What bugs me a little bit about the phrasebooks is that they do not utilise the full potential of the internet. Right now they have the same function as their printed counterparts. I think it would be a lot cooler if instead telling somebody in writing how a word or letter is pronounced in a certain language we could make them listen.
I'm no techie, but I have a mike floating around here somewhere and feel confident that I could record a few words in German (and maybe Russian) with a program like Windows Audiorecorder. I would only need to know in which format the file is supposed to be in (and maybe what program to use to get the desired format).
Since it would only be a few words or one sentence I think it would be easiest to store the audiofiles on TP servers and embed them - similar to the pictures.
Sorry for not responding sooner Maria.... I saw this when it was posted, but then weekend got in the way It is a good idea, but the really hard thing is to make sure the sound quality would be the same when recorded by different people in different scenarios. I think that would be nearly impossible to control. Then again, like you say, the internet is just begging for something like this to set it apart from print!!
What do others think of the idea?!
I actually like the idea. (I waited until someone of authority commented with either aye or nay.) I agree it would be hard to control, especially when it comes to the quality. But, considering the number of members we have, there may be a small group who would be willing to review the tracks as long as they were in one standard format. Would that be any different than those who agree to be Mods or review photos? (Serious question.)
Personally, I know I am much better at learning a word, phrase or even a language when there is audio support. TP would like to be the first travel-related site with a book review section. Why not an audio phrase book section? I nominate Maria as coordinator. Okay - she's already volunteered to contribute so I nominate her #1 contributor. It would take some definite thought and work. I think we have members up for the challenge if they can use the same software.
Isa now backs away from the keyboard...
but the really hard thing is to make sure the sound quality would be the same when recorded by different people in different scenarios. I think that would be nearly impossible to control.
I think this is where the strength of the wiki kicks in.
There are good and bad pictures under "photography", if I pick a bad one and include it in the wiki (because there is no other picture of that location uploaded at the time) somebody else can come along, edit the article and include another, better picture that was uploaded since then.
Same could be done with the soundfiles: Crappy soundfiles just won't be linked to from the wiki.
All we have to agree on is the format in which the sound should be recorded and which program(s) to use. Does anybody in the know have some recommendations?
To me it looks like the hardest will be the coding on your end: enabling people to upload sound files instead of photos, imbedding the soundfiles (and a player for the sound?) into the wiki code, making sure the soundfiles only play when you click on the word, etc.
EDIT: What is more, this feature could give some more function to the travel articles. I am no fan of photos, but I have made some sound recordings over the years. Especially from my trip to Israel I got about 60 min of tape floating around: recordings of traditional songs (my friend's grandma singing), the cries of the merchants in the markets (Grapes as sweet as your eyes lady, oranges 1 kilo 4 shekel, buy my bananas sir, very good and very cheap pineapple, etc), the constant honking of cars in Ramallah, people shooting kalashnikovs at a wedding, ... You get the drift. It would be cool if people could upload something like that to the wiki too instead of just pictures.
[ Edit: Edited on 11-Nov-2009, at 17:37 by t_maia ]
It gets a bit more complicated when you start taking into account different accents and dialects. Go into Peru with an Andalucian accent, and your Spanish might not be understood. I love this idea. Would work better if whomever submits the sound bite includes what region the particular accent is from.