British English support in English phonetic translator

I finally added an option that allows you to translate English text into phonetic transcription according to the pronunciation rules of the British English. Now you have four dictionaries that you can choose from to convert English words:

  1. CMU Pronouncing Dictionary (American English). You can download the most recent version of this dictionary here. Almost all online English phonetic translators that I know use this dictionary for American English.
  2. Moby Pronunciator (American English) created by Grady Ward. This dictionary was released in the public domain on Project Gutenberg and is available for download here.
  3. British English word transcription dictionary compiled from miscellaneous sources.
  4. American English word transcription dictionary compiled from miscellaneous sources.

If you are not sure which dictionary you should choose, please refer to the description of the English phonetic translator. I updated it recently.

For a very long time there were two options for converting English words in the English IPA translator: "old" and "new" algorithms. "New" algorithm used a lot of rules from the English hunspell dictionary to obtain the phonetic transcription of modified word forms. I finally decided to change that approach and to leave only the most straightforward rules, such as "s", "ed", "ing" endings. The other rules were often giving the wrong transcription, so I removed them.

Another update concerns homographs and pronunciation variants. What are these? Although, there are several definitions, I will define two words as homographs if they are written the same way, but have different meaning and also sound different. My favorite example is the word "perfect". Compare the following two sentences (the transcription is given for British English):

  • He has a perfect [ˈpɜːfıkt] pronunciation.
  • I want to perfect [pəˈfekt] my pronunciation.

In the first sentence the word "perfect" is an adjective, in the second sentence it's a verb. They have different meaning and they are pronounced differently, so they are homographs.

What is a pronunciation variant? Well, it may happen when a word is pronounced differently by different native speakers or when a person speaks faster or slower (the speech rate changes), but all these pronunciation variants are acceptable. Compare these two pronunciations (again, the transcription is given for British English):

  • It's an adult [ˈædʌlt].
  • It's an adult [əˈdʌlt].

As you see, both variants are acceptable. Unlike with homographs, you will not make a mistake if you switch two pronunciations.

So now the translator will highlight in light green the homographs and light blue the pronunciation variants. This feature is fully supported for British English and CMU pronouncing dictionary. There are only homographs for Moby Pronunciator. The support for homographs in American English word transcription dictionary compiled from miscellaneous sources is coming soon.

If you are looking for alternative phonetic translator I compiled a list of all my "competitors" and published it on Project Modelino in the section for online resources to learn English. Some of these phonetic translators can be downloaded to your computer or mobile device.

One of the best translators from the list is available at The developer, Dmitry, found a very elegant solution to display homographs using JavaScript. Maybe one day I will implement something similar. By the way, I'd like to say thanks to Dmitry. His constant efforts to improve his tool pushed me to improve my translator as well. I hope we both will pursue this noble task – helping people learn English.

Tags: English, IPA translator, English phonetics, English pronunciation, phonetic transcription, British English, American English, phonetic dictionary


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