Duable helps adults learn to read Chinese as a second language by turning their web browser into a personalized vocabulary classroom. While they surf the web, we mark up web pages with dynamically generated Chinese translations of key phrases chosen to match their vocabulary level. That lets adult learners go comfortably at their own pace while acquiring the specialized vocabulary that’s relevant to their personal and professional lives. This combination disrupts traditional language lessons, which are artificial and awkward, and leads to a breakthrough in learning effectiveness.
More people than ever are trying to learn a foreign language, but the language learning industry is stuck in the past. Most foreign language teaching systems (including schools and universities) are abysmally ineffective. This is because they all suffer the same problem: teaching materials were designed decades ago for the convenience of the teacher, not the student.
Since those systems were designed, a wave of natural language processing (NLP) and Big Data capabilities has created the field of computational linguistics. Our founding team of computational linguists has built a better way to learn foreign languages: we can turn any web page into a language lesson.
- Nik van der Ploeg: born and raised in Chicago. Undergrad in Psychology at UIUC. Master’s in Linguistics at NTNU in Taiwan, now at thesis stage. Programmer by trade. In the past two years he has taken formal Chinese classes, tried pretty much every Chinese learning product available and eventually succeeded in teaching himself Chinese.
- Victor Chen: UI/UX developer, graphic designer with sales and marketing experience