Thursday, April 22, 2010

iTalki is taking on Lang-8 by letting you get your foreign-language writing corrected for free

iTalki just announced that they've added features that make iTalki into yet another place where you can get your foreign-language writing corrected online for free.

From their post:
Have you ever wanted to write something and get help correcting it? Now you can write a short post in your Notebook, and get other italki members to correct and comment on it.
They kind of make it sound like they're doing something completely new, huh?

Their system is fairly straight-forward, where the text is copied to a comment window below and you can format it to show your corrections. Their correction interface isn't quite as good as Lang-8's, but I certainly can't complain about having yet another place to get my writing corrected for free.

Update: After putting up this post, I got an email from Kevin Chen, one of the founders of italki, who shed some light on the development of this feature:
You're right that the corrections feature is nothing very "new" --- honestly, it was on our to-do list as early as when Livemocha came out way back in 2007. For a while we watched people use our answers and group sections to get corrections. However, the real answer is that we just got carried away with other priorities (our marketplace). At this point, the corrections feature is anything but "new", and every language learning social network has this feature, including Livemocha, Busuu and of course, Lang-8 (which I think is great). That being said, it is a really useful service for our users, and we think it deserved its own heading at italki.
The only thing I'd note is that I disagree that Livemocha and Busuu really have this feature. As I've noted before, on both of those, you can get text edited, but the text you're submitting is supposed to be the assignments of the courses on those sites, with prompts like "Describe six objects...", etc. Before italki entered the ring, Lang-8's only true competition in the free, write-whatever-you-want text correction area was CorrectMyText, which hasn't gained quite the traction of Lang-8.

Feature: Write in your Notebook and get corrections [official italki blog]
Get your foreign-language writing corrected online for free [Street-Smart Language Learning]


  1. I tried both iTalki's and Lang-8's correcting of written material.

    If you write something in Chinese you will get your stuff corrected within minutes or at least 1 or 2 hours. If write in English or French the corrections are very hard to get - very often you will get none.

    This applies to both Lang-8 and iTalki.

  2. The trick on both of them (and any other similar sites) is having enough friends in your target language.

    Whenever I try to get something corrected in a language in which I don't have many friends, I immediately go and invite 20 or 30 people who are online to be my friends. Typically they will check out who you are and one of them will correct whatever it is you have sitting there. Eventually, you'll get enough friends so that they'll correct everything for you quickly enough without needed to find more people.

    As proof, this French entry on Lang-8 got a reply in just 20 minutes, while this one took an hour.

  3. Thanks for this good info. I have found it and will shortly inform the rest of my network members know. They should consider it as informative as myself.

  4. what are the best free online language writing correction websites? ItalkI, Lang-8, or LiveMocha, correctmytext

  5. To find quality reviewers on Lang-8, it's a winnowing process; you do need to sift through some junk before finding the best. As for explanations of what's wrong, some reviewers add notes to the edits themselves, while others use the comment field at the end. Neither is ideal, but both at least take care of what your looking for.

  6. I do not want to bother you with advertising messages, but I think you might be interested in a site that some friends will launch:

    It will allow people who want to practice conversation to improve a language to contact tutors around the world to practice conversation via Skype, Google Talk or by telephone.

    You can register as a tutor, to make money talking in your language, or as a student to improve speaking any language with native speakers, or both at once.

    They are in pre-registration stage and plan to give advantages to those who sign up before launch.

  7. Well, that a nice taking and giving way. We can learn new things form others and at the same time we can give our ideas too.

  8. That's a great program. and are now really popular in teaching new languages.