Russian Content: Sources and Methods for Uploading to LingQ

I recently started looking for content for Russian language and I would like to share my experiences, as well as ask others for their help.

Please see my course, Cortina Conversational Russian, in the beginner courses. Thanks to users of the forum “how to learn any language” and “language learners forum”, the course has now been released by the publisher to the public domain. The entire course is now available for free download on the Yojik website - including an electronic form of the text and several versions of the audio.

I loved the course when I found it, and I wanted to resurrect it. I listened to the audio and found that the later lessons were not of usable quality. So, I hired a Russian voice actor (a professional radio announcer in Moscow) from the website I asked him to read the last 10 or so lessons in slow, clear Russian for beginners. This process was a bit time consuming and a bit expensive, but the results were great. These new audio files are also available on the Yojik website.

I uploaded the mp3 files from the Yojik website to (an online transcription platform available for several languages). On the website, I manually correct the auto-generated transcription (for punctuation, spelling, capitalizations, etc). This process is quite time consuming and difficult. And, to be honest, a bit expensive also. (It’s $12 per hour of audio.) I then export the transcription from HappyScribe to a .txt text file.

With this, I am able to create a lesson in LingQ. I use the mp3 from the Yojik website and the transcription I make from Happyscribe. After uploading to LingQ, I usually have to review the lesson several times in LingQ to check for any errors I missed in HappyScribe. Then I “share” the lesson on LingQ.

And that’s how I created the course “Cortina Conversational Russian”. I hope LingQ users will find it is of high quality - the Cortina method, the audio, etc. I’ve uploaded a little more than half of the lessons, so far. I hope others will enjoy and benefit from the course, as I have.

And, by the way, I have learned a LOT of Russian just by creating this course.


I am also uploading the conversations and dialogues from Modern Russian. It is freely available and in the public domain for anyone to use. Please see courses “Modern Russian 1” and “Modern Russian 2” in the Beginner courses. Here is my method for uploading it:

I listen to a conversation on my tablet using the free audio from the Indiana CELT website.

Line by line - I dictate what I hear into my phone using the Yandex translate app (Яндекс переводчик).

Next, I email this Russian dictation to myself on my laptop.

On my laptop, I compare my Russian dictation to the conversation in the book (which I purchased from Barnes and Nobles bookstore) and I correct for spelling, punctuation, etc. in Microsoft Word.

Finally, I create a Lesson in LingQ using my transcription and the audio.

I usually need to read and listen to the lesson in LingQ a few times and correct those errors.

This is very time consuming, actually. It has taken over a year to upload about half of the conversations from Modern Russian. And this is only a fraction of the 50 hours of audio in Modern Russian - most of it is grammar drills. It would be great to upload a few of the drills to LingQ, but my primary goal is the conversations and dialogues, since those are where the new words are introduced in the course.


Good work, Moscow Joe! And, as you say, very time consuming. But I think you learn a lot at the same time. Do you have any other purpose doing all this work?

I started learning Russian 5 years ago and I have tried several resources: Duolingo, New Penguin, Assimil, Pimsleur, etc. I am convinced that Modern Russian is the single best course for developing the skill of Speaking, and I am completely committed to the course. The authors say that they intend for the student to memorize the dialogues. And the uploading process certainly helps me with that. Reviewing the dialogues in LingQ also helps. But I have also spent quite a bit of time outside of LingQ doing the drills, etc. in Modern Russian.

I think Cortina is great, too, and I would like to memorize it. So, my reasons for uploading these lessons are mostly self-serving, but I do hope that exposing LingQ users to these 2 courses will help give them life for at least a few more years. Also, I have long thought that the LingQ Russian section needed more beginner material. This should help with that.

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By the way, I have found the Russian version of Audible. It is called LitRes. It is the largest Russian language audiobook store. You can search for books on the site and there is also an app, but it seems the app is lacking some of the books you will find on the actual site. Some of the audiobooks are actually downloadable as mp3s and can be directly uploading into lingq if you have the text. But some must be listened to on the site or app.

They also sell ebooks on the site. But most must be read on the site or in the app. Just a few of them are available for download as epub, fb2, etc.

Дом Книги on Nevsky Prospect in Saint Petersburg is one of the largest Russian bookstores in the world. I decided to visit this week looking for audiobooks (as I was already in SPB). Unfortunately, they don’t have any audiobooks.

But they have a pretty large Russian for Foreigners section (Русски Как Иностранный) with many books that have included CD’s. Particularly from 2 publishers:

I bought everything. Really. I had 2 bags with about 30-40 different books. It was about $200 in total (all books with CDs). I took them back to the hotel and opened everything. I found the following:

  • material ALL in Russian (no English) from the A2-B2 level, but mostly B1 (which is what I’m looking for)
  • text some only in book format, some with online pdfs available that I can import into LingQ, some with pdf’s online but that I can only use in an app (like LitRes or Kindle)
  • audio in mp3 format that I can easily upload to LingQ, or in Video_TS that I have to convert to mp3, or audio that I can listen to in, or with DVD / Powerpoint / Flash presentations that I just don’t think I can use in LingQ.

So in the end, I have something like 100 texts or stories, etc. completely in Russian at my appropriate level (B1), read by native speakers with good audio quality, but that will require a bit of work to get into LingQ.

Anyway, I thought this was a good find that I wanted to share with anyone who might be in SPB.

