Thursday, June 13, 2013

Transparent Language Online

It's happened. I've fallen in love with yet another online resource. Here's what excites me about Transparent Language:

  • There are 100+ languages available, including multiple ESL options (e.g., English for German, English for Polish, etc).
  • Users select a default language that opens when they login, but may opt to learn multiple languages at the same time. Bonus: Transparent tracks your progress in all languages simultaneously.
  • Transparent strives to cover all aspects of learning a language: hear it, see it, say it, write it.
  • Transparent is not linear, meaning users have the option to bounce around from one activity to the next at their heart's desire. I like this approach because everyone learns differently, so having the autonomy to decide is exciting.
  • Byki (Before You Know It) is the flashcard component. Users can flip through cards at their own pace, or set cards to a slideshow mode. Bonus: you can print off vocabulary to use later. For the record, this prints on one page as a two-column table, not as individual flashcards.
  • Users can view a "transliterated" language. In layman's terms, this means patrons can read true symbols (e.g., Arabic) as well as the phonetic pronunciation of said symbols. Note of caution: the pronunciation does not appear side by side. 
  • There is an additional mobile component, but it has specific intended use(s). The mobile app will not update user progress, so it is not recommended for extended of periods of time. However, users can access the byki vocab cards and engage in repetitive studying at a moment's notice. I see this being used while waiting in line at the grocery store, riding the bus, or on a lunch break.
  • Users can record their own voice and match it to that of a native speaker. How cool! Even better? Users can speed up or slow down the native speaker's voice. Learning a new language can be daunting, so having the freedom to opt for a pace matching your needs appeals greatly to me.
  • Users can opt for a "word of the day." This is another beneficial option to hear it, see it, say it, and ruminate on it for the day, thus growing your vocabulary.
On the whole, this appeals to me as Rosetta Stone minus the cost. I know I sound like a spokesperson, but this is free knowledge at our fingertips, which excites me. I hope your library offers Transparent, or something similar. Go forth and be curious!