toPhonetics – English Phonetic Transcription


toPhonetics helps learners of English language to pronounce English words and whole sentences correctly. International Phonetic Alphabet is used to show the pronunciation, but you can hear your text as well, highlighted word-by-word synchronously (karaoke-style).

* Note that Android version of the app has only basic feature set compared to iOS version.

Please, leave your questions or feature requests in the comments below.

56 Comments on “toPhonetics – English Phonetic Transcription

  1. How can I get the sound ? I’ve tried it many times like checked any sound from other apps, tried plugging your headphones in and out and restarted your device. But cann’t. I dont know what’s the reason.
    Thanks a lot.

    • What is the iOS and app versions you use? Or just send an email from the app via “Contact the developer” in the options, those details we’ll be included with the email. Thanks.

  2. Hello, thanks so much for this app that I have found to be invaluable for my work! I was just wondering what pronunciation dictionary the British English transcriptions are from? It would be very helpful for me. Thank you!

  3. Thank you so much for this app which has come in very useful for me many times!

    I was just wondering what pronunciation dictionary the British transcription was based on, as unlike the American transcription, it is not mentioned on your website.


  4. Hello,

    Is there a way to change the TTS voice for American pronunciation? I’d love to hear a male TTS all the time, but I noticed that it switches every now and then

  5. The app is great, but it has stopped working after updating to the latest version; it just freezes every time I hit “Show IPA”.

    I hope you can look into this and get it fixed soon in a new update.


  6. Hola, quisiera saber si han pensado hacer una aplicación pero para francés, ya que me serviría mucho poder saber si tienen una aplicación parecida esta

  7. How can I get the sound ? The transcription is excellent, but unfortunately it is mute!
    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Anna,

      Here are a few things you can try:
      – check if you can get any sound from other apps;
      – try plugging your headphones in and out;
      – restart your device.

      It seems like this might be an issue with iOS and its text-to-speech engine specifically. Let me know if the issue remains after you try the above.


    Hello, could you make a version for Mac computer and submit it to the Mac App Store?

    At the beginning it could be just a simple version.

    Best regards, Igor.

  9. I just discovered your tool.

    It is fantastic. I wish I had found it a lot earlier.

    I am building a spelling tool for struggling readers and spellers. The tool is a “work in progress”.

    The concept is to isolate the first and last sounds in a word and select a corresponding picture matching the sound. The next step is to count the syllables and click on the number.

    In order to build the lists for each beginning/ending sound pair, I use Excel to isolate the patterns. In the past, I populated the words with either my own experience or looking up a word in the dictionary. My primary dictionary reference was

    In your tool, you allow the option to show Weak Forms. In your results, you color code (blue) words with multiple pronunciations. In addition, you have a hover option (I am using the web based tool on my PC) that displays the multiple pronunciations. Clicking on an alternative will display the results.

    I would like to make a suggestion for those that may use the tool and place the data into Excel for further analysis or building word lists.

    1. Keep the blue color coding for words with multiple pronunciations. This allows a quick visual clue for multiple entries.
    2. For each pronunciation, create a new line for each pronunciation, including the keyword and pronunciation. This allows easy and fast copying of all words into Excel. Currently, I’ll have to bounce back between Excel and your results to add the secondary pronunciations.

    Example: eccentric
    Current form:
    eccentric ɪkˈsɛntrɪk

    Proposed Form:
    eccentric ɪkˈsɛntrɪk
    eccentric ˌɛkˈsɛntrɪk

    I can send you an Excel worksheet where I copied the results of words that have an initial “e” pasted into your tool. I’m cross referencing my current entries into 3 Clicks Spelling. I’m focusing on the “e” either being /ɪ/ or /ɛ/. By using the Match filter, you can see that I have missed a few. Also, you will note that if I have a Y1 or N1, this indicates secondary pronunciations. I would have to make a new entry which could become very time consuming.

    Thanks in advanced for your consideration in making the change.

