Transcribing a podcast- Improve your Mandarin listening Effectively

Here I will introduce you to some useful ways to improve your Chinese listening, from light to intense methods.

School Material Audios

What? It sounds so boring!? Well, it might be, but not quite! Many learners focus TOO MUCH on finding “good”, “interesting” resources for listening practice, while they neglect fundamental practices. When you are learning from Chinese classes or a tutor, no matter you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced level learner, learn from what you’re supposed to be familiar with and speak them well, they will become your stepping stone for the next step of your learning journey.

Take Advantage from Environment

Try to find any possible listening input of Chinese in your daily life. Yes, the key is about it is applicable to your life, easy, natural, and no stress. For example, if there is a Chinese restaurant on the corner of your neighborhood, GO AHEAD, and try to absorb any Chinese listening pieces you can hear from there. If you can create interaction with people there in Chinese, that’s even better! Learning a language shouldn’t always be stressful or sweating. It should be like a breeze and you enjoy it. While you’re seeking hard-core listening materials, why not try to blend this language in your life first, and you might find surprising improvement before you even know it.

Determine what is proper

As I wrote on the home page, quality matters more than quantity, so it’s very important to find the right resource for you, but HOW EXACTLY? You can look for materials by searching:

  1. Specific level you are at
  2. Interested topics
  3. Regular practice that fit in your schedule
  4. Habit you already formed- for example, you are used to read news or cultural instagram posts, however, instead of reading these information in English or your native language, why not try using Mandarin?
  5. Bite-sized input that you can make sure you won’t quit doing it earlier than your study plan

Practice Listening with visual aids

Watch movies, series, dramas, or even Youtube videos are certainly a good way to improve your listening as well because they provide “help” by showing you what’s happening at the moment, it definitely facilitates your listening. But you have to look out for the following:

  • Is it using Modern or Old Chinese style? The difference of the language is very easy to see between a modern style drama and a ancient time style drama. You can definitely watch all kinds of drama for fun, but if you’re aiming to improve your real-life Chinese skill, then choose modern drama!
  • Does it have Chinese subtitles? It is great that if the video provides subtitle in Chinese, so that you can easily look up the words you don’t understand. However, it will be even better if you can try to cover the subtitle, try to focus on listening to it without reading the subtitle.

Listening to Podcasts

Podcasts are perfect for practicing listening since they’re designed specifically for conveying messages by audio-only channels. You can do various practices with your favorite Mandarin podcast:

  1. Shadowing technique:
    Repeat after the native speaker – this is a great method not only for your listening skill but also for your speaking skill(Win-win)! Because when you are trying your best and hoping to imitate it as well as possible, you’ll have to really pay great attention to the details of the language. For example, tones, tone changing, linking sounds, unfamiliar/new words, etc.
  2. Learn deeper by transcribing the podcast:
    Transcribing might sound tedious or intimidating but once you start, you can’t stop liking it! It’s a super technique for improving your listening since, in order to transcribe every word you hear, you’ll have to inevitably repeat many times of a certain part of the episode, but it feels natural cause you’re doing this for “a purpose” – to write down what the speaker said. So when you finish transcribing an episode, you will not only feel a sense of achievement, but also become an expert of words and phrases you didn’t know or unfamiliar with in the beginning.

Inspire Mandarin Learner Group – Transcribing Practice

Since there are more and more listeners learn by transcribing my podcast, I decided to create a learner group to help them grow their listening skill with support!! In this group, we transcribe all the episodes on Inspire Mandarin from 2020-08 ~ 2021-08 (a whole year of episodes!), and it is for FREE! All you need to do is to devote yourself to learning by listening and transcribing. Join the group to learn with transcripts!

How does it work?

  1. Inspire Mandarin Facebook Fanpage
  2. IM Learner Group
  3. You’ll find full transcripts of ep. 1-5 and regular posts about “Scaffolding Transcript” of each episode uploaded in the first year of my podcast! Plus, you’ll also find the pdf. – 6 tips for improving your listening
  4. Practice transcribing each bite-sized portion of one episode, and comment your questions, thoughts, feelings…, and HELP each other learn!
  5. Join iregular live streaming or activity hosted within the group

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