Use tech to learn a new language

Whether you’re thinking of making a bold career move, moving to a new country, starting your own company or finding your dream job, adding a few extra strings to your language bow will only help you achieve more.

With today’s tools and technology, and the right mindset, you’ll be breaking down European language barriers in no time – and there’s no need for stepping back into the classroom. From instant translation to online Skype lessons, language exchange platforms, Xbox games and eLearning apps, there’s a fit for everyone. Besides, with Europe’s 24 official languages and 60+ regional and local tongues, you’re essentially spoilt for choice.

Online classes

• VERBAL PLANET

Verbalplanet is a UK based award winning language training platform which connects language learners and native speaking language tutors around the globe using Skype. With a vast global online community of language teachers, and students, the platform offers interactive language lessons in 20 languages with your own personal online teacher.

• OMNILIGUA

With this Italian language learning platform, you’ll be able to learn and practice English, French, German, Spanish and Russian. The school offers different types of lessons, ranging from 60 min conversation classes with native teachers, to grammar sessions and tailor-made lessons for professionals. The platform also offers translation services.

• SKAPAGO

If you’re interested in Scandinavian and Germanic languages, Skapago might just be the right platform for you. Having as a goal “to bridge German-speaking regions and Scandinavia”, Skapago offers a variety of live individual online Skype classes in many different languages, with a special focus on Scandinavian tongues.

• MYLINGOTRIP

The Greek MyLingoTrip is an online platform through which students connect with tutors all around the world, based on personal needs. MyLingoTrip’s goal is to guarantee quality lessons offered through close cooperation between tutors and students. The platform also offers online analysis and instant feedback from tutors, which enables you to track your progress over time.

• SKYPE LANGUAGE

Skype-language is a Russian online school that offers Skype classes in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Greek, Portuguese, Chinese and Russian. The teachers are spread all around the globe and use modern methods of language teaching to create lessons tailored to the students’ needs.

The list doesn’t stop here. There are myriad online schools all around Europe specializing in specific languages and using Skype to connect teachers with students. Examples are German Treffpunkt and Easy Languages, the Spanish site Nulengua, the French sites Lingueo and French Today, the Dutch Languages School, the Belgian English Academy Online or the UK-based Skype-class, just to name a few.

Joining an online class is just as easy as making the decision. All you’ll need is an internet connection, a Skype account and some spare time. There are plenty of resources available online to help get you started, but if you’re looking to get the most out of your online classes with Skype, take a look at this inspiring crash course in using Skype for learning languages by Irish language enthusiast Benny Lewis, founder of the Fluent in 3 Months blog.

Community

 

There are countless ways of learning new languages and much depends on your personality. While some choose the structured teacher/lesson path, others prefer to take the plunge and join online conversation platforms. With language exchange the principle is straightforward: find an exchange partner ready to help you learn your favorite language, get ready to teach them your mother tongue, and finally connect via Skype, mails, chat rooms, forums or in person to start learning.

• SKYPE COMMUNITY

If you’re more comfortable just kicking it off with a fellow language aficionado, the Skype Community might just be the perfect place for you. On the Skype Community platform you’ll find hundreds of Skype users looking to learn a new language, practice an existing one, or just help others out on their learning journey. The Skype Community lets you browse through numerous requests and connect directly with any “exchange partner” you believe is a match.

• CONVERSATION EXCHANGE

On Conversation Exchange it’s all about finding the right fit and the platform helps you connect with thousands of users letting you browse through their profiles and preferences. Whether you’re looking for a native Icelandic looking to learn Romanian, or the other way around, the Conversation Exchange will find the right fit for you. All you need to do is just “describe your learning partner”, choose Skype, and make your pick.

• MY LANGUAGE EXCHANGE

If Skyping is not your thing, why not consider trying the good old “pen palling” technique and exchange through mails? With members from over 133 countries, speaking 115 languages, and practicing 115 different languages, MyLanguageExchange is probably one of the biggest free language exchange platforms out there. The pen pal database is vast and you won’t have any troubles finding someone to correspond with. The platform also offers voice chat rooms, an online dictionary, lesson plans from a teacher specializing in language exchange practice and your own notepad to record new words and expressions.