OK, Moscow.Joe, I am studying now a little bit with the Cortina Conversational Russian, not that I am a beginner, but in order to strengthen my basic knowledge hoping to improve also my Russian conversation. Or, better, hoping to give my Russian conversation a start.
Now the way in which you got the written text in a form that enables you to import it as a lesson to LINGQ, using the auto-generated transcription, has the effect that several words that sound similar or nearly similar are not recognized in the right way. I think you certainly have already corrected many of these cases. I found an obvious example in lesson four, where there is a series of sentences with дела where it should be дело. I compared the text of the Lingq lesson with the text of the book that I downloaded from the site you mentiomed, Yojik. I could have edited the Lingq lesson – this is not always possible with all lessons in Lingq – but I think it is not very polite to edit texts of another. If I discouver other examples of this kind of errata in the following lessons, I’ll let you know.

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Wow, great! Happy to hear you are using the course and happy to receive feedback. Yes I am absolutely sure these little spelling errors exist in my transcription. I do pour over the transcription and try to catch everything. But there are soooo many little errors. And the lessons are each 30 minutes long +!

HappyScribe doesn’t punctuate at all, it just guesses as to periods. It doesn’t capitalize. It never transcribes ё and always substitutes е instead. So, I have to correct all ещё, своём, твоём, пойдём, т.д. Also, I have to add the hyphen to all что-нибуть, кто-то, т.д. And there are many words that end in ы, и, е that HappyScribe confuses.

Yes, I have already made lessons from третий урок and двенадцатый урок, those lessons that cover the genitive, which is the form of дело I think you are referring to (accent on the first syllable), as the plural, дела, is pronounced with the accent on the second syllable. I will definitely check четвёртый урок right now!

Edit: Lol! How embarrassing! The same дела mistake 12 times in a row… Thanks Ben for your comment. Corrected)

By the way, you can correct my lessons? I didn’t know that. Of course, yes, I need your corrections, Ben, and would like to incorporate them somehow.

I have been reading the grammar section in the back of the book (about 200 pages) and I think it is just great. Especially, since it is correlated to the native Russian you are listening to.

Since you mentioned conversational ability, just as an aside, the course that has helped me speak the most is absolutely Modern Russian. The core of the course is about 1000 drills (maybe more) totaling about 50 hours. I have completed about 3/4 of the course, and I can attest that the affect is just amazing. Though this is not what I uploaded to LinqQ. I only uploaded the Conversation and Reading and Writing sections because they are where the new vocabulary is introduced. And these follow the LinqQ model. The drills do not.

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Hi, Ben, I don’t know if you are still tracking the posts to this thread. I noticed that you have added a few corrections to the Cortina Lessons and I think that’s great.

I’ve encountered a few issues, however. Unfortunately, when another user makes corrections to my Lesson, Lingq deletes the “lesson comments” that I made at the bottom of the lesson and I can’t get those comments back. Also, it deletes the “source” of the content (from the drop down list) at the bottom of the lesson editor - in this case, of course, it is Cortina Publishing.

Additionally, sometimes I lose all ability to edit that lesson myself. Someone changed Lesson 5 a couple months ago, and I had to delete that Lesson 5 and add a new Lesson 5 with all of their changes removed. I had to do this because I could no longer edit Lesson 5 and I found a few small spelling errors.

One last thing - I can’t see your corrections. This week, you corrected Lesson 13 Exercises twice. I was also this week reviewing Lesson 13 and I found one of the errors you noticed (I found several errors you didn’t notice by the way.) But, I didn’t find the second second error you discovered. And now it’s too late, because I have made further corrections to the document. And if I “save and approve” your 2 changes then I will lose all of my changes.

So, I guess what I am saying is that with the current version of Lingq, having multiple users correct the same lesson at the same time is a bit challenging.

Maybe we can exchange emails and coordinate this way?

Hi MoscowJoe,
I’m shocked at the impact on your work of the few corrections I’ve made in the text of the lessons that you uploaded.
I wasn’t aware of that. I’ve made a few corrections to other texts in the past and never got any comments about it.
I will of course not make any further corrections to your lessons now. I’ll write down any mistakes I see, and when I’ve finished a lesson, I’ll email you, if that’s okay with you.
I’m very sorry for the trouble I gave you. Please excuse me !

No worries at all, Ben! Thanks for trying to help. There are actually several users making various types of changes. I believe the most disruptive changes were those made in the “clips” section, especially changing the audio timestamps. But, anyway, yes I think it would be easier to just send me your changes and then I can add them all at once (mine and yours).

Maybe I missed it, but is there some easy to send each other messages on Lingq? direct messaging or something like this?

On LINGQ there is “the wall” . You get there by clicking on the photo or image you chose, in the right upper corner of the beginning page. I got there messages e.g. from Evgenni. But how do I know that there is a message ? If there is a new post in a thread in which I once sent a post, I can see that. But as far as I know there is no such thing with the wall. I’ll send you my email adress on your wall. Perhaps it is easier to communicate by email, for instance if I find any error in a lesson.

I found a very small error in Lesson 14, Exercises
19.12 он надеется что выучить уроки завтра выучит

Do you mind sharing the link to the “Cortina Conversational Russian” course? I don’t see it in the search results.

Nevermind, I found it.

As a Russian speaker I have to note the lesson 4 transcription is correct. It’s just that we spell it as дело, but pronounce it as дела.

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