Italki vs Fluenz
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Cloudswave Editorial Review
Italki Review by Cloudswave
Easily Learn Another Language with iTalki
Like a lot of people, I recently wanted to learn a new language, but didn’t want to have to sign up for a course at the local college, and I found other traditional options, like language programs, to be lacking. Fortunately, I found iTalki, the most unique solution out there.
iTalki Has Plenty of Fans
To be honest, iTalki was one of the first platforms I considered for learning another language. I still looked at others, of course, but iTalki has gotten so much exposure from various outlets that it was the easy first choice to begin my search. It’s been mentioned in the Guardian, Mashable, TechCrunch, South China Morning Post and the Independent, just to name a handful.
All of those publications have mentioned iTalki in a positive light as well, which served as pretty powerful testimonials when it was time for me to invest in a platform of my own. Fortunately, I can report that those publications definitely had it right because iTalki is extremely good for learning a new language.
The Main Difference Between iTalki and Everything Else
All those mentions in various publications aren’t why I actually chose iTalki though. The main difference between this platform and every other title I know of on the market (and I considered quite a few) is that it actually connects you to real human beings. Usually, you can’t get this kind of help unless you’re taking a class or a course. For most of us, this is simply unrealistic, either because our schedule or our budget wouldn’t allow it.
That leaves some version of flash cards left. You either use software where you match words to the proper translation or listen to an audio CD where you’re supposed to repeat a word you hear after hearing what it means. Frankly, I just wasn’t willing to spend good money on anything that rudimentary, especially because I wasn’t even convinced it would work.
To me, it just made far more sense to actually work with a real, live teacher who spoke the language. This way, I could get help with any problem I was having. What I have found from trying to learn a new language—and I think most people would agree with this—is that there are sometimes minor hurdles that can end up holding back your progress if you don’t get them addressed ASAP. Unfortunately, most programs just aren’t equipped to do this.
Likewise, iTalki has been extremely helpful because the teacher I was connected to had all kinds of little tips and tricks he basically came up with himself. Like any teacher, he’s seen his students struggle with certain things and invented his own way of overcoming them. Once again, this is a unique feature you’re not going to get from a typical language title.
How iTalki Works
Simply put, iTalki is basically just Skype for people who want to learn another language. That’s far from all it does though. When you log on to iTalki, you won’t just get assigned to some teacher. Instead, you get to search through a library of profiles, sorted by the language you want to learn.
Every profile lists their experience and even shows you the reviews they’ve received from others who have been in your shoes. Currently, there are more than 1,000 teachers on iTalki, so you won’t be lacking for options either. However, if you’re struggling with making a choice or would just like some free advice, their customer service professionals can help push you in the right direction.
Once you’ve found someone you believe will be a good fit, just contact them through iTalki and tell them what language you’d like to learn or improve on and why. This will help them design a plan that fits your personal needs. Here again is just one more reason I love iTalki. I had taken Spanish in high school and so I already knew the basics. Now, though, I wanted to become proficient. What I didn’t want to do was spend good money in order to go through the basics all over again before I could finally get to the more advanced stuff. With my own personal coach, this wasn’t a problem.
The next step is scheduling your lesson. Coaches post when they’re available, though most are pretty flexible. I usually take mine right before work, but sometimes, I’ll schedule a block for the weekend to help get caught up or just make the most of some down time in my agenda.
Test Your Progress
Now, the thought may have occurred to you that there’s no way of knowing how far you’re progressing if you’re just talking to the same person over and over. That’s why iTalki gives you online language tests you can take for an objective measure. These aren’t just any tests either. You’ll have access to some of the best in the world, like Oxford University Press!
Learn About Another Culture
For those of you who want to learn a language because you’re planning a trip abroad, I can’t recommend iTalki enough. Not only will you get to learn this language, but you can choose a teacher from the area you’ll be traveling too as well. You can even plan to meet up with them while you’re there!
No other language program that I know of is going to give you an opportunity to learn about a culture you plan to experience firsthand. If you’re traveling to Italy, say, a program might make some mention of holidays there and various parts of the country that differ from yours. However, when you consider how different Northern Italy is from Southern Italy, for example, there’s no way any platform is going to do this justice. With your own personal coach, though, talking about these important differences will just be part of the lesson plan.
For all these reasons and more, I hope you’ll give iTalki a try. I know you’ll find it as helpful as I did and enjoy all the secondary benefits that come from talking to a real person who speaks your language of choice.
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Most Favorable User Review
No favorable user review available yet for Fluenz.
Most Favorable Critic Review
We have been really trying to teach our kids a foreign language in our homeschool, but since I am not fluent in any other languages it is hard for me to take it to the next level beyond easy vocabulary. I love that this gives him interaction with native speakers and allows him to hear the language spoken. I think this is so critical to learning a language and really helps his learning move at a much quicker pace. If you are looking for an interactive way for your kids to learn a new language, I definitely recommend italki!
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So overall, I liked the Fluenz courses and would recommend them, despite their shortcomings. They fill a niche different from what Rosetta Stone focuses on, and they do a pretty good job of it. Yes, I wish they were cheaper, but they are not. So if you are serious about getting the basic language skills you want and need for your travels, open the wallet and invest in Fluenz. You'll be impressed with what you can do.
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