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Japanese Resources

Language Trainers
Price: Online course packages range from $390/10h to $2500/100h
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Language Trainers is an online and in-person tutoring service. They have a high satisfaction rate both with employees and students, and offer classes in over 80 languages. All of their teachers have teaching qualifications and are provided with additional material from the company to organize their classes according to their students’ needs. There is also a free placement test you can take on the site to determine your language level, but your teacher can also make that assessment during your first lesson.

The site usually doesn’t allow single-lesson purchases, but if you don’t enjoy your first class, you will not be billed for your first session and can switch to a different teacher. You can also get a refund for your purchase, minus the classes you have already attended at their hourly rate.

Although the classes are significantly more expensive than on Italki, if you can invest in Language Trainers, you can be sure that your classes will be personalized, structured, and will support your motivation to continue learning your target language.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

Uncovered Courses
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Spanish Uncovered (and the similar German, French, Italian and Japanese courses) come from Olly Richards, the creator of the super popular blog I Will Teach You A Language. It’s quite a bit different than most courses as it revolves around a story. It can be a bit more challenging than other courses, as you begin reading somewhat long texts right off the bat. Overall, I found it to be a more fun way to approach language learning that will be great for some but not ideal for others.

Pimsleur
Price: Subscriptions start at $14.95/mo
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Pimsleur is one of the most popular and longest-standing resources out there for learning a foreign language. Its courses place a strong emphasis on aural and verbal communication skills, paying less attention to grammar explanations and reading or writing skills. There are over 50 language courses available with Pimsleur, and the bulk of the material is taught with audio lessons.

JapanesePod101
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JapanesePod101 has thousands of lessons going back over a decade. It’s best used as a supplemental resource to improve your listening comprehension, grammar, and vocabulary. I wouldn’t advise trying to use it as a standalone course because the lessons don’t always follow a clear and suitable path. While very much imperfect, it’s a useful resource and available at an affordable price.

Takoboto
Price: Free
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Takoboto is a free dictionary app and study tool. It has flashcards, study lists, kana tables, and links to external sites for detailed grammar explanations.

Takoboto differs from other dictionary apps, like Kanji Study, in that it offers a section for conjugated forms. Like other high-rated apps, it also includes example phrases, kanji with stroke order diagrams, and a breakdown of definitions.

You can seamlessly transfer words from the app into AnkiDroid. Although Takoboto’s in-app flashcards are not as interactive as those in Kanji Study, Takoboto has a slightly smoother flashcard transfer to AnkiDroid; while Kanji Study transfers oddly formatted definitions, Takoboto transfers well-formatted definitions with an example sentence. 

Although Kanji Study seems to be more thorough with its breakdowns and explanations, both apps have their strengths — and luckily, these two apps can be used together! If you tap on any kanji under the kanji section in Takoboto, you can link directly to further explanations in the Kanji Study app.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

itranslate
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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.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

Duolingo
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Duolingo is a super popular free language-learning app. It’s available for desktop as well as mobile and offers over 90 different language courses in over 20 different languages — there are currently 35 languages with English instruction. The Duolingo approach is gamified and easy to use, but the bite-sized lessons don’t offer much in the way of in-depth practice. The Duolingo tag line is “Learn a language in just five minutes a day.”

Caption Pop
Price: Free, Premium subscriptions start at $10/mo
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With CaptionPop 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 CaptionPop 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 CaptionPop’s programming may not be worth the monthly payment.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

Wakarukana
Price: Free
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Wakarukana does an excellent job of determining which Japanese anime, books, movies, and manga, are suitable to your current level.

Once you have clicked on an item, the site will provide you with 5 sentences or audio clips and ask you to select which ones you understand. Depending on your comprehension, it will determine how difficult the item you selected would be relative to your level.

As it’s a new site, they don’t yet have a ton of options, but they do provide a solid start to finding level-appropriate media. Note that each search only displays 10 results — search again and you will receive another 10 random results.

The site seems to be affiliated with Japanese Level Up.

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.

cooljugator
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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. 

The current rating is our best estimate. We haven’t had the opportunity yet to more thoroughly evaluate this resource, as we do for our full reviews.