What does any language learner need? Books? Pencils? A nice dictionary?
Sure. Those are great.
Ultimately, you need access to a real native-speaker to practice on. You need to directly practice what you’re after. This is where native speakers come in. And this is where the HelloTalk App comes in. You can connect to a language partner that will help you practice and correct your mistakes.
I came across this nice little app and felt it deserved a bit of a exposure. So, here’s my Hellotalk App Review and how you can use it (or not) to learn language!
- A language exchange app
- It’s a messenger based app like LINE or WhatsApp
- You set your native language & the language you’re learning
- You find native speakers that are learning your language
- And you chat with them.
- Over 100 languages and millions of users.
So, at the core level, it’s a messaging app with the angle of language learning.
However, if you download it for free and explore it, there’s quite a bit more to it.
Once you create your profile – add a picture, introduction, your native language and the language you’re learning – you’re ready to get started. My native language is English and I chose Japanese as my target language. So, if you tap on “Search,” you can see all the people that are Japanese speakers that are learning English.
You can even check their English ability with the bar chart near their name. You can sort them by status – online for example, location – how close they are to you, and more. Then, you can tap on their profile to see their introduction and send them a message.
And this is pretty much how it goes. They’re looking to practice English. You’re looking to practice your target language (Japanese in my case) and you start talking. If you check the screenshot below, if you’re brave enough, you can even:
- call them by tapping on the phone icon
- record your voice by tapping on the mic icon near your text box
But here are some really awesome things you can do:
- translate your message into their language
- translate their message into your language by tapping and holding their message
- they can correct your target language inside the chat box
- you can correct their English (this is a language exchange after all)
- draw and share doodles (because sometimes words aren’t enough)
For example, if I wanted to send my friend a “You’re Welcome” in Japanese but I have no idea (oh, I do) how to say that, I can tap on that the translation icon near the mic icon to get it and send both/one version to them.
Overall, here’s how HelloTalk suggests how to use the App to your and your partners’ advantage.
But the question is, can this be a serious language tool?
In the case of most conversations, language exchanges included, things tend to be one-sided. There’s always one person that dominates the conversation and the other gets less from it. This is a bit of a down-side to most language exchanges. HelloTalk makes the playing field equal by allowing you to set certain rules in an exchange:
- Write 500 characters in one language and then switch to another language
- Talk 5 minutes in one language and switch to another language for 5 minutes
- HelloTalk manages language exchange text and time counting automatically
That way, both parties know that it’s an equal exchange. As for whether it’s serious or not – well, that’s up to you. You have access to tons of native speakers who can teach you. It’s your job to take advantage of this platform.
Overall, it’s a great app to get in touch with natives and practice reading and writing. Think of at as getting a pen-pal except the messaging can be instantaneous. There are millions of users sitting on this App and the best thing is – you can find them and talk to them. Or they’ll find you.
The App itself is free. There are in-app purchases that unlock unlimited use of certain features such as translation, voice to text, corrections, adding more target languages and more. A monthly subscription seems to be as low as $0.99, so I’d say .. $1 a month is a TINY price to pay to master a language. I pay more a month on things I don’t need.
And the bad things about the App?
There’s not really anything bad I can say for an App like this. It’s all up to how you use it.
Have you used the app?
Do you have any suggested ways of learning with it? Hope you enjoyed my Hellotalk App Review.
Leave me a comment below!
– The Main Junkie