Learning new languages is something many strive to do. Yet even after many hours of studying a foreign tongue, most people are still not able to fluently converse with native speakers, as the methods don’t provide the necessary platform on which to build language proficiency. Technology is now changing how people learn languages. Some digital language solutions have emerged, but most focus too heavily on the passive learning of vocabulary and complicated grammatical structures. They provide little active learning opportunities. As a result, motivation can fade and the language is never truly learnt. The Talk2Leeloo project created the LEELOO app – a personalised, virtual coach that provides a deeper and more natural methodology for learning languages. Aside from intuitive language learning based on AI technology, LEELOO offers translations and suggested phrases that native speakers would use. “Speaking to people in their own language helps break down barriers and allows everyone to feel more comfortable and confident. This explains why language learning is one of the top three expenses in multinational companies,” says Judith Beer-Gabel, co-founder and COO of LEELOO and Talk2Leeloo project coordinator.
“Our philosophy is that learning a new language is easy and intuitive. Based on that, we built a virtual personal coach enabling people to ‘hack’ a language,” she explains. LEELOO offers a conversation-focused experience, so that the vocabulary used is not only more useful but assimilated faster, and better retained. Through an immersive voice and text experience, LEELOO provides interactions with chatbots tailor-made for each individual company’s industry and needs. “Anchoring the learning experience in a realistic and professional context also increases the user’s self-confidence,” she adds. Unlike human coaches, the chatbots are available at any time during the week, and can be accessed through a phone kept easily in a suit pocket. LEELOO curates content selected on an individual basis to keep users entertained, from news articles, videos and podcasts, among other sources. The solution creates personalised reports about progress, mistakes and vocabulary assimilation for the user to keep track of their language development. Employers also have access to a management dashboard, which shows their employees’ progress, making the solution ideal for businesses. LEELOO currently offers English and French as learning and support languages, and expects to add more in the near future.
Learning to teach
Following feedback from testing users, the Talk2Leeloo team realised that the chatbot could benefit from more educational content in the existing conversations. They also implemented advanced features, using speech recognition, text to speech and spell checking. “This forced us to develop a native app during the study since these features could not easily be implemented in the web portal,” says David Beer-Gabel, CTO and co-founder of LEELOO. The app is available today on both iOS and Android. It can be found on the stores under the name ‘Talk to Leeloo’, and features a complete set of learning features, providing access to a set of day-to-day conversations as well as a professional one. “We are really proud of how far we have come. Nevertheless, there’s still a lot of work to be done and more challenges to come,“ he says.
Talk2Leeloo, app, language, learning, chatbot, AI, speech