10 Ways to Use a Transcript to Improve Your Listening Skills

Mar 31, 2017 | Tech for listening | 4 comments

Transcripts are powerful tools. More powerful than you might imagine.


One of the problems of the spoken language is that once the words have left someone’s mouth, they’re gone. The only trace is what you managed to catch through your ears and transform into meaning.


But, with a transcript, you’ve got a written record of those spoken traces. And if you know how to use them right, transcripts will turn you into a listening superhero.


So, you’ve finally found a podcast with a transcript – now what? Apart from reading along as you listen to the episode, what can you do?


  • You can preview and check the vocabulary in the podcast
  • You can do activities to improve your pronunciation and speaking
  • You can find out which of the words and expressions in the podcast you need to learn
  • You can do activities to train your ear and catch all the details


You can do tasks you would normally do with texts or audio. And then combine them so they become extra effective.


That’s why in this podcast, you’ll discover ten tips to transform your listening with a transcript. You’ll come up with more ideas I’m sure. And I hope to hear some of them in the comments. In fact, there are thousands of things you could do with transcripts that will improve your speaking, listening, reading and writing.


Today, though, we’re focusing on the listening part and a little about pronunciation. Try out these tips by downloading the sample chapters of my audiobooks at the end of this post.

While listening

As you listen, try to note down the different tips. If you miss something, or you’re not sure about one of the points, download the free sample chapters of my audiobooks at the end of this post (the Transcriptastic sample chapter is this podcast episode).

Tip 1:


Tip 2:

You can check…

The biggest words are…

Tip 3:

Take a ………….. section

Listen ……………. times

Tip 4:


Highlight words that…….

Tip 5:

This is not…….

Tip 6:

Guess what they……..

Tip 7 and Tip 8:

Why is this tip low tech?

Where can you copy and paste the words?

Tip 9:

Highlight …………

Tip 10:

Do a ……………..

After listening

I’ve picked some tricky sections for you to dictate. Listen to them 3-5 times, write what you hear and then compare what you wrote with the answers below. What words or expressions did you miss? What did you mishear? Were there any new words?


Dictation 1

Cara's fast, natural English podcast

Dictation 2

Cara's fast, natural English podcast

Dictation 3

Cara's fast, natural English podcast

Dictation Answers

Here are the transcribed sections of each dictation. Which words or expressions did you find difficult to catch? Let me know in the comments.

Dictation 1: This is kind of like the previous suggestion but a the a different way round

Dictation 2: and it’ll make you more aware of these features in your listening

Dictation 3: when you’re listening you might not catch them, you might not catch the surrounding words. When you read them it can be a bit easier to figure out what they mean from the context.


My favourite wordcloud maker is www.wordclouds.com The only problem you may have when making one from a transcript is that you need to reduce the size to fit in all the words.

The Oxford Text Checker tells you if the words in are text a part of the 3000 most common ones in English. Make sure you put any proper nouns (place names, people’s names etc) into the “words to ignore” box.


Blog post title image available at: http://kaboompics.com/one_foto/1003/white-and-modern-earphones-on-a-desk

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