I don’t know why nobody ever told me about Transcriber, but since it’s so useful for language learning, I thought I’d share it.
Transcriber can help you with your:
- listening comprehension
- overall fluency
How does it do all of these things? Simply by linking together audio and text, making playback and navigation a cinch.
Here’s a demonstration of simple playback of a ChinesePod lesson. You’ll see how the text has been brought to life, by being aligned with the audio:
You can navigate to any section of the text and instantly hear the audio for that section.
The magic comes when working with materials that you can’t fully understand. You can load an audio, paste in the transcript and start listening, aligning the text as you go. When you encounter a sentence that you don’t fully understand, you can isolate just the word or phrase that gives you trouble and focus your listening on that.
Right now I’m using Transcriber to blast through some ChinesePod dialogues. ChinesePod provides exact transcripts with English translations underneath each paragraph. In Transcriber, I open the dialogue audio, paste in the transcript and process the new material in three passes:
- Listen through, aligning each English sentence to the audio.
- Take another, more careful pass, this time focusing on the Chinese text as I listen to the audio. When I hear new words that I don’t understand, I might segment the audio to listen carefully to those parts of the sentence a few times. Saying the phrases out loud, with the meaning in mind also helps. Then I might listen to the full sentence again, hopefully understanding it better.
- Taking a final pass, I again focus on the Chinese text, ignoring the English. Hopefully I’ll have an easier time understanding the sentences. I may pause a couple times to listen or practice saying some new words, but after that it’s time to move on.
Although Transcriber was not created with language learners in mind, there are many ways it can serve language learners. My little example just scratches the surface. What would a similar piece of software look like if it was designed with language learning in mind? Maybe you could instantly create flashcards with audio for a given sentence, etc.