Community Wishlist Survey 2022/Generate Audio for IPA

Other languages:

Hello all, and thanks for coming to read more details about Audio for IPA Notation. This was the #9 wish in the Community Wishlist Survey 2022. This article will outline our approach to building a solution of this wish. We are asking for your feedback and insight so that we may make the best possible improvement.

Wish Objective Summary: Generate the audio for IPA notation for readers of the WMF projects.

Original Wish

Background & Problem SpaceEdit

What is IPA?Edit

The English Wikipedia page for International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) describes it as an alphabetic system of phonetic notation based primarily on the Latin script. IPA is a standardized representation of the documented possible speech sounds that humans can generate making use of their vocal instruments in written form.

This markup allows for contributors to add IPA to our projects so that others who may not know how to pronounce a word can learn how. However, because only very few people on the planet read this notation, it is practically impossible for folks to discern how to pronounce something purely based on IPA notation. While IPA coverage is strong across the projects in the Wikiverse, this does not necessarily mean that folks will know how to pronounce a word.

Where does IPA Exist in our Projects?Edit

IPA exists in multiple Templates inside the WMF-supported projects. As of today, the associated Wikidata object for Template:IPA lists that there are:

  • Wikipedia: 177 entries
  • Wikibooks: 21 entries
  • Wikinews: 1 entry
  • Wikiquote: 3 entries
  • Wikisource: 5 entries
  • Wikiversity: 4 entries
  • Wikivoyage: 5 entries
  • Wiktionary: 85 entries
  • Multilingual sites: 3 entries

Here are two illustrative instances of IPA in our projects:


Where is the hidden complexity of the work ahead of us?Edit

Given that there are many instances of IPA coverage in the WMF products, a large portion of the complexity will be in understanding what libraries are available to us and have the best coverage across languages.

There is also the pre-existing reality that IPA has some languages that do not have dedicated keys for the speech sounds that a given language can make.

A large portion of the complexity will include:

Scope and ConstraintsEdit

The focus of this project is around readers’ inability to read IPA markup.

  • The project will NOT address the pre-existing equity concerns associated with IPA. While we may do our best to mitigate the equity shortcomings of IPA, it is not part of scope to tackle this
  • This project with NOT generate new phonetic library, we will use a pre-existing audio library

The project will NOT address the content generation of IPA notation on the wikis, i.e. the Editor experience. This is mitigated by offering the rendered audio for IPA notation with no pre-existing audio associated with it

Data Investigations and UnknownsEdit

  • How many users attempt to listen to the pronunciation of IPA notation?
  • How many instances of all IPA templates exist across the projects?
  • What’s the coverage of human generated pronunciation of IPA on our projects?
  • What content is missing IPA notation that needs it?

Why and how did we accept this wish?Edit

This wish scored high in our prioritization process for 2022. It was very popular in terms of number of votes, impactful in terms of the benefit for the community, and had a relatively lower complexity estimate. Please read about our full process.

Release timelineEdit

Release timeline
Item Owner Status Actual Date Target Date Notes
Confirm all tasks merged and ready
Legal review
Security review of Phonos extension (signoff)
Identify wiki for first launch (to check estimated costs)
Announcement in Tech/News
Deploy Phonos to beta cluster Beta, en.wikt and only
Security review of Phonos extension (approval)
Determine pilot projects for Phonos rollout Prior consultation is required to determine pilot projects
Train w work deployed
Production is turned on
Deploy to Group 1
Deploy to Group 0
Deploy to Group 2
Announcement on project page & any tool-specific pages
Announcement in #release-announcements Slack channel
Bugs identified and cuta
Bugs triaged

Status UpdatesEdit

Open Questions: We want to hear from you!Edit

  • Can you help us build out the corpus of IPA words we will use to test the different libraries?
  • Do you know of any open source libraries that we should consider while we investigate our options?
  • Do you see any risks to introducing the audio files inside the reader experiences?
  • Let us know any other thoughts you may have on the initial problem statement inside the talk page!

Relevant LinksEdit