Mastering a language through an intuitive app sounds like a fantastic thing to do. While Duolingo is the most recognized software for language learning, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t any alternatives.
I came across Tandem, a language exchange tool that resembles dating and chat apps. Eager to know whether it could help improve my English skills further, I tested it for a few days. Here is what I found out.
- What Is the Tandem Learning Exchange App?
- How to Download and Install the Tandem App?
- Getting Started with the Tandem App
- Tandem as an Intuitive Language Learning App
- Helpful Language Tools
- Tandem Offers an Extensive Language Learning Community
- Intuitive Tutor Feature
- The Tandem Pricing Scheme
- Benefits of Using the Tandem App
- Downsides of the Tandem App
What Is the Tandem Learning Exchange?
Developed by the Tripod Technology GmbH, Tandem was founded as a language learning community center.
I found that it has more than a million active users that chat and video call daily. This app aims to help non-traditional speakers improve their language by communicating with native speakers.
A short overview of how it works is that the app finds you a partner to practice with, based on your interests, language, and current skill level as soon as you sign up.
In my opinion, it is one of the most innovative features on the app market. I was pretty excited to embark on this journey, knowing that it will improve my languages and meet new cultures.
More Than 160 Languages
I was most impressed that this language exchange center supports learning more than 160 languages.
Thus, I could choose between English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Arabic, German, Italian, Portuguese, and a bunch of others.
I think this app can go a long way if you are looking to prepare for traveling abroad and visiting your favorite country.
How to Download and Install the Tandem App
Talking about this app’s availability, I am happy to announce that software is available for both mobile and desktop users.
As someone who uses an Android smartphone, it took only a few minutes to find the app on the Google Play Store and download it for free.
Regarding whether it can be used on iOS devices, the answer is — yes! As long as you are running an iOS that is above 12.1. you will be able to download the app on the Apple App Store.
It asks for just 175 MB of storage space and can be downloaded at no cost.
Available for Desktop Users
One of the most excellent points is that I enjoyed this language learning center while sitting on my laptop.
I later found out that it can run on Mac, Linux, and Windows which is not something that many apps offer.
Getting Started with the Tandem App
Among my first impressions is that the developers did a great job with creating a modern app.
I noticed that the home page of this app is overwhelmed by professional photos of potential learning partners. It reminded me of Tinder which brings us back to my initial point.
Tandem is something in between dating and a language exchange app. Once I downloaded the app, the next step was to set my profile app.
The first thing I did was to take a clean selfie photo with a pastel background. I also provided relevant information, including my interests and what I was looking for in a language learning partner.
Wait for 7 Days?
I was quite surprised by the fact that the app puts you on a waiting list.
As I was notified, due to an abundance of users and different preferences, the software installs waiting lists in certain countries, and it can take up to 7 days until you are active.
Of course, you can skip the line by subscribing to the premium plan, which I eventually did.
Tandem as an Intuitive Language Learning App
I didn’t subscribe to skip the waiting line but rather because I wanted to enjoy all of the premium features.
Nevertheless, even before I did it, the app proved to be quite effective in connecting me with other people. Within just a few hours, I had more than five different conversations.
Developers invested the most time and money into creating an intuitive app with an interactive chat section. The first couple of sessions did remind me of HelloTalk.
But in my opinion, it offers a much better layout and is perfect for users with no previous experience.
Built-In Language Tools
I tried learning several different languages with this app, including Spanish, Italian, and Russian.
To be honest, I wasn’t full of confidence when exchanging messages through chat in the language that I just started learning.
Luckily, there is a set of language tools that make it easier for newbies.
Helpful Language Tools
The fact that developers integrated a few elements that should help us overcome the initial challenges was terrific.
My personal favorite is the Speak tool which helped me with pronunciation and distinguishing consonant and vowel sounds.
The second feature that I particularly enjoyed is the Correct, which works much like the auto-correct offered by iOS and Android smartphones.
