RhinoSpike

RhinoSpike is a unique online service where users can submit text to be read aloud by native speakers of 49 different languages, including Japanese. Users can also participate in the site by fulfilling requests for audio themselves. For example, a native Japanese speaker may submit a request for a paragraph of English text to be read aloud. You may then fulfill that request by recording the audio, in English, and upload it to the site.

Visit RhinoSpike →

Pros

  • Free to sign up.
  • Community-based.
  • Get any text you want recorded for free in the language you’re learning (I’m guessing Japanese).
  • Great tool to use in conjunction with Lang-8 (get your journal entries corrected in Lang-8, then get them recorded in RhinoSpike!). One-two punch.

Cons

  • No real method of quality control.

Final Word?

RhinoSpike won’t teach you Japanese, but it’s an excellent tool to have in your arsenal. Learning to listen to a language is just as important as learning to read, write, or speak a language.

In some ways, you’re taking a leap of faith using this service, as you don’t really have a way of guaranteeing that your text is read by someone competent. However, generally speaking the audio seems pretty high quality.

Overall, RhinoSpike is a great way to not only get some experience learning how to listen to and decipher Japanese, but also allows you to get involved with a language learning community as well, meaning you’ll meet other people interested in learning a language too (and you can help each other out!).