Have you ever noticed that in bilingual dictionaries it sometimes appears, before the possible translations of a term, a text in brackets something incomprehensible? Something like that: [jeləʊ pɪd͡ʒən].
Well, that’s an example of the International Phonetic Alphabet or IPA phonetic notation, and allows you to indicate not how a word is written, but how it is pronounced. It has as many symbols as there are sounds we humans are theoretically capable of pronouncing, which allows us to express with them words in every language on earth.
From Genbeta we have prepared a compilation of web tools related to this phonetic alphabet, in case one day they could be useful to you.
How do you know what sound each character in the phonetic alphabet corresponds to?
In IPA i-charts, we will find a comprehensive compilation of tables that classify all the symbols of the IPA phonetic alphabet. A table for lung consonants, another for non-lung consonants, another for vowels … and also diacritics, suprasegmentals and other auxiliary symbols.
Although the most interesting is that every time we click on one of the symbols in the tables, an overlay window will open that will show us the official name of it, its IPA and Unicode classification and-most importantly- four audio snippets of four different speakers with examples of their pronunciation.
We will find a somewhat simpler version at Ipachart.com: on this website we will find the same tables of symbols as in the previous one, but when clicking on them we will find will directly play a single piece of audio example.
How to transcribe from a real language to the phonetic alphabet?
When what we want is to be able to express with IPA characters a series of words from a language (in order to know how they are pronounced), we need a tool capable of transcribing the phonetic alphabet.
If the text in question is in English, we can resort to Text2Phonetics, although with Automatic Phonemic Transcriber we will expand the list of supported languages also to German and Danish.
But if you want to use it on a phrase in SpanishYou must visit the Spanish Phonetic Transcriber developed by Xavier López (the code is open source).
Finally, if we do not need any tool that does the transcription itself because we are experts in IPA phonetic notation, but our problem is that we need a keyboard that includes all the characters of its alphabet, in TypeIt you will find just what you are looking for.
How to synthesize the audio of a phonetic notation?
But, what if the information we have is precisely the phonetic notation, and what we want is a tool capable of synthesizing audio to be able to hear the spoken text?
Well, in that case we just have to copy and paste the characters of the phonetic alphabet in Phoneme Synthesis and click on the ‘pronounce’ button. Then we can use the rest of the buttons on the web to download the generated audio file, or generate a custom url so others can listen to the same snippet than you.
Another alternative for this same function will be IPA Reader, which will allow us choose which voices (both female and male, native speakers of multiple languages) they will read our text in phonetic notation.
A specific tool for the English language, which also includes transcription function from the Latin alphabet, it is toPhonetics.