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Spanish

iTranslate Mini-Review: 5 Apps To Support Communication

itranslate

Rating 4.0
Price:

$ 0.00

Summary

iTranslate is a dictionary, thesaurus, and phrasebook. At first glance, it seems similar to Google Translate’s free app, but a couple of extra paid features make a big difference. Like with Google Translate, you can take pictures of text in your surroundings, such as signs or newspapers, and receive instant translations into your native language. It differs in that you can also take pictures of objects in your surroundings and receive translations into your target language (although it’s not clear what the boundaries are on this function). Two people who don’t speak the same language can use iTranslate Converse as a mediator between them, translating each sentence to create a transcript on their phone (with a slight delay). You can also use the iTranslate Keyboard in any texting app to receive instant translations. To get the most out of your subscription, iTranslate includes five different apps that can support language learning and communication through text, voice, and games. Although iTranslate translates into over 100 languages, check the website to verify which languages are supported in the other apps. iTranslate seems suitable for traveling and communication in different languages. If all you need is a dictionary to support your studies, try WordReference and Linguee, or Pleco for Chinese and SpanishDict for Spanish.

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Bravolol Phrasebooks Mini-Review: Consider Other Options

Bravolol Phrasebooks

Rating 1.5
Price:

$ 0.00

Summary

Bravolol Phrasbook’s positive reception in the app store may be surprising given the endless availability of quality resources on the internet today. The app divides topics into categories such as Emergency, Common, Greetings, Health, and Romance. When you enter each category, you can listen to a native speaker pronounce each sentence at two different speeds. Once you have favourited some sentences, you can listen to all of them read aloud in order, or review them in order by reading the English phrase and guessing the Spanish translation. One of Bravolol’s redeeming features is that you can record your voice and compare your recording with that of the native speaker, although this comparison is achieved by your personal ability to discern between the differences. Although slightly more expensive, SimplyLearn is a phrasebook app that has an attractive interface, more phrases to choose from, and also does a better job of helping you remember new phrases by using SRS flashcards — it also supports significantly more languages. Other free phrasebook websites include LingoHut and 50Languages. Even though we have given them relatively low ratings, they still seem more comprehensive than Bravolol Phrasebooks.

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Strokes International Mini Review: Pricy but Comprehensive

Strokes International

Rating 3.0
Price:

53.00 CHF

Summary

Strokes International sells courses for 24 different languages. They’re more focused on European languages, from the popular German, Spanish, and French through to Slovakian, Czech, and Danish. They do have a couple of non-European ones, though, such as Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese. Using a Strokes International course feels a bit like going back in time. You have to download the program onto your computer (and we had to install additional software to run it). In the days of language apps and on-the-go learning, this seems a little inconvenient. Despite that, the course seems to be fairly effective. You listen to and repeat a natural conversation, before being slowly taught the words and phrases. You practice speaking them aloud, typing them, and playing Match Pairs card games. Although grammar takes a back seat, there are explanatory notes throughout and you can access a detailed grammar guide. There’s also a Pronunciation Trainer and Vocabulary Trainer. The Danish beginner course, which we briefly trialed, has 100 lessons.

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Lingualia Review — Best as a Casual Study Supplement

Lingualia

Rating 3.8

Summary

Lingualia is an online language-learning app targeted toward learners of English and Spanish. It utilizes artificial intelligence and its “exclusive Adaptive Learning method” to offer a learning experience that’s somewhat personalized. Practice happens through interactive activities that cover a variety of skills and have an element of gamification. The free version of Lingualia could make a good option for intermediate or advanced learners that want a casual, convenient way to keep their English or Iberian Spanish skills sharp. It probably isn’t the best option for beginners, those looking for a one-stop-shop resource, or students of Latin American Spanish.


Quality 3.3

It’s designed well and fun to use, but machine translations aren’t always accurate and the adaptive learning method could be better.

Thoroughness 4.0

Practice is varied and the courses cover a lot of material, but it’s doubtful you’d actually reach a B2 level.

Value 4.0

Great features and amount of content available for free, but I think the subscription prices are too high.

I Like
  • Male and female native speaker audio.
  • It’s fun to use.
  • Potential for human feedback on writing.
I Don’t Like
  • There are no speaking exercises.
  • Review opportunities are limited.
  • The community doesn’t seem very active.
Price

A limited version of the resource is available for free. Access to all features is available for a recurring subscription:
1 month: $25
3 months: $45 ($15/month)
6 months: $59.70 ($9.95/month)

Adaptive learning! Artificial intelligence! Personalized learning experience!

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Vocly Mini-Review: Expand Your Vocabulary in Less Common Languages

Vocly

Rating 3.0
Price:

$ 11.99

Summary

Vocly is a vocabulary learning app that uses a couple of different techniques to reinforce new words (although it’s unclear whether or not the app uses an SRS system). Each word comes with audio pronunciation by native speakers and a toggle to either reveal or hide the romanization of the word. As with most of Simya Solution’s apps, Vocly is best for languages with fewer available resources. Instead of using English translations in the flashcard activities, the app will prompt you to associate the new word with a small picture. On one hand, this will help you make fewer translations into your native language. On the other hand, the pictures can be ambiguous and you may forget what they symbolize. The flashcard activities include matching activities, identifying new words that fit under a specific category, matching the sound of a word to an image, and asking you to spell the word in the language’s script. Unfortunately, the free version only allows 7 minutes of learning per day, which can feel rushed. Ling is a more comprehensive option for learning multiple facets of a language, but if your goal is to expand your vocabulary, Vocly has over 1600 words. The paid version is quite expensive for what it offers compared to other resources, but for less common languages it is a fun and interactive option.

