We're pretty big on Babbel, the online language learning platform, and wanted to let Free Language readers know that in June they released a new browser-based speech recognition feature.
This unique tool encourages users to practice the language they are learning out loud and gives them the opportunity to fine-tune their pronunciation. Some traditional e-learning software includes this sort of tool, but none of them do it online in quite the same way. It is also one of the first applications to incorporate the new Adobe Flash Player 10.1.
Language Learning System Babbel Introduces Speech Recognition
- Foreign language pronunciation training online
- Real-time technology based on the new Adobe Flash Player 10.1
- Speech recognition with Babbel iPhone apps also planned
Babbel integrates a unique speech recognition tool into its language learning system. The feature encourages practice and gives the opportunity to fine-tune pronunciation skills. This adds yet another dynamic dimension to online language learning.
The browser-based speech analysis gives learners an instant evaluation, letting them know how close their pronunciation is to that of a native speaker. Included in all Babbel courses, the feature will take effect automatically. No installation is necessary beyond the latest Flash Player.
Many students of foreign languages, regardless of their level, lack speaking practice and often shy away from direct communication. Breaking out of the shell can take courage that is not always at hand. The idea of the speech recognition feature is to give them the confidence to open their mouths. "We're encouraging learners to speak and improve their pronunciation with a technical tool before they have to face real-life situations", says Markus Witte, Managing Director of Babbel.
In a new kind of exercise integrated into the Babbel courses, learners hear a word or phrase and are prompted to repeat it back. The quality of the pronunciation is then rated on a scale of 0-100. A result of 50 or higher means that the utterance is generally understandable. Beyond that point, the user can continue to polish their pronunciation to desired perfection.
New technology from audio software experts
The Babbel founders have an extensive background in audio technology. Among them are the original developers of TRAKTOR, the world renowned DJ software. This professional-level technology has been channeled into the online language learning system Babbel and made accessible for anyone online.
The new speech recognition tool marks a milestone in online language learning and underscores Babbel’s technological lead. It works directly with the popular Flash Player and is the first to make use of its new capabilities
Another implementation of speech recognition technology is planned for the recently released Babbel iPhone apps.
Babbel is an online language learning system. Along with the website, there are apps for iPhone and a downloadable vocabulary trainer. Both beginners and returning learners will find interactive exercises for studying English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese and Swedish. Among diverse kinds of courses there are Basic and Advanced Vocabulary, grammatical exercises and pronunciation training. More than 700,000 people from over 200 countries have already registered with Babbel, while the iPhone apps have had at least 100,000 downloads.
We have reviewed Babbel for the seven languages it's currently working for. Have a look at our articles to find out much more about this unique language-learning platform: