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Interlinear Books Mini-Review: Literal Translations Between The Lines

Interlinear Books

Rating 4.0



Interlinear Books is a project for intermediate language learners from the creators of Cooljugator. They sell individual e-books in their original language, but with English translations between each line of text. Instead of translating full sentences that capture the spirit of the language, professional translators use literal (but understandable) translations to support you in understanding the original language’s sentence structure. Another technique that the authors use to support your learning is to highlight cognates between languages. You may find translations for words whose English counterpart looks almost identical to that of the target language, even when those English translations are not the most commonly used. The authors suggest that you don’t read the translations as full sentences, but rather that you refer to them only when you encounter words or expressions that you don’t understand. Each purchase also comes with a unilingual version for you to try out for extra practice (and sometimes they even come with an audiobook!). For intermediate learners who are tired of looking back and forth between a dictionary and their book, Interlinear may be a good intermediary to support you in the transition to unilingual books. Chinese is not supported yet, but check out Du Chinese or the Chairman’s Bao for graded reading material.

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Beelinguapp Mini-Review: Reading & Listening Practice


Rating 4.3

Freemium, $29.99/year


Beelinguapp makes it easier to read and listen to interesting content in a number of languages. You’ll find short stories, news, fairy tales, music, and more. Their side-by-side reading functionality highlights the sentence in the language you’re learning, as well as in a language you’re familiar with. The karaoke feature makes it easy to follow the audio with the written text. Some of the content and features are available for free, but there are also premium plans to unlock more.

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An Honest Review of Cudoo With Image of Man Working on Computer

Cudoo Review — I Wouldn’t Even Use it if it Were Free


Rating 0.6


Cudoo is an online learning platform that offers courses in over 160 languages. The platform also offers courses teaching soft skills and other professional development courses. Certificates are available upon course completion, and courses are provided to libraries and non-profits for free. We feel that the quality of the language courses is quite low, and that the prices are relatively high.

Quality 1.0

It’s nice to have native speaker audio, but I personally found the course to offer very little learning potential.

Thoroughness 1.0

The course didn’t cover everything listed under “Course Content” and offers no explanations.

Value 0.0

This course is way overpriced in my opinion. I wouldn’t even use it if it were free.

I Like
  • Audio by a variety of native speakers.
I Don’t Like
  • I wanted more explanations
  • Practice opportunities felt severely limited
  • I found the material unengaging
  • Content doesn’t build on itself logically.

Price varies by course, from $4.99 to $24.99, with language bundles costing up to $199.

This seems like a reasonable list of goals, depending on the meaning of “…and more!” even if it is a little bit light for the $25 price tag.

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FluentU Review

FluentU Review — More Expensive than the Competition


Rating 3.1


FluentU is a language-learning platform that uses real-world videos and interactive subtitles to create an immersive learning experience. The videos take on a variety of forms, including commercials, music videos, interviews, and more. Accompanying quizzes give users the chance to practice language used in videos.  FluentU offers videos in nine different languages and is available for iOS, Android, and on the web. Most of its content is beyond the beginner level, but it has videos for learners at all levels.

Quality 3.5

It’s very straightforward and easy to use, though not especially visually pleasing.

Thoroughness 3.0

There is a wide variety of videos, but they’re short and disconnected. They also aren’t suitable for absolute beginners.

Value 2.5

It is not the most complete way to study a language.

I Like
  • The site is easy to navigate.
  • Interacting with subtitles is easy.
  • The videos are authentic and tied to practice activities.
  • Exercises recognize Chinese and Japanese characters.
I Don’t Like
  • Flashcards use robotic text-to-speech audio.
  • Writing practice is limited, speaking practice is nonexistent.
  • Practice activities aren’t very interesting.
  • There’s no easy way to filter content by region.

After a 14-day free trial, users can purchase one of two subscription options. Subscriptions grant access to all FluentU languages.

Monthly Subscription: $30/month

Annual Subscription: $360/year

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An Honest Review of 17 Minute Languages With Image of Girl Using Computer

17 Minute Languages Review: I Wouldn’t Recommend Using It

17 Minute Languages

Rating 1.5


17 Minute Languages is a language-learning program that uses spaced repetition and native-speaker audio to teach a wide variety of languages. In our opinion, the courses aren’t very engaging; the courses we tried included significant errors and didn’t offer any language-specific explanations. There are leaderboards for comparing your progress with other users and a language forum that’s available after four days of use.

Quality 1.5

Native speaker audio is the only thing that impressed me in the courses I tried; mistakes and glitches were many.

Thoroughness 1.5

Explanations are lacking, which I found made some material misleading.

Value 1.5

I think there are far better ways to spend your time and money studying a language.

I Like
  • It uses native-speaker audio.
I Don’t Like
  • I came across several bad translations.
  • I didn’t find any helpful explanations.
  • Site navigation wasn’t easy or enjoyable for me.
  • I didn’t find the exercises engaging.

The Beginner’s Course is $59.95 and the Complete Package is $97. For the whole package and all languages it is $197. There is a free 48-hour trial.

Superlearning technology? Fluency in 50 hours? Courses in 80 different languages? This is either the greatest language-learning resource of all time or it’s a painfully overpriced language site making absurd claims. Let’s find out.

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An Honest Review of Speaky With Image of Girl Using Phone

Speaky Review: Better Than Other Language Exchange Apps?


Rating 3.7


Speaky is a social language-learning app for people interested in language exchange. It’s available for iOS, Android, and the web. Users can chat with other language learners, share photos, leave voice messages or even have voice calls. The basic features on Speaky are free to use, but access to more than five translations per day requires a subscription.

