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Best free apps for learning a new language

When teaching abroad, although it’s not usually necessary to speak or understand the language, having a basic grasp of key phrases will certainly make your day-to-day life much easier, more enjoyable and will definitely win you friends! 

For teachers interested in picking up the local language, there are some great free apps available for tablets and smartphones. Apps are a convenient, flexible way to get a taste of speaking another language and make it easy to regularly practice your skills. Here are our picks of the most user-friendly:


One of the most popular, free, language learning apps available, Duolingo is a fun, game-based encourages users to learn new words and practice phrases every day with frequent, motivational reminders. It also incorporates website translation to allow for practical learning experience.

Google Translate

Many of us have ordered food in a restaurant abroad but have no real idea about what the waiter will actually be serving us. Not only does Google Translate allow you to make simple translations and hear the correct pronounciation of phrases in hundreds of world languages, but it’s highlight feature is a ‘photo translator.’ Take a snap of a menu in a restaurant or a sign you just can’t understand and let the app do the hard work for you.


This flashcard style app is well suited to learners who have a fast memory and prefer rote-style learning. Working through words and phrases at speed encourages users to absorb what they’ve seen and heard at a quicker pace.


During the first stages, Busuu focuses learning around a basic flashcard and task methods. Once learners prove they have grasped all the basic principals, they can move on to community-based learning, through which they can connect with other learners and native speakers who are able to share feedback and advice.



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