If you want to learn a new language using your iDevice, you can find several apps such as Duolingo and Babbel that serve the purpose. Though these apps take a rather traditional approach towards teaching you new languages. The freshly released Lingo, on the other hand, is much more practical. When using Duolingo, you might feel the need of having a dictionary of the language you are learning, but Lingo itself doubles as a language teacher and a dictionary. This iPad app supports Spanish, French and Italian, but won’t force you to go through endless lessons in order to get proficient at these languages. You just need to know enough English, and Lingo does the rest.
The app works by offering word-by-word English translations of text snippets in the three supported languages. However, rather than showing you the translation and then forgetting all about it, Lingo remembers the words you have learned. This word list can then be viewed any time you want, or you can even email it to someone (or yourself).
Lingo is pretty simple in its operation, and you don’t even have to sign up for a new account to get started with it. The three supported languages have areas of their own on the main screen, and you can start learning by swiping the card of the language you want to learn or translate. Each section has some sample text, in case you don’t have any resources of your own to work from.
Lingo is not capable of translating multiple words in one go, so you might be forced to make sense of the language’s grammatical structure all by yourself. To start with a piece of text you have copied from an external source, enter the desired language section, and hit the ‘+’ icon. You can then paste the copied text to this blank page. Before Lingo lets you see any word’s translation though, you have to name your session. This session is kept saved within the app for future use.
To see a word’s translation, just tap it once. The word gets highlighted, and its complete translation appears in the bar on the left side of the screen. You can sort the list of translated words in two ways: chronological and alphabetical. For words that have multiple meanings, you can read the detailed translation by tapping their entry in the list. The words you view are automatically added to your ‘Master Wordlist’ to make sure you don’t have to repeatedly revisit your lessons. Hit the arrow icon in the Master Wordlist to export it via email.
Lingo is not the kind of app that will teach you a language all by itself. If you are learning a new language from another source however, this app becomes a must-have. Lingo can get even better if support for more languages is added, and the developer gives some thought to teaching users the correct pronunciation of words through audio recordings.
The app is available as a free download, and works only with the iPad. You will need an active internet connection in order to use Lingo properly. Give it a go by following the link provided below.