Furthermore, I found the Translate feature to go a long way in terms of vocabulary enhancement.
Skip Missing Out on Messages
You should keep in mind that the free version of this app allows only five translation shots, while I got an unlimited number of tries through the premium subscription.
Among the essential features has to be the Comment one that allowed me to answer the messages I received hours before.
Tandem Offers an Extensive Language Exchange Community
The point that impressed me the most is the Community segment.
On this page, I was able to find the users that are native in the language that I am learning and learn more about those interested in my mother tongue.
With that in mind, I am not surprised why more than a few people contact me within hours.
Once again, it was pretty similar to Tinder in terms of the information listed below every profile picture. Thus, I could find about the interests, location, and background of the messaged people.
Get Messaged Through the Reference Tool
Much like in other interactive apps, Tandem provides you the ability to recommend the language partner that you chatted with to others through the reference tool.
It is the best way to thank somebody for what they taught you.
Intuitive Tutor Feature
The Tandem app is created as a mix between a standard meeting app and a language exchange software.
With that in mind, not many people are interested in getting a traditional tutor through this app. Still, the developers made sure to integrate this feature as well.
While I didn’t pay for any of the lessons offered, I had a lot of fun listing through the available tutors.
The Tandem app allows you to apply for this position by showing professionalism, teaching experience, and your “fun factor”. The most remarkable point is that you can set up your price.
Real People as Moderators
Discussing the innovative features, I was pretty impressed that it isn’t bots who are performing credibility checks.
On the contrary, several employees have to monitor what is happening in the community and ensure that no users are abusing the platform or harming others.
The Tandem Pricing Scheme
As I said above, one of the main reasons why people opt for the subscription plan is to skip the waiting list.
In my opinion, this shouldn’t be the primary motive, as with the free version, you will still be able to access the language exchange center within hours (the waiting list is just a marketing scheme).
Although I could exchange messages and practice my language skills without paying anything, I was interested in trying out the pro plan. What does it offer?
Well, firstly, you won’t be bothered by ads. Additionally, by subscribing, I got a verified badge, visitor insights, tandem maps, unlimited translations, and I could search for members by location.
What Is the Price?
It all depends on the plan that you opt for. The most expensive one is the single month which is set at $6.99.
As I wanted to have a bit more fun and test this app throughout the upcoming months, I went for the 90 days subscription set at $3.99 per month and $11.99 in total.
The most affordable plan is the annual one that offers a $2.92 price per 30 days and $34.99 for the whole year.
Benefits of Using the Tandem App
Among the many perks that I found with this app is that I improved my language skills.
In my opinion, it is more extensive than Duolingo as apart from the traditional phrases and grammar, I also got to learn slang words and the standard idioms.
The main difference between Tandem and its competitors is that it allows you to meet new friends.
As I mentioned throughout the article, both the community and the chat sector are interactive and offer extensive communication.
Meet New Cultures
Lastly, I would recommend this software to anyone willing to learn more about different cultures.
As I found, language learning and chatting go a long way in finding the country’s traditions that your partner is coming from.
Downsides of the Tandem App
The main problem that I had with this app is that there are just two filters.
You can’t limit who appears on your homepage apart from choosing partners by location and interest. Still, the fact that I can restrict people that don’t share my interests from seeing my profile is cool.
Additionally, I found that not a lot of people are interested in maintaining long conversations.
This makes sense because it is a language exchange center and should be used for practicing. Still, it does decrease the chance of creating long-term contacts.
Weird Marketing Scheme
Lastly, although the waiting list feature is a scheme and not a reality, it is not something that I was happy about.
While I would be subscribing, tricking new users into buying the pro plan through this method isn’t something I was most impressed by.
I can say with confidence that Tandem is a fantastic method to practice languages online. In my opinion, the pro plan is worth it as it allows a stress-free experience.
Even if you are on a tight budget and can’t afford the subscription price, Tandem allows an interactive interface and innovative language practice features.