Pinyin Generator with Tone Marks

by Dave Flynn | 30th June, 2012 | Resources, Web |

I’ve used this website so much in the last few months when writing ChineseHacks posts that it deserves a mention. Pinyin Generator is a simple that does one thing, convert Chinese characters into their Pinyin pronunciation with tone marks.

Pinyin Generator

It’s not always perfect and if the character has multiple pronunciations then sometimes the one you don’t want is displayed – I recently wanted xíng from 行, but the website gave háng, another common pronunciation. The solution was to use another character that I knew had the pronunciation I wanted, such as 型. A mentioned above, it’s nothing special, just a simple, useful tool that might save you when you quickly need to generate some Pinyin.

I should also say that under normal circumstances I use Pinyin Dictionary by Ideographer (Featured in Useful Mac Apps for Learning Chinese), but it has a bug when used with dual monitors that leaves it off screen when the second monitor isn’t connected, no good when you need to write a blog post about Chinese.

if you know of a better Pinyin generating tool or website then please post below in the comments.

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Dave Flynn

Dave is a designer of websites, learner of Chinese and lover of technology. Originally from the UK, he's been living in Taiwan and learning Mandarin Chinese for the last seven years. He founded and runs Chinese Hacks, a blog dedicated to effectively learning Chinese.

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Tags: #Chinese #convert #generator #Online #Pinyin #Pronunciation #Tool

10 Comments

  1. Daan

    Google Translate can actually do this too: just go to http://translate.google.com/, select Chinese as your input anguage, and enter some Chinese characters. The Pīnyīn will show up automatically. There are some pretty good heuristics for 多音字 and it even marks word boundaries (although not always correctly). If you don’t see any Pīnyīn, you probably need to click the Ä button in the bottom-right corner first.

    Alternatively, of course, you can just use http://www.mdbg.net/chindict/webime2_pinyin.php and do the conversion manually; I still find that the most efficient way to convert characters to Pīnyīn when I just have a few sentences I need to get converted.


    • Thanks for the tip, Daan, though where does the Pinyin appear in Google Translate? Here’s what I can see:

      https://dl.dropbox.com/u/1437623/goog.jpg

      Could be that Pinyin isn’t shown as I am in Taiwan and using a Zhuyin IME, not sure.

      The MDBG tool I had not seen before so I definitely check that out in the future, thanks!


      • Daan

        If you hit the button marked Ä in the right-bottom corner of the text area where you’ve entered 大, you should see the transcription. It’s not the most obvious label they could have chosen, but I guess it’s because this is not only supported for Chinese, but also for other languages/scripts.


        • Got it, cheers, Daan!


          • Daan

            You’re welcome! We actually used this to get transcriptions for a textbook that I co-edited, it’s that good. We did check everything manually for errors, of course, but there were surprisingly few mistakes. It’s a shame this feature isn’t more widely known, so spread the word :)


          • Will do, I’ll see what other similar tools I can find then do a round up of them.


  2. Marc Devens

    There’s a language plugin for Mac OSX called MacPinyin. Once installed, you can choose it among any other languages you have installed in the OS, including traditional and simplified characters. You can even switch to it with keyboard shortcuts just like other input methods. It’s a little tricky to get the hang of at first, but after using it a bit it becomes pretty natural.

    For a word like 今天, you would type jin1, then tian1 and space again. It’ll fill in the correct tone marks based on the number you write. A converter like the one you linked to or using Google Translate like the comment above suggests would certainly be a lot faster for large blocks of texts, but for writing the pinyin for just a couple of characters or correcting mistakes from the aforementioned methods, MacPinyin works really well.


  3. Wu Yong

    Google Translate has been doing the same thing for a while…


  4. Chinese Master

    There is a problem with this pinyin generator. I just tried generating pinyin for 春节 and I get chūn jiē. Clearly the 节 should be a second tone, but here its a first tone.


  5. Jay

    Among other things; one problem with Google translate is that the tone marks are not always correct.
    If you look at the words: 一点儿 , yī diǎn er; the tone on the first character, 一should be 4th tone. (At least that’s what my teacher taught me.)
    And in the words请你再说一次, qǐng nǐ zài shuō yī cì, 一 should be 2nd tone.
    Also, with the word 一 and the word 不, if they are followed by a 4th tone word character they should then be voiced and written in a 2nd tone. (As in 不是 , bú shì or 一次 , yí cì ).
    Google fails to set these tones properly and follow the rule that, two (2) fourth tones are not proper.


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