    • As far as I understand you work with word lists copying them between the convertor and your Excel document. This tool and the “weak forms” feature in particular are meant for transcribing connected texts. This is not to say you can’t transcribe lists of separate words, you certainly can. Just put each word on a new line or separate them with any punctuation mark so they will be transcribed out of context. That’s what you do anyway I believe. So, for words with multiple pronunciation I would suggest repeating them in your input list, then you could quickly select different pronunciation for each copy in the output and copy-paste the list to Excel in one go.
      Hope this helps.

      • The main problem is that one would not know that there are multiple pronunciations until the initial word was put into your tool and the results came back.

        As my tool nears completion, I will definitely cite your site. Your tool would be a great resource tool for teachers, speech pathologist, parents and students.

        From a programming point of view, if Side by Side and Show Weak Forms are selected and a new button “Make List” were selected, the tool would take the key word and create a new line with the key word and an associated pronunciation.

        For example, convert the following list: How many would you predict have multiple pronunciations? 27 of the 83 have multiple pronunciations. That is why spelling is so hard for dyslexics. Having the requested modification would help ensure that all the spellings for a word’s pronunciation would be included.


        • I see. Well, I will consider your idea with a “make list” checkbox.
          The main issue here though is how American dictionary is structured. If I transcribe your list with British dialect selected I get no words with multiple pronunciations at all. But CMU, whose open pronunciation dictionary has been taken as a starting point for the American dialect, decided to include variations that look dialect-specific to me, although I’m not in the best position to comment on that as I don’t live in the US. For example, “enough” is [ɪˈnʌf] and [iˈnʌf], and many of the words on your list are the same case. I would very much appreciate some help from a native speaker/user of American English. I’ll send you an email you can reply to if you want to discuss this further. Thanks.

  10. Para melhorar o app, nas próximas atualizações você poderia criar uma maneira de transcrever vogais longas, como nas palavras “read” (/riːd/) e “tomorrow” (/tə’mɑːroʊ/).
    To improve the app, the next updates you could create a way to transcribe long vowels, as in the words “read” (/riːd/) and “tomorrow” (/ tə’mɑːroʊ /).

    Gilberto silva

    • Gilberto, thank you for the suggestion. That in fact was a consideration before. The point is the notion of lax and tense vowels having different lengths is much looser in American English. This is why many dictionaries or this page on General American in Wiki for that matter don’t use double-length symbol.
      As for British dialect, the app of course shows the double-length symbol if British dialect is selected in the preferences.

  11. Bom dia. O aplicativo anterior era muito bom.

    Atualizei o aplicativo para a última versão, mas não gostei. Vocês trocaram muitos símbolos do IPA. Por exemplo, na versão anterior (transcrição americana), as seguintes palavras “hole” e “ground” eram transcritas assim: “hoʊl” e “graʊnd”. Mas agora elas aparecem transcritas assim: “houl” e “graund”. Ou seja, o ditongo “oʊ” foi trocado por “ou”, que nem se assemelha ao ditongo encontrado em diversas obras sobre o tema. Tanto é verdade que no site de vocês ainda continua com a versão anterior.
    Eu gostaria de saber então se há como voltar à versão anterior, pois esta atualização fez eu perder meu dinheiro.

    Os símbolos da versão anterior eram mais adequados.
    Gilberto Silva
    Good day. The previous application was very good.

    Updated the application to the latest version, but did not like. You exchanged many symbols of the IPA. For example, in the previous version (American translation), the words “hole” and “ground” were transcribed as follows: “hoʊl” and “graʊnd”. But now they appear transcribed as follows: “houl” and “graund”. That is, the diphthong “oʊ” was replaced with “ou”, which is nowhere near the diphthong found in several works on the subject. So much so that on the site of you still continues with the previous version.
    I wonder then if no going back to the previous version, as this update did I lose my money.

