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Chinese Podcasts (w/ transcripts?)


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Thanks Woliveri, this is indeed a great link with many videos (more than one hundred) from different speakers (57 from all over China - which means different accents - great for training!), speaking quite naturally (all the speakers are Chinese business men - not teachers). Contents mostly focus on business topics. :)

One question : does anybody know how to convert video MP4 (what we get from this website) to MP3 (more convinient to listen) ?

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Dude, that link is indeed brilliant. ChinesePod or someone needs to take the idea/structure of those interviews and run with them. With some video, good actors, and that convenient text box to follow along on, this would be a big step forward for them and might actually keep me awake beyond their snooze-button introductions.

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does anybody know how to convert video MP4 (what we get from this website) to MP3?

Try "SUPER" - it's free & seems to work very well for me (although googling it other people sometimes seem to have difficulties).

You just need to choose MP3 for the "output container" (first drop down box, top left) - that'll switch off the video encoding (? :conf) automatically.

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trouble is that I just cannot find in their superb webpage (which explains that SUPER is the best sofware ever) where to download the stunning free programm !

There's an explanation here.

Sure it wasn't that difficult when I tried it. If you do succeed, please let us know how the latest version performs - I've got an old version, but I've seen posts mentioning one version watermarks the converted video, which is strongly discouraging me from updating... (This doesn't matter if you just want to rip the sound of course)

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Thanks. I used the link given by Gato and it works well. The software is indeed pretty efficient. Just need to drop the MP4 files in the box at the bottom + select "MP3" for the "output countainer" (at the top left) - and then you get all the MP3 directly in C: folder.

Which means that I can listen this huge amount of texts with my MP3 players. :lol:

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德国之声 has, I've just found, transcripts of at least the news parts of its broadcasts, cunningly disguised as articles. Click here. Then look for the first 晨间节目 in the list, click it and then hit the 晨间节目 link on the right hand side. The first minute or two is introduction, but hold on and you'll get the announcer basically reading out the news in front of you. They don't (perhaps thankfully) have the entire hour long program, just the news snippets at the start. Also, the written version and the spoken one don't match entirely, but they're pretty damned close. 仅仅 instead of 仅, the odd missing sentence*, that kind of thing.

I'm not sure if those links on the right and the stories update completely in step, but it's working just now. You can also get 德国之声 on iTunes. It's been mentioned here and elsewhere previously, but having those transcripts will presumably increase value to a lot of people quite significantly.

Incidentally, is the above site available in China? Given some of the content I wouldn't be surprised if it isn't.

*Usually the missing sentences are the ones with words I just can't quite catch :tong

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Incidentally, is the above site available in China? Given some of the content I wouldn't be surprised if it isn't.
It's been banned for somewhat over a year now, I think. Back then, they were extremely delighted - not only did somebody notice them, but even considered their content important enough to warrant a ban.
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Given today's very interesting piece on the differences between the 保守派 and 改革派 within the Party and the suggestion that if they don't want to abandon communist rule they could perhaps have a Party 1 and Party 2 so people can at least have some kind of choice, I'm not that surprised they're banned.

Do you know these people, Gougou? They have a presence in Beijing, yes? If you do buy them a drink on my behalf.

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  • 8 months later...

Have just found that at least some of the BBC's China Reel content is transcribed online - I haven't actually done a full check to see how much is there and how accurate the transcriptions are, but you may want to have a look. Eg:

This article (list) matches up at the start at least with the podcast from April 11 you can get from here, from about one minute in.

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  • 4 months later...

Reviews of chinesepod alternatives. The scale is (1) to (4), (4) being the best. These are downloadable language learning podcasts only. Unless otherwise stated, I tried only 1 intermediate podcast before I reviewed, and there was material available at levels above and below the lesson I chose.

Modular Podcasts

These podcasts are independent, meaning they can be listened to in any order. Just find a level that suites you, and choose one.


(4) 600+ podcasts. Beijing based. Unlike chinesepod, the intermediate lessons are quite comprehensible, meaning they explain most of the non-beginner vocabulary in the dialogues, and use mostly beginner vocabulary in their explanations. Unfortunately, the dialogues are a little slow. But the majority of the podcasts, the explanations, are normal speed. All Mandarin. Sound quality generally good, although occasionally just fair. The lesson I listened to was about 8 min. Free transcripts.


(3) Very comprehensible essays read by April. Faster than I'm used to, but speed doesn't present nearly as much challenge as unknown vocab. So I feel like the one I listened to was intermediate. All Mandarin. Sound quality low, hence the lower rating. The lesson I listened to was about 5 min. Transcripts for sale.


(1) 6 beginner podcasts. Good sound, not much content. Free pinyin transcripts.


(4) 200+ intermediate podcasts. Based in Tianjin, China. Quite comprehensible. Except for the occasional single english word translation, all Mandarin. Sound quality good, although just fair in some of the older lessons. The first lesson I completed was about 20 min. Free transcripts.


