Word Play

August 24, 2007

Pronunciation Woes

Filed under: google tips for translators — Hagit @ 8:13 pm

LanguageHat links to a Wikipedia list of names with non-intuitive pronunciation.

Having embarassed myself in the past with transliterating Ree-ding for the city of Reading, and Edin-boorg for Edinburgh, I learned my lesson.

My trick (well, once I’ve identified that there’s some sort of “danger” with the name, because Reading, for example, seems very innocent) is to google the pronunciation. I assume that if a name has a non-intuitive pronunciation, it would appear with its pronunciation in parenthesis. So for Reading, I would search: “reading pronounced” (with the quotes, which lock the two words together), and get: Reading (pronounced Red-ding).

Try it, it’ll save you from mistakes with Reading and Edinburgh, which, interestingly enough, don’t appear on the Wiki list. I wonder, are they perhaps non-intuitive to me, as a Hebrew speaker, but more intuitive to native English speakers? or is it because these cities are┬ávery well-known, that they are not listed?


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