Duolingo Offers Free Language Learning as Crowd-Sourcing Project
August 3, 2012
An interesting approach to language learning recently caught my attention as I was browsing the Web: part crowd-sourcing project to translate the Web and part language-learning site.
Duolingo is a free service using real-world content to help users learn and practice a new language as they simultaneously help translate Websites and other online documents. The project was started by Professor Luis von Ahn, creator of reCAPTCHA, and currently only offers support for Spanish and German, as well as English for Spanish speakers.
The company website shares more about the service:
“The Service allows users to learn or practice a language while they translate content from the Web. Users are presented with different types of educational activities; while they perform these activities, they also generate valuable data such as translations of Web content.”
The service currently offers a beta version for learning French and there are reports that Portuguese, Italian, and Chinese are on the way. The company also announced on its Facebook page in July that a mobile version would be added soon.
We think this free service may be as good as commercial alternatives because of the tremendous features that it offers that work surprisingly well. I tried out the Spanish version and was pleasantly surprised and how fun and useful the service was. Now I’m eagerly awaiting the Italian service to really get involved in the site.
Andrea Hayden, August 3, 2012