I had a request for resources to check the pronunciation of names, with a focus on online sources with sound files - from one of my favorite audiobook narrators, Kate Reading, whose recent title The Host is fantastic. Here are some quick tools to use when checking the accuracy of an audiobook narrator's work - or for your own use! And don't forget the accent and dialect resources from this post: Authentic accents in audiobooks.
Pronunciation Guides for personal & commercial names:
Voice of America’s name pronunciation, with quick & easy sound file search: http://names.voa.gov/
From Inogolo: English pronunciation of the names of people, places, and stuff. This site has sound files, which take awhile to load: http://inogolo.com/index
Name web search: http://inogolo.com/websearch
From the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). These are not sound files, but have easy-to-follow phonetic guides:
The ABC Book, a pronunciation guide to commercial names: http://www.loc.gov/nls/other/ABC.html
Say How? A Pronunciation Guide to Names of Public Figures:
How to pronounce children’s & YA author names (sound files recorded by the author!) from Teaching Books:
Place name pronunciation guides:
Merriam-Webster Geographic Dictionary print edition is a great resource: http://www.merriam-webster.com/cgi-bin/book.pl?geog.htm&9
Or try the place name at Merriam-Webster online to see if there is a sound file: http://www.merriam-webster.com/
Columbia Gazetteer of the World Online: a subscription database with sound files, which may be available through your public or academic library: http://cup.columbia.edu/static/gazonline
Oxford Dictionaries Online’s “Ask an Expert” – send your question via this link!
Sometimes the best option for a place name is to call the area’s public library and ask for the pronunciation!
Try this site to find a local library in the US: http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/libraries/librarysearch/
Or this one for library websites from around the world: