New language learning site is 100 per cent free

Duolingo: Learn a language for free and help translate the web

The latest language learning site promises to remain 100 per cent free forever, but how?

Most people long to be fluent in more than one language, and there’s a large market to cater for this, but what if you could skip paying out for books and software and learn a language for free?

With Duolingo, not only do you learn the language of your choice, but you also help translate the web, but how does it work?

Duolingo’s creator Luis von Ahn, the man behind reCAPTCHA, spoke to PCR to shed some light on the too-good-to-be-true language learning platform.

What is Duolingo?

Duolingo is a free language learning website in which people help to translate the Web as they learn. The service is designed so that as users progress through the lessons, they simultaneously help to translate websites and other documents.

Currently, over 50 per cent of the web is written only in English, and Duolingo’s goal is to translate it all into every major language. We plan to do it by encouraging the over 1.2 billion people learning a language to help us translate it. This way everybody wins – students get to learn for free, and the web becomes accessible to the world.

How can a language learning website remain free?

Duolingo is 100 per cent free and will remain free forever. The reason is because people contribute valuable translations while they learn.

How does Duolingo differ from other language-learning sites or products?

Duolingo is fun, totally free, and effective. It differs from other sites because you can learn with real-world content. Imagine learning Spanish by helping to translate the news of the day from Spanish to English.

What other languages are the team planning to add in the future?

We plan to have Portuguese, Italian and Chinese this year.

I hear there are plans to add a mobile version…

Yes, we’re working on an iOS version which should be launched in September.

With Duolingo you can currently learn Spanish, German, French and English. Check out and start breaking down the web’s language barriers.

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