Frequently Asked Questions about IPA Phonetic Translators

First, make sure to 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, make sure that JavaScript is enabled in your browser. Many functions on EasyPronunciation.com will not work without JavaScript.

Still not displaying correctly? On certain mobile devices and browsers, some symbols may still not look very nice or not be displayed at all. Please help us continue to improve! You can report these errors or even better – suggest a solution! ;)

 

Most of the phonetic translators on EasyPronunciation.com 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 (located below 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 may notice that words that can be pronounced differently depending on the context are color-coded:

  • Light green (homographs)
  • Light blue (pronunciation variants)

You can click on these words to choose your preferred transcription. Then you can select and copy the text.

 

TL;DR: It cost me A LOT OF money to create this site.

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 have probably already seen the different subscription options, but may still be unsure whether you should support the project. 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 hired people to help me proofread the phonetic transcriptions of rare English words, because I didn't have time to do it all myself. The database contains almost 100,000 words, so it was quite an investment (almost $2,500).
  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. Currently, only the French and Russian phonetic translators have integrated audio and video recordings, but eventually I plan to make these for all the translators. Video editing is also 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 web hosting is also part of my expenses.
  6. The first translator was created a long time ago – in 2010. Currently, 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 likely that some of your suggestions may be very easy to implement, while some may require more time.

For now, the only accepted payment method is PayPal. I understand that not everyone has 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.

 

Ongoing projects

  • Spanish pronunciation course
  • Chinese Mandarin pronunciation course

Future projects

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

 

 

Our pronunciation courses

American English Pronunciation for University Students

No. You can't install the foreign language courses on your tablet or cell phone – although we do have future plans to create an app.

 

Sample videos can be watched for free online on the page about the sounds in American English.

 

The most common English words

It is quite reasonable for a beginning English language learner to focus at first on the most popular English words. To decide which words to include in this course, we used an English word frequency list.

Examples of each American English sound

The course gives you many examples for each American English sound as they are pronounced in the beginning, middle, and ends of words.

Consonant clusters

English words often have two or three consonants that appear one after another. These are called consonant clusters. Here are few examples: place, street, empty.

Words with consonant clusters can be real tongue-twisters. We analyzed the 81 most popular English two- and three-consonant clusters, and included the words containing these clusters in the course for you to practice.

-s and -d endings

The rules on how to pronounce -s and -d endings are pretty complicated in English. Have a look at this table:

Last sound of a word Sound to add Examples
Pronunciation rules for -s ending
/p/, /k/, /t/, /f/, /θ/ /s/ groups, books, students, beliefs, months
/s/, /z/, /ʃ/, /tʃ/, /ʒ/, /dʒ/ /əz/ cases, arises, dishes, inches, garages, changes
all other sounds /z/ jobs, kids, drugs, schools, times, questions, things, breathes, lives, bras, issues, studies, laws, eyes, allows, boys, days, goes, others, occurs, years, affairs, tours, scores, cars
Pronunciation rules for -d ending
/p/, /k/, /tʃ/, /f/, /θ/, /s/, /ʃ/ /t/ developed, asked, watched, laughed, unearthed, based, published
/t/, /d/ /əd/ wanted, needed
all other sounds /d/ described, changed, shrugged, called, seemed, turned, belonged, breathed, moved, used, continued, married, thawed, tried, allowed, employed, paid, showed, considered, occurred, appeared, compared, secured, ignored, starred

Don't want to learn this table by heart? Don't worry — you won't need to if you practice regularly with our course! We included a lot of examples for each of these rules, so you will automatically learn how to pronounce -s and -d endings correctly.

English homographs

Some words in English are spelled the same, but are pronounced differently and have different meanings. These words are called homographs. Compare:

  • I need to use [ˈjuːz] it.
  • the use [ˈjuːs] of a dictionary

If you mix up the pronunciation of these words, you might be misunderstood. To help you learn these words, the course includes the 120 most frequent English homographs.

English numbers

The course includes every cardinal number from 1 to 100. The cardinal numbers indicate how many of something there are.

It also includes the ordinal numbers from first to twentieth. The ordinal numbers indicate the position of something in a list.

Basic English phrases

For people that just want to communicate in basic English while travelling, the course includes 300 common phrases, such as:

Thank you very much!
Can you speak more slowly?
Where's the washroom?
Do you speak English?
Can you write it down?
I'm sorry!

All these phrases were pronounced with a natural intonation and normal speech rate. That may be too fast for beginners, but don't forget that Pronunciation Player allows you to slow down the recordings by 50% while preserving the natural quality of the voice.

Miscellaneous

The course also covers all the letters of the English alphabet, names of the months, and days of the week.

