Voice input test

Barry

举人
I think it would be very useful if it could be Voice input test in flashcard tests. I think even as Add-on people would buy it.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Hard to offer as a paid add-on because we make a point out of having all of those work offline and there isn't a robust offline Chinese STT library for us to license.

We do already support voice input for free using the systems built into Android and iOS, the main issue there is that there isn't currently a way to get pinyin out of those - only characters, and they aren't necessarily stressing about whether the tones in the characters they return exactly match those in what the person said.

(we are hoping post-4.0 to invest some more time in developing our own machine learning models for things, though, now that we're living in an era where anybody can do that + run them at real-time speed on a phone)
 

Barry

举人
We do already support voice input for free using the systems built into Android and iOS, the main issue there is that there isn't currently a way to get pinyin out of those - only characters, and they aren't necessarily stressing about whether the tones in the characters they return exactly match those in what the person said.
Yes, I see voice input in Pleco Android, but unfortunately I can't use voice input in any kind of flashcard tests.

IMHO, even if at some of the flashcard tests would be possible use this voice input (even with problematic tone recognition),
it already would be great help for oral practicing.
 

Shun

状元
I like this idea. Perhaps you could try deleting the Full-screen Handwriting Add-on (you should always be able to reinstall it), and then do a Fill-in-the-blanks test using the iOS/Android Speech-to-Text dictation engine. As an added exercise, you should be able to pick the right Hanzi word if there are multiple words with the same pronunciation.
 

mikelove

皇帝
Staff member
Maybe for now it would be easier to just do something with audio capture, i.e. we record you saying it and then we play back the correct version followed by your version and you can grade yourself?
 

Barry

举人
Hmm... it's not perfect, but yes, it will help.

Yes, I think even as Add-on it will be fine.
 

Barry

举人
For me personally this kind of speech test in flashcards will also be of great help. Though my Chinese vocabulary is huge, oral practice is a burning issue.
And I am sure I am not the only one with this problem.
 

Shun

状元
As my pronunciation is quite impeccable, I am not part of that group, though I can still see the usefulness of such a feature. But, as Mike will also tell you, you have to be aware that there are hundreds of feature requests on the To-Do list, among them many good ones, and a single programmer who also has to keep the current app compatible with the newest iOS/Android releases at the same time. (According to Mike, that alone takes a couple of months off each year.)

I recommend that you get creative in the meantime. Why not take any Chinese text of your proficiency level and try to dictate the whole thing into your device? That way, you will also quickly see what is understood by the engine and what isn't.

Also, if you have good recordings of all Chinese syllables in different tones from language textbooks, repeating these until you see an improvement is basically the most effective thing you can do. If you like, I can recommend which textbook's recordings I used a long time ago.
 

Weyland

举人
Maybe for now it would be easier to just do something with audio capture, i.e. we record you saying it and then we play back the correct version followed by your version and you can grade yourself?
The Chinese app “普通话学习” does exactly that, albeit it's completely in Chinese this latest function they've added is usable [Link to Chinese Forums] for people who's Chinese is just about good enough to distinguish 人 and 入. It's just that people aren't that interested in perfecting their pronunciation until it's too late. It's worth checking out, as well for


oral practice is a burning issue.
See what I've written above.


... if you have good recordings of all Chinese syllables in different tones from language textbooks, repeating these until you see an improvement is basically the most effective thing you can do.
No longer. Check out what I wrote above.
 

Shun

状元
Hi Weyland,

it's nice to hear that your app works well, but do you have to be in China/have an active Chinese SIM card to run it for the first time? Does the app offer any clues on how to make the sounds (detailing the tongue position, aspiration, and so on), or does it just play the sound from a native speaker and then check your pronunciation? I think the main thing are very good recordings that are very clear and thus give you a lot of clues on how to imitate them. The New Practical Chinese Reader has such recordings, and it also includes clear written instructions on how to produce all the sounds in its first volume.

You're right about people who don't correct their bad pronuncation early on and then have a hard time improving it after a couple of years. That can be a problem.

Have a nice evening,

Shun
 

Weyland

举人
Hi Weyland, ...
All your answers are written in linked Forum post.

Yes, you need a Chinese phone number. But, you only need it once so you could get a temporary/burner number.
Yes, it shows how to make the sounds. By picture, though the short explanation (which is just extra) is in Chinese).
Yes, the played sound is by a native speaker. As it's a Chinese app. And said native speaker has the highest credentials (一甲).
 
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