[App Review] Duolingo

By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer

duolingo exp
Earning experience points offers a feeling of progress and motivates you to level up.

The ingenious Duolingo app teaches you foreign languages, while also helping you translate the World Wide Web for the millions of internet users out there from different countries.

See, there’s lots of incredible online content that goes untranslated, making it difficult for people who aren’t fluent in say, Hebrew, to enjoy a hilarious comic written by an Israeli. By combining clean visuals, a motivating bonus points system, and that do-gooder feeling of helping others, Duolingo effectively teaches the world new languages.

First of all, Duolingo is 100% free. That’s right. And no, there aren’t any little hidden fees or mini-transactions that you need to click on to get ahead. Considering that Duolingo’s creators are aiming for college-level quality in their language program, the $0 pricetag is a real bargain. The top-notch language learning software is even arguably superior to paid apps like the $20 Living Language iPad and Babbel.

Let’s talk visuals and user-friendly controls now. After all, if it’s a clunky and confusing mess, it doesn’t matter how great the content is. I’m glad to say that not only does it have a clean presentation that’s as intuitive as Facebook, Instagram, and Google, you’ll be drawn in by the bright colors, red hearts (that run out if you keep guessing incorrectly), and pairing of images with words.

So, what about gameplay? Yes, Duolingo has all the makings of a video game! You’ll gain experience points for working through the game and mastering lessons, thus increasing your rank and turning you into a translating superstar.

Since users can vote on the best translations of sentences, you’ll feel that competitive blood pumping in your veins, wanting to prove your worth to fellow duolinguists. See, the accuracy and effectiveness of Duolingo is due to its clever crowdsourcing – drawing upon the knowledge of over 20 million users, with over 100,000 new ones joining each day.

Duolingo tracker
Track your skills with Duolingo’s simple menus.

The educational value is high too, since Duolingo just throws you right into the thick of things rather than explaining language concepts like a dusty old professor. That might seem scary, but the structured and intelligent lessons monitor your skill levels and modify the difficulty as you go, making it both challenging and evenly paced. Then, if the thought of punching buttons on your cell makes your hand start cramping, voice-enabled typing can free up your fingers.

Duolingo’s easy-to-learn, hard-to-master software, and “save the translating world” helpfulness make it a must-have on your phone. So, our final verdict? “A+”.

Images courtesy of Duolingo Facebook.