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Your Questions. Answered.

All of our paid subscriptions to IPANow! Online include English, French, German, Italian, Latin, and Spanish. The seven-day free trial of our product includes only English and Latin.

Our phonetic transcription converter was conceived and developed by Dr. Kelly J. Turner of Pfafftown, NC. Dr. Turner has taught vocal and choral music, lyric diction, and music theory at both the secondary and collegiate levels. He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts in Choral Conducting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Many undergraduate vocal music curricula devote too little time to the study of lyric diction. Some institutions only offer a semester-long overview of all four languages; others do not offer diction at all. Even those that dedicate a semester to each language end up spending a great deal of time teaching students how to transcribe texts into phonetics, when the most important skill for vocalists is learning to physically negotiate the subtleties of pronunciation within each language and coordinate those subtleties with the singing voice. It is our hope that our phonetic transcription app will allow students to dedicate more time to this essential aspect of lyric diction.

Our phonetic transcriber was created to be a lyric diction resource for choral conductors, teachers of voice, professional vocalists, church musicians and music educators and students. Linguists and speech pathologists may also find IPANow! helpful with the understanding that certain, subtle differences exist between spoken and lyric diction.

Our IPA translator is based on material from standard lyric diction texts such as A Handbook of Diction for Singers by David Adams, the Lyric Diction Workbook series by Cheri Montgomery, A Singer's Manual of German and French Diction by Richard Cox, Singers' Italian by Evelina Colorni, and Diction by John Moriarty.

This is probably the number one question we have been asked over the years, and the answer is "absolutely!" One of the wonderful things about a web-based application is that you can access it from just about anywhere on just about any device.

Currently there are four settings to customize the output:

  • Font for result: specify whether you'd like the output displayed with Times (default), Helvetica, or Courier font.
  • Enclose IPA in: choose either brackets (default) or slashes.
  • Enclose Each Line: specify whether your transcription will have brackets/slashes only at the very beginning and end of the transcription (default), or at the beginning and end of each line of text.
  • Show Original: choose to display the original text you entered with the IPA transcription under each line (default) or display only the transcription

Additionally there are language-specific settings to allow further customization.

IPANow! Online utilizes Unicode fonts for easy portability of the IPA transcription to other media. The user interface offers three Unicode font face options for the IPA transcription output, with Times as the default. Unicode fonts make copying and pasting into word processors, slide presentations, websites, or even emails a cinch!

Great question. There are a number of reasons why the transcription might be different:
  • First of all, there is often disagreement among experts as to the "correct" pronunciation of certain foreign words. Just like in American English, the pronunciation of a given word may differ considerably depending on what part of the country you are from. Thus, in some cases there is no one correct answer.
  • Second, there are some words that are spelled the same but pronounced differently. For example, consider the English noun "wind" and the English verb "wind." These "heteronyms" occur in other languages, too, and IPANow! does not distinguish them.
  • Third, there are some instances in which a particular musical setting may alter the way a text is sung. In one composer's text setting, the rhythmic values applied to each text syllable may differ from another composer's setting, resulting in subtle differences in pronunciation. The sound [i] might become [j], or the sound [u] might become [w] in a particular setting. In these instances, you may need to edit the default output of IPANow! Online.
  • Finally, the task of transcribing foreign languages into phonetic symbols is no simple task, even for a computer. We concede that IPANow! is not an absolutely perfect program. . .but we think we're pretty close. Long story short, you may have to do a bit of manual editing afterwards depending on your specific needs. But certainly if you find a word or words that you know IPANow! is transcribing incorrectly, please contact us so we can correct it.

Some words that have been pre-programmed into our database will be transcribed correctly, but generally speaking, the application will attempt to transcribe the foreign word using rules for the regular language. You can, however, manually edit any incorrectly-transcribed words directly within the user interface of IPANow! Online.

Since users have varying preferences for open and closed vowels in Italian, our program offers three options. It can transcribe all "e"s and "o"s open, transcribe them all closed, or it can be set to make an educated guess based on common prefixes and suffixes that always utilize a certain vowel quality.

Our Spanish to IPA converter allows you to choose between Latin American (Standard American Spanish) and Castilian (Standard European Spanish) pronunciation. Generally speaking, Castilian Spanish is the pronunciation that would be used by a Spaniard and utilizes distinción, making more use of the [θ] and [ð] sounds than Spanish-speaking people from the Americas.

Some prefer to use the [ə] symbol while others prefer the [œ] symbol. The settings in IPANow! Online let you choose! Also, since final schwas in French are only sung if the composer gives the schwa a note value, the application gives users the option of adding parentheses around final schwas.

Our Latin to IPA translator allows you to choose between Italianate, Germanic, and Classical pronunciations of Latin. While the Italianate pronunciation is more commonly utilized in vocal and choral singing, some choose to use the Germanic pronunciation when performing works by certain German composers (Bach et. al.). For example, the letter 'g' is transribed as [g] instead of [dʒ] and the 'qu' combination is transcribed as [kv] instead of [kw]. The Classical pronunciation of Latin is associated with speaking the language rather than singing it. This is the pronunciation one would typically be taught when taking a Latin class in school. For example the letter 'v' is pronounced [w] and the 'ae' diphthong is pronounced [ai].

Yes, it automatically adds these into the transcription.

Yes, it includes an option to add phrasal doubling into the transcription. In instances where phrasal doubling should not occur because of a rest in the music, simply enter any of the following punctuation marks between the two words, preventing the program from creating a liaison or elision: comma, period, colon, semicolon.

The user interface of our phonetic transcription app includes several easily-accessible buttons for inserting these symbols into the text so you can type in words that contain these characters quickly. Similar buttons are also available for editing the IPA symbols in the output after you have generated a transcription. It won't be necessary to memorize complex keyboard combinations to produce the special characters you need.

You must type the word correctly (including appropriate diacritical marks) or the resulting transcription may be skewed.

No. We'll send a couple of reminders before your subscription is set to expire, but we will not automatically renew your subscription (or charge you money for doing so.)

We define "lifetime" as the span of time between now and the end of PhoneticSoft operations or the end of the internet; whichever comes first. We've been in business over 11 years, though, so we don't expect either of those to happen anytime soon.