    The symbols of the previous version were more than adequate.
    Gilberto Silva

    • Thank you for letting me know. It doesn’t look like it has anything to do with the update. From what you say I can tell you are using American dialect and Basic IPA character set. Both can be changed from the settings screen.
      Basic character set uses “u” instead of “ʊ”, “ɔ” instead of “ɒ”, and “e” instead of “ɛ” like some learner’s dictionaries do. This is the app’s extra feature, not available on the website. What you need is to set character set (“Conjunto de caracteres de transcrição”) back to “IPA standard” (“AFI standard”).
      Diphthong /oʊ/ is in use in American English and corresponds to British /əʊ/.
      Let me know if you don’t know how to change the IPA character set to standard. Hope you enjoy the app.

      • Thank you very much. Excuse Me. It really was problem in the configuration and already decided. Continue improving the app which is very good.
        Gilberto Silva

  12. Hello from Japan. I downloaded iPhone Apps version on my iPhone 5S 32GB, iOS 8.1.3 today. I found there is sound reading mode, but no sound although I clicked ‘sound’ mark on the left below (of course ‘speaker’ mark was not muted). Anything trouble, or any more additional paid Apps is required to play the sound ? Many thanks.

    • こんにちは。

      Thank you for reporting the issue. I double-checked it and it is working for me. Does the cursor moves along the text after you touch the “play” button? See if you can get the iOS speech synth to make any sound at all (play with speech settings in General/Accessibility section). Please, come back to me if you still have an issue.

      Hand-and-speaker icon on the right hand side only controls uttering of a single word on touch.

  13. Hi. I just purchased your excellent ‘ToPhonetics’ app and downloaded to my iPhone and am using it. I would like to use it on my ipad too. Is this possible without having to purchase the app again via the ipad through the App Store? Thanks.

    • Yes, Apple allows to install any app purchased onto up to 5 devices, AFAIK. Launch the app store app on your iPad under the same Apple account, go to purchased => not on this iPad or look up the app and you’ll see “get” button instead of “purchase”.

  14. I do love your latest update. I miss one feature called define plus copy. Please add it as I need it for checking my one language dictionary.

    • Thanks. If I get you right you mean the little menu with “Define” and “Copy” items that pops up on selection. “Define” is replaced with double tap gesture. Double-tap any word to open it in the built-in dictionary. For words with multiple pronunciations you get there via double-tap, then the “book” icon on top of the list of pronunciations. I tried to have “define” within the selection menu, but it looked really annoying and usability is much better the way it is, imho. The only drawback is that you can’t open phrases in a dictionary, only single words. But again it seems like a fair compromise to me.
      “Copy” on selection is actually available, but you have to touch the selection handle (not the selection itself) or reposition it. I agree it should show the “Copy” menu at least when you touch inside the selection as well, but again not so sure if it should pop up straight away on selection. I’ll add this to the pipeline for future updates.
      Also, the selection menu “copy” item only puts IPA into the pasteboard, without the original. “Copy” item in the action menu copies the output as you see it, with or without the original english text. Right now action menu “Copy” doesn’t respect the selection, but it is scheduled for future updates.
      Let me know what you think.

    • Or do you just want to be able to copy the original word so you can switch to another app and look it up there?

  15. Здравствуйте!
    В каком формате программа воспринимает файлы?

    • Здравствуйте. Текст можно набить от руки или скопировать его через буфер обмена.

  16. I’m writing to report a bug. The app crashes whenever I try to share the transcription via Evernote. Could you please look into it?

    Many thanks.

  17. Please update your app to have feature like your website:
    Transcription only
    Side by side with English text
    Line by line with English text
    Show weak forms

    The most important one is LINE BY LINE WITH ENGLISH TEXT. COLOR option to choose for REGULAR/ MULTIPLE PRONUNCIATION/ NOT FOUND. I do need regular transcription shown in COLOR so that we could precisely differentiate between text and transcription.

    • I see, thanks for the suggestions. Will add it to the project plan.
      Note, the app already supports weak pronunciation forms. Please, check in the app’s settings.

      • LINE BY LINE WITH ENGLISH TEXT and COLOR option for text and transcription is VITAL. Please let this feature available. I do love this app with this feature.

    • Impossible to tell without more details – device, iOS version, app version. Did you try to restart the device? You also can send an email to the developer from the app’s settings screen.

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