Introducing “HelloTalk” (Foreign Language learning tool)

patricktay.wordpress.com

HelloTalkImage source

It was through a leisurely chat that I am encouraged to try out the latest offerings of HelloTalk. Now, this is not a pitch or a typical salesman’s  spiel but I feel compelled to talk about it after trying out this mobile phone app for a few weeks because to me, it’s just amazingly great!

“HelloTalk” is a foreign language learning exchange application whereby users are able to learn a foreign language while mentoring their language partners on language(s) that they are proficient in. For example, if you are proficient in English and wish to learn the Japanese language, you can download the app and register as a member, then find people who are interested in English and who also wish to teach others Japanese. In this instance, a good recommendation will be native speakers based in Japan. However, there are instances where these native speakers may be based in other countries, of which you are also able to learn from.

The app allows users to search for other members in terms of proximity and specification of cities, so there is flexibility in choosing one’s language partners.

So, what’s so special about this app?

Interactive and great learning interfaces!

When I first navigate through the app’s interfaces, I find the features rather complex and sophisticated. However, after dabbling with it for a while, I find this mobile phone app highly usable.

Some interesting and recommended features include:

  • Embedded audio voice recording: Users are able to exchange audio recordings with each other and this is very useful in learning pronunciation of words and phrases. Of course, mobile phones and messaging systems such as WhatsApp already have a in-build audio system but an embedded one makes all the difference since it allows users to record and sent them to their language partners on the go! You can even record your own voice and upload it in the introductory section of your personal profile.
  • Integrated Translation engine: HelloTalk has an integrated translation engine to translate languages. This proves to be very convenient as users are able to easily “copy and paste” responses from their language partners into this search engine and translate them. Of course, as in all translation engines, an algorithm-based translation system can’t be compared to a human translator in terms of linguistic fluency and accuracy but it still works great!
  • “Language Correction” system: HelloTalk also has a correction system in place,  with functions as such as “strikethrough” (as seen in Microsoft Word, but no “double strikethrough”..)  and a “comments” section for language partners to pen down their thoughts to guide their counterparts.
  • “Starred” for further reference: There is also a function whereby users are able to make a mark on their language partners’ specific responses in order to refer to them later. This function is somewhat similar to what’s available on LINE messaging system, with the added functionality of being able to note what you have corrected for others and many more. 
  • Unique set of emoticons: Although this does not account for much in terms of increasing the efficiency or effectiveness of language learning, I feel that I have to mention it as they are fun to use! 🙂 If only LinkedIn allows the use of emoticons..or did I miss something?

Anyways, I hope that you enjoy using them and here’s wishing you a happy and fulfilling learning journey in learning a foreign language!

Patrick Tay is a Communications and Life Skills Training Specialist who is based in Singapore. He has been teaching communication studies and international issues in polytechnics and writes regularly on various issues of interest in education, media, business and global issues at patricktay.wordpress.com. He can be contacted at teachingwitheart@gmail.com

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