I am looking for a tool to read a word written as phonetic transcription (IPA or APA).

I need it to provide users with a tool to verify if they've chosen the correct IPA transcription (users will need to provide a word and its transcription, users are not experts in IPA and APA, so there should be an easy way for them to verify what they use).

  • 4
    @PeterShor Isn't the whole point of IPA that it represents sounds unambiguously?
    – endolith
    Oct 31, 2016 at 2:53
  • 4
    @endolith: you would need over a hundred vowel symbols to represent sounds completely unambiguously. IPA has diacritics you put on vowels that tell you to raise, lower, back, or front them (showing that the ear can distinguish between many more vowels than the 25 or so basic IPA symbols for vowels) but these diacritics see relatively little use. So for example, /e/ may represent a slightly different sound in different languages. Oct 31, 2016 at 3:09
  • 2
    @endolith: IPA with the diacritics probably has more vowel symbols than one would ever need. Nov 1, 2016 at 19:07
  • 2
    @endolith IPA is in itself language-agnostic and deals only with phonetic, articulatory fact. So that is the system you’re looking for. The trouble is that when you start using it regularly to refer to any individual language, many of the finer details become moot and can be economised away as long as your readers know you’re using a less specified symbol to represent a given value in a language. It’s just laziness and practicality, though; you can always specify everything fully. Mar 5, 2018 at 12:00
  • 3
    I’m voting to close this question because it belongs on ELU.Meta. Nov 19, 2021 at 14:47

8 Answers 8


Sure! You can just use this tool


It works by translating ipa to sampa with lexconvert and than playing it with meSpeak.js, that is a js clone of espeak.

  • 8
    I think most people can do better just approximating from the old Webster's-style pronunciation. At least I found it incapable of pronouncing either "potato" or "apple", choosing IPA patterns from several different sources. (I still find amazing that IPA, which is touted as being so much better than other schemes, does not have a decent pronunciation app.)
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 29, 2017 at 13:27
  • 6
    Maybe...for the English sounds. But I'm learning Czech and I'm quite desperate. I agree, IPA should have an official and well-tested app Dec 29, 2017 at 13:59
  • IPA was devised in the late 19th century; I doubt developing an app was foremost in their minds.
    – Stuart F
    Nov 19, 2021 at 15:15

I found this http://ipa-reader.xyz/ better than https://itinerarium.github.io/phoneme-synthesis/

(Text is too short too post without this line)

  • 13
    Perhaps you could use the extra characters to say why it's better. For example, the different nationalities available give a hint as to how IPA is interpreted differently in different languages (which is something I found fascinating, playing with the site).
    – Andrew Leach
    Aug 16, 2019 at 20:44
  • 1
    Yep, your first link pronounces "potato" (from Cambridge) far better than the github one.
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 16, 2019 at 20:50
  • Currently down :(
    – wjandrea
    Jun 28, 2023 at 16:51

There's a limited one available online, if you happen to have an Alexa Developer account.

  1. Create an Alexa Skills Kit account.
  2. Create a skill and fill out whatever fields you need to to enable the Testing tab (this isn't going to be easy).
  3. Navigate into your skill by choosing your skill from https://developer.amazon.com/edw/home.html

Now that you are on the skill's page, if the Testing tab is clickable (Search for the word Testing), you can do the following each time you want to test:

  1. Go to the Testing tab of your skill, and type something like this into the Voice Simulator:
    <phoneme alphabet="ipa" ph="pɪˈkɑːn">pecan</phoneme>
  2. Click the Listen button

Here is the documentation: https://developer.amazon.com/public/solutions/alexa/alexa-skills-kit/docs/speech-synthesis-markup-language-ssml-reference#phoneme


I haven't done this myself, but I think it should be possible: first convert from IPA to SAMPA using Phonverter - a converter between IPA and SAMPA transcriptions then use MBROLA to pronounce the SAMPA.

An alternative is to use lexconvert (mirror) to do the conversion and feed the output to espeak.

  • 1
    last link is broken
    – glS
    Jan 29, 2018 at 18:24
  • The second one as well. Aug 22, 2019 at 3:02
  • None of the link were broken - it may have been a network outage at your end. However I've updated one link to point to Wikipedia which should have more longevity, and I've modified the text so that you can find all the applications by searching for their names. This isn't the sort of stack exchange question where you can answer only by writing a description rather than linking, since the OP specifically asked for online tools. Aug 23, 2019 at 5:02

Here are two tools that can potentially help answer your need:

  1. This tool reads aloud a word written as IPA phonetic transcription: https://itinerarium.github.io/phoneme-synthesis/

  2. This online converter will translate your text into its IPA phonetic transcription. It supports English and several other languages, and also reads your text aloud. https://tophonetics.com

Additional helpful resources are: 3. This Interactive IPA chart 4. The General Phonetics page on Wikimedia commons 5. the Help:IPA page on the English language Wikipedia

  • 1
    The IPA tool in your first link does an incredibly poor job of pronunciation of even simple words. Of course, it's likely that much of the problem is with IPA -- it's not all it's cracked up to be.
    – Hot Licks
    Aug 16, 2019 at 20:47

Not exactly what you are looking for, but this is a helpful tool. It allows you to hear what IPA symbols mean.

IPA Learning Tool


Here is what helped me:

Best, Manfred



This has the sound as well. From my limited studies, I took a class on the history if English language, it seems legitimate.

  • 3
    Thanks, but I am looking for a tool to pronounce words, not symbols..
    – LA_
    Sep 2, 2015 at 16:35

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