Using Assimil? Testers wanted for new software prototype...

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Cainntear
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Using Assimil? Testers wanted for new software prototype...

Postby Cainntear » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:30 pm

Hi all,

I'm in the process of knocking together a simple prototype app to help make better use of the audio CDs that accompany the Assimil courses.

If you're going to be spending a lot of time working with an Assimil course in the first half of this year and are interested in hearing more, please drop me a PM and I'll send on more information and maybe even a link to a proof-of-concept prototype app.

Thanks for your time!
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Re: Using Assimil? Testers wanted for new software prototype...

Postby Stefan » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:01 pm

I'm interested. I'm still trying to turn my course into an Anki deck but it's a lot of work.
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Re: Using Assimil? Testers wanted for new software prototype...

Postby emer1ca » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:02 pm

You can count me in as well.

I'm using the Assimil method along with the MP3 files as my main learning material. I'm curious to hear what you're offering. 8-)
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Re: Using Assimil? Testers wanted for new software prototype...

Postby Bex » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:49 am

I'd be very interested. I'm using Assimil for shadowing at the moment.

Count me in!
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Re: Using Assimil? Testers wanted for new software prototype...

Postby Adrianslont » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:35 am

I’m interested. I guess this doesn’t have to be a particular language? And would it work with Using as well as With Ease?
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Re: Using Assimil? Testers wanted for new software prototype...

Postby Cainntear » Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:55 pm

emer1ca wrote:You can count me in as well.

I'm using the Assimil method along with the MP3 files as my main learning material. I'm curious to hear what you're offering. 8-)


Sorry to have taken so long to get back to you – I let a few things get on top of me and my little coding project slipped. Here’s a basic summary of what I’m doing:

I know several people on HTLAL used to talk about how they would split up the Assimil audio files in Audacity to allow them to listen to just the dialogues or just the exercises. I always liked the idea, but it always seemed too much work (Audacity lets you automate repetitive work through scripting, but it’s not straightforward) and the fact that you can’t legally share your work with others means lots of people doing the same thing and lots of time wasted.

What I’ve been knocking together is a simple web-browser-based app that lets you quickly mark out where the different parts of the files are. You will be able to work at the level of individual lessons, but also build up the full course as a single file.

Because the file will contain no data taken directly from the audio files, it shouldn’t breach copyright to distribute it, as it will be useless without the original audio.

I’ve got the logging of times working fine, and it’ll be very simple to get the page letting you play (for example) any dialogue by number, a random dialogue from a range, etc etc.

The next step will be to write a simple program that will take the data collected by the web-page and use it to split the audio into segments, so that you can put just the dialogues on your MP3 player, or turn the L2→L1 translation exercise prompts into cards to import into Anki (or similar). (These audio files will be for your personal use, so legal in most places. It is not my intention that you share these.)

I am trying to create a sensible, logical file format for this so that anyone who develops language apps can use the data generated easily.

The reason I want to do this is that I’ve seen loads of great ideas for apps and algorithms, but they always end up dead and forgotten about because the creator doesn’t have access to enough content, and an algorithm isn’t much use without content to run it on. I want innovators to be able to take material that customers have already bought and paid for and help them get the most value out of it.

I’m starting with Assimil, but in the longer term I intend to make it generally applicable. The reasons for doing Assimil first are simple:
1) there aren’t many single brands as well-regarded on this forum
2) the audio files are almost entirely content (no filler) so you get the most material at the lowest time commitment
3) the audio files have a completely regular structure. Every recording starts with the lesson number, then the name of the lesson, then the dialogue (twice), then “exercise: translate” followed by 6 prompts in the target language
4) the target-language-only audio style means that there are no regional variations, so the timings are the same regardless of which base language you are learning from and therefore more people will benefit from it.

I’ll be releasing the software as open source, but I’m considering setting up a website to host the files (timings only, of course – no audio will be shared) and enable people to collaborate proactively in processing entire courses quickly. I’m going to order an Assimil superpack in Russian so that I can look into how timings on the CDs match with those on the MP3s, but in the meantime you’d be looking at either CD or MP3.

I have a couple of relatively pressing matters to attend to in the next few days, but I should be working on the software again very shortly, so I should be able to provide a prototype in a week or two.

Again, very sorry for going quiet on you, and hopefully things should start moving shortly.

Regards,
Niall (Cainntear)
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Re: Using Assimil? Testers wanted for new software prototype...

Postby Stefan » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:38 pm

You're aware that the CD contains sliced MP3s (one file for each sentence) with the TL meta data? You can open them up in Mp3tag and basically export them as Anki-compatible cards with a few clicks. As long as you stay with English as the source language, I would assume the time consuming part is entering the translation into your computer. I did the mistake of using German -> French before knowing that the German book sliced the sentences differently.
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Re: Using Assimil? Testers wanted for new software prototype...

Postby Cainntear » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:49 pm

Stefan wrote:You're aware that the CD contains sliced MP3s (one file for each sentence) with the TL meta data? You can open them up in Mp3tag and basically export them as Anki-compatible cards with a few clicks. As long as you stay with English as the source language, I would assume the time consuming part is entering the translation into your computer. I did the mistake of using German -> French before knowing that the German book sliced the sentences differently.

Ah... I did not.
:oops:

Slightly embarrassing.

Oh well... back to the drawing board.

That said, Assimil was just a convenient means of doing a proof-of-concept for something more general.

So... the question is... are any/many of you still using just the CDs? Is this likely to be useful anyone at the moment, or should I just go on to the more general thing for now?
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Cainntear
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Re: Using Assimil? Testers wanted for new software prototype...

Postby Cainntear » Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:29 am

The original idea was triggered by trying to use Peace Corps and FSI materials and wanting an easy way to split them. I realised as I was starting on it that Assimil was an easier target (just so happens that my sister wanted to borrow my copy of Assimil Catalan, which made me realise it was an easy first target).
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Re: Using Assimil? Testers wanted for new software prototype...

Postby jeff_lindqvist » Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:37 am

Cainntear wrote:3) the audio files have a completely regular structure. Every recording starts with the lesson number, then the name of the lesson, then the dialogue (twice), then “exercise: translate” followed by 6 prompts in the target language


First of all, not every lesson follows this format. The dialogue is repeated only for the first week (or two), so at most 6+6 lessons (not including day 7 and 14 which either has nothing except a message, e.g. "Keine Aufnahme für diese Lektion"; or a bunch of sentences for you to translate). Some courses don't repeat the dialogue but rather the lines one by one (at two speeds).

This is based on my generation of courses (1990s?), New [Language] With Ease - one book + 4 CDs. No mp3 disc in sight in the sets I have (German, Spanish, French and Chinese vol 1 and 2).
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