Language learning platform Duolingo has added Hindi to its platform, which will let its users learn English through Hindi. It has also launched ‘exclusive features’ for Hindi and customisations like reduced size of the app, removing the need to type in Hindi, improving placement test and customised content. Looks like the company has been working on adding Hindi for over a year now and also had a Hindi team for the same.
The company’s press statement mentions that it has launched a new Hindi app, but readers would like to know that this is not the case: the app has been updated to support Hindi on both Android and iOS. In April 2014, the company added support for Hindi, Japanese and Chinese to help Indians, the Japanese and Chinese who didn’t know English to learn foreign languages. We’d pointed out then that although the interface changed to Hindi after selecting that language, the bulk of the UI was in English. It also needed a Hindi keyboard.
As of now, Hindi is the only Indian language the app offers to teach English to, with plans to launch in other Indian languages (no timeline mentioned). On the other hand English speakers have the biggest variety of languages to choose from: Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Danish, Swedish, Turkish, Esperanto, Norwegian, Ukrainian, Russian, Polish and Welsh.
In a press statement, the founder of Duolingo, Luis von Ahn stated, “In developing markets like India, learning English is crucial to people’s professional development and can double or triple their income potential. Our goal is to give everyone in India the best possible language education money can buy, but for free.”
110 million users: The company plans to partner with governments, schools and other companies to improve language education. It currently claims to have 110 million users globally;
and about 150,000 Indian users, as indicated by this April 2014 report by ET. The company informs us that it has over 1.5 million users in India as of now.
Funding: In June last year, Duolingo raised funding worth $45 million (and $83.3 million so far) led by Google Capital and some existing investors to improve the Duolingo platform and increase its adaptation in schools globally. It had previously raised Series A funding worth $3.3 million led by Union Square Ventures in 2011, Series B funding worth $15 million led by NEA in 2012 and Series C funding worth $20 million led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in 2014.
Developments in the Indian education space:
– Last month, Amazon India launched Exam Central, under the books department on the website where users could get access to sample question papers, solved papers and articles from academicians for entrance exams.
– Same month, McGraw Hill Education India tied up with Edutor Technologies’ IGNITOR, which provides tablets with educational content, to provide MHE’s Education book catalog in a digital format and distribute across universities and colleges.
– In November, the University Grants Commission (UGC) said it would launch Bharatvani, with the objective of delivering content in all Indian languages through the online portal.
– Same month, online open course provider Udacity raised $105 million in Series D round of funding led by German media group Bertelsmann along with Baillie Gifford, Emerson Collective and Google Ventures joining as new investors.
Our Education coverage.