 

All video clips have two types of subtitles, each of which can be turned on and off separately:

  • English subtitles. These subtitles will show you the spelling of the word in English.
  • Phonetic transcription subtitles. These will help you make out unfamiliar sounds and improve your pronunciation.

 

All words from this course are pronounced slowly with good articulation, to help you easily imitate the native speaker. But sometimes even "slow" is not slow enough for beginner language learners – you just can't make out all the sounds of a particular word (the word can be long, or it can contain a lot of unfamiliar sounds). In order to solve this word pronunciation problem, Pronunciation Player allows you to decrease the playback speed by 50% and see how the lips move in slow-motion. This feature is unique in that a special sound processing technology was used to keep the voice sounding natural and distortion-free during this slow playback.

It doesn't matter whether you are learning French Pronunciation, American English Pronunciation or Russian pronunciation, this pronunciation tool will be invaluable in your journey as a language learner.

 

The total size of all files of the course after download is 1006.18 MB.

 

 

French Pronunciation for University Students

No. You can't install the foreign language courses on your tablet or cell phone – although we do have future plans to create an app.

 

Sample videos can be watched for free online on the page about the sounds of the French language.

 

The most common French words

It is quite reasonable for a beginning French language learner to focus at first on the most popular French words. To decide which words to include in this course, we used a French word frequency list.

Examples of each French sound

The course gives you many examples for each French sound as they are pronounced in the beginning, middle, and ends of words. Some sounds, such as [ŋ] in "meeting" [mitiŋ], are relatively rare in the French language - but again, only the most popular French words are included for each sound in each position.

Note that the course doesn't include the following sounds:

  • [x] is a rare non-native consonant that may occur in some loaned Spanish and Arabic words (jota, khamsin).
  • [œ̃] is pronounced as [ɛ̃] by most French speakers in France, including Paris.
  • [ɑ] is now pronounced as [a] by most French speakers in France.

Pronunciation changes: liaison, vowel lengthening and the silent "e"

If you have already started learning French, you may know that the same word can be pronounced differently depending on its position in a sentence. Pronunciation changes occur most frequently in the following situations:

1. Liaison. When a word that ends with a silent consonant is followed by a word that starts with a vowel, the final silent consonant is pronounced. Compare:

les amis [lez‿ami] les parents [le paʁɑ̃]
mon ami [mɔ̃n‿ami] mon mari [mɔ̃ maʁi]

2. Vowel lengthening at the end of word. The rule of thumb is that the final consonant may lengthen the preceding vowel at the end of a phrase. Oral vowels are lengthened only when followed by [ʁ], [z], [v], [ʒ], [vʁ] or [bʁ]. The nasal vowels are always lengthened. Compare:

Il dort. [il dɔːʁ] Il dort bien. [il dɔʁ bjɛ̃]
Elle est grande. [ɛl‿ɛ ɡʁɑ̃ːd] grande et petite [ɡʁɑ̃d‿e pətit]

When you practice with the course material, notice that the native speaker in the example often pronounces individual words as if they were at the phrase end - in other words, he lengthened some vowels. We added the lengthening symbol [ː] after such vowels.

3. Final silent "e". This is pronounced as [ə] if preceded by two consonants and followed by a word that starts with a consonant. Compare:

notre maison [nɔtʁə mɛzɔ̃] notre ami [nɔtʁ‿ami]

In order to increase your oral comprehension, it helps to hear all possible pronunciations of a given word . For that reason, the course also includes short word combinations for the 300 most frequent words. These combinations represent the above pronunciation changes.

For example, the course includes the word "on" [ɔ̃]. To show you how the pronunciation of this word can be affected by other words, the course also includes two short phrases: "on est" [ɔ̃n‿ɛ] and "on veut" [ɔ̃ vø].

In the case of popular nouns, the course frequently includes the combinations "article + noun". This way you will learn the noun's gender at the same time. For example:

esprit [ɛspʁi],
l'esprit [lɛspʁi],
un esprit [ɛ̃n‿ɛspʁi].

In the case of frequent verbs, the course often includes the combination "pronoun + verb". For example:

sera [səʁa],
il sera [il səʁa],
elle sera [ɛl səʁa],
on sera [ɔ̃ səʁa].

Letters with diacritics

â, é, è, ï, ô, ç, etc. – Don't worry if you don't yet know how to pronounce all these unfamiliar letters! The course gives you plenty of examples, so you will get used to them very quickly!

Note that the course uses the new spelling rules introduced in 1990. That implies, among other things, that the circumflex on most i's and u's has disappeared ("parait", "s'il vous plait", "gout").

