When it comes to language learning, the use of innovative tools is a must. In this comprehensive HelloTalk review, we will walk you through the app’s key features, provide you with our honest take on whether it is worth your time, and give you our most recommended alternative.
We will also answer why there is a buzz around the idea of language exchange and whether it is a good practice for reaching the level of fluency you are aiming for. So if you are up for that, let’s get it on!
There is no denying that learning a foreign language has always been part of our yearly New Year’s resolution. Aside from the fact that language learning can boost the way our brain works, we have always viewed mastery of languages as a tool for connecting with a community different from the one we are used to. It just helps us to authentically express ourselves, ask questions, bridge gaps, break down barriers, and aid us in creating lifelong friends.
Fortunately for us, today’s world is very much reliant on innovative technologies, and it has provided us opportunities to choose and freely make use of tons of learning tools that are available for free. One of those tools is the HelloTalk, made available in 2012 by an international start-up group based in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China.
Unlike other apps, this one allows users to partner up with learners from around the world with the goal of teaching each other about their native languages. Given its unique approach, other users also view it as a dating app (compared to Tinder) perfect for language enthusiasts.
Are you interested in finding a language partner? Learn more about it in the following sections below.
HelloTalk Review: What Is It All About?
Are you wondering if it is possible to exchange language online? Fortunately, you no longer have to pay for expensive language exchange programs or sign up for scammy-looking websites because HelloTalk has all the right set of features for you!
HelloTalk is basically an app that allows you to learn a language by directly having a conversation with a native speaker of your target language. Instead of the usual use of spaced repetition and flashcards like in Duolingo or Quizlet, this one offers a premium range of additional features that will help you speak, read, and write without ever feeling embarrassed. It is branded as the “world’s largest language exchange app” since it is found to be used by over 35 Millions users and is available for download in countries worldwide.
It is a flexible app for language learners because it allows you to send over short voice messages/ audio files, chat directly with strangers, and even call other people up without installing additional software. This is a great way to learn if you are on the go and you are someone who is interested in a personal approach. Also, since this does not have a direct lesson guide that you can follow, you are free to randomly talk and practice speaking with whatever topic you both have in mind.
If ever you find yourself unable to translate a particular word, you are free to use its built-in translation option within the app. There is also a drawing board or doodle share where you can just draw what it is you are trying to get translated. Suppose you do not want to practice with a partner. In that case, you can also simply post your question or statement on the newsfeed (or Moments in the app) and have millions of native speakers help you correct it in terms of translation, pronunciation, and grammar.
If you ask us, HelloTalk is a great app perfect for anyone, no matter your age! It promotes natural language acquisition and even helps millions of speakers become even more confident in understanding their own language and target language. The only downside is that there may be a few creeps out there, just like on social media, so it would be wise not to post/share any personal information with your online partners.
There are two ways by which you can use the HelloTalk app: the freemium and the paid version. For the Freemium, users across the world can simply download and use the app for free, but there are a few limitations and tons of ads that you might come across with. In addition, the free version allows you to initiate chats with 10 new people daily, but please note that you can only teach and learn one language every 48 hours.
The paid version or VIP membership is available for $6.99/month. The VIP removes all the advertisements and exposes your profile when people search for language partners. You can also learn and teach three languages, but you can change it up whenever you want to.
Suppose you want to unlock additional audio courses in languages like English, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Arabic, and Portuguese. In that case, you might want to check out their HelloTalk audio content ranging from $99 to $119/yr, depending on the language. We tried the audio course personally, but we firmly recommend that you skip it and look for other resources since it is pricey and not worth the money.
Target Language Selection
HelloTalk currently supports over 150 languages, including Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, French, Korean, and Thai. To use it, you basically need to sign up, select languages you are also comfortable in speaking and teaching, and set up your profile. Once you are in, you will just go to the Search tab and look for a language you want to learn. From there, you can look into every potential language partner’s profiles and directly message them and start learning. However, please note that it is not your responsibility to answer if you are not comfortable if someone messages you.
What we personally loved about this platform is that it makes the whole process of partnering up easy, especially if you are learning an Asian language! We understand how difficult and time-consuming it is to find Korean, Japanese, and Chinese language exchange partners because there are not many websites or apps with a huge userbase for these languages. In the case of HelloTalk, you can see that they literally have millions of users, making it entirely possible to find the perfect match for the language you want to master.
Is Language Exchange With Native Speakers Important?
