Phonetic transfer is defined as an L1 influence on the acquisition of L2 phonetics. Previous studies have investigated phonetic transfer in the area of articulation, but the effects of L1 on L2 pronunciation measured by speech recognition technology have been under-researched. This study aims to address the issue by focusing on a sample of 676 Chinese university ESL students. Drawing on quantitative data, it examined whether the participants applied phonetic transfer to ESL learning and what factors might have influenced the results of phonetic transfer. We assumed that Chinese-to-English phonetic transfer occurs but that the extent of the transfer would be small because Chinese and English belong to different language families. However, findings from this study confirm that Chinese-to-English phonetic transfer occurs and the extent is large. The findings regarding high transferability might be attributed to spelling through phonics and the nature of pronunciation acquisition.