My wife is learning Mandarin (she's on HSK 4 at the moment). For Christmas I will be buying her ebooks (not Chinese related), and to give her something to open, I always obscure the titles in some way. This year I'd like to write them in Chinese characters that she has to sound out to hear the English titles ... but I know basically nothing about Chinese. Is this sensible? Is there any website that can take English (or IPA) and give me the best characters?

So far I've found the transcription table in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcription_into_Chinese_characters which is probably workable, but very slow to do by hand.

  • Do you want to reproduce the English sounds with Chinese characters? Or translate the English title to a Chinese version? I think the former, which will not help your trouble-and-strife learn any Chinese. The latter may not have any direct relation to the English title. Maybe buy her some old HSK 4 exams to tinker with?
    – Pedroski
    Commented Dec 14, 2023 at 9:17
  • The former - and it's just a bit of fun rather than a learning exercise. She already has lots of HSK books!
    – xorsyst
    Commented Dec 14, 2023 at 11:18
  • Of course you can do so. Nowadays, there are many such usages on the Chinese Internet, such as 因缺思厅-interesting. But I really don’t have a good way. I want to try voice input (choose to convert to Chinese, but speak English), but I found that some software is too smart, and it will display English as English instead of Chinese.
    – rinn玲
    Commented Dec 14, 2023 at 13:14
  • A considerable number of Chinese words (Mandarin or Cantonese) are transliterated from English, such as 沙发-sofa, 巧克力/朱古力-chocolate, 士多啤梨-strawberry. You can first check to see if there Chinese name have similar pronunciation
    – rinn玲
    Commented Dec 14, 2023 at 13:22

2 Answers 2


Please read this book:

Visible Speech: The Diverse Oneness of Writing Systems (Asian Interactions and Comparisons)

by John DeFrancis

See here

You can use the English title as Pinyin. You will need a Chinese input app or an online tool such as Google Pinyin here

For example, if you type in "Home Alone", you will get "好哦么 阿咯呢".

Will you write or print the Chinese characters? If you want to write, then you may need to practice for a while.


There's hwayih Woen 华裔文 https://www.hwayihwoen.com/

It assigns archaic Chinese characters English phonetic values, called the "junior" script. An example would be "奤屲溰籴屲吘埜笝" or "hwayih woen" (h-w-ai-ee w-oh-e-n). the "senior" script is standard Chinese characters. The only may be that because they are archaic characters, if you need to type them, they likely won't show up in a lot of fonts, because they're no longer used.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.