French numbers

Special attention have been placed on the pronunciation of French numbers. "Dix" (ten), for example, can be pronounced in three different ways: [dis], [diz] or [di]. The course gives you many combinations of "number + noun" to help you learn how to pronounce them correctly.

The course also includes every number from 1 to 100. This way you will get the chance to practice all these strange numbers, such as "quatre-vingt-dix-sept", which literally means "four-twenty-ten-seven". That's how we say "97" in French!

Basic French phrases

For people that just want to communicate in basic French while travelling, the course includes 85 common phrases, such as:

Merci beaucoup! Thank you very much!
Pouvez-vous parler plus lentement,
s'il vous plait?
Can you speak slowly, please?
Où sont les toilettes? Where is the bathroom?
Parlez-vous anglais? Do you speak English?
Est-ce que vous pouvez l'écrire? Can you write it down?
Je suis désolé! I am sorry!

All these phrases were pronounced with a natural intonation and normal speech rate. That may be too fast for beginners, but don't forget that Pronunciation Player allows you to slow down the recordings by 50% while preserving the natural quality of the voice.

Miscellaneous

The course also covers all the letters of the French alphabet, names of the months, and days of the week.

 

All video clips have three types of subtitles, each of which can be turned on and off separately:

  • French subtitles. These subtitles will show you the spelling of the word in French and help you learn French pronunciation rules (see next section).
  • Phonetic transcription subtitles. These will help you make out unfamiliar sounds and improve your pronunciation.
  • English and Russian translations. Although we do not recommend studying the meanings of isolated words, we do provide English and Russian translations for reference.

 

You will not find any text description of French pronunciation rules in this course. Why? Let me explain.

In 2012, I created an automatic tool that can translate French text to phonetic transcription. From the beginning, I knew that French pronunciation rules are very complicated with many exceptions. The first version of the translator used a dictionary that contained the phonetic transcription of the main forms of French words. Since the dictionary was very large, the translator was very slow - so one day, I decided to create a code that would describe all these rules. This process took more than 10 months and the help of several volunteers!

The new version of the translator has more than 2,800 lines of code, a list of 2,300 exceptions, and it's still growing. That's a LOT of rules!

So how can you learn how to read in French?

In the traditional approach you learn, for example, that the letter "x" is not pronounced at the end: "prix", "yeux". Seems simple - but then you encounter the word "aux". This rule applies for "aux parents", but not for "aux enfants" where "x" is pronounced as [z]. Well, how about the word "dix" (ten)? It's pronounced as [s]....but only some of the time! If we count (huit, neuf, dix) – the "x" is pronounced as [s], but if we say "dix minutes" (ten minutes), the "x" is not pronounced at all. And if we say "dix enfants", it becomes [z] again! Grr... At one point you may think: "I have had enough!" :)

And this is just one example, for one letter in one position. Remember, there are hundreds of rules and thousands of exceptions, and it's very difficult to learn them just by reading a textbook.

So what alternative do we recommend for learning French pronunciation? Forget the rules! Learn French words by imitating the native speakers! Watch and listen carefully how they pronounce the words and repeat after them. Start practicing with the course, repeat French words and phrases, learn them by heart, and internalize them. After two to three weeks of intensive training, you will be able to correctly predict the pronunciation for 90% of new words that you see.

 

All words from this course are pronounced slowly with good articulation, to help you easily imitate the native speaker. But sometimes even "slow" is not slow enough for beginner language learners – you just can't make out all the sounds of a particular word (the word can be long, or it can contain a lot of unfamiliar sounds). In order to solve this word pronunciation problem, Pronunciation Player allows you to decrease the playback speed by 50% and see how the lips move in slow-motion. This feature is unique in that a special sound processing technology was used to keep the voice sounding natural and distortion-free during this slow playback.

It doesn't matter whether you are learning French Pronunciation, American English Pronunciation or Russian pronunciation, this pronunciation tool will be invaluable in your journey as a language learner.

For the most popular French words, the course includes additional recordings with questioning intonation. Just like in English, in French you can sometimes ask a question with a single word, like "Vous?" ("You?"). However, this questioning intonation is not exactly the same in French and English. To help you sound natural when you ask these questions, you can practice with these additional recordings.

 

The total size of all files of the course after download is 856.7 MB.

 

 

Russian Pronunciation for University Students

No. You can't install the foreign language courses on your tablet or cell phone – although we do have future plans to create an app.

 

Sample videos can be watched for free online on the page about the sounds of the Russian language.

 

The most common Russian words

It is quite reasonable for a beginning Russian language learner to focus at first on the most common Russian words. To decide which words to include in this course, we used a Russian word frequency list. Most Russian frequency dictionaries show only the combined frequency index of all the forms of a particular word. For example, all forms of the verb "быть" have the same frequency index in such dictionaries. Instead, we used the frequency list that gives a frequency index for each derived form of Russian words, and included the most frequently used forms of Russian words.

