Hacker News in Slow Italian

99 points15

There are plenty of podcasts to listen to some slow basic Italian, but often they just talk about random things I'm not that interested in. Nothing a few hours of tinkering with Python cannot solve these days!

Introducing Hacker News in Slow Italian. Each episode is generated automatically, using GPT4 API to summarise the top articles on Hacker News and then fed to for text-to-speech.

The (very short) code is available on Github:

dariosalvi785 minutes ago

grazie, molto carino, e funziona bene!

lakySK15 hours ago

Let me know in here if there is a particular language you'd like to see for this!

Not gonna lie, the costs run in order of dollars per episode, so if you are keen on listening to this, let me know, otherwise it would be a waste of money :)

tlamponi7 minutes ago

Not directly related to this, but what about a Firefox extension for LinguallyAI?

I know that the Firefox user base sadly is relatively small nowadays, but maybe you're already using only the cross-browser WebExtensions API, so it might not be _that_ much extra work.

marcyb5st30 minutes ago

As a native Italian speaker I can tell you two things:

1. The translation is great. I actually never used ChatGPT for translating content and this opens a new world for me.

2. The text-to-speech is good, but less so than the translation itself. It still is completely understandable, but if you are a learner I believe it could cause some bad habits over time. For instance, at around the 30 second mark, the translation includes the word "immergervi" (immerse yourselves). The voice puts the accent on the 2nd "e", while it should be on the first one.

Anyway, great tool. And I would help to chime in for different languages (trying to improve my Spanish). Put a tip jar somewhere as others suggested :)

hugs10 hours ago

I would love this for French. How do you want to handle modifying the code for other languages on GitHub? A new separate project fork per language, or a pull request to the current one? Slightly problematic that "Italian" is in the top level project name if it's going to be configurable for other languages.

Also, add a tip jar somewhere so we can chip in!

loloquwowndueo9 hours ago

In the meanwhile, try this to train your ear and practice French with current news using easy vocabulary (they do speak very clearly, worked wonders for me when I was learning).çai...

hugs9 hours ago

I do that already and love it. :) But would like to listen to more things in French besides updates on foreign wars and elections.

vonnik5 hours ago

I learned French in large part by listening to the radio. Highly recommend France Culture when you are ready for it. It’s the radio 4 of France:

lakySK10 hours ago

Good question! Haven't thought that far ahead :D

I'd be happy to rebrand it if there's interest. The main issue is that generating an episode is around $3 roughly (~$1 on GPT4 APU, ~$2 on text-to-speech). So doing a daily episode in multiple languages might be a bit costly.

But if there's enough interest, I might be happy to fund it to get it going for a bit and see how it ends.

hugs9 hours ago

For the free sample, maybe run it once a week on Sunday? (But gate the daily feed behind a paywall?)

Either way, I'd be happy to fund a few weeks of a French version right now!

lakySK9 hours ago
KerrickStaley6 hours ago

I would potentially pay for this in Mandarin, although I'd be wary of the quality vs human-produced sources.

I often practice by reading sites like,,, or These are all text news sites so they help with reading comprehension and grammar but not at all with listening. I'm not aware of any similar audio sources, especially not ones that use professional-level language but slow it down so it's accessible to language learners. So you'd be in a unique niche.

ageitgey11 hours ago

Would be really cool in Spanish!

lakySK10 hours ago

Ok, let me try and generate one episode for you when I get home. Curious to hear what you think afterwards :)

higgins8 hours ago

i too would love to listen to a Mexican Spanish version

dotcoma5 hours ago

I would love Spanish from Salamanca, Spain — which is supposed to be the gold standard.

asveikau8 hours ago

I'm guessing choosing a regional variety of Spanish to use could be fraught.

CamelRocketFish10 hours ago

This is great! I didn’t see an option to slow the playback down to 0.5 as 1.0 is still fast for a beginner.

lakySK10 hours ago

Hm, good point. Perhaps I need to use a different podcast platform for that. Might look into that!

Are you learning Italian as well? What have you tried so far?

CamelRocketFish10 hours ago

Yep I’m also a beginner but I haven’t found anything similar to this project. In terms of learning materials I found classes that follow the CEFR system (A1, A2, B1 etc) have been more helpful than Duolingo and also this free resource

lakySK9 hours ago

If you want, DM me on and I can send you a link to try a POC for a language-learning text adventure game. The main concept is to tell a story through conversations with NPC chatbots. Would be curious to hear feedback or any suggestions on how it could be graded to increase the complexity of the language over time.