When it comes to learning another language, there is no one-way strategy that will fit all learners. In fact, philosophers and language researchers believe that every person has a unique learning style. One must always consider using different tools, techniques, and strategies to identify which one floats their boat. So if you are someone who is more comfortable learning through real-life interactions, then you should certainly consider joining a language exchange program.
Language exchange is just one of the many techniques that you can utilize if you want to gain confidence in speaking their language and if you are interested in learning directly from a local. Boards of education have used this technique from across the world, and they are willingly hiring speakers to move to their country and become a language exchange partner of their students. Some of the countries that utilize this approach are Japan, Spain, and Korea.
No matter what level you are in, having language exchange opportunities can significantly improve your skills and motivate you to learn better to express your feelings. This is also considered to be a good way for language practice as you will get instant corrections from a real speaker of that language.
Another major factor why this learning hack is important is because it can help you understand the language in a more meaningful way. Instead of just learning the dictionary meaning of certain words, you’ll get to unlock the hidden connotations or the multiple meanings of words based on actual usage. In our experience during the English language exchange using HelloTalk, our team learned that the English word “salvage” holds a different meaning for Filipinos. While Filipinos speak the same American English, Filipinos view “salvage” as extrajudicial killing! How crazy is that!
Language Learning Features Of HelloTalk App
Using the app is such a breeze for language enthusiasts as it comes with an amazing set of features, including voice chat, messaging, camera share, doodle (where you can draw within the app), one-click translation service, voice recognition, and even transliteration. With all these considered, this HelloTalk is a great app, no matter your age and proficiency level in the target language.
This app is interesting because you at least do not have to install additional software or go outside the app to use Google Translate. This is basically all the useful apps rolled into one intuitive app. The only downside is that it does not have real language lessons to at least guide the learners on where and how to start and progress while learning a language.
5 Things You Must Know Abou HelloTalk
Using HelloTalk to learn a new language or simply practice is a good thing. Whether you are on the hunt for a Korean language exchange partner or a Spanish one, we guarantee that there is literally a profile or user who is ready to speak with you.
Before we jump into the conclusion part, allow us to give you our 5-point summarized review of what the app made us realize after using it for quite a time. Please do note that this is only based on our experience, and this might not be the same as what others (or you) probably might encounter.
- The quality of what is being taught to you by your language partner is not checked, reviewed, or approved by any individual.
- The focus of HelloTalk is more on informal conversation and slang. If you are interested in learning expressions for business settings, this may not be the app for you.
- HelloTalk allows you to learn beyond the traditional language selections and even find speakers or partners who can teach you lessons on Dothraki!
- HelloTalk does not have exercises, mini-games, quizzes, and lessons from within the app. This can only be a good tool if you plan to use it along with other study materials.
- Finding the right partners is not easy, and there are instances wherein the taught translation of the partner is questionable.
- HelloTalk is certainly the best language exchange app available on the market today!
Now that you know what we think allows us to give you our list of who we believe will enjoy this language learning app. If you are someone who:
- has a burning desire to go out there and try speaking a foreign language, then the HelloTalk language app is definitely for you.
- is on the lookout for opportunities where you can teach your native language, then signing up for the HelloTalk VIP membership will be worth it for you.
- believes in the concept of learning a language naturally through conversations with the locals, the HelloTalk app is your best bet.
- wants to make friends and connect with native speakers without using additional software or hiring a language tutor, language learning through HelloTalk is possible.
Are you going to subscribe and use HelloTalk today? Let us know in the comment section below! As we reach this part of the post, we hope that you were able to learn all there is to know about HelloTalk and that you are guided on whether this is worth your time or not. If you are seriously interested in developing your skills in a specific language, we recommend that you check out the most powerful application that you can download for free today!
Our Best Recommendation
When it comes to learning 60+ foreign languages with complete lessons on vocabulary, grammar, writing, and pronunciation, then the Ling App is a stellar choice! Simya Solutions develop this FREE language learning tool to make language learning fun, exciting, and less overwhelming, especially for beginners.
It’s an all-in-one study tool that is available via the web and through the Play Store and App Store and has been pretty popular due to its high-quality resources. In addition, it comes with interactive lessons that are developed and reviewed by real native speakers and language professionals, making it a great tool if you want to progress in your target language in a structured manner in as short as 10 minutes per day!
So, what are you waiting for? Be sure to check out the Ling App today!