Quality 3.0

There are some dedicated language learners on Speaky but not as many as similar apps.

Thoroughness 3.5

The platform is easy to use but lacks advanced features.

Value 4.5

Speaky is mostly free to use, extra features are available for a subscription.

I Like
  • It’s mostly free.
  • It’s easy to use.
  • There are a lot of users.
  • There are tons of languages
I Don’t Like
  • Many community members don’t actually seem interested in language exchange.
  • The web version doesn’t work well.
  • There are no extra social features.

The basic features on Speaky are free to use. A premium membership is available for a subscription.

Speaky is a language exchange app. It facilitates exchange by allowing users to chat with others in the language they’re learning. Its function is pretty simple and straightforward — search for a partner with a reciprocal language combination and say hello.

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An Honest Review of Rype App With Image of Man Using Computer

Rype App Review: I Wouldn’t Recommend It To Anybody

Rype App

Rating 1.8


Rype is a resource that provides language learners with access to one-on-one lessons with teachers. According to its advertising, you’ll be able to “Learn anytime, anywhere, on-the-go.” Users purchase a subscription package that contains a certain number of lessons per month. The lessons are 30-minutes long and are easy to schedule.

Quality 2.0

The platform is very easy to use, but there aren’t many teacher details and lessons take place on Skype.

Thoroughness 2.0

There seems to be a range of experience levels on Rype and a very small number of teachers.

Value 1.5

The hourly rates are higher than similar online tutor options and you have to commit to a subscription.

I Like
  • The interface is very easy to use.
  • The 30-minute lesson length.
  • A subscription grants access to lessons in all languages offered.
I Don’t Like
  • There isn’t a lot of information provided on teachers.
  • I don’t think the monthly subscription model is worth it.
  • The selection of teachers for some languages is extremely limited.

The price varies per subscription package and number of lessons each month. This ranges from $59.99-179.99.

The availability of online one-on-one language courses has skyrocketed in recent years, and it’s made it possible for just about anyone with an internet connection to find a suitable language tutor.

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An Honest Review of Lingvist With Image of Woman Holding Phone

Lingvist Review: Putting Their Courses To The Test


Rating 4.0


Lingvist is a language learning resource that uses spaced repetition and flashcards to help you build your vocabulary in a new language. There are five language courses made for English speakers, and some of these have an extra challenges section with additional reading, speaking, grammar, and listening practice. Lingvist is straightforward, easy to use, and most effective for beginners or intermediate learners.

Quality 4.0

The interface is easy to use and practice is enjoyable, but the grammar explanations aren’t great.

Thoroughness 4.0

The vocabulary practice is great, but the additional features are somewhat limited and vary by language.

Value 4.0

A subscription isn’t super expensive, but it isn’t the best resource for a comprehensive education.

I Like
  • It’s easy to use
  • Learning new words is fun
  • It’s effective at teaching new vocabulary
I Don’t Like
  • The grammar explanations aren’t very helpful
  • Practice can get monotonous
  • Limited speaking and writing opportunities

Pricing options include $9.99 a month or $79.99 per year.

Most language learning tools either aim to do something different or to do something that’s been done before exceptionally well. Learning new words with flashcards isn’t a novel idea, but it can be pretty effective.

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Busuu Review: Some Courses Are Better Than Others


Rating 3.4


Busuu is a digital language-learning app with over 90 million registered users. The resource offers vocabulary and grammar practice through short, self-paced study exercises. It also has a social aspect that allows users to get writing and pronunciation feedback from native speakers. It is available on the web, iOS, and Android.

Quality 3.3

The layout is great, and the quality for non-Asian languages is decent, but there were significant errors in the Chinese course.

Thoroughness 3.0

It has some good explanations but doesn’t often offer much in the way of in-depth explanations.

Value 3.8

Busuu is relatively inexpensive, but there are more thorough and efficient resources out there.

I Like
  • The layout is easy to use and engaging
  • The conversation lessons are especially useful
  • The social feature is great
I Don’t Like
  • Translations aren’t provided for some exercises.
  • The Chinese course is low-quality.
  • The grammar explanations and practice could be better.

Premium Subscriptions

One month: $13.95
Six months: $50.70 ($8.45/month)
One Year: $40.70 ($3.48/month)

What Is Busuu?

Boasting a user base of over 90 million, Busuu is a heavyweight in the digital language-learning landscape. It was launched in 2008 and has remained a popular and relatively low-cost option for language learners.

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An Honest Review of Word Dive With Image of Woman Using Phone With Headphones

Word Dive Review: Falls Short Compared To Similar Apps

Word Dive

Rating 2.8


Word Dive uses artificial intelligence and short exercises to help language learners commit study items to long-term memory. The app provides instruction in ten languages and is available for desktop, iOS, and Android.

Quality 3.5

It’s very easy to use, but I thought the material was limited.

Thoroughness 2.5

You can practice vocabulary and grammar, but there are almost no grammar explanations.

Value 2.5

It isn’t very expensive, but other resources are similarly priced and more comprehensive.

I Like
  • It’s convenient for mobile language practice
  • It’s fun to use
  • Partial credit answers motivate you to stretch yourself
I Don’t Like
  • There are almost no grammar explanations.
  • I found the exercises repetitive.

A subscription starts at $9.99. For 3 months it is $27.99. 6 months $47.99. 12 months $79.99. 

Combine a strong affinity for things under the sea and a desire to make the lives of language learners easier, and you might produce something similar to Word Dive.

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