How to Boost Your Listening Skills with Interactive Video Transcripts
- You can click on any part of the transcript and then listen to that part of the video
- The words are highlighted as they are spoken
- You can use the ctrl + F function to find specific words or expressions and listen to them
Unfortunately, although they seem to be improving, the automatic YouTube captions generally contain errors. Once you’ve found a video with human-generated subtitles, click ‘more’ underneath the video and then click ‘transcript’.
Now you can see the interactive transcript. The bold text indicates the words being spoken at a particular moment in the video.
The interactive transcript is not the same thing as the subtitles that appear on the video. To show the subtitles, you need to click on the ‘cc’ button on the video screen.
Find videos with human-generated subtitles that you want to watch
Planned presentations vs spontaneous interviews
To practise conversational English and prepare yourself for conversations in the real world, search for an interview with a TED speaker where they are speaking spontaneously. A really interesting exercise would be to compare the way the speaker pronounces words in a TED talk compared to an off the cuff interview. You could use the search function I mentioned above to find different examples.
Veronika at doyouspeakfreedom.com has written a lovely article about life changing TED talks. I searched for some interviews at Talks at Google with the same speakers. You could compare for instance, Dan Ariley’s talk about work with his unplanned Talks at Google interview. Compare and contrast the way Dan Ariely speaks in the two versions. What do you notice?
All the TED talks are also available on the TED YouTube channel. If you are particularly motivated, you could put the videos above into a tool like TubeChop and compare how certain words and expressions are pronounced in the two versions. Here is a link to Dan Ariely’s talk, What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work? on YouTube.
Video Transcripts # 3: ELLLO
ELLLO or English Listening Lesson Library Online offers a variety of audio and video material. You can choose to show or hide the transcript as you listen. As you know, I recommend listening without the transcript first and then using the transcript as a way to identify your difficulties. What I love about this site is the wide variety of accents, both native and non-native to listen to, plus the English is generally conversational: natural, fluid and spontaneous rather than planned.
Video transcripts # 4: Simple English Videos
Video transcripts #5: British Council Learning English
If you’ve enjoyed today’s post, please share it with other learners who want to improve their listening skills. Make sure you also sign up for my free e-guide: Understand Conversational English to find more websites and YouTube channels where you can practise your listening skills, discover activities to help you listen better and organise your independent listening work. Do you have any questions, reflections or comments on today’s post? Please let me know in the comments. Thanks!
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