English

Caption Pop Mini-Review: Use The Free Version

Caption Pop – 4 

With Caption Pop you can use YouTube videos to pursue your language learning endeavours using subtitles in both your target language and native language. Tap a single key to repeat the last caption, slow down the playback speed, and bookmark subtitles to study with SRS interactive flashcards. The flashcards will not just have you memorize words, but practice dictations with immediate feedback on your accuracy. Unfortunately there are currently some bugs in the programming, and you may only hear part of the caption you are being asked to transcribe.

You can search for Youtube videos in your target language within the Caption Pop platform, but only those videos with subtitles in both your target language and your native language are available. This means that you will rely on captions translated and transcribed by the video’s creators, which improves your language learning experience but restricts the amount of available Youtube content. Nevertheless, there is a good amount of content from popular channels in more common languages.

The free version of the platform combined with self-made Anki cards may be a better option than subscribing to the premium version, as the bugs in Caption Pop’s programming don’t seem worth the monthly payment.

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The rating is our best guess, but we haven’t yet had the opportunity to fully test and review this resource.

Hello English Mini-Review: Poor English Translations

Hello English – 3 

Before describing Hello English, it is important to note that there are several English translation errors within the app.

Hello English will help you learn English from 22 native languages. There are 475 different lessons with different interactive activities. The grammar explanations provide both functional translations, comparisons between your native language and English grammar, and direct translations into your native language in order to help you understand the structure of English.

Learners can enjoy daily news and videos, conversation and speaking practice games, multiplayer activities, and lots of vocabulary and grammar practice.

The English audio uses automated text-to-speech, which is a shame as this is an app that aims to teach pronunciation. The English in the app is sometimes quite awkward or completely incorrect. It also has some awkward suggestions for formal speech, such as “kindly grant me a leave for today,” and sentences that don’t make grammatical sense, such as “I wanted to request some vacation for three days.”

Only certain lessons are free; most of it requires a pretty affordable monthly membership. With a monthly membership there is live speaking practice, what seems like an SRS system, and more interactive activities.

Visit Hello English

The rating is our best guess, but we haven’t yet had the opportunity to fully test and review this resource.

Take Lessons Mini-Review: Use iTalki, Verbling, or Preply Instead

take lessons – 2.3 

At Take Lessons you can find in-person and online teachers for various topics, including language learning. This review is specific only to language learning.

Once on the site, you can filter teachers based on their location, availability, and price, then view the teacher’s profile to see their experience, student ratings, and basic bio. Most of the teachers have great ratings, so the quality of teaching is probably not an issue. However, Take Lessons takes about 40% of whatever the teachers charge. Obviously teachers need to charge a living wage, so can expect to pay 25% more than most language learning platforms whose teachers are of comparable quality.

Why 25%? Because most platforms (like iTalki and Verbling for example) only take a 15% commission, if not less. The only difference is that you could potentially have in-person lessons with Take Lessons, while the previously mentioned platforms are all online.

Take Lessons is probably a handy site for other types of services, but there are many more teachers and features specific to language learning available through the above mentioned alternative platforms.

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The rating is our best guess, but we haven’t yet had the opportunity to fully test and review this resource.

Altissia Mini-Review: May or May Not Be Modern

Altissia – 3.6 

Altissia is a language learning platform developed by academics at the Catholic University of Louvain-La-Neuve in Belgium. The creators emphasize a humanistic vision, believing that people are at the centre of everything we do and that language empowers us.

A monthly plan gives you access to their unique platform, a social network, virtual classrooms, and professional modules. You can choose lessons that are most applicable to your learning goals and watch videos of native speakers interacting in realistic situations.

The courses will help you improve your pronunciation through recording your voice and comparing it to that of native speakers, improve your spelling through dictations, improve your listening comprehension through different exercises, and learn grammar through progressive exercises. Each month you can take a placement test to see where you stand on the CEFR scale (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).

There does not seem to be a Spaced Repetition System within the program, but they have an interactive dictionary to help you review.

The publicity videos and webpage have a modern feel, but it seems like some of the content within the platform may date back several years. Additionally, it is very expensive compared to other products that offer similar content.

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The rating is our best guess, but we haven’t yet had the opportunity to fully test and review this resource.

Cambly Mini-Review: Great Platform With 24/7 Instant Access

Cambly – 4.2 

Cambly is an 24/7 online English tutoring service with native English speaking tutors.
There is no need to pre-register for classes — at any time you can connect with an available tutor, or choose a specific tutor ahead of time. Every class is recorded so that you can review new concepts. When you make a mistake, the tutor can type the correction like a subtitle on the screen — after class, you can review your mistakes by clicking on the list of subtitles under each recording.

They have several categories of courses, including ones for professional development and exam preparation. You can also find tutors who specialize in your professional field, such as marketing, aviation, software engineering, and more.

When signing up, you will choose a monthly plan that offers either 15, 30, or 60 minutes of lessons 2, 3, or 5 days per week. The most common complaint is that the minutes will expire if you do not use them. Additionally, prices are in USD and could be quite expensive depending on where you live.

As there is no information on the website about these plans, this information may be outdated.

