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Phonetic Transcription of English Words
English phonetics can be very confusing. As you know, there are no strict pronunciation rules in the English language, so if you see an unknown English word, you will not know how to pronounce it. The same English letter, or combination of letters, can be pronounced differently in different words. Moreover, the same English word can be pronounced in different ways by native English speakers from different countries, or even from the same country! That makes the English language hard to learn and understand. But we are not afraid of difficulties, are we?
This free online translator allows you to convert English text to phonetic transcription using International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) symbols.
Homographs (words that are spelled the same, but are pronounced differently and have different meanings) are highlighted in light green. If you hover your cursor over these words or tap them on your mobile device, you will see all the possible pronunciations. You may also see the part of speech for each word.
Pronunciation variants (when native speakers from different regions pronounce a word differently, or when the pronunciation changes during rapid speech) are highlighted in light blue. You can also hover your cursor to see all possible variants.
To obtain the phonetic transcription you may choose one of four dictionaries:
- British English word transcription dictionary compiled from miscellaneous sources. It contains more than 110,000 words. The homographs (more than 1,000 words) and pronunciation variants (more than 4,000 words) are fully supported in this dictionary.
- American English word transcription dictionary compiled from miscellaneous sources contains more than 140,000 modified word forms. Homographs (300 words) and pronunciation variants (more than 500 words) are supported. This dictionary was extensively tested and gives the highest-quality results.
- CMU pronouncing dictionary (American English) contains more than 110,000 words. The homographs (more than 200 words) and pronunciation variants (more than 8,000) are also supported.
- Moby Pronunciator (American English) contains 117,000 words. The homographs (380 words) are supported although pronunciation variants are not. Be aware that word transcriptions for some proper nouns in this dictionary were generated automatically by a computer and were not proofread by humans.
You can read more about these dictionaries and find download links for some of them here.
This tool will serve as an English pronunciation guide and help you save time. You will no longer need to look up the pronunciation of a word in a dictionary. If you use the phonetic transcription regularly in combination with English audio and video recordings, your pronunciation and listening skills in the English language will improve.
To develop this translator, I used information from the online resources listed below and other sources. The phonetic transcription was taken from these sources in accordance with the Copyright Act of Canada (Paragraph 29, Fair Dealing for the purpose of education).
Highlighting High-Frequency English Words
A special option allows you to highlight high-frequency English words. You can choose between two frequency lists:
- The frequency word list based on the Corpus of Contemporary American English
- The subtitle-based frequency word list
The words from different frequency intervals will be highlighted in the following colors:
If you want to make a frequency analysis of your text and obtain detailed statistics, please use the English word frequency counter.
Built-in English dictionary
This phonetic translator has a built-in English dictionary, WordNet. After submitting your text, click on any word in the results to see its definition. This function only works if the transcription display above each word is enabled (this is the default option).
You can also create your own vocabulary list. For that, click on the words you don't know. After choosing all of them, click on the orange button "Create Vocabulary List". You will be prompted to choose the meaning and the transcription for every word you have selected. I suggest choosing one or two meanings based on the context. After that you can export your vocabulary list into file (Word, Excel, PDF, HTML).
American English and Merriam-Webster's Dictionaries
Although I used multiple sources to create this phonetic translator, when it comes to American English I always use Merriam-Webster dictionaries to confirm the correct pronunciation. Their Advanced Learner's Dictionary is one of the best that I have ever seen.
I also highly recommend their products for mobile devices:
- Merriam-Webster Dictionary for iPhone
- Merriam-Webster Dictionary for Android
- Learner's Dictionary for iPhone
- Learner's Dictionary for Android
Maximum text length (in characters):
- unregistered users – 500,
- free registration – 1,000,
- subscription "frequent user" – 10,000,
- subscription "student" – 10,000.
Check our English phonetic subtitle converter and obtain something like this:
English Phonetics – Online Resources
- Phonetics and pronunciation glossary
- IPA Chart for English
- English Phonetic Subtitle Converter
- English dictionaries online – Project Modelino
- English alphabet – Wikipedia
- English phonology – Wikipedia
- Standard American English (General American) – Wikipedia
- Standard British English (Received Pronunciation) – Wikipedia
- Wiktionary – Wiktionary
- Learner's Dictionary – online version of Merriam-Webster's Advanced Learner's Dictionary
- Merriam-Webster's Dictionary – online version of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary
Major updates related to this phonetic translator
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