Last month I introduced some techniques and tools for tackling hard-to-remember vocabulary.
My recommended solution for most words that you’ve learnt through your study, conversations or reading is spaced repetition. But most shared decks don’t have audio and if you make your own cards in Anki or elsewhere, how are you supposed to get (free) audio for them and what’s the best way to add the sound to your cards?
How to find free audio
If you already have the word in a recording (eg. as part of an MP3 lesson, podcast or recording of a conversation), you can use a tool like Audacity to edit it and get a clip of just the word you’re learning.
If you don’t or if you’d rather not do it that way, there are online tools you can use to get a recording of your target word.
The website Forvo aims to collect a database of all the words in the world, pronounced by native speakers. The Vietnamese section has over 11,000 words pronounced already.
Just type the word in the search box and if it’s already been pronounced, it will turn up.
If the word you’re looking for is not there already, you can add it to a request list and someone will probably record it within a few days.
- Most common words are already there, pronounced by native speakers.
- You can download an MP3 recording of your target word if you create a (free) account.
- Each word page has a map showing where the person who recorded it is from, so it’s easy to stick to Northern or Southern pronunciations as you wish.
- It’s only single words (including compound words), so it’s no good for adding sentences or short phrases to your cards.
- Because users make and upload their own recordings, the quality can vary and of course not every word is recorded in both Northern and Southern accents.
If you want custom recordings, community site RhinoSpike lets users request audio in exchange for uploading recordings in their native language for other users.
So if you want some sentences recording in Vietnamese, you’ll have to help 3 other users with your language first.
- You can request recordings of anything at all, even some writing you’ve had corrected.
- It’s free.
- It can take a while for someone to record your audio (though you could find and make friends with Vietnamese users to speed this up).
- You have to record or transcribe more than you request.
I usually wait until I have about 10 sentences I want recording and make one request with all of them, asking for a pause between. I then use Audacity to split the sentences in 10 files.
3. Other options
I haven’t used this personally, but here’s another option:
- If you have a large number of cards you want to add audio to and you don’t mind the automated voice of Google Translate, there’s an Anki plugin called AwesomeTTS.
How to add and use audio with Anki cards
So now you have some audio, but how should you use it with your flashcards?
It’s easiest to explain this by a video:
Over to you: Do you find sound is important to help you remember words? Do you ever use audio with flashcards?
Photo credit: mlaiju