A couple of summers ago now, my sister loaned me an old iPod Touch because I said I wanted to try out some apps. I went pretty loca and downloaded enough to fill the thing within a matter of days. I remember one of these was HelloTalk, and although I was really excited about the prospect of it, I never used it. Such is life when you binge-download apps.
Recently, however, HelloTalk approached me and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing the app. So I decided this was the perfect excuse to actually try it! So, today I want to share my thoughts in this HelloTalk review.
What is it?
HelloTalk is an app designed to make real language practise easier. It’s not grammar exercises, a textbook, or an audio course. It’s a chance for you to try out what you’ve learnt with real people whenever and wherever you may be using just your phone or tablet.
So how does it work?
Upon downloading HelloTalk, you set up an account including which language is your native language, which language you’d like to learn on HelloTalk, and a self introduction.
This then enables people to find you based on what languages they can help you with and what languages they’d like to learn themselves. Of course, at this stage you can also do a search yourself based on the languages you’d like to learn. When you find a match, you send a message, and you’ve started learning! Voilà!
What makes HelloTalk different
Actually communicating with humans has long been a popular method of language learning. No surprises there. This means there are so many ways in which to do so, be it a human in front of your face, a website, or an app. Apps for this purpose seem to be an emerging market. So, what makes HelloTalk different?
Many other options focus solely on talking, or writing, or not finding anyone to do anything with because it’s so darn awkward. HelloTalk have covered all of these bases and, in my opinion, come up with a great (and much less awkward) solution.
When you find a potential language partner on HelloTalk, you have the option to send a message in the form of text, photo, audio, or – this one’s cool – doodle! The Doodle tool also allows photos as the background, meaning you can take a photo of some text you have written or something you don’t know how to say in your target language, and mark on top of it what it is you want to know. It’s a little hard to explain in words…it is after all a doodle, so I’ve created an example with a little help from my friend, Ampelmann.
Not only this but HelloTalk also lets you send longer texts, your location, or previous corrections (we’ll get to this in a moment!), as well as introduce another language partner you have to someone, allowing for group conversations.
AND(!!) you can arrange an instant language exchange based on time or characters. Perfect if you want to focus on speaking or writing. After sending 5 messages to someone you can also call them for an open exchange. Phew. I think that’s it.
But if that’s all a bit too much to begin with, you can, of course, start with some good ol’ fashioned text. Or record it and send instantly if you fancy that too.
Oh yes, and they have their own sets of emojis. You know how much I love a good emoji.
What’s all this about corrections?
Rewind to the time when my sister gave me her old iPod Touch. Round about that time, I was also spending my Sunday evenings emailing penpals in various languages. And also correcting their previous English reply to me. There’s no quick and easy way to do this in an email draft, so it was quite the long process and eventually I was a bad penpal and got “too busy”. Shame on me.
However, with HelloTalk, this takes less time than it takes for you to say ‘bad penpal’. You just tap the word to be corrected, write the replacement, and the app does the rest like cross it out and change the pretty colours for you.
Any bad stuff?
Not really. The one negative I might say is that because HelloTalk is so thorough, when you first download it and sign up, you may feel a little overwhelmed and never open it again because there is just so much on offer. That said, it is definitely worth taking the time to play around and find out how everything works because once you do, you’ll have free 24 hour access to a ton of people who can help you practise your languages in exchange for a chat or corrections themselves. Spread the love, people.
HelloTalk is a pretty awesome way to get yourself some real language practise and corrections from humans, not machines, whenever and wherever you need it. The variety of ways you can communicate (doodle! doodle! doodle!) is definitely one of its top features, along with the idea of how quick and easy it is to get translation before you send a message or once you receive a message. Fun fun fun. Intrigued? You can download the app for free right here.
Have you used HelloTalk? What do you think of the app? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Legal stuff: This is a sponsored post and contains affiliate links, however my views expressed here are entirely my own and this is an honest and impartial review. I only ever work with brands that I use or would use myself and believe to be beneficial to the readers of this blog.