Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Pittsburgh's language learning technology companies are creating an international buzz
Between video conferencing and global chat rooms, the Internet has smashed most of the walls that prevented people from different countries from communicating. With language being one of the last barriers, two Pittsburgh companies are leading a charge to use the Web to build a connected, multilingual world.
Duolingo, a free online service that provides a combination of language learning and translation services, and WeSpeke, a free language learning site that uses face-to-face communication between users who speak different languages, have made significant strides in the industry during their initial phases of operation.
Duolingo, launched last year by Carnegie Mellon University professor Luis von Ahn and CMU doctoral student Severin Hacker, has soared to 3 million users worldwide and is now run by a staff of 27 in its Oakland office. Upgrades made in March now provide users with an offline mode that downloads activities and a speech recognition function.
Additionally, Duolingo will release the service to 500 million Android users this week with a new app and a deal is in the works to allow users to translate articles for a major American news organization that Mr. von Ahn declined to name. Currently, Duolingo is available in iOS and its users are translating commercial documents and books into different languages as they complete learning exercises. Duolingo's Android app will be available at the Google Play store starting Wednesday morning...Read more»
By: Deborah M. Todd