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What is Transparent Language Online?

Transparent Language Online provides a fun, engaging, and interactive language-learning environment. More than just a language course, Transparent Language Online contains full courses and dozens of resources, while also providing extensive reference information, vocabulary building, relevant culture learning, and guidance for learning over 110 languages (including English). 

Designed with the beginner- to intermediate-level language learners in mind, Transparent Language Online allows learners to build and maintain the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing, as well as gain general background knowledge of a language and its culture. Transparent Language Online integrates activities, interactive text, audio, and visual stimuli to give learners the most engaging and effective experience with a new language. Grammar reference files and grammar videos can be found within the program.

The system is accessible at all times online through major web browsers and is appropriate for academic, business, or travel purposes and for use by learners of in grade 3 through adult. New lessons, courses, languages, features, and capabilities are regularly added to the system.A children's language-learning program, KidSpeak, is included with Transparent Language Online for grades K-2.

Transparent Language Online also features a robust and context-sensitive help system available on every screen in the program. All of the help documentation for end users, including guides to using the program, is contained within Transparent Language Online. Users can click or touch the “?” to see detailed help documentation, step-by-step instructions and images to guide them in the use of the particular screen or learning activity.

Key Learning Themes in
Transparent Language Online

Transparent Language Online utilizes a variety of learning activities that are designed to engage the learner, encourage verbal and written production of the language, and ensure that what is learned is not forgotten. The lessons as presented to the learner on their personalized "Learning Path" which the learner can customized to their own goals and needs.  Based on their goals, learners can utilize and study any of the available themed lessons and content in Transparent Language Online, including general vocabulary, travel/vacation, business, medical, and holiday content sets. Learners can skip around as they desire between lessons and even within the various learning activities inside of each lesson. All learner progress and history are tracked throughout.

Throughout the courses and other learning material, learners will find the pronunciation, writing, and memory building systems that are described below.

Integrated Experience

Transparent Language Online is accessible across multiple devices, automatically syncing learning progress across each platform. The program is fully mobile responsive, so the entire program can be accessed directly through a web browser on a mobile device (tablet or mobile phone) with full functionality of the web version. If accessing the website through a mobile device web browser, the program will automatically enhance the experience for the user and take them to the mobile version of the site

Transparent Language Online includes apps for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire devices. All apps are included free of charge with a subscription to Transparent Language Online. Users can download the Transparent Language mobile apps, which include all of the same learning activities and materials as the web version of the program. 

Speaking the Language

The key to good pronunciation is to get learners to speak the language. Transparent Language Online provides learners with an opportunity to hone their pronunciation skills and develop confidence pronouncing new words and phrases out loud. Every word and phrase in the program have been recorded at the natural speed by a native speaker, which learners can listen to as many times as they need. If helpful, they can even slow down the pronunciation using the SlowSound feature to hear the nuances of the native speaker's pronunciation. 

The speech activities in Transparent Language Online are powered by Transparent Language’s proprietary EveryVoice™ technology, which analyzes and matches learner utterances to native speaker utterances with accuracy in any language. Users can control play back speed, pause, replay, skip and resume audio for both the native speaker and their own recordings. The technology allows for a variety of speech-enabled interactions to help build the learner’s confidence and ability. 

Several learning activities in Transparent Language Online utilize the learner’s voice as the means of interacting with the activity.  For example, in Transparent Language Online’s multiple choice activity, learners can answer by clicking with their mouse, touching their tablet screen, or they can speak the answer using EveryVoice.  Pedagogically, multiple-choice is a memory building activity, but by adding the ability to answer by speaking, the activity expands to a productive (speaking) skill building activity while still being a memory (vocabulary) builder.

Learning the Alphabet

When a language uses letters or characters other than the Latin alphabet familiar to English speakers, writing and reading can become a challenging obstacle.  However, there is a great advantage to learning the native script.  Recognizing and understanding the characters of a foreign language is an important step toward comprehending the language as a whole.  Learn the native alphabet in Russian, Thai, or Arabic, for example, and you’ll see and feel the language more authentically.  Imagine, even as a beginner, being able to sound out road and store signs when traveling or watch movies and news footage.  Later, the native script will serve as your membership card to the world of literature, texting, and email.

To support this idea, Transparent Language Online includes Alphabet Courses designed to teach native alphabets.  These courses include a suite of activities intended to help users achieve a basic familiarization with the alphabet of in new language by recognizing letters and their corresponding sounds. 

Alphabet courses are available for Arabic, Armenian, Baluchi, Bambara, Bulgarian, Cambodian (Khmer), Chechen, Danish, Dari, Farsi, French, Georgian, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Indonesian, Iraqi, Japanese, Korean, Mongolian, Norwegian, Pashto, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Thai, Turkish, Urdu, and Wolof, with more coming soon. 

Typing and Writing in the Language

Transparent Language Online is one of the few online language-learning systems that includes activities to teach typing and writing in the foreign language. Learning to write and type in a language can be a very helpful communication skill, especially in today's world of texting and email. It helps eliminate issues with accents and rough pronunciation and, just as with written communication between native speakers, reduces ambiguity.

However, these typing activities are as much about training the learner's memory as they are about building writing skills. Typing activities engage the brain in new ways that reinforce the memorization of the items learned, further embedding them in the learner's short-term and long-term memory.

Adaptive Learning Algorithm

An adaptive learning algorithm in Transparent Language Online delivers each learner with a unique and complete experience. The learning activities adapt to each learning encounter, tracking what the user gets right and wrong, and tailoring the program to focus on items the user struggles with. Each challenge the user answers gives immediate feedback saying if it’s right or wrong. If the user answers it correctly, the challenge moves on after allowing the user a moment to review. If the user is wrong, the activity will inform the user and allow for a chance to repeat if they’d like. Transparent Language Online shows the incorrect answer and gives feedback to the user on what part they answered wrong.

Sustaining Learned Items

The more that learners use the courses and lessons in Transparent Language Online, the more lexical items they acquire. The accumulated vocabulary of words and phrases is different for each user, but something everyone has in common is that they want that vocabulary to stick with them long term, so that they can actually use it when they need it.

Transparent Language’s Learned Items capability captures what is learned and automatically confirms and refreshes the growing collection of learned items at intervals that promote long-term memory of each item. This efficient tool is used to build, maintain, and grow a personal "lexical reservoir" (as the experts would say) in a chosen language. If the learner is having difficulty with an item, it is refreshed more often. Other items are seen less often. Over time, Learned Items uses spaced-interval repetition techniques to lengthen retention and "stabilize" the memory of every learned word and phrase. No one enjoys having the effort they spend learning a language to go to waste by forgetting it all, and Learned Items is designed to make sure that doesn't happen.

Learned Items keeps track of a user’s learning history and lets them see if any of their learned words or phrases are "stale," meaning the time has come to refresh their memory of that item. If an item has just been learned, it might become stale again a few days later, while something refreshed successfully several times in a row might take many months to become stale again.  Refresh is fast, and as each item is completed, it gets a new refresh date, depending on how well the refresh goes and the learner’s history with that item.

Subscriptions to Transparent Language Online are available for schools, public and academic libraries, businesses, and individuals.