A little help for a newbie?

November 24, 2009, 02:36 AM posted in General Discussion

I am trying to start injecting some pinyin into my emails where it's relevant and applicable.  It would be very handy to be able to sanity check myself before sending it but I can't seem to find anything that does a pinyin -> english translation.  Does anyone know of one?

Here's the sentence I have come up with:

wǒ shì jiāng zài Shànghǎi qī tiān.

Thanks for any help!

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November 24, 2009, 03:51 AM


I have never seen one either.The good thing about pinyin is that it helps pronunciation and tone and is pretty much easily accessible when you first start learning Chinese.However,I think it's important to realise that it was designed for just that purpose...as a tool to help Chinese kids [and as a spinoff foreign learners] learn the language,and is not Chinese in and of itself.If one uses online translators to translate hanzi to English,one soon realises the limitations of such tools...they're only right some of the time..the rest of the time you have to take them with a huge grain of salt...they only give you a rough idea of what's being said,and this is the case when one is using specific characters.The task I think would be much harder for an online translation of pinyin because each syllable can represent several characters.Take for example from your sentence jiāng.From the context I'm guessing you probably mean 将。However if you look up an online dictionary you will see four commonly used jiāng characters as well as many other less commonly used ones.So for the time being I think the best one can do is use an online translator like mdbg here:


where you can check the pinyin word by word.Good question though mate.I'd be interested to hear if there is a pinyin translator from anyone who may know.Good luck with your study :)