Fluent gamifies language learning thanks to its ubiquitous and immersive technological platform

Learning a foreign language is no trivial task. From in-person lessons to app-based games, speaking an unfamiliar language fluently takes a lot of time and dedication. Many different learning styles are used to learn new languages, but vary according to the degree of activity or passivity of the method for the student or its cost. Gavin Dove, Ara Ghougassian, Yaniv Silberman and Olga Sanchís Cabanas saw an opportunity to help people learn foreign languages ​​during their online routine by developing Fluent. Fluent is an immersive language learning ecosystem that enables users to passively learn foreign languages. The startup (based in Canada) has already raised venture capital funds in a pre-seed round.

Dove says, “Learning a language is one of our biggest unresolved problems. There is a 90% failure rate for second language learners. This is because learning to ‘a language asks us to do something crazy: learn to represent every idea about every possible thing in our lives. Of course, 15 minutes a day of Duolingo won’t be enough. ”

Language is an omnipresent ocean that you cannot escape and in which you have to learn to swim. The biggest obstacles to diving in a foreign language are time and money. Studies suggest that it takes years of dedicated study to read and write reliably in a foreign language, and even longer to speak fluently in a conversation with a native speaker. Many do not have the time or lack the perseverance to be diligent in their studies of foreign languages. More importantly, the cost of learning a foreign language can be prohibitive in many cases. While active learning methods are more rigorous and have a greater chance of success compared to passive alternatives in place, few can pursue them full time for fluency, let alone mastery. However, this strong willingness to pay shown by the users of these services and products reveals a massive market for learning a foreign language.

Silberman insists, “Everything in our lives is a language. Every label we read, every podcast we listen to, or every problem we think about. You could come across millions of words a day. Everyone is a chance for us to teach you something new. or let you show off your skills. Fluent is ideally placed to weave everything you do into one set. ”

The language learning industry is worth $ 60 billion. Digging deeper into the overall market, the e-learning portion is worth $ 17.7 billion by 2027. The existence of several competitors in this market, such as Duolingo, Rosetta Stone and others, shows that there are many opportunities for a multi-billion dollar startup to emerge. Within the Chrome extensions ecosystem, the only other major presence for language learning is Toucan. Whether they offer active or passive methods, competition between historical players offers an opportunity to satisfy a class of customers who have not yet found the product or service that suits them among the existing options. Fluent can help dive into a new sea for those looking for uncharted waters to dive into.

Ghougassian says, “We are going to create the most immersive game of all time. When you win a game, you want to play more of it. This is how we draw users deeper into the Fluent ecosystem. Our competitors can only motivate users to use their app more. . Fluent creates a virtuous circle where the use of language motivates you to add the Fluent ecosystem to more areas of your life, creating even more chances for success. With the pervasiveness of language, our upper limit for user engagement is unmatched. ”

Fluent currently exists as a downloadable Chrome extension. When a user browses a web page in Spanish or French (the languages ​​currently supported by Fluent), Fluent will automatically translate that language into their native language for them to understand. Some may think that this passive learning method will not lead to mastery, but the co-founders of Fluent took a contrarian approach to helping users learn foreign languages. Compared to active methods of learning foreign languages, such as adult study programs taught over a semester in a university classroom, these courses take place in simulated artificial environments. Most importantly, the length of these lessons only lasts for small chunks ranging from thirty minutes to a few hours at most (which can be more expensive the longer a lesson is). Fluent sets itself apart by its pedagogy which is based on immersion. Simply put, the more time you spend exposing yourself to the foreign language as it is spoken and written in natural environments, the more successful you will be at mastering a new mother tongue.

Cabanas says, “Fluent is more ambitious than a browser extension. We aim to turn your life into an interactive language learning game. Every Netflix show you watch, call with your grandparents or menu you read you will bring you closer to fluidity. ”

An important detail to understand is that immersion in natural environments will expose a new learner to the natural context of the language being used. These nuances are essential to grasp and will separate an advanced student from a novice. Fluent solved this known crucial problem by translating the text as “disambiguation of meaning”. Meaning disambiguation refers to the challenge of keeping the context of an individual word or phrase related to the larger body of the text. Natural language processing, which is a well-known application of machine learning, has dedicated steps in its various methods to ensure that the “context” of a word or phrase is maintained in the translation. However, there is an added complexity with a foreign language, which the startup has created with new techniques to deal with cost effectively. By solving this problem, Fluent can extend to other communication media such as audio or video, which portends a future beyond the existing one as a Chrome extension by evolving into a platform. – flourishing learning form. Fluent’s useful technology is the product of its four talented co-founders.

The combination of the skills of Dove, Ghougassian, Silberman and Cabanas is essential to the success of Fluent. Dove holds a mechanical engineering degree from McGill University. He worked as a control engineer at Aviya Aerospace Systems before starting Fluent. Ghougassian attended the University of British Columbia before dropping out to start Fluent. Silberman received his BA in Robotics, Mechatronics and Automation Engineering from Simon Fraser University. He worked at Samsung Ads as a software engineer. Cabanas, who obtained his bachelor’s degree from the Barcelona University School of Design and Engineering, completes the team. Previously, she worked at Sistemalux, a leading architectural lighting company. The four create an unprecedented ecosystem that gamifies learning, one language at a time.

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