IPA is really tricky to read, especially for beginners like me.

Are there any online tools that can almost 'convert' pasted IPA into phonetic pronunciations or similar?

I've tried Wolfram|Alpha which doesn't seem to understand IPA, and a Google search wasn't much help.

Any advice? Thanks.

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    You might be interested by the answer of this other Stackexchange question : webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/16642/… – wip Mar 13 '13 at 16:08
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    By "phonetic pronunciations" you mean synthesizing speech? – Otavio Macedo Mar 13 '13 at 16:52
  • No, I suspect that Jack means a traditional pronunciation guide , ie one which uses (some of) the conventions of (some variety of) English, – Colin Fine Mar 15 '13 at 0:01
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    You can do it yourself in probably an hour or so. Just build a Word macro consisting of search-and-replaces -- that way you can pick your own alternative representation. (Make sure you do the diphthongs first!) Of course by the time you've finished you'll be half way to knowing IPA anyway ... – StoneyB on hiatus Mar 15 '13 at 0:48
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    Much less cumbersome, counterintuitive, and academic, though, than English spelling! – Luke Sawczak Oct 28 '18 at 13:16

I haven't heard of the kind of program that you've described, but it might not matter, because there is no substitute for learning the IPA. You may find the following links to be helpful:

First, here are some links that have sound files to go with the IPA characters so that you can hear how they're pronounced.

Consonants: http://www.yorku.ca/earmstro/ipa/consonants.html

Non-Pulmonic Consonants: http://www.yorku.ca/earmstro/ipa/nonpulmonics.html

Vowels: http://www.yorku.ca/earmstro/ipa/vowels.html

Diphthongs: http://www.yorku.ca/earmstro/ipa/diphthongs.html

Diacritics: http://www.yorku.ca/earmstro/ipa/diacritics.html

Other Symbols: http://www.yorku.ca/earmstro/ipa/othersymbols.html

Suprasegmentals: http://www.yorku.ca/earmstro/ipa/suprasegmentals.html

Second, there is at least one way of transcribing the IPA with ASCII characters, to wit:


Third, here is an online IPA keyboard.



Preface: I don't know of an online tool for this, and I agree that the real solution is to practice IPA.

That said, there are a number of alternative phonetic alphabets (as James Grossman mentioned, though SAMPA is probably worse than IPA). Some of them might be easier to read: ARPAbet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arpabet) is relatively approachable, for example. However, it still requires some learning to be able to read quickly.

You'd also need either a dictionary containing both transcriptions to search for words in (extant words only), or an IPA-to-ARPAbet converter; the latter is actually nontrivial because the phones in an IPA string aren't necessarily delimited, there's not an exact correspondence between most phonetic alphabets, and IPA may be used for either phonemic or phonetic transcriptions.

Googling, I found this Praat script which appears to contain an IPA-to-ARPAbet conversion function (http://students.washington.edu/riebold/files/Arpabet%20Vowel%20Analyzer.praat); and this Haskell file which seems to contain ARPAbet-to-IPA (http://rd.slavepianos.org/sw/sw-83/Sound/SC3/Lang/Data/CMUdict.hs).


This is only half an answer, unfortunately (I came here looking for the same thing!) — but I'd like to point out that the technical term for what you're looking for, is a non-phonemic pronunciation respelling.

Part of what you need exists already — that is, a thorough mapping of “IPA” to “truh-DISH-shən-uhl” does exist, here, on Wikipedia:


I hope that helps somebody in building towards a “quick IPA translator for English speakers!”

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