Anything that can make learning Mandarin Chinese easier has to be a good thing!
Having said this, our website, Learn Mandarin Now, rarely recommends any resources for learning Chinese. We feel that many sites are simply selling a course or Apps which are not that useful. Or only trying to make you pay money for resources which may not be that effective in helping you learn your chosen language.
However, we recently heard about HelloTalk, a language exchange social networking App that allows you to connect with language exchange partners in over 100 different languages. We have seen some great reviews on popular language learning blogs such as “Fluent in 3 months”. If you believe that finding a great language partner is an effective way to improve your Chinese, then HelloTalk is wholeheartedly recommended.
It is available for both the iPhone and Android and, best of all there’s no need to worry—the App is FREE for anyone to use. Even if you want to use some of their extra special features, it’s only 0.99 USD for one month, less than a cup of coffee! 3 months is $2.99 with one year at $8.99. If you opt to upgrade, you can have unlimited translation, transliteration and transcription and also see your chat history plus chat with groups with up to 50 members.
There are so many great features of HelloTalk to talk about but, if you want to skip the review and play around with the App first, you can download it here. If you do want to know more about HelloTalk first, here are some of the best features:
1. 1.3 million+ real language learners use the App
One of the challenges to find a suitable language partner online is finding enough people to talk to you, anytime and anywhere you want. HelloTalk has 1.3 million users, with numbers increasing every day. To help you get started using the App, here’s a great video by Olly from “I will teach you a language” for you to watch.
2. The App is purpose-built for language learning
Certainly, you can also find other Apps for chatting or general social Apps in China or other countries. However, such Apps are not primarily for language learning. As a result, in some cases, you’ll find people on social Apps looking for one night stands and or using unpleasant language, something you don’t want if you are serious about learning a language. With the HelloTalk App, you’ll find that people genuinely want to practice learning a language with each other. Of course, you’re likely to make some new friends as well, but helping each other to improve is, of course, the primary purpose.
It’s wise to make detailed enough notes of what you’re looking for in a language exchange partner when building your profile on HelloTalk, as this will help cut down the number of people who send partner requests.
4. Voice to text and text to voice options
HelloTalk also offers voice to text options where you can speak into the App and it translates what you would like to say—useful if for some reason you can’t read the word or sentence. In addition, there are text to voice options where you can hear the pronunciation of any messages you save or receive.
5. Instant translation
If you are stuck with several words or one or two sentences you don’t understand, or don’t how to express yourself properly, HelloTalk can help by instantly translating.
This App is not used only for Chinese but for many other languages. So, if you want to learn another language with fellow students, you can also use HelloTalk; plus, there are even transliteration options for languages in a different script (Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Russian, etc.).
7. Warning messages
Another smart feature is that HelloTalk sends users a warning message whenever someone asks for their personal contact information. We think this is a really great feature, especially for younger users.
Honestly, this next feature is one of the best we have heard about: HelloTalk allows you to correct/or be corrected by other parties. Of course, you might not be able to do it for each sentence with each language partner, but we believe it’s a feature which can greatly benefit all parties.
Clearly, there are more great features to be found on HelloTalk. In fact, too many to list here. But it’s worth re-iterating that the App is FREE, so why not take the opportunity to download this great tool to help you take your language to the next level—and maybe make some new friends as well!
(1)google play download link
(2)App store download link