In 2011, after my third trip to IFA in Berlin I made a conscious decision to try and learn German. I wanted to be able to know how to order more than just a “cola light” (that’s German for Diet Coke). So I did what everyone in my position would do, I went to Union Station in DC and plucked down nearly $500 for a big yellow box from Rosetta Stone.
Don’t get me wrong, Rosetta Stone seemed great, but it wasn’t teaching me what I really needed to know. How can I hail a taxi, how can I read a mass transit sign, how can I ask someone where the bathroom is, and how can I order a German chocolate cake. I learned a lot of words I would never need to know, and not enough of the phrases I did need to know.
Well with a trip to LeWeb planned next year, I need to learn French. Since I didn’t pay an ounce of attention in high school, I need to get learning. Luckily at Atlanta’s Startup Rally I bumped into Bijal Nagrashna the VP of Strategy at Atlanta startup TripLingo. After a couple of real time lessons on how to correctly pronounce her name, she took me on a tour of what language learning software should look like.
TripLingo is a platform for learning languages specifically geared toward travelers. The extremely robust application is intuitive and pleasant to use. You start off by identifying where you are going, what you want to do there, why you are going there and your special needs.
For example, I’ll be going to France on business, to cover LeWeb. I won’t be shopping, but I will be eating. I’m type II diabetic (there’s an option for that), other than that I like just about any kind of food.
TripLingo pulls a bunch of popular, and necessary phrases together and gives the user a bunch of options. You can pick the text book translation, or you can go with something a little more casual or slang. If you’re adventuresome there’s a “crazy” option as well. Once you master that option you’ll sound like any hipster local.
The app also has the ability to help you out in a pinch, whether you’re having an emergency or you’ve spent all day at a conference and forgot to take a break to eat.
While I haven’t dove into the platform just yet, I’m going to use it and I’m confident that it’s going to be a much better experience than Rosetta Stone (and a lot less expensive).
TripLingo also offers a customized professional version for companies. Say you’re the CEO of a big company with offices in another country. Your company can customize TripLingo for phrases that will be important to people traveling on behalf of your company for business.
TripLingo was one of nearly 100 startups that exhibited at Startup Rally in Atlanta.
Find out more here at triplingo.com