Want to learn Arabic? Klingon? Duolingo turns to the crowd to create new language classes

Syed Bukhari:

Do we really need to learn more than one language? Steve Ballmer (Microsoft CEO) said that he sat through a demo where English (voice) was translated to Mandarin (voice) then to Mandarin sign language. The end receiver then used Mandarin sign language with a response which made it’s way all the way through the channels into English Sign language! That’s the future.

Originally posted on Gigaom:

For the past two years, startup Duolingo has helped people learn new languages while crowdsourcing translations of real-world web content. Now, it’s tapping the crowd for new language classes, too.

To date, the company, which has 10 million users, has released mobile and web classes for six languages. But founder and CEO Luis Von Ahn, who also created ReCAPTCHA, said the startup receives about 50 messages a day from users requesting new languages. In total, he estimates users have asked for the addition of classes for hundreds of new languages.

“We simply cannot add so many by ourselves,” he said. “When we get asked for a language, a fraction say I’m willing to help. We took a cue from that and developed a system that lets the community contribute classes.”

Through the startup’s new Language Incubator, users can apply to add a new language to the site. Duolingo reviews the…

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