• ITALKI

Italki is a popular international language learning social network and marketplace for thousands of language teachers and enthusiasts around the world. The platform lets you browse through teacher profiles and student reviews, and in addition to a wealth of online classes, Italki offers students the possibility to connect with each other for free, through language exchange, pen paling and forums.

• THE MIXXER

The Mixxer is a free educational website for language exchanges via Skype. Hosted by Dickinson College in Pennsylvania (US), the Mixxer is designed to connect language learners around the world so that everyone is both student and teacher. The platform is also available to teachers and lets them connect their students with native speakers via written posts or Skype during or after class hours.

• MYENGLISHTEACHER

If you’re looking to learn English and meet other English enthusiasts, then this conversation platform is the right choice. All you need to do is share your Skype ID, your name and a bit about yourself. You will then be contacted by other users via Skype, and you’ll be all set to start practicing your English.

skype translator

With Skype Translator, we’re entering a whole new dimension of language learning. Built on a powerful Machine Learning engine, Skype Translator is the result of decades of research in speech recognition, automated translation, and general machine learning technologies, combined with an intense focus on the user experience.

Skype Translator translates speech in real time, making any conversation across language barriers and cultures possible. You can call almost anyone who has Skype and it will translate your conversation into another language in near real-time. An on-screen transcript of your call is displayed and you can send instant messages across 50 languages – from Arabic to Yucatec Maya.

Needless to say that this approach will transform the way students learn and interact with the world, languages and cultures, and eventually break down barriers and bring people closer together. Skype Translator is currently available in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Mandarin, and more languages are coming soon.

Skype Translator is a brand-new experience from Skype, and it’s still learning and improving the way it translates calls. As a preview user of Skype Translator, you’ll be instrumental in helping us refine the technology and bringing us closer to our goal of overcoming language barriers worldwide. Even the smallest conversations help Skype Translator learn and grow, which can enrich your communication and lead to amazing things. Check out the story behind Skype Translator here.

best apps

• DUOLINGO

Learning should always be fun, and with Duolingo language learning almost feels like playing a game. The app supports over 10 European languages, even Esperanto, and many more are in the works. Each lesson includes a variety of speaking, listening, translation, and multiple choice challenges, and to keep you motivated the app shows you how many days in a row you spend learning a language. The “gamification” makes it very addictive, and you earn points for correct answers, lose “lives” for wrong ones, race against the clock, and level up. The app is also being used by teachers looking to enhance the learning experience.

• TUTORLE

There’s nothing like a good old word list. Tutorle helps you expand and reinforce your vocabulary by simply letting you create your own dictionary of words to be studied, or by downloading one of ready-to-use dictionaries available in the Tutorle online repository. The app also lets you review new words at any time using a quiz approach based on flashcards, multiple choice tests or even spelling tests.

• FLASHCARDS+

Memorizing is key to learning any language, and using flashcards will help you get there faster, and achieve your learning goals. Designed in association with Harvard University faculty and students, Flashcards+ is an optimized way to learn and retain new information. Flashcards+ also taps into Quizlet.com’s vast database of over 8.5 million decks.

• MICROSOFT TRANSLATOR

The Microsoft Translator App for Windows is your companion when you need to quickly translate what you are looking at. Use your camera or just type the text you want to translate. Text and camera translation work offline with downloadable language packs, so you can get the power of Microsoft Translator on-the-go, even when you don’t have an Internet connection. Microsoft Translator products and services are used by thousands of businesses worldwide in their applications and workflows to cost-effectively enable their content to reach a worldwide audience. The idea behind Microsoft Translator originated at our R&D centre in Serbia. Read about one of the creative minds behind the technology here.

xbox games

It is long known that games are an excellent way of supporting learning. As a matter of fact, the act of playing itself serves as a powerful education tool and a natural mechanism for absorbing new knowledge. If you’re the happy owner of an Xbox One, you’ll be glad to hear that you can now use video games to improve your language skills. With the free Rosetta Stone Xbox One app, you’ll be able to immerse yourself virtually into English and Spanish, right there from the comfort of your living room.

Discover Languages by Rosetta Stone combines language learning with a virtual travel experience to help you learn vocabulary and grammar for real-world conversational situations. The game lets you explore several locations, chat with different virtual characters, perfect your score with tips and recommendations, and keep track of your achievements. Who said your journey to multilingualism shouldn’t be fun?