The ability to communicate with others from different cultures, languages, and demographics has always been of much importance and those that could achieve this have been extremely valuable to communities, leaders, countries, etc.
Hello Pal has created a language learning app that you can just speak. No studying, no waiting.
After downloading Hello Pal, you first need to set up an account. You have a few options: you can signup with your email, or connect with Google + or Facebook accounts. Using Google+ or Facebook is a good idea because you are able to see friends who also might use the app as well.
Once sign up is complete, you are prompted to a setup screen. The setup screen inquires what languages you currently speak (and how well you do so), what languages you would be interested in learning, and other information such as interests, profession, and birthday.
My initial 2 uses of Hello Pal were less than useful. I had a difficult time navigating thru the dated user interface and the design was very reminiscent of an iPhone application with its icons and notifications which bothered me even more.
After being away from Hello Pal for a few days, I was able to come back to it with a renewed outlook on language learning and seeing if I would actually be able to learn Spanish effortlessly.
I downloaded the Spanish Phrasebook which was kind of like a Spanish language cheat sheet. The phrasebook included: basics, responses, common, small talk, and many other useful words and sentences that I could use to spark up a quick conversation, and even quickly rebuttal. After sending out multiple messages to recommend pals (Hello Pals recommends people to chat with), moments later I received my first reply and like advertised I was able to quickly type a message, and I was even able to look at my phrases and record a message and send it to my new pal. What is great about the recording feature is, the app plays the proper way to speak it first, then you can press the record button and record your message. After recording, you have the ability to replay the recording and decide if you want to keep or discard it before sharing with your new pal.
That was exciting and fun to me. Although with social media today, most communication is normally with family, friends, coworkers etc. Using Hello Pal kind of creeped me out, because I couldn’t help but think who am I chatting with? Are these real people and are these their real profile photos? I was taken back to the old AOL chat rooms which always was an eerie chatting experience for me at least.
Hello Pal is expected to be a quick mobile language learning tool. Which is totally true: it is quick and you can learn effortlessly. Travelers, students of language, and those looking to chat globally might benefit from multi cultural/language interactions.
The more time I spent using Hello Pal, the more I felt that for the most part the language tools were comprehensive and accurate, and I wasn’t coming off speaking way too robotic to the Spanish speakers I communicated with.
What We Like
What We didn’t Like
The concept of the app
Lack of users to communicate with
Language packs you can download and use to help learn
App design is dated and makes the app confusing to use
Searching for features from screen to screen un natural user experience
Hello Pal has a great idea on their hand with mobile language learning with no studying or waiting, even if that is only partially true. In order to speak words back, you have to spend time listening and learning. Sending messages and receiving responses is not always immediate or real time so therefore you are often waiting. The confusing user experience and lack of users makes the app just a good concept that is just unfinished and executed in a mediocre manner.