LingQs and Computer Games in Target Language
Hi, this thread seems to be a year old already? Well, regardless, I'm not so familiar with Skyrim but I loved Morrowind when I was younger. Honestly, I'm not sold on the idea of learning languages through video games. The density of the spoken language seems to be quite low, especially when compared to other forms of content, e.g. podcasts. But anyhow, I do have a suggestion:
There is one thing that is special about the TES series - the in-game books. I don't have a number, but there might be hundreds. The content is probably be a bit weird, with lots of specialized vocabulary that only makes sense within that world, but if you love the series/lore maybe give it a try?
Fortunately the texts seem to be available online. And since the games have been translated into multiple languages you could cross-check or create bilingual texts etc.
I just googled and found the English texts here:
Here are some in German:
Someone even created an e-reader friendly version from a selection: https://www.elderscrollsportal.de/ressourcen/skyrim-die-gesammelten-werke-epub-und-mob.2341/
As for audio: I'm not aware of an audio version, but you can try to use text-to-speech. I, for example use the Microsoft Edge browser, which has an excellent TTS function inbuilt. To use it click on print lesson and then engage the "immersive reader" in the browser. It goes without saying that this is by no means perfect, it lacks intonation, melody etc., but the pronunciation is basically perfect from what I can say. It surely beats not having audio.
Does TTS really beat not having audio? Idk. TTS for individual words, I find, is great. I haven't used it that much for entire texts. I tried it the other day (the LingQ TTS compiler) and didn't like it very much. As you say, no intonation, melody, etc.. I've recently been going down the Wikipedia rabbit hole, so there's no audio for that. I just found that because I'm a beginner and I am not too familiar with the sounds as it is, it's not good idea. Maybe the Edge browser is better?
Well, I mainly use TTS for Chinese, where reading is challenging in general. Reading without audio is excruciatingly slow. Audio carries me through the text and reduces the cognitive load I think. Natural audio is preferable, but sometimes I import news articles or online posts or at one point I read the constitution... I feel if the text isn't literary it dons't bother me. But people are different of course.
I also used TTS extensively for Romanian. There is very little content available, the beginner stuff by LingQ unfortunately suffers from horrendous audio issues, and then there is basically nothing for the intermediate stages. Audiobooks are available of course but obviously quite advanced. So I tried to bridge that gap by using the TTS mainly on news articles. Today I would do it differently though, and turn the system on its head. That means I would take a podcast, have it transcribed and then import it into LingQ. Once I pick Romanian up again I will try that, but currently I don't have a STT service that supports Romanian. For Chinese I use AWS Transcribe btw.
Ling's TTS system has some issues. I remember I once checked the website source code when LingQ 5 came out and it was surprisingly complex (interestingly the TTS is still not available on the web). If I remember correctly, LingQ uses a variety of TTS providers, Amazon Polly, Google cloud, Google (Android), Apple (iOS), readSpeaker, eSpeak etc. Availability varies depending on language and platform.
I myself am happy with Edge, if you want to give it a try without downloading the browser try: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/cognitive-services/text-to-speech/?cdn=disable#overview you can enter your text in the box, and select a "neural" voice. Another advantage is that this is immediate, it just starts speaking.
It's gotten a lot better.
You could supply your own TTS as well. I've found the site below very good for German. (at least one of the voices). It sounds a bit more natural. You can also throw in your own "tweaks" (never tried this and to me it would take way too much time). Also you are limited to a certain number of words unless you pay. The price seemed pretty reasonable to me, but I had enough content with real audio that I only used it 10-20 times.
One strategy would be to find the cutscenes/'game movie' on YouTube and import it.
Here's the Skyrim one in German:
And the Witcher 3 in German:
These only have auto-generated, which isn't great, but it's alright. Maybe you want to find shorter parts too, instead of importing an 8 hour video..
You probably don't need to study the entire movies. You probably only need to study part of them, until you pick up the specific vocabulary, then just play the game.
Alternatively, for the Witcher, read the books! If you haven't already, you will appreciate the game so much more, if you read the books (ideally first). Or read one or two fantasy books first, then you'll have at least some of the specific, fantasy vocabulary to allow you to play these games.
You can also watch 'Let's play' videos of German on YouTube, if you aren't already. If you study someone else playing the game first (importing into LingQ), then you could play it afterwards. Or maybe after you've watched a few videos, you can play up to the same level. But, again, I imagine, the key is just acquiring the common domain-specific vocabulary, which you'll do mainly at the start. Study the 'Let's play' video series for a month or two first, then you would have been exposed to enough domain-specific words to maybe play on your own.
Here's a Skyrim 'Let's Play' in German:
Seriously though, I think the answer is just to git gud at German and then do it. You already have made a good start in German from what I can see and it won't be long before you will be playing Skyrim in German. The German translation of Skyrim is great. It is great playing games in the target language. I do it all the time. Maybe that can be a motivation for you.
Playing video games in the target language is great. I actually have a suspicion that this is what Steve does with his time and just doesn't want to admit it. I suspect he has already 1000 hours in Elden Ring in Persian. Also, does anybody else think it is suspicious that we have never seen billionaire playboy Steve Kaufmann and gaming superhero Dr DisRepect in the same room together?
Could it be???
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I'm probably a "try hard" but if by any chance you can turn on the subtitles and screen shot them, turn that image into a JPEG. Then use image to text converter (a good one) then paste the text onto a notebook and continue to do this you will eventually have the entire transcript. I do this with chinese manga （漫画）which doesnt have a possible way to highlight the characters。 It takes work but it is super rewarding.
I can't really help with this sorry, I just wanted to say - Wow, great choice of games! Though if I'm being picky, Icewind Dale and Baldurs Gate don't have much spoken audio in them, even in the enhanced editions if I remember right. Something like the Witcher 3 or Divinity 2 would give you heaps of text and audio.
Anyway, I have also been hoping to use games as a way to learn languages, though my level probably isn't quite there yet, at least for these types of games. I would also love to know if there was some method of extracting the scripts or finding them online somewhere and importing them into Lingq.
Check out this! If only I could find this for the German version. https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/pc/615805-the-elder-scrolls-v-skyrim/faqs/69918
Someone has put the entire script online! What an amazing resource for English language learners. I might make a video about this.
If only there was a way to access the game files somehow. :/