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StChris

Chinese News Website With Audio

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StChris

I just thought I'd share a news website I recently discovered called Tingwen. 

 

http://tingwen.me/

 

It basically just contains a series of short news stories, complete with audio. Here's why a like it:

1. Each news story is very short (normally 10-20 lines of text), so you should be able to read at least one a day, no matter how busy you are.

2. Each story comes with its own audio read by a native speaker in clear and standard Mandarin (although the background music might be off putting to some).

3. There are a lot of articles every day (I counted over 50 just for today), covering a range of subjects, from technology to politics, so there should be something here to interest everyone.

4. The website itself is very clean and tidy, and the articles are written in a nice large font (not the mess of pop-up adds and tiny fonts you get with many other Chinese websites)

 

All in all, it's quite similar to The Chairman's Bao website, albeit without the separate HSK levels and learning support. So long as you're confident enough in your Chinese to be able to handle native materials by yourself, then I think this site is really useful for improving your news-related reading and listening skills.

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zander1

Fantastic resource thank you! My reading is still not good enough to handle native-level news items but this is definitely something I will return to in the future.

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StChris

Actually, the articles are so small that you could go through one a day looking up the vocab without having to spend too much time on it (I used to spend almost two hours on a single newspaper article a couple of years back, which can get very tiring). Of course, Chairman's Bao might be a better choice, as they different levels of difficulty.

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somethingfunny

Also, theoretically, as the material is classified according to type (politics, economics etc) you could focus on just one type and the same kind of vocabulary should keep coming up.

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imron
3 hours ago, StChris said:

Each story comes with its own audio read by a native speaker in clear and standard Mandarin

I listened to a couple of articles and they sound more like they are text-to-speech recordings rather than read by a native speaker.  See for example here and here.

 

Still a good resource though.

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somethingfunny

You're right!  I knew there was something fishy going on.  But it does seem that some of them are actually read by real people.  See here.

 

This may require more investigation when its not dinner time.

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imron

On their 合作伙伴 page they list a major TTS provider (iFlytek) and another company AISPEECH, so I would say TTS definitely plays some role.

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StChris

Now that you point it out, it really does seem that they are TTS recordings. If so then wow, TTS technology is already much more advanced than I realised (when I think of TTS, I just have Stephen Hawking's voice in my head).

 

It seems that every author each has their own voice, rather than just having one single computer voice for the whole site. I watched a programme a few weeks ago where the actress from a TV show called Humans had a replica of herself android made. One of the tasks she had to do was to speak a few hundred (or thousand) words and sentences into a microphone and the computer was able use that relatively small sample to create a model of her voice. It could then say pretty much anything in her voice. Is it likely that the journalists here did the same?

 

Although things do occasionally slip into "uncanny valley" territory, each voice really seems to keep it's own personality. If this really is a computer, then I have to say I am very, very impressed. Although I'll withdraw the "native speaker" part, I'll stick with the "clear and standard Mandarin" description. Even if these recordings are the product of TTS software, I'm still quite happy to listen to them.

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imron

It seems like a mix of real and TTS recordings.  I agree that the recording you link to sounds very good and doesn't immediately seem to have the tell-tale signs of TTS that some of the other recordings do.

 

TTS would definitely help explain how they can do 50 articles a day.

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