Communication is critical in most professions, but in some, clear verbal exchanges can mean the difference between life and death. Soldiers in the US Army stationed abroad, for example, must convey and understand information in languages other than English, but don’t always have access to interpreters to help them communicate. To assist with this, the.. read more →

Addictive language-education apps are essentially mobile games, and they add to your second-language vocabulary. But are users making any real gains toward fluency? When I first tried the free language learning app Duolingo, which calls itself “the most popular way to learn languages in the world,” I was delighted. I told it that I wanted to beef up my Latin American Spanish,.. read more →

Svetlana Pavshintseva, Kirill Golubev, and Andrey Lisitsa, who have studied at the Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Moscow, have older parents and observed a common problem: After people retire, they can sometimes struggle to feel useful and connected. The HSE trio saw a way to help. They launched a program enabling retirees to teach.. read more →

Some machines can take something written in one language and give users the same or similar wording in another language. These machines are designed to do this kind of work quickly and without mistakes. Some of the devices are so small they can be carried around the world. The quality of translation software programs has.. read more →

There are more than a hundred of these geometric symbols. At first I tap at them like a monkey at a typewriter. Eventually I learn how to piece a few together to ask a question. Who are you? I administer this place. Where is everyone? They have gone up. Made by Grant Kuning, a developer.. read more →

One year ago, Canada welcomed over 32,000 Syrian refugees escaping the war in their home country. Earlier this week, a months-long study from the Senate refugee resettlement committee found that most do not speak English or French, posing a “formidable” obstacle to their integration into their Canadian communities. COSTI Immigration Services, a Toronto-based settlement agency,.. read more →

Rosetta Stone reluctantly took teaching gigs in Maine’s classrooms this year. “We never want to replace someone’s job,” says Franklin Moomaw, the company’s regional director of education in the state. Rosetta Stone’s recommendation was for the program to supplement teacher lessons-it’s used this way in 4,000 schools in the US. The thing is, humans didn’t want the work… read more →

Artificial intelligence is difficult to develop because real intelligence is mysterious. This mystery manifests in language, or “the dress of thought” as the writer Samuel Johnson put it, and language remains a major challenge to the development of artificial intelligence. “There’s no way you can have an AI system that’s humanlike that doesn’t have language at.. read more →

Last week The Tandem Traveler, a tech startup that teaches foreign language for travelers, launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.com to fund development of a mobile travel language app. The program will combine the effectiveness and convenience that language apps like Duolingo and Rosetta Stone provide, but with a focus on words and phrases specifically.. read more →

Although machines can outperform humans in almost any skill set today, there is still one process that they have yet to master: translation. Several students learning a second or third language in particular will have undoubtedly encountered some of the more hilarious results produced by Google (mis)Translate. But a fascinating solution was recently proposed by.. read more →