pinyin translator

What Does That Say? 5 Pinyin Translators to Demystify Reading and Writing Mandarin

Are you at the point of your Chinese-learning journey where you’re learning 拼音 (pīn yīn) — Chinese romanization?

This is when a lot of learners check out.

Why?

Well, English is a non-tonal language, and it’s full of words that we’re used to pronouncing with ease.

But pinyin and subsequently Chinese pronunciation seem like impossible feats for the native English speaker.

As we become more and more proficient, some pinyin will still pop up that leaves us scratching our heads. Even advanced learners get thrown for a loop at times while studying Chinese pinyin.

But we’re not trying to deter you.

Pinyin is bizarre and a little difficult to understand at first, but it’s by no means impossible. 

And for those pesky words that throw us off, there are Chinese pinyin translators there to remove the burden from shoulders. We’ve found five of the best for you to test out!
 


 

Why Do I Need a Pinyin Translator?

  • Pinyin translators can help you find flaws in your own writing. A big part of learning how to write pinyin is being able to see when you’re making consistent mistakes. By using a pinyin translator, you can correct your writing and improve.
  • If you run into a word you’re unfamiliar with, using a pinyin translator is a quick way to figure it out. Every once in a while, a particular pinyin word will seem out of place or just straight-up unfamiliar. A pinyin translator can help you add that pinyin word to your vocabulary list.
  • The need to translate pinyin into 汉字 (hàn zì) — Chinese characters and hanzi into pinyin will come up more than you’d think. Pinyin translators are great for translating bulk texts into pinyin or hanzi, which you may need to do when translating a story, email or essay. Pinyin translators are also useful tools for associating hanzi with the correct pinyin.

5 Pinyin Translators to Set You on Path to Chinese Fluency

pinyin-translator

Want even more help translating pinyin? Check out FluentU! This program will help you conquer pinyin translations.

FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons. Each video comes with annotated subtitles in pinyin, hanzi and English, along with an image for you to associate with each word.

FluentU also offers interactive flashcards and personalized quizzes for each video. All these learning tactics combined make it super easy for you to memorize pinyin with fun videos!

Access the full FluentU video library on your web browser or, better yet, learn pinyin on the go when you download the app at the iTunes or Google Play store.

Easy Pronunciation Phonetic Transcription Converter

pinyin-translator

This pinyin translator is as simple as it gets, but it definitely gets the job done. If you’re looking for a pinyin phonetic transcriber that’s straight to the point and can translate chunks of text easily, this is one to check out.

You’ll copy and paste hanzi text and receive one of several options: a transcription of pinyin words with tone marks, pinyin with tone numbers, IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) pinyin words with tone marks or IPA with tone numbers.

Simply click “show transcription” and you’ll see a few things. The first is the hanzi translated into pinyin. You can even select specific characters to see their individual translations into English.

You’re also able to create a downloadable learning worksheet based on the text you’ve entered. Super convenient for language learners who want to keep studying!

Purple Culture Pinyin/Zhuyin Converter

pinyin-translator

Maybe you have a whole essay or a transcription of hanzi subtitles for your favorite show that you’d like to change into pinyin.

If you have some really bulky files to translate, this pinyin converter from Purple Culture is perfect for you.

Either upload your file or type your Chinese text into the box to begin. Then select which type of pinyin you want to be displayed: pinyin with tone marks, pinyin with tone numbers, tone marks only or 注音符號 (zhùyīn fúhào) — Taiwanese Mandarin transliteration.

Click “convert” and you’ll see a fully translated chunk of text complete with the pinyin of your choice, an English translation and the option to listen to an audio clip of different segments. You can even create a downloadable vocabulary list from the side menu and edit text within the converter itself. It’s a bit more in-depth than the Easy Pronunciation pinyin translator, and it’s perfect for academic writing.

Purple Culture also has a bookmarklet feature, which allows you to quickly translate hanzi from any webpage into pinyin.

Pinyin Input

pinyin-translator

Pinyin Input is great for translating pinyin into hanzi characters quickly. A single pinyin word can actually translate to several different hanzi words, so this pinyin translator provides you with a lot of options to make sure you’re finding the correct character you need.

This input software isn’t ideal for typing out or copying and pasting chunks of text to translate. However, it’s great for practicing pinyin-hanzi input, which is necessary when you type in Chinese to, say, compose an email or social media update. If you want to translate pinyin into hanzi quickly to communicate with Mandarin speakers online, it’s worth exploring this website.

To use Pinyin Input, begin typing a pinyin word without tones or uppercase letters in the box. A drop-down menu will automatically appear with all the possible hanzi associated with that pinyin. Click the hanzi you want, then write more pinyin words you want to translate.

Click “Eng word translate” to translate English words into hanzi, as well.

Chinese Converter

pinyin-translator

Chinese Converter has a ton of handy translation tools, including a Chinese stroke order teacher, antonym lookup, simplified to traditional hanzi conversion, read-aloud text input and much, much more.

Regarding pinyin translation, Chinese Converter has you more than covered with this simple, user-friendly option. To start, copy and paste a chunk of hanzi text that you want to convert into pinyin. From there, select the type of translation you’d like produced. You can choose from pinyin with tones, pinyin with numbers, hanzi with pinyin in parentheses for each word, just to name a few options. Click “convert” and you’re set to go.

It also has a pinyin with numbers translator that can efficiently translate words into pinyin with tones. If you love a tool with bells and whistles, explore this website!

DimSum: Chinese Reading Assistant and Dictionary

pinyin-translator

This tool is very different than the other pinyin translators we’ve listed. DimSum is a JavaScript tool that’s very easy to install. Once you’ve installed it, simply hover your mouse over hanzi or pinyin words that appear on websites, and you’ll automatically see a floating box with its respective pinyin or hanzi options along with possible English definitions.

This software is great because most internet browsers utilize JavaScript, so DimSum functions as an extension that doesn’t require you to copy and paste words into another tab. If you’re less keen on translating bulk words and more interested in being able to translate hanzi or pinyin quickly, try installing this one. It’s totally free to use!

 

Pinyin doesn’t seem so scary anymore, does it?

With the help of these five pinyin translators, you’ll be able to read and write Mandarin with ease!


Em Casalena is a published author, freelance writer and music columnist who writes about a lot of stuff, from music to films to language.

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