Are you wondering how to pronounce the name of Sinead O' Connor? Paul Klee? Walter Benjamin? Jean Baudrillard? Abraham Yehoshua? Hiroshima? Taj Mahal? Colosseo? Tamara de Lempicka? György Lukács? Andre Agassi? Zhang Yimou? Michael Schumacher?
Names are not like common words: they are unique. The pronunciation of common words is governed by the pronunciation rules of every language, but the pronunciation of names can vary much more.
Moreover, when you need to pronounce a common word of a given language, you usually know WHICH LANGUAGE it belongs to; and if you are interested in a common word you are interested in the language itself, so you probably know enough about its pronounciation rules.
With names this is often not the case. You may know a name because the person or the thing is internationally renown, but you can ignore where it comes from. For example, the name of the great painter Paul Klee may look English to the majority of the people in the world: however, he was born in Muenchenbuchsee, a small town in the German part of Switzerland, and his name should receive a German pronunciation, quite different from the English one.
Sometimes you may know where a name comes from, but ignore the pronunciation rules of that language. Many people who admire the movies by Zhang Yimou know very well that he is a Chinese director, but they don't know how to pronounce his name because they ignore the rules of Chinese pronunciation.
This is why we have created this site.