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Cooljugator Mini-Review: Conjugations For Uncommon Languages

cooljugator

Rating 4.0
Price:

$ 0.00

Summary

Cooljugator is a free online verb conjugation dictionary for over 40 languages, with special attention to languages without existing free resources. Besides conjugated forms, the website also provides examples, English translations, pronunciation hints, related verbs, and more. On each page, you can also read the translation for your chosen verb into every other language available on the site. Unfortunately, there are no audio files to help you with pronunciation, but maybe that will change in the future. You can directly search for conjugations, or if you’re looking for inspiration, every language has a list of the most common verbs to choose from. On that same page, you can read some facts and a brief overview of what verb conjugation looks like in your chosen language. Although Cooljugator is 100% free, you can purchase the creator’s other project, Interlinear Books, to learn languages through stories. If you would like to practice verb conjugations for some common languages, check out Conjuguemos, another free resource with verb conjugation games. Also, SpanishDict is probably more appropriate for Spanish learners because of the extensive resources and activities that accompany their sections on verb conjugation. 

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Simply Learn Mini-Review: Spaced Repetition Phrases For Travelers

Simply Learn

Rating 3.0
Price:

$ 9.99

Summary

In Simply Learn, by Simya Solutions, you can search for and review over 1000 phrases in over 30 categories. It takes the typical phrasebook app one step further by allowing you to add your favorite phrases to SRS flashcards. Given that its developers also developed Ling, an additional, more comprehensive resource that supports language learning, it seems that Simply Learn is a supplementary app for individuals who need to learn basic phrases for traveling abroad.  The creators don’t seem to have intended for people to use this app to learn a language in its entirety, but rather to support them in memorizing basic phrases for travel. As with Simya Solutions’ other apps, Simply Learn is most helpful for less commonly learned languages, such as Hokkien and Khmer. Beginners can access the basic cards for free, but the advanced traveler will have to make a one-time purchase to access all the content. If what you truly want is to have a set of phrases under your belt, Simply Learn’s SRS flashcards and native-speaker audio can support you. However, if you are studying a less commonly learned language and want to understand the basic sentence patterns and writing system, check out Ling.

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Easy Languages Mini-Review: Interviews Around The Globe

Easy Languages

Rating 4.3
Price:

$ 0.00

Summary

Easy Languages gets people involved from all around the globe —from Brazil to Mongolia — to film authentic interviews about everyday life with locals on the street. A typical episode format starts with the interviewer (or interviewers) introducing the topic and location for the day. Then, they will approach various locals to ask their opinion or test their knowledge. Only a handful of languages, like Hindi, and Swahili, don’t follow this format — these are also typically the languages with fewer videos. Easy Languages invites co-producers to join their channel, which means that anyone can apply to create videos, as long as they are filmed according to the Easy Languages guidelines. These co-producers receive multimedia training if they don’t already have experience in the field, so the videos typically have a baseline quality standard (although sometimes the filming can be a bit shaky). Most of the interviewers have a bubbly personality, and some of them appear in multiple language interviews within Easy Languages. Overall, the interviews are enjoyable and will train your ear to understand a range of voices and accents. Also, for anyone who uses Seedlang for German, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see Cari’s friendly face in the Easy German episodes!  

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Reverso Translation Mini-Review: Best for French learners

Reverso Translation

Rating 3.8
Price:

$ 0.00

Summary

Reverso is a translation and spell check app. Its features primarily target French and English learners, although it also translates into a handful of other languages. Compared with BonPatron, Reverso’s spell-check function (available only for French and English) is less attuned to general mistakes, such as capitalization or inappropriate commas. Reverso only catches some of the errors related to inappropriate accordance of genders or numbers from “The House of Être” verbs. Nevertheless, it does a decent job of catching obvious mistakes, and it will provide you with synonyms to enrich your writing. You are encouraged to use the spell check function at each stage of the writing process because when you correct one error, the program may identify new ones. The free version allows you to check 1200 characters at a time, and upgrading to a premium version will allow you to check unlimited characters. The Reverso Contexto dictionary is an excellent resource for most of the available languages. While Linguee takes examples from relatively formal sources, Reverso Contexto provides example sentences professionally translated from movies, dialogues, official documents, websites, and newspapers.  Other resources include Reverso’s dictionary (which is usually from Collin’s) a verb conjugator, French and English grammar articles, a thesaurus, and a document translator.

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Spanish Obsessed Mini-Review: Subscription Offers More

Spanish Obsessed

Rating 4.2
Price:

Freemium, Premium subscriptions start at $24.90/mo

Summary

Language learning podcasts often have different levels, but they usually expect you to magically advance in the space between them. Lis and Rob, on the other hand, seem to seamlessly transition from level to level. They differentiate between Spanish from scratch and beginner Spanish, and the intermediate level is a realistic step up from the beginner episodes. You can listen to their podcasts on a couple of different platforms, but listening on their website gives you the advantage of following the podcasts like a course. You can gain access to special courses with a subscription, such as those that focus on pronunciation and vocabulary. Each episode’s page has a line-by-line interactive time-stamped transcript — by clicking on the time stamp next to a line of text from the dialogue, you can jump to that sentence within the recording. You can also see a translation with notes that elaborate on the different phrases or word usage (or correct some of Rob’s speech). Unfortunately, the page does not follow along with the podcast, so you will have to manually scroll down as you listen. The advanced episodes feel more like upper-intermediate Spanish, so advanced learners may not feel as challenged. However, for the beginner to the intermediate learner, Spanish Obsessed is full of opportunities to improve your skills.

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