)

  10. I’m going to download the Chinese as well – just so I can really confuse myself. :-)

    No Internet? Boy, you’re gonna go through withdrawal.


  11. So you are playing with both Thai and Chinese? Brave of you! And since you already have a background in Chinese, at least that one will be familiar.

    Withdrawal… I know. But it’s only no internet for one day, so not too bad (fingers crossed!)

  12. When will you be starting?

  13. Instead of covering up the transliteration, why not just delete it?

    Being able to import your own Thai words and phrases is one of the strengths of this software. That, and the activities available.

  14. I bought BYKI Deluxe basically because of your promo. What I need is to be able to import files (lists) and am not having any luck. Also I have thai2english which is mentioned for its transliteration. You say just “tweaking” existing cards. To manually edit every card would be an incredible amount of work. How is it done? Thanks for any help,


  15. Hi Jack. It has been awhile since I used the import on BYKI, so perhaps ask their technical people?

    For tweaking the existing cards, I did indeed manually edit every one. Select a list, click edit, then go through the cards. It does not take as long as you would imagine. And it takes a lot less time than creating all new cards from scratch.

  16. Catherine,
    My mistake. I don’t have thai2english. Different program. The person on this site in “making Byki mine” mentions liking the transliterated style of thai2english and what he wants on each card and when his Thai improves he can easily turn the option off. It that BYKI or Thai2english?

  17. Hi Jack, That person was me… and it is indeed Byki.

    And it was waaaaaaaaay back when I was aiming for a transliteration style I could handle (as it worked out, I did not like transliteration at all so moved on to reading Thai).

    To turn the transliteration option on or off…

    1) Within a list, select ‘Edit’
    2) Go to ‘Edit list properties’
    3) Select ‘Content’
    4) Select/deselect ‘Include transliteration field’

  18. Hi
    Thanks for a great site. Has helped me a lot in navigating available resources. Decided that Byki is a tool that I will give a go.
    Had a look at the shared lists at Byki (http://www.byki.com/category/Thai/a) but it was pretty slim pickings & I didn’t find anyone from Catherine…:)
    Do you know of any shared Byki lists or might have some or your own that you would like to share and link to from this article. I think it would be of great interest for many readers.
    Thanks again for your effort.

  19. Hi Daniel, Glad you are finding WLT useful.

    I did have a list for Byki, but when I upgraded my computer I lost it. If you buy Byki, and you are a beginner, you will get quite an extensive resource for Thai (just check for the mistakes – there are not many, but they are there).

    Note: There was an additional snafu I had with the Thai I added to Byk. As no one took me up on my offer, I started creating files from existing Thai courses (no need to worry about copyright if for personal use). And it’s not ethical to republish work without permission.

    With that in mind, I have been planning on coding in the FSI Thai materials to share with Byki users at some point. They are in the public domain and we’ve added the Thai script here – http://thailanguagewiki.com

    The group is modernising the sentences, then the idea is to rerecord.

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