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The rating is our best guess, but we haven’t yet had the opportunity to fully test and review this resource.

Instant Immersion Mini-Review: No Longer a Good Investment

Instant Immersion – 2 

Instant Immersion offers programs in over 120 languages, narrated by native speakers. It claims to help you build your vocabulary, converse with ease, and perfect your pronunciation. It has interactive activities on the computer, interactive games you can play with your family on a DVD, and MP3 files for your car.

Their topics include food, shopping, restaurants, animals, numbers, etc. In other words, Instant Immersion will probably not help you if you are looking to have immediately applicable conversations

A common trend in many reviews is the lack of structure in these courses. While other courses build on what you have previously learned and help you learn vocabulary relevant to your everyday life, Instant Immersion seems to provide a large amount of information without transitions or a clear learning path. There is a lot of content, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you will learn a lot. Instant Immersion may have been a good investment several years ago, but now there are many other options for affordable, quality language learning.

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The rating is our best guess, but we haven’t yet had the opportunity to fully test and review this resource.

Readlang Mini-Review: A Must-Have For Language Lovers

Readlang – 4.5 

With Readlang as your Google Chrome Extension, you can have instant translations for words or sentences in over 45 languages at the tip of your mouse cursor (or fingertip)! Browse the internet and effortlessly click on unknown words to get a translation that stays on your screen until it is no longer needed.

If you can’t find anything to read on the internet, you can access a bank of public texts organized by word count and difficulty, browse the most popular websites for Readlang users, or upload your own text to study.

The best part is, Readlang will collect flashcards for you from words you have translated. It will only record the most useful words for you to practice based on word frequency lists, which could be either a pro or a con depending on your study goals. The flashcards follow a Spaced Repetition System that will prompt you to study words based on the natural forgetting curve, so you will be quizzed on the words you are about to forget. Each flashcard also includes audio pronunciation and the sentence from which the word was taken for reference. You can choose to reveal the flashcard to check your comprehension, or type in your response for more effective recall.

The free version provides enough for an average user, but upgrading to an affordable premium membership both supports this awesome resource and allows for unlimited phrase translations. Although there may be some problems with translations in beta languages, and sometimes it fails to recognize text, overall Readlang is an excellent resource for language lovers.

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The rating is our best guess, but we haven’t yet had the opportunity to fully test and review this resource.

Quizlet Mini-Review: A Flashcard/Quiz App for Many Languages

Quizlet – 3.2 

Quizlet is a flashcard-based learning system. Community-contributed flashcards are available for numerous languages. These vary in quality, but you can preview them to see how well they meet your needs.

Each set of flashcards powers other activities: In Learn mode, you demonstrate your mastery of each word or phrase by using multiple choice to select the correct definition. There are also spelling and writing exercises. The spelling exercises can be frustrating, as they sometimes require the addition of alternate word endings that are not always pronounced by the speaker. A space-themed word game and a “Concentration”-style matching game inject some extra fun into your study time.

Recent changes to Quizlet mean that you are now required to sign in to use the flashcard sets. As Quizlet is now promoting two premium plans — the modestly priced “Quizlet Plus” and the less-expensive “Quizlet Go” — you may encounter several promotions for these paid versions. We have not tried the paid tier at this time.

Overall, Quizlet can be a fun, effective way to learn new vocabulary. It has the tools to help with auditory comprehension and spelling in your target language. It covers many languages, even some harder-to-find ones. However, not all of the flashcard sets are high quality.

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The rating is our best guess, but we haven’t yet had the opportunity to fully test and review this resource.

Magoosh Review — An Inside Look at IELTS and TOEFL Test-Prep

Quick Review

4.3 

Summary

Magoosh is an online test-prep company that supports prospective exam-takers primarily through online audio and video lessons. Courses are very thorough, and many include a guaranteed improvement on a previously received exam score. Some of the exams Magoosh helps students prepare for include the IELTS, TOEFL, GRE, GMAT, LSAT, SAT, and ACT.

Quality

The material seems to be mostly very accurate, and the interface is well-designed, but the video lessons could be more engaging.

Thoroughness

Lessons and practice exercises include extremely thorough instruction with plenty of examples and explanations.

Value

It’s one of the more affordable options and doesn’t seem to cut any corners, but watching videos is time-consuming.

Languages

English

Price

TOEFL IELTS
One Week $39 Three Months $69
One Month $49 Six Months $79
Six Months $89 Six Months + Essay Grade $99

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italki Review – The Good, The Bad, & The Just Alright

Quick Review

4.5 

Summary:

italki is the most flexible and affordable place to find a tutor for the language you’re learning. They have a huge number of teachers offering classes to students of over 100 different languages. As a learner, you’ll be able to find a tutor that best fits your learning style, schedule, and personality. Teachers are able to set their own prices and make their own schedule.

Teacher Quality

You’ll find everyone from long-time professionals to brand new teachers.

Platform

The overall platform has tons of useful features but also some room for improvement.

Value

Huge number of teachers, low prices, and flexible scheduling.

Price

The prices vary by teacher and language with some being as low as $4 and others as high as $60 per hour. Most will fall somewhere near the $10 per hour range.

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