There’s at least one way to do it, and it’s quite easy.

Step 1. Open the Google Translate webpage, or click the left link directly.

Step 2. Select Chinese in the left column, your native language in the right column.

st1.png
Step 2

Step 3. In the left column, click the pull-down menu beside the mic symbol and choose an input. I recommend you use 拼 Chinese (Traditional, Taiwan) – Pinyin. (My favorite input is Dayi but Google doesn’t have it.)

st2
Step 3

Step 4. Now you are ready, so just go ahead and try. Type any letters you like. For example, type nihao and there will appear a list of Chinese words that have those sounds. Select one.

st4
Step 4

Step 5. Check the right column to see the translation. Are they what you thought they were?

st4.png
Step 5

Some tips:

  1. To type common words such as 你好(hello), you actually can just type nh, the initial letters of 你(ni) and 好(hao).
  2. Usually, the first tip applies to most Chinese idioms and many common multiple syllable words, and it can save you big time. (Try xnkl or xxsc.)
  3. Click the voice symbol in the left column now and then to listen to the pronunciation.

A reminder: One can’t fully trust machine, yet. Type and see how many hilarious translations the algorithm will do for you.