Author Archives: Kevin

Updates: Changes to the Teaching System

July 6th, 2012 | Posted by Kevin in announcement | feature - (Comments Off on Updates: Changes to the Teaching System)

Are you interested in getting online language lessons or speaking practice? We’ve made some important updates to the website that we hope will make it easier to find a teacher that suits your needs!

We are separating our Language Teachers into Community Tutors and Professional Teachers. Secondly, we will divide the services which are provided into formal Language Lessons, Speaking Practice, and Language Exchange.

What has changed?

* We’ve made a new menu for the website that will make it easier to pick a service – Language Lessons, Speaking Practice, Language Exchange (and of course Answers, Notebook, and Groups)
* We have new profiles for Users, Teachers, and Tutors. Now you can make it clearer what you’re looking for, whether it is a Chinese language exchange partner or a teacher to practice English.
* We have a simplified rating system for teachers
* We have made it easier to contact other users, particularly teachers and tutors

What Teacher Service should I choose?

If you wish to just focus on speaking practice or getting help on your homework, then you can take a session with our Community Tutors. A Community Tutor is generally a native speaker of the language, but does not work as a teacher or have formal training as a teacher. A Community Tutor is great for people who are already taking lessons offline, or are intermediate / advanced level. Many Community Tutors also prepare in-depth lessons like Professional Teachers.

Professional Teachers are able to give formal language lessons, and teach you how to learn all aspects of a foreign language. Professional teachers are trained in a teaching method, and can provide a structured approach to learning. Professional Teachers are necessary for beginner level students, and are a faster way to progress for advanced and intermediate level students.

For any questions about these upcoming changes, please check out the italki support forum or email

Updates: Make voice recordings on italki

May 18th, 2012 | Posted by Kevin in feature - (1 Comments)

Have you ever wanted to make voice recordings on italki? Now you can. You can make voice recordings on your notebook entries, as well as in your italki messages.

Now your notebook entries can be used to get corrections on your pronunciation, or just to give an introduction to yourself.

Your italki messages can now be used to practice speaking with other italki members (like trading voice messages).

Here is an example of a teacher using this feature to record a short introduction to himself.

We hope that this is helpful for everyone trying to learn a language. Let us know what you think!

The italki Team

Note: Unfortunately, we have already tested that it doesn’t work on Linux systems. Sorry about that.

Updates: New Relationships, Inbox

March 1st, 2012 | Posted by Kevin in announcement | feature - (2 Comments)

We’re always trying to improve italki, and we’ve recently made a few important changes. Here’s they are:

New Friend Relationships
We’re changing how friends are handled on italki to an asymmetrical system. You’re probably already familiar with this type of relationship through services like Twitter, Weibo, and Google Plus.

What this means that you can “follow” anyone’s updates. When the other person follows you back, then it’s just like the old “friends” or “language partners” relationship. When you’re both connected, you’ll be able to write messages and chat with each other.

We made this change to simplify our previous system, which had aspects of both symmetrical and asymmetrical systems. Don’t worry — all of your existing friends will automatically transition to the new system. We think the system, in particular, will benefit new users who may have a hard time getting connected with people.

Inbox Messages
We’ve also changed our inbox to be less like email, and more like a chat conversations. This should make it easier to pick up where you left off in your conversations. It should also help us transition to a more robust chat system in the future.

We hope these updates (and smaller ones we haven’t mentioned) will make italki easier and more fun for you to use. What we’ve learned is that italki is not a traditional social network, and language partners are not your typical “friends”. Your language partners on italki almost always start off as strangers. Moreover, language partners share a complementary interest. This is the basis for language exchanges, and the relationship between teachers and students for language teaching.

As always, we’re interested to hear what you think. Please send your ideas and suggestions to We’re going to have more changes coming up, so stay in touch!

The italki Team

Wishing everyone a happy and prosperous Year of the Dragon!

January 22nd, 2012 | Posted by Kevin in announcement - (Comments Off on Wishing everyone a happy and prosperous Year of the Dragon!)

恭喜发财! We want to wish everyone a happy and prosperous Year of the Dragon!

For our users, thanks for being part of our language learning community. We believe you are what makes italki a great place to learn a foreign language. By making friends, sharing your culture, learning a language, and helping people with your native language, you are making the italki community (and the world!) a better place.

The italki Team

Happy New Year!

January 1st, 2012 | Posted by Kevin in announcement - (Comments Off on Happy New Year!)

It has been a long time since we’ve posted on the blog, and we just wanted let you know we’re still here!

First, we wanted to say Happy New Year! To all of our users, we really want to thank you for making italki a fun and friendly community to learn a language.

In 2012, there will be a lot of changes at italki. We’ve got new ideas (and we’ve received a lot of suggestions from you!), and we’ll soon have more resources to turn these ideas into reality. It still makes us excited to think about the potential we can unlock when we help people connect to learn from each other. We know you’re just as excited to see the updates!

Happy New Year, and see you in 2012!

The italki Team

Picture from Chez Chiara.