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I made a tool for improving listening ability for numbers


I made this for myself, but some might find it useful. I found that the ability to listen to chinese numbers is not really something covered by learning resources, so I decided to make my own.

It’s a spreadsheet that randomly generates numbers of any size that you chose (up to 10 digits), which you can then paste into google translate and have it read them out to you in Chinese, so you can listen and see if you got it right. Obviously you need to try to stop yourself from peeking at the numbers when copying and pasting. It works really well for me (though I’m only up to 3 or 4 digits myself), so hopefully others might find it useful too.

Any suggestions are welcome. Hopefully downloading a spreadsheet over dropbox works fine for you, if not, let me know

Operation demonstration:


In this example, i have it set to generate numbers from 1 to 6 digits. You then copy and paste the blue portion into google translate, like this:


You then hit the speaker button and it reads them out in rapid fire. Press the speaker button twice more and it will read them slower. I try to write the numbers down on paper as it’s reading them out. For me it can be very challenging, let me know your thoughts!

You could also use it for generating numbers for you to try and figure out how to say of course, doesn’t have to be just for listening!


Interesting, and thanks for sharing. There is an iOS app called Chinese Number Trainer that seems quite unique in what it does, which may also be of interest.


I tried it and it worked. Clever. Actually you have it written to accommodate a maximum of nine digits, not ten. Also, I wasn’t able to get Google translate to read more slowly, but I am probably doing something wrong that I can figure out (eventually). . . . . . and I got it! I was using Google Translate in a browser window. After I clicked “open in Google Translate” the audio button worked as you described. (click a second time to slow down).


Well I’m glad you had some success :slight_smile: It can be easily changed to accomodate 10 or more digits if need be.

Also, I checked out the Chinese Number Trainer app, not quite what I was looking for, but an interesting idea.


Nice thinking. I tried it just now, and saw an interesting aspect of Google Translate: if you click on it repeatedly it reads at a normal pace once, then slowly once, then back to normal.

The Chinese section of Google Translate has been interesting to watch over the past couple of years. At first, it was apparently the GoogleTrans dictionary operating with a small amount of human intervention. That went from utterly lousy to reasonably competent over maybe fall 2014 through spring 2017. Then sometime this year they switched to full AI, with users requested to supply better translations. If you offer them an improved translation they then put you through to a utility/app which uses you to tune the AI.

As earlier, this huge kludge started out terrible and has improved rapidly. It seems to me to be plateauing a bit in the last month or two, but this is a totally unreliable impression, and I shall continue to watch with interest, using it, with some scepticism, all the while.