Let's use the Russian word "голова" ("head") as an example. The accusative case of the singular form ("Я увидел голову" = "I saw a head") is way more popular than the prepositional case of the plural form ("На головах у них были шапки" = "They were wearing caps on their heads"). Although eventually you will need to learn all the derived forms of this word, we recommend starting with the most popular form, "голову". As you learn how to speak Russian, this will prepare you for real-life communication in Russian, both as a passive listener and as an active speaker.

Examples of each Russian sound

This course gives you many examples for each Russian sound as they are pronounced in the beginning, middle, and end of words. Some sounds, such as [xʲ] ("тихий" [tʲˈixʲɪj] = "quiet"), are relatively rare in the Russian language - but again, only the most common Russian word forms are included for each sound in each position.

Russian consonant clusters

As you may know, Russian words often have three or four consonants that appear one after another (so-called consonant clusters). Take the famous "Здравствуйте!" [zdrˈastvʊjtʲɪ] ("Hello!"), for example. The words containing such consonant combinations can be real tongue-twisters for those trying to learn Russian. We analyzed the 59 most popular Russian three-consonant clusters, and included the words containing these clusters in the course for you to practice your Russian pronuciation.

Double consonants

Special attention was paid to double consonant letters and double consonant sounds. In Russian, sometimes double letters are pronounced as double sounds, sometimes not. The course includes words for each double sound and letter to help you learn all these cases.

When we selected examples of words with double or triple consonants, sometimes we had to include some rare words. What if you are a beginner, and you do not want to learn these rare words right now? Pronunciation Player highlights words in different colors according to their frequency rating. You can also sort words by their frequency rating. This way you will be able to choose the words that suit your level.

Hopefully you now understand how all aspects of Russian phonetics are covered in this course. So, if you are really determined to improve your Russian pronunciation to perfection, with this course you will have enough material for you to practice, whether you are a beginner or an advanced student.

Note: some frequent words (prepositions, particles) are not included in the Russian course, because their pronunciation is different in normal speech and it is very unlikely that you will ever hear them pronounced separately or need to do so yourself.

 

All video clips have three types of subtitles, each of which can be turned on and off separately:

  • Russian subtitles. These subtitles will show you the spelling of the word in Russian and help you learn Russian pronunciation rules (see next section).
  • Phonetic transcription subtitles. These will help you make out unfamiliar sounds and improve your word pronunciation.
  • English and French translations. Although we do not recommend studying the meanings of isolated words, we do provide English and French translations for reference.

 

You will not find any text description of Russian pronunciation rules in this course. Why? Let me explain.

At the beginning of 2014, I created a Russian phonetic transcription translator that automatically converts Russian text to its phonetic transcription. I manually described all the Russian pronunciation rules for each and every Russian letter - and there are too many rules and too many exceptions for you to learn them consciously. For example, the letter "а" can be pronounced in five different ways, depending on surrounding consonants, vowels and stress position.

When learning how to speak Russian, if you want to spend 10 seconds analyzing a word in order to figure out how to pronounce it, you can do that, but I recommend choosing an easier way to learn Russian pronunciation rules. Start repeating Russian words from the course, learn them by heart, make them part of yourself. After a certain amount of practice, you will be able to read ANY Russian word, if you know the stress position in it.

 

All words from this course are pronounced slowly with good articulation, to help you easily imitate the native speaker. But sometimes even "slow" is not slow enough for beginner language learners – you just can't make out all the sounds of a particular word (the word can be long, or it can contain a lot of unfamiliar sounds). In order to solve this word pronunciation problem, Pronunciation Player allows you to decrease the playback speed by 50% and see how the lips move in slow-motion. This feature is unique in that a special sound processing technology was used to keep the voice sounding natural and distortion-free during this slow playback.

It doesn't matter whether you are learning French Pronunciation, American English Pronunciation or Russian pronunciation, this pronunciation tool will be invaluable in your journey as a language learner.

For the most popular Russian words, there are two extra recordings:

  • Recordings with normal speech rate. This is the speed of normal conversation. These recordings will help you get used to how the most popular Russian words sound when pronounced by native speakers while they speak naturally with each other.
  • Recordings with questioning intonation. Just like in English, in Russian you can sometimes ask a question with a single word, like "Ты?" ("You?"). However, this questioning intonation is not exactly the same in Russian and English. In order to sound natural when you ask these questions, you can practice with these additional recordings and improve your Russian even more.

 

The total size of all files of the course after download is 905 MB.