During a break in today’s study session I had the idea for an experiment. I will call it “Parallel Listening” for the lack of a better name for it. The idea behind this experiment is to improve the understanding of Japanese, by having an English track silently translating what has been said in the background.
There is not much material you need in order to try this experiment out by yourself. All you need is audio material in Japanese and English, headphones, and Audacity. After you have everything you need, start Audacity, and import both audio tracks. The Japanese track will be placed on the first channel and the English track on the second. Now you should make sure that the tracks are matching up as closely as possible. Japanese in most cases is spoken faster than English, but you can change the speed for both with a slider, so this shouldn’t be an issue. Next you are going to have to lower the volume of the English track until it becomes barely audible when you are listening to it with your headphones. Those steps will probably involve some trial and error to get it the way you want it. Once you found the best settings, save the file and you are ready to listen.
At best this will work and your understanding of spoken Japanese will skyrocket. At worst you will have wasted a small amount of time trying it out. If you are going to try it, please let me know how it went for you by dropping a comment. Ideas, suggestions, or general comments about it are also always welcome!