creating audio flashcards in mandarin or cantonese

This post explains how to create Audio Chinese (Mandarin/Cantonese) Flashcards in Anki. Enhance your Chinese learning with amazingly natural Chinese voices !

First, backup your Anki collection

In Anki, click File -> Export. Save the file on your hard drive. It's important to do this regularly (once a month) if you invest a lot of time in your Anki flashcard collection. This allows you to recover your cards even if you make a mistake.

change note type

In order to fully unlock the power of Anki, you have to spend a bit of time understanding Note Types. If you've already customized the Note type and have different fields, you can skip this section.Does your Anki Chinese deck look like this, with a Front, and a Back field ?

Front is what you are asked as the question, and back is what you are shown as the answer. Unfortunately this doesn't allow you to really customize the way you show your cards. I recommend the following structure:

  1. English
  2. Romanization (or Pinyin)
  3. Chinese
  4. Sound

We'll do this by adding a new Note Type:  In the Decks view in Anki, click Tools -> Manage Note Types.

Click Add

Select Clone: Basic. This lets you start with the Front and Back fields.

I've named by note type Chinese-Audio.

Click Fields while you have Chinese-Audio selected.

You are now presented with the list of fields in the Note Type. Do the following

  1. Rename Front to English
  2. Rename Back to Chinese
  3. Add a Romanization field
  4. Add a Sound field

When done, it should look like this. Click Close.

Back in the Note Types screen, click Cards:

This is where you see your card templates.  We're going to add the Romanization and Sound fields to the back template, like below:

Click Close, and then Close again in the Note Types screen.Now, go to Browse, select all your cards in your deck, and click on Notes -> Change Note Type

Here, we are telling Anki that our cards shouldn't just have 2 fields, they should have the 4 that we setup earlier. Make sure that

  1. New note type is Chinese-Audio
  2. Change Front to should be English
  3. Change Back to should be Chinese

Click OK. Your cards (actually Anki calls them notes) should have 4 fields:

And we are done modifying the Note Type !

install awesometts anki addon

This addon allows adding audio generated from text. Install it from: Anki, click Tools -> Add-ons, then click Get Add-ons. Type in the addon number:  1436550454

After installation, restart Anki.

generate audio files using awesometts

In Anki, go to Browse. Select a few cards to try it out at first, then click AwesomeTTS -> Add Audio to selected.

Select the Microsoft Azure service. I've found this has the best sounding Mandarin voices.

  1. Source Field should be Chinese
  2. Destination Field should be Sound
  3. I've found that the best sounding Mandarin voice is XiaoxiaoNeural, but you should experiment to see which one you like best.

You'll need to enter an API Key. Microsoft Azure is a paid Text-to-speech service. By becoming a Patreon fan, you have access to API keys:
Once you've pasted the API key, click Generate.

When reviewing your cards, you should now have sound playing after displaying the answer.Note: since we've changed the structure of your cards, Anki may ask you to fully re-upload your deck to AnkiWeb. This is normal.

The end !

This is the end of the tutorial. If you have any questions, please email