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Consumers learn a new language while helping to translate the web

Education

Pennsylvania-based Duolingo is a site that lets consumers learn a new language for free while helping to translate the web.

We’ve seen online translation services and we’ve seen language-learning programs over the years, but not until Duolingo had we seen a venture that marries the two. Sure enough, Pennsylvania-based Duolingo is a site that lets consumers learn a new language for free while helping to translate the web. A native English speaker interested in learning Spanish, for example, can begin by signing up with Duolingo. The site then gives the user single sentences to translate at a level that’s simple enough for a beginner. Users can always request possible translations for words they can’t figure out, and Duolingo helps them learn and memorize those words afterwards through educational examples. They can also see how others translated the same sentence and vote on the quality of other students’ translations. As they gain proficiency over time, the sentences they get become more complicated. Content owners, meanwhile, can upload materials they own for translation on Duolingo; currently that service is free, but there may eventually be a charge for speed and accuracy. Current supported languages include German, Spanish, French and English. The video below explains the premise in more detail: Duolingo is committed to remaining free and ad-free for users, it says, and a mobile version is coming soon. Web-minded entrepreneurs: one to partner with or emulate in your part of the world? Spotted by: Murtaza Patel

Email: biglou@cs.cmu.edu

Website: www.duolingo.com

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