(1) This has a lot of potentially good material, including some advanced stuff. One bad thing was frequent over-pronouncing of tones. But what makes it all worthless to me is the terrible sound quality. Free transcripts.


(3) These are short essays on various subjects given by various speakers. Of the three I checked out, 2 were intermediate, 1 was elementary. I gave them a slightly lower rating because of the inconsistent level, shortness, and so-so sound quality. On the up side, here is some more variety, with lots of different voices. All Mandarin. Sound quality medium-low. 3-5 minutes. Free transcripts.


(3) 80 podcasts. The two I tried were too advanced for me. The music they play in the background actually interferes a bit. All Mandarin. Sound quality low due to music. 10 minutes. Free transcripts.


(3) Brand new site(judging from forum). About 100 podcasts so far. Total knock-off of chinesepod as far as website goes. Content is quite different. It's video based, but mp3's are available. You can watch without joining, but must join to download (mp3s free with free membership). For the intermediate lessons I watched, there was a long 1-man video before the dialect, line for line translation, first english, then mandarin. Then comes the 2 women, or man/woman dialect. Explanation via line for line translation. Then the dialect 3 times. Sound quality medium-low(hence the lower rating). 15-20 minutes total. Free transcripts (must join though).

Progressive Podcasts

Listening order matters with these podcasts. Especially in the early lessons, these are not pure listening practice. They contain drills, build off themselves, and have a well structured plan to take someone from beginner to advanced.


(4) 250+ podcasts, divided into 5 levels. Taiwan Based. Some rehearsed banter, some repetition drills. Some english in level 3, but no english in the level 4 lesson I listened to. In both cases, the lesson starts with a dialogue, thoroughly analyses it, then repeats it. Sound quality excellent. 10 to 20+ min. Free pinyin transcripts for all lessons, and 4 free complete transcripts per level.


(4) These are about 120 lessons, 1 being the easiest, 120 the hardest. I tried 50 and 100. The lead man is european, not native chinese or english speaker. But he has a very nice chinese accent, far better than John on chinesepod. The lead woman is native chinese. Lesson 50 was a really good elementary lesson, but too easy for me. Lesson 100 was a very good match for me. The lesson starts with a dialogue, thoroughly analyses it, then repeats it. There were some repetition drills. The man over-pronounces sometimes, and there was a little more english explanation than I care for, but not too bad. Sound quality high. Lesson 100 was about 20 min. Transcripts for sale.

Text Book Podcasts


(4) Recording files from the David and Helen in China textbook. Developed in the US. 18 lessons. Each lesson has separate mp3 files for vocabulary, a dialogue, vocab sample sentences, grammar patterns, an essay, and listening comprehension questions. All Mandarin. Sound quality good. Files are about 2-3 min each. Free transcripts.

Edited by leosmith
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Does anybody have any experience with these, or can specifically recommend one that has good upper-intermediate and advanced content?

I don't, but I'll start my research tonight. I spoke to one of the "stars" of the first one on my list about a year ago, and she said they were the 2nd most popular cpodcast (2nd to chinesepod of course).

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Does anybody have any experience with these ...

http://www.chineselearnonline.com/ (CLO) – All their podcasts and some online resources are free (e.g., dialogue transcript in pinyin and course outline with mouseover translations). This, by itself, is a pretty good deal, but I subscribed to this site in their early days and am presently still a paying subscriber. They have the best progressive lessons coupled with the most complete transcripts that I’ve ever found anywhere to date. Their lessons start at the newbie level and are currently at maybe low-intermediate (depending on how you rate these things). If you’re not above their level, then you’re in luck. If you’re over their level, then you should keep your eye on them because they will eventually catch up with you.

http://learningmandarinpod.blogspot.com/ – These are some great (and free) culture-oriented podcasts by April. If you want the transcript that goes with it, you just have to pay $1 for each.

http://www.clavisinica.com/voices.html -- The “Voices” project has the best audio essays that I’ve found. They’re completely free, along with a character transcript of each recording.

http://english.cri.cn/chinese/ – CRI has two excellent series for the beginner to elementary levels: Learn Chinese Now (LCN) and Chinese Studio. Both are free, progressively-based, 5 minute audio lessons with html transcripts. LCN is an example of how it’s possible to have a progressive course, with scripted lines, and still sound entertaining (or at least, I think so). The only problem is that some lessons appear to be missing, which is a great pity.

Those are some of the best. The award for the worst I've found goes to:

www.publicchinese.com, which I tried when they were just starting. At the time, it seemed like a pale imitation of ChinesePod. There was a “Ken” and a “Jenny” by any other name. This “Ken & Jenny” couple sounded, in the early lessons, as if they were struggling with each other. It was also a struggle to download their lessons and not really worth it. They’ve been around for a while, now, so someone might want to check them out to see how they’ve progressed (that is, only if you can manage to download some free sample podcasts).

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