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About the Lesson Transcriptions category

In homage to a veteran user named Tal, we have created this forum for anyone interested in coming together and transcribing the ChinesePod lessons.

Many poddies find being able to see a transcript of the lesson podcast very useful. The main purpose of this group is to gather together in one place links to podcast transcripts which diligent poddies have produced and shared.

For a catalogue of all the transcripts done so far, check out this collection of links. For the original group, click here.

I am kind of interested in this because I listen to ChinesePod a lot as general background on my iPod while doing other things, which means I tend to listen to each lesson several times before I recycle it from my playlist. It bothers me that I might hear something so many times without understanding it and not get the benefit of all those repeat listenings.

The problem for me is time. At some point I properly study each lesson, sitting down at my computer and listening through with lots of playbacks until I understand as much as I can. During this process I might add new items to my flashcard program, edit existing ones, or schedule items for retesting. Having gone through the lesson it only takes five minutes to select all of these items from my recent edit history and paste them into the relevant ChinesePod lesson page. The whole process typically takes about forty minutes. I have never tried to transcribe a whole lesson but my guess is I would need a couple of hours, and that is probably being optimistic.

On the other hand, I would be happy to try it as a collaborative effort if anyone else was interested. For example, supposing there were three people interested, a possible division of labour could be one person doing intro and outro, one person doing first dialog through to the middle, and one person doing the bit from the middle to the second dialog. Then we could all help out and try and fill in each other’s gaps.

I wonder what would be the best platform for this? Does this forum software allows such a thing as a thing as a shared post that more than one user can edit? That would be the ideal solution because all the suggested edits would be together in one place in the right order. Does anyone know how the previous group went about it?

After thinking about this a bit more, a possible way to set this up would be using a shared forum account. Someone (read Gwilym) would be responsible for emailing the password to whoever posted on here indicating they were interested. Forum login is obviously linked to the ChinesePod account and log-in system, but I am assuming the Discourse software could also allow a manual log-in screen to work in parallel. With the password any would-be transcribers would also get a link to the log-in page. Whoever wanted to kick off a transcript could post something like this using the shared account:

Lesson Title: Blah Date: Blah Lesson ID:Blah

00:00 **********************************************************

02: 34 **********************************************************

Dialog #1

04: 21 **********************************************************

10: 00 **********************************************************

15: 00 **********************************************************

19: 55 **********************************************************

Dialog # 2

21: 42 **********************************************************

23.01 END

This represents a template of a lesson broken down as near as possible into five minutes slots. Anyone interested in translating one of the slots would log in using the same forum account and put their name in the slot in question to reserve the space. This would avoid people duplicating their efforts. When they have their chunk of the translation done they could paste it over where their name is.

Subsequent users who can fill in a gap (e.g. where the first poster has left pinyin because they aren’t sure what the characters were), or who want to suggest an alternative transcription, could post directly underneath the orginal in a different colour etc.

There is some small chance your session might unexpectedly end because someone else has logged in, but if the account is only used to make these kind of changes and the person making them then promptly logs out, the risk should be quite small (especially considering how CPod users are dispersed across the world’s time zones).

We could of course also use our regular CPod log-ins to leave more general comments underneath, but the transcription would always remain at the top of the thread where it is most useful to other users.

This is just an idea for a “fast and dirty” way to set it up without using any external resources, there might be some technical limitations I haven’t taken into account. For example I am assuming a thread or section of the forum can be configured to continue to allow editing of posts indefinitely without this affecting the general policy for the rest of the forum. This might not be the case.

Good suggestions. I’m not sure what the easiest thing to do is. Obviously something like a collaborative document such as Google Docs (not great for people in China) or Dropbox’s recently released Paper could be used, and linked on the forum. Once a finished version is complete, it could be added to the forum/lesson.

Alternatively, Someone starts off the post with a template such as the one you made, and users reply to topic filling in their 5 minutes of podcast. As the end, the initial post could be updated to include all the revisions. This would soon get quite hard to manage like the old way of doing it.

A single log in is possible (we create a ChinesePod login and share those details, but it would be a hassle for users, who would need to log in and out all the time.

Here are two test links using Google Docs, and Dropbox Paper. I think the google link actually embeds in the forum which is cool. Not sure if it works properly though.

Hi Gwilym
Perhaps you can also provide this link (it’s a little difficult to find from the link you provided):

I was not aware of this post of excellent links. I have updated my original post. Thanks @toianw

Hi, it would be very nice to see the transcription section being revived. I’m still a frequent user of the old transcription docs.

OK, I had a try here. I just wish it had taken me less than three hours, but given that it was the most Chinese I think I have ever written in one go it probably was quite useful practice!

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I did a test edit on your example post and you are right, it is very convenient being able to do that without logging in and out. How did you make it show up on the page itself as opposed to just appearing as a link?

I don’t see any edits. Did you try clicking this google link?

The google document will embed directly if the document is;

  • share link
  • and click File>Publish to Web.

Although I don’t think the embed updates in real time sadly.

Ok, it gave me this…(I’ve pasted the iframe tags it gave me, let’s see if anything shows up…)

On your Nirvana document I see this:

Mine was the first edit with the orange background.

I am definitely interested in doing this and also hoping to find some people interested in discussing Chinese - English translation side of the lesson.

I think Google Docs would be fine for working in a group, but how many people are interested?

Thank you! This looks really useful.

Hi, I was one of the original Transcripts with Tal community back in 2011-2013 (when the bulk of the transcriptions were being done). I haven’t been particularly active on the site in last few years but am trying to pick up again now. The template we used quite successfully back then was to split the lesson down into 30sec slots. Whoever created the transcript page would set up the template by simply posting a marker for each 30 second slot. Then whoever fancied a go at a particular slot would just post a reply to that marker. Helpful other poddies would peer review that 30 sec transcript via further replies to that 30 sec slot. We typically didn’t go as far as producing a final peer reviewed version - but to be honest i always found it helpful to be able to see the peer review comments as they frequently identified errors I’d made or would make. I’d be quite keen to reinvigorate the transcripts group if people are interested. Chris.

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Hi Gwilym,

Happy to transcribe. Please send me something if you wish for me to do this. I can’t imagine it’ll take to long to smash through.


Hi Brian, the category was created so users could continue what they used to do in the past by transcribing harder lessons for practice. Not sure how much interest there is now, but it’s up to you guys what lesson you would like to pick :slight_smile: