What is the type of sound-based language conversion called?


I have been using the type of conversion for my Korean students when trying to get them to pronounce English words slightly more accurately.

I don’t transcribe the meaning of the words. I only transcribe the sounds of the words.

I want to do this conversion faster (so I want to research it hence my question) as I am learning Korean. Usually, my students can help with this type of conversion occasionally, but it is slow (however, they enjoy it).

To be as clear as possible, I am looking at writing Korean text so it sounds as close to English text as possible and what that type of conversion is called. I want to take an English sentence and convert each sound of the phrase into a close corresponding, but similar sound in Korean.


Please use Google Translate and listen to the audio to see what I am talking about.

  • 위 윌 씨이 would be converted to “We will see”
  • 두 유 러브 미? is “Do you love me?”
  • 두 is “do”
  • 돈트 is “don’t”


What is this type of sound-based conversion called?

I want to be able to search online, find possible apps, and read more information about this.



Edit: A close example I knew before was “Konglish” (Korean English). Words such as ice cream sound like "ice cream" in the Korean script. However, it is not the same. There are words such as nail polish that sound like "manicure" in Korean script. I am looking at nail polish sounding like "nail polish" in Korean script. No other conversions!

Edit 2: I believe @KarlG (in the comment of this post) is the most correct with the phrase Phonetic transcription. I think there should be an even more accurate word but I think this is very close now.


There are two related terms for this.

transliterate verb
Write or print (a letter or word) using the closest corresponding letters of a different alphabet or language.
‘names from one language are often transliterated into another’

transcription noun
1.2 A form in which a speech sound or a foreign character is represented.
‘our usual transcription is given in brackets’

The difference is that transliteration makes the journey from one alphabet to another one letter at a time, whereas transcription (in the linguistics sense) encodes the sound in the target alphabet.

Transliteration is not primarily concerned with representing the sounds of the original but rather with representing the characters, ideally accurately and unambiguously. Thus, in the above example, λλ is transliterated as ‘ll’, but pronounced /l/; Δ is transliterated as ‘D’, but pronounced /ð/; and η is transliterated as ‘ē’, though it is pronounced /i/ (exactly like ι) and is not long.

Conversely, transcription notes the sounds but not necessarily the spelling. So "Ελληνική Δημοκρατία" could be transcribed as "elinikí ðimokratía", which does not specify which of the /i/ sounds are written as η and which as ι.

– Wikipedia

Since you’re encoding the sound of English words in the Korean script, the term you’re looking for is transcription.

Source : Link , Question Author : Christopher Rucinski , Answer Author : Lawrence

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