It's briefly mentioned on the site as well:

lakySK10 hours ago
joeatwork3 hours ago

This one, in Italian, is really exciting! Thank you so much for making it!

gus_massa12 hours ago

Why Italian? What is Slow Italian? [Hi from Argentina!]

lakySK11 hours ago

Because I’m learning Italian and need it slow and in simple words & sentences.

There are a bunch of podcasts that are called along the lines of News in Slow Italian, Stories in Slow Italian, etc that are targeted to the language learners. So just taking a fun twist on that :)

Can be done for any language though. And I’m sure the prompt can be tuned for different levels of difficulty.

mattnewton6 hours ago

I don't know the state of text-to-speech for Mandarin Chinese but I would definitely listen to that if it's as good as this seems to be for Italian.

user78946359 hours ago

Would love to hear Russian! Been working on it for awhile but similarly struggle to converse

hyperkewb9 hours ago

same here.

lakySK8 hours ago

Alright, I can definitely try generating that.

So far I've got requests for Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Russian then.

jellydonut82 hours ago


scotty7911 hours ago

I'd really love to hear Portuguese. What else did you do to immerse yourself in the language you are learning? I have trouble to even force youtube to give me content in Portuguese.

lakySK10 hours ago

I can try and get a Portuguese episode generated for you later today or tomorrow.

It’s really tough to find such content indeed. I’ve found Netflix shows in Italian and some Italian podcasts and music on Spotify.

One thing that also helps is to find a subreddit focused on learning the language (like r/italianlearning). When I searched the subreddit for books / movies / podcasts / youtubers, I found a lot of fun stuff. Many are not targeted for language learners though, so are a hit tough to follow. And the ones targeted to language learners are often quite generic and not that entertaining. Hence, this effort.

thiagoeh10 hours ago

Take a look in the content backlog from Fabio Akita YouTube channel. Mostly of it is related to software development

tehrob9 hours ago

European Portuguese from Portugal!

misiti37807 hours ago

Anche io vorrei lo spagnolo!

vba6164 hours ago

TIL that the Slow Food movement originated in Italy.

squarefoot8 hours ago

I'm a few minutes into it and it seems really well done, save for a few quirks, mostly pauses between words and misplaced accents. Curiously, some English words were spoken in perfect English, while others sounded like coming from someone not aware of the pronunciation differences with respect to Italian. Some compression artifacts can however be heard, especially when using headphones.

btw: not sure what slow means; to me the talking speed sounds quite normal.

lakySK8 hours ago

Thanks! This was by far the best Italian voice I've found, but definitely not perfect...

The "slow" refers to the genre of podcasts like News in Slow Italian. Mostly using simple language and slow speed. I've set the speed to 85%, might need to dial it down even slower it seems :)

manuelmoreale11 hours ago

Unrelated to the product but if you ever want to practice your Italian while chatting about web related stuff hit me up. More than happy to help.

lakySK10 hours ago

Thanks a lot! That's an amazing offer. What web related stuff are you most interested in? I've been playing with React a bit, but not sure if I could have a conversation in Itaian on it yet :D I'd be happy to chat on GPT and ML as well.

manuelmoreale2 hours ago

I’m more into the web as a whole and tech on general. But I’m just curious about everything. I’m not super knowledgeable about ML but I’m certainly interested in the impact it’s having on the world.

dizhn4 hours ago

Great idea. Even if gpt makes a factual mistake you're still learming Italian. Brilliant. You hacked the system.

tuatoru4 hours ago

Is the typo (learming) intentional? If so this is brilliant sarcasm.

dizhn4 hours ago

Oops. Just a typo.

dotcoma5 hours ago

First paragraph: accent on immergèrvi (on the second ‘e’) is wrong, it should be immèrgervi (first ‘e’).

This said, I am still impressed.

antirez11 hours ago

It's a shame that quality is so bad for Italian, compared to English voices.

lakySK10 hours ago

Oh, 100%

And this is already the best one I've found. Trust me, you don't want to hear some of the Italian text-to-speech stuff I've come across during this search...

Alles10 hours ago

yeah, you can hear some english pronunciation forced in sometimes but overall is pretty good

bombolo8 hours ago

> siete pronti per immergèrvi


fmiras8 hours ago

Mama mia, good post

GaggiX6 hours ago

Mamma mia*, mama is spanish.

canadianfella6 hours ago