On Google Translate , if I enter Pinyin with tone marks (for example "nǐ hǎo"), Google Translate is unable to translate from Mandarin to English. However, if I type without tones (for example "ni hao"), then Google Translate is able to translate from Mandarin to English.

Is this simply a shortcoming of Google Translate, or am I doing something wrong with Pinyin? I am typing the Pinyin using the "ABC - Extended" keyboard on Mac.

What's a workaround for translating a blurb of Pinyin with tone marks to English?

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  • Did you find a solution?
    – Demiurg
    Commented Jan 16, 2021 at 16:20
  • Yes my solution is to copy the Pinyin with tone marks, paste it into a website that removes accents from text (for example unit-conversion.info/texttools/remove-letter-accents), and then copy that output and paste it into Google Translate.
    – mark
    Commented Jan 17, 2021 at 19:59

3 Answers 3


Google Translate did not support translating with Pinyin to Other language, simply input ni hao only lead to google suggesting the best matching chinese words for ni hao then translate it using the suggested best words to the language you selected.

Try to input the pinyin of chinese word with 同音不同字(Sounds same but different words) example: 星星 and 猩猩

Google Translate only will suggest you 星星 but not 猩猩.


Conclusion, you cannot use Pinyin with tones in Google Translate


Google translate doesn't support translating from pinyin, since pinyin isn't a language in itself, it's just a transcription system that helps to type and learn Chinese. There isn't a body of text written in pinyin for google translate algorithms to learn from, but it can still take guesses for transliterated words based on people inputting them.

However, if you're typing directly into google translate and not copying-and-pasting, you can press the input method button: enter image description here

It will convert your pinyin into characters which will get translated properly. I'm not sure if it supports tone marks, but I'd imagine it would.


On windows if you use Chinese keyboard (requires free installation of language pack), you can enter enter a pinyin syllable and google translate will suggest a menu of Han ideographs corresponding. A little bit of a hassle but if you are learning simplified Han not too bad. You can toggle between Chinese and English keyboard by typing Windows-Key + spacebar. Google translate looks like this: enter image description here

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