Google Translate to practice pronunciation

This is a bit weird :-)

To practicing with Hungarian phonetic, I set Google Translator on my mobile to translate from Hungarian to, say, English (it really does not matter the target language). Then, after reading a sentence in DL, I repeat it loud to my mobile and I check if it is able to recognize it.

Maybe my pronunciation is still very rough, but I find it quite difficult to get it right. Sometime I need to repeat the same sentence few times until Google gets it.

Google Translator set on Hungarian is quite strict, maybe a human would understand better, but on the other hand this is a good thing: it forces you to speak (almost) correctly and, more importantly, after few trials you understand which part of the word it cares more for its understanding. For instance I found that the word's beginning is a very sensible part, as is the final ending. Also the correct vowel pronunciation is a critical point.

What do you think of this? Has someone else tried this trick?

P.S: I am eagerly waiting for Google Assistant for Hungarian (it should come out later this year) so to have a bidirectional communication.

August 22, 2018


I use google translate to check my grammar and sentence structure, my pronunciation is not great but definitely sufficient.

August 22, 2018

Don't think I've done this for Hungarian yet, but I do like using phone speech recognition in various ways over Duolingo's (which I don't think it has for Hungarian anyway, right?). I also use it to enter answers on Duolingo itself.

August 23, 2018

Can you pronounce this?

I using it with Romanian

August 23, 2018

That's a good idea. It's not that bad. In particular, the intonation of the sentence is not perfect as in any language using TTS. In any case, the pronunciation of the sounds can be observed very well (especially: a, á, e, é o, ü, cs, gy, r, ty).

As an example, try the first section of this poem (here and below) with TTS and listen to the same text in an actor's performance (here). The difference is noticeable. Then you can listen to it in English as well :)

"Nyári napnak alkonyúlatánál
Megállék a kanyargó Tiszánál
Ott, hol a kis Túr siet beléje,
Mint a gyermek anyja kebelére."
(Petőfi Sándor: A Tisza)

Note "megállék" is an archaic form of "megállok"

P.S. The Hungarian course has a human voice.

August 26, 2018

Thanks! I will try.

For now I got crazy to make the translator to understand 'hónap'. It seems a joke, but it always listens 'holnap' even if I do not pronounce the 'l' at all!

Finally I understood that the issue lies in the vowel 'o'. Hungarian 'o' it is a very closed one. In Italy we have an open O because we don't need to differentiate from 'a'. Our A vowel is very similar to your 'á' (it's just very slightly more close than 'á') and we have only that kind of A.

Finally I got it fixed thinking to the Italian word 'bocca' (mouth) in which the O is pronounced quite short and close. Now I can make Google to recognize my 'hónap' :-)

For people reading, please try it just for fun. It seems easy but it is not, Google has a hard time to differentiate between 'o' and 'ó'...and if you push too much you easily end up with a 'ő' :-)

August 26, 2018

Regarding intonation of the sentence. This is really difficult and to me is the main issue for listening comprehensions. Even when I know the words, I don't get the sentence. I know you always put stress on the first syllable, and that's ok (Italians don't but, it's not a big issue).

The big issue is that to my untrained ear it seems that you split the sentence intonation not at the word boundary!

For instance, this sentence in DL:

Németországböl jössz?

it is pronounced as:

Németország böljössz?

It is like you end the intonation on the 'szág and then prepend -böl to jössz!

Another one is:

Azok az autók is Bécsböl jönnek?

where I hear:

Azok az autó kis Bécs böljönnek?

I try to do the DL stuff just listening to the Hungarian voice, without reading the text...but most of the times I still fallback on reading :-)

August 26, 2018

I hate google translate and should only be used as a last resort when you're really stuck on a sentence. Use it wisely!

September 7, 2018
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