May 262012
 

Pinyinizer is an app for adding pinyin phonetic guide text (ruby text) automatically to Chinese characters. You simply type or paste a text in hanzi into the box and click the “Pinyinize” button. An internet connection is required.

Entering text in Pinyinizer

Entering text in Pinyinizer

The result is a nice display with large characters and smaller, red pinyin above them. You can also hear line-by-line audio. The quality of the text-to-speech was quite good. The app is powered by Google Translate.

Pinyinized text

Pinyinized text

Tapping a button gives you the option to print or e-mail the Pinyinized text. I could not print from the app, however; it simply hung after tapping the Print button. I needed to completely quit the app before I could use it again.

In the iOS and Mac Mail apps, the Pinyinized text looks just like it does in the Pinyinizer app, but without the audio icons.

E-mail produced by Pinyinizer

E-mail produced by Pinyinizer

Looking at the message source code revealed (unsurprisingly) that the ruby pinyin is added by means of the HTML tags discussed in this post. This means that how the ruby text displays in any mail client depends on how the client treats the HTML tags. Gmail’s web interface does not handle them as well.

Pinyinzed text as displayed in Gmail on the web

Pinyinzed text as displayed in Gmail on the web

The use of HTML tags means that copying and pasting the Pinyinized text into a word processor will not give you a good result. It turned out more like Gmail’s rendering, but with line breaks after every word.

As for the transliteration, the app will not give you a choice if there is more than one possible reading. For example, is transliterated as shuí rather than shéi. But while alone is always transliterated as xíng, 银行 does come out correctly as yínháng. You cannot edit the Pinyinized result in the app, but if you export to e-mail, you can edit the e-mail message before sending it.

Pinyinizer — Pinyin Generator with Voice — is available on the App Store. Pinyinizer — Pinyin Generator with Voice - 素素应用

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