Foreign Language Transcription for Learning Listening Skills

Transcription is simply listening to a speech and converting it into a written document. It involves listening to a live or recorded voice speech and writing by hand or typing it out. Transcription skills are essential in the medical, legal and academic fields for recording important information. For example, a legal transcription requires someone that can reproduce a text verbatim during a legal proceeding. As you can imagine, this requires the transcriber to possess excellent listening, typing and proofreading skills because there is no room for error in such a situation.

Foreign language transcription is a powerful enhancer of listening skills. As a learner, transcription will help you master things like accents, contractions and technical jargon. Many foreign language students have testified to listening and learning better after using the transcription technique.

The great thing about transcribing a foreign language is that it is an all-rounded method of learning a language; as it actively involves reading, writing, listening and speaking – all four language skills. It’s better than just listening to recordings. After all, you hardly zone out because you are busy writing. Here are more reasons why transcribing a foreign language may be your ticket to becoming fluent in as little time as possible. You will:

Understand Native Voices At Normal Speaking Speed.

It is better to practise a particular language using audio materials prepared using normal speaking speed rather than using material that is slowed down and ‘perfect’. In real life, native speakers are more likely to speak faster, use unique sounds and vocabulary, and have a regional accent. Accents with variations from the standard pronunciation can be tough to understand at first. For example, French has around 28 different regional dialects. You can try taking on transcription exercises that are as diverse as possible.

You could try transcribing movies with Parisian actors, a podcast from Marseille, or a newscast with an Alsatian reporter to get used to the different French dialects. Helping your brain get used to such aspects of a new language will save you the pain of asking someone to keep repeating themselves.

Learn Vocabulary In Their Different Contexts.

In a real conversation, this skill will help you understand the thread of a conversation. If you catch a word that is new to you, you can guess the correct meaning without having to look it up in a dictionary. For example, many languages use widely accepted contractions which you will have to learn along the way.

Contractions help to maintain a flowing language conversation. In the English language, ‘don’t’ and ‘can’t’ are some examples. Some words also have multiple meanings. For example, the word ‘piano’ in Italian may mean ‘gently and quietly’, or it may refer to ‘something smooth and flat’. Transcribing a foreign language will introduce your brain to the vast variations of words used in different scenarios, which is actually how complicated real-life conversations are.

Understand Sentence Structures That Are Unique To Your Foreign Language.

Transcription exercises will sharpen your listening skills by helping you master different sentence structures and their applications. Becoming fluent in a foreign language requires you to properly understand simple, compound, complex and compound-complex sentences and their correct use. This will help you converse more smoothly. Real-life conversations with a native speaker are usually varied, with the majority of sentences being complex.

Moreover, the written language may be different from the voice language. For example, in the case of Arabic, Japanese and Chinese, an intuitive understanding of the letters and their corresponding sounds will help you become fluent in a very short time. The process of repeatedly listening to audio and writing down what you’ve heard will enable your brain to relate different letters with their correct sounds.

Bonus Tip

Hand writing a foreign language audio or video makes it easier for you to express your thoughts and retain information. Moreover, memorising a foreign language keyboard may waste a lot of time. Also, transcription alone won’t help you become fluent overall. Reading, writing, listening and speaking should be studied independently and rigorously to grow holistically. As a foreign language student, make time for sharpening each skill to get quick results. As you decide to major in transcription, remember to make time for reading books, writing essays or practising your speaking with a native speaker.

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