Lingro

Website review by
Polly Conway, Common Sense Media
Lingro Website Poster Image
Crowdsourced language-learning tool translates websites.

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The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

Kids can learn another language or build on preexisting skills. They'll learn a few different ways to study; they can try to read an entire website in Spanish, for example, stopping only to look up words they don't know, or they can review word lists they've created using Lingro's online flashcards. Kids also can learn that a language depends on people to keep it alive. Through Lingro's dictionary, which is composed of multiple individual contributions, kids will see that a language is defined by the people who speak it.

Positive Messages

Kids have the power to get immediate translations, which may help them feel more confident in their language skills.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lingro is a free website that helps kids learn languages using a variety of online tools. Kids can look up words or load Web pages and click on words that Lingro will translate. The site keeps track of all the words you translate, as well as all the pages you visit, keeping a history of your learning process. This means the site is saving data, so there's proof if kids visit any inappropriate sites.

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What's it about?

LINGRO is a free website that helps kids learn languages and invites them to contribute their own knowledge. It has a standard dictionary that translates words in 11 languages and a Web viewer that allows you to load a Web page and click on any word to get an immediate translation. You can also download a browser plug-in that does the same thing but has a wider reach (for example, it can translate Facebook, which the Web viewer is unable to do). Create and categorize word lists that can then be used in games (though a flashcard activity is currently the only game on the site). You also can insert a Mini Dictionary or badge into your own website, allowing other people to translate it. To add a word to the site's dictionary, click on the dictionary builder and then choose a language. A list of words that haven't yet been translated by the community will appear; choose a word from that list and add your own translation.

Is it any good?

The neat thing about Lingro is that it can help language learners at any level. If you're almost fluent in English but just need a few words translated from the Huffington Post, you can click on only those words. This should help with context and confidence. The site is free, but it's also crowdsourced, which means that all the information may not be entirely accurate. It also means that languages aren't equally represented; it's possible to translate almost any word from English to Spanish using Lingro, but there are only a few words you can translate from French to Spanish. The site also promises games, but the only one is a flashcard activity that's helpful for learning but not much of a game.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • With your kids, watch a foreign movie with subtitles in the language of your choice. Explain how subtitles work and how they can help you become more familiar with a language over time.

  • If you speak another language, talk to your kids about what it's like to be bilingual. Why is it important or helpful?

Website details

For kids who love learning for fun

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