Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Get ebooks with audio for free on LibriVox

LibriVox bills itself as "acoustical liberation of books in the public domain". Translated from that cute catch phrase back to English, that means they have audio book versions of books that are in the public domain, with links to the textual versions as well.

Use Lang-8 and Cinch to get your foreign-language speech corrected

I previously explained how to use Lang-8 and Snapvine to get recordings of your foreign-language speech corrected. Unfortunately, Snapvine is going out of business tomorrow, but Cinch comes through to let you do pretty much the exact same thing.

How to do it, after the jump.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Get audio recordings of any foreign language text for free

Earlier, I told you about how to get foreign-language text read to you online for free through computer-generated text-to-speech software. Text-to-speech software still doesn't quite pull off completely native language, so wouldn't it be great if you could actually get a native speaker to record some audio for you?

That's the whole concept behind RhinoSpike, a new, completely free website launched on Thursday by Thomas Hjelm and Peter Carroll, the two guys behind the language-learning blog Babelhut.

Friday, March 5, 2010

YouTube videos automatically captioned in English

If you're learning English and wondering where you can get video with subtitles, look no further than your friendly neighborhood YouTube. Google is launching some new features on YouTube that will make for some good language-learning resources for those whose target language is English. In particular:
  1. For selected English video content, YouTube is implementing automatic captioning.

  2. For all English video content, YouTube is implementing that ability for video owners to automatically caption their video by simply uploading a transcript of the video (YouTube will do all the work in terms of putting the captions in the right place).
Uploaded transcripts should in theory be perfect, but how about auto captioning? According to Google:
The captions will not always be perfect … but even when they're off, they can still be helpful—and the technology will continue to improve with time.
Although I haven't tried it out, it seems like the owner of the video can edit the caption files, so there appears to be a means to correct incorrect machine captioning. It'd also be great if this was opened up in some way to crowd source, but that doesn't seem available at this point.

For you English learners, consider yourself lucky to have this tool available to you. For the rest of us, let's keep an eye out for Google expanding this to other languages.

Automatic captions in YouTube [The Official Google Blog]
YouTube Expands Auto-Captioning Program [WebProNews]
YouTube Launches Auto-Captions For All Videos [TechCrunch]