Frequently Asked Questions about IPA Phonetic Translators


Phonetic transcription symbols are not displayed correctly in my browser!

First of all, make sure that you use the latest version of your web browser. I highly recommend using Google Chrome. And please do NOT use Internet Explorer. It really is a bad browser! :)

Second, double check that encoding of the page is set to Unicode (UTF-8).

Third, be sure that JavaScript is activated in your browser. A lot of functions on will not work without JavaScript.

Sometimes the above is not enough. On some mobile devices and in some browsers certain symbols may still not look very nice or not be displayed at all. You can report such an error or even better – suggest a solution! ;)


I want to copy the phonetic transcription to another program!

Most of the phonetic translators on are 100% copy-paste friendly. If you want to copy the phonetic transcription to another program do the following:

On the page with the translator click on the link Show advanced options – it's located somewhere under the submit button. Select one of the options that are optimized for copy-pasting the results:

  • transcription under each line of text,
  • transcription under each paragraph of text,
  • only transcription.

After you submit your text, you will notice that some words that can be pronounced differently depending on the context are marked in different colors:

  • light green (homographs),
  • light blue (pronunciation variants).

You can click on such words to choose the transcription that you like. After that you can select the text and copy it.


I want to download the phonetic translator on my computer or mobile device!

The short answer – right now you can't. If you want to know why and how you can change this situation, continue reading! :)

The first translator (for English) was released a long time ago – in 2010. Since then the algorithm has greatly evolved. Just to give you an idea, the complete version of the English translator has about 2,000 lines of code, the French translator has almost 4,000 lines of code (that doesn't include the dictionaries).

The translators are written in PHP – programming language designed for web development. If I wanted to create a computer program or an app, all these thousands of code lines would need to be rewritten using another language (C or Java). I know Java a little bit, but it would still take me several months to create something clean and nice just for one language.

If I wanted to hire somebody to do that for me, it would cost me a fortune. I am not sure that people would buy such software, and I want to keep the online translators free.

So, how can you change this situation?

First, let me tell you that I love the idea of open-source software. PHP itself is open-source, my site has a lot of free plugins. I think it's really great when you can help other people make this world better. Eventually I hope to release some parts of the code as an open-source software (I already did this for my Spanish and French translators). Another reason why I want to do that is because... we are all mortal. I may get in a car accident tomorrow, and all the results of my hard work will be lost.

How can you speed up this process? I don't mean me getting in a car accident, but the release of the translators under a public license. Support the project! There's a lot of ways how you can contribute:

  • post a link in your blog,
  • share this site with your friends,
  • help me translate the description of the translators in your native language!

If I see that people actively help, I will be reassured that someone will continue my work and I will continue releasing the code under a public license. This way sooner or later you will be able to download and install on your computer a free IPA phonetic translator.


Why should I buy a subscription?

In January 2017 a paid subscription was introduced on the site. At the same time I reduced the limit for maximum text length for users who signed up for free. You may want to check this post where I explain why I made this decision.

You probably already have seen the different subscription options, but you are still not sure whether you should support the project. So, if you do buy the subscription, where does your money go?

  1. I pay people to help me translate the site in Spanish, German, Japanese and Chinese (my writing skills in these languages are pretty weak). And it's a lot of text – the English version has almost 33,000 words!
  2. I hire people to help me proofread the phonetic transcriptions of rare English words, since I don't have time to do that myself. The database contains almost 100,000 words, so it's quite an investment.
  3. The development of Pronunciation Player cost me a fortune. And I still pay my developer when I want to add new features to this software.
  4. The professional equipment (two cameras and a microphone) that I bought to record native speakers was very expensive. Right now only French and Russian phonetic translators have integrated audio and video recordings, but eventually I plan to do that for all the translators. By the way, video editing is a very time-consuming process – it took several months to create a fully functional pronunciation course for each language.
  5. Fast-working phonetic translators require a fast and powerful server. So the web hosting is also a part of my expenses.
  6. The first translator was created a long time ago – in 2010. Right now I work on the website full-time and do my best to create high-quality products. I am also open to the new ideas. You are very welcome to suggest an update that will help you learn a foreign language. It is probable that some of your suggestions may be very easy to implement, some may require more time.

For now the only accepted payment method is PayPal. I understand that some of you may not have a credit card. If you desperately need the advantages of the subscription plan "Frequent User", I may grant you this status for free. In exchange I will ask you to contribute to the project. Please contact me for further details or check this post.


What updates can we expect in the future?

Ongoing projects

  • Proofreading of transcriptions of rare English words.
  • American English pronunciation course.

Future projects

  • IPA phonetic translator for German.
  • Integration of Japanese-English dictionary in kanji to romaji converter.


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