Author Archives: ross

How a Film Director Learns Arabic on italki

July 4th, 2013 | Posted by ross in tips - (0 Comments)

We love to hear how our italki users are overcoming the challenges of learning languages, and Nicole Ballivian has quite a story to share with us.

Read on to learn about Nicole and her language learning experiences.

Nicole in Hebron

Nicole and an actor in Hebron


From time to time I feel a great temptation to share my own learning and teaching experiences with other people. The way we learn something is critically important to the final outcome.

How do we learn languages? Normally, we memorize some basic words and phrases, then we learn some grammar rules and try to compose phrases using wrong words and making predictable mistakes since the interference from the native language is so strong. Why is it that after years of studies many still fail speaking fluently? Do they fail because they are stupid and lazy? Definitely not. At the very beginning of our lives we learnt our native languages perfectly well, so we are capable of learning languages. Probably, the way we acquire a new language is not the most efficient. Most likely, it is quite inefficient. We didn’t learn the native language as a sum of vocabulary and grammar rules. We never thought about the grammar at all, and yet we succeeded.

baby-photoPhoto source: Nina (more…)

The New italki iPhone App is Out!

January 29th, 2013 | Posted by ross in announcement | mobile - (1 Comments)

Quick video introduction to the italki Messenger: 

We are delighted to announce the launch of italki’s first iPhone App – the italki Messenger!!

You can think of our app as the “WhatsApp” for language learning (or Kakao in Korea) or 微信 / WeChat in China). With the italki Messenger, you can instantly chat with other learners around the world on your iPhone. We think this opens up a whole new way to learn a language.

What can you do on the italki Messenger?

  • Find language partners from around the world (e.g. Spanish speakers from Mexico)
  • Ask partners language questions (e.g. “How do I say ‘efficient’ in German?”)
  • Ask for help on pronunciation through recording one’s own voice (e.g. “Is my pronunciation of this Russian word correct?”)
  • Get help understanding the meaning of an image (e.g. “What do these Japanese characters in this image mean?”)
  • And much more!

italki Messenger

What makes italki Messenger different from other chat apps like WhatsApp?

  • Language Focus – While WhatsApp is focused on connecting you with your existing friends, italki Messenger helps you make new friends, based on learning a language. You may be interested in learning French, but none of your existing friends want to practice speaking French with you. However, there are lots of French people on italki who would be interested. The italki Messenger lets you connect to them faster.

We have been working on the italki Messenger over the course of this year, and we are really happy to get it on the App Store for you to try out. This is our first version, and there will definitely be some technical issues that we will do our best to resolve – so please be patient! :) If you have ideas on how to improve the italki Messenger, please feel free to email us at

Here are the links:
* italki Messenger – US Apple iTunes Store

P.S. We’re working on the Android version now!

Language learning social network launches iPhone app to connect 1 million language partners around the world through text and voice chat

SHANGHAI, China – January 29, 2013 – italki, the leading social network for language learning, has launched the first iPhone app to connect language learners around the world through text, voice, and images. The “italki Messenger” allows language learners to text message, voice chat, and share images with the over 1 million language learners currently using italki.

“Chatting with a language partner is one of the most popular activities on the italki website.  Extending this to a mobile app is a great way to help our users stay connected and learn a language,” said co-founder, Kevin Chen. “Users can now practice their written and spoken language, anytime and anywhere.  No other app connects you instantly with other language learners.”

italki’s iPhone app allows language learners to text message, voice message, and share pictures.  After creating an account, a user can search for new language partners by language or country.  Over 200 countries and over 100 languages are represented on italki, which gives users the opportunity to start practicing any language immediately.

“We are delighted with the launch of italki’s iPhone app,” said William Bao Bean, an investor in italki. “We expect italki will continue to innovate on both mobile and web.”

To download italki’s free iPhone app (“italki Messenger”), click here.

About italki

italki is an online language learning community that brings students and teachers together for paid and free language learning.  Since launching in 2007, the italki community has grown to over 1 million members from over 200 countries and has been featured in top international press such as Techcrunch, Mashable, The Independent, and The Guardian.

Visit for more information.

Press Contact:
Ross Cranwell
Marketing Director

To cater to our growing user base in China, we are looking to recruit a Chinese Online Marketing Assistant.

We are really excited about the growth of italki in China, and around the world, so if you are Chinese, love languages and online marketing, make sure to drop us your resume so we can consider you for our team!

Introduction to the role:

We are seeking a Chinese speaker strong in marketing and communications, who can drive traffic and increase sales in China. We are a fast-growing tech startup looking for an individual who wants to be part of an exciting, yet friendly working environment. The position is based in Shanghai, China. Candidates from other locations need not apply.

Responsibilities include, but are not limited to the following: 

Managing social networking channels – Weibo
Copywriting for newsletters, website, PR, advertising
Co-ordination and implementation of email campaigns
Quality control of Chinese version of website
Assisting in other general marketing initiatives

Minimum Requirements: 

Native Mandarin speaker
2+ years online marketing experience
Outgoing and proactive personality
Very strong Chinese communication skills
Experience with Chinese social network platforms
Good organizational and planning skills
Fluent in English (speaking, reading)
A sharp mind with the ability to grasp concepts quickly and problem solve

Preferred Qualifications: 

Experience in social media marketing
Interested in technology, language learning
Experience living overseas or working with foreigners
Translation skills, experience with English translation
Degree in marketing or communications

Work Environment:

Salary is based on experience and education
5-day work week
Allowance for free online language lessons
Great opportunities for growth
Annual Performance Review

For interested parties, please email your resume to ross at