Transparent Connect Offers 3 New Corporate Language Training Programs

Posted on 03. Aug, 2015 by in Company News, Language Learning, Product Announcements

Consider this fairly common scenario: an employee (in this case, a New Zealand government official) finds out his next assignment will take him from New Zealand to China. His whole career trajectory has likely led him to this point, and he has mastered all of the necessary skills to be successful in his new position… except one: speaking Mandarin Chinese.

In an increasingly globalized world, businesses and organizations in nearly every field need to operate in multiple languages. Finding and recruiting experts in a particular field who also happen to possess the required language capabilities can pose a major problem for employers. We understand this challenge, and that is why we offer our Transparent Connect™ service to organizations around the globe. With Transparent Connect™, it is now quick and efficient to train existing employees in the desired language(s) your organization needs, eliminating the search for the proverbial needle in the job hunter haystack. This means our highly-qualified friend from New Zealand can forge ahead with his position in China after all.

Corporate organizations can now choose from three powerful online language training programs to meet the needs of the company and each individual employee – regardless of language background or skill level.

transparent connect language training

Transparent Connect™ ACT Basic

The Accelerated Core Tutoring (ACT) Basic program organizes learners into level-based cohorts. Groups of 10 to 40 learners of the same general proficiency level step through the weekly guided program together, but every student will receive a customized lesson plan that supports their proficiency goals. A professionally-trained instructor will create a custom lesson in Transparent Language Online each week, which students are expected to complete prior to attending the weekly lecture (or watching a weekly lecture video, for the busy bees among us).

Students can expect to spend 4 or 5 hours a week completing this independent learning in addition to attending a 1-hour open house session for conversation practice. Want to know what your employees have been up to? Don’t worry – we also provide reports to help you monitor their progress.

Protect your investment and track your employees’ progress with the reporting tools in Transparent Language Online, like this sample activity report.Class-activity-report.02.14.2014

Transparent Connect™ ACT Premier

The ACT Premier program includes all of the Basic program components, but also offers students more one-on-one time with the instructor. Cohort sizes are reduced to only 5 to 15 learners, all of whom will receive a weekly individual tutoring session lasting 30 minutes. This option is ideal for employees who need to complete more structured, task-based activities with their instructor to gain immediate, targeted feedback in real time.

Transparent Connect™ Capstone

Need a few of your employees to get rigorous, one-on-one training or make a massive leap in their language proficiency? We have a solution for that, too. The Capstone program is a highly-individualized 16-week online course that is best suited for learners with more advanced proficiency goals. Each week, students can expect to spend 3 hours completing customized Transparent Language Online lessons in preparation for a 1-hour live session with their instructor in our virtual classroom. This exclusive access to the instructor will emphasize speaking and listening skills. Upon completing the Capstone course, students will receive a completion certificate, along with an e-portfolio with lesson plans, follow up reports, and more.

We put this rigorous training to the test with our friend from New Zealand who we mentioned earlier (yes—he’s real!*) At the beginning of his Capstone course, the student was able to say only a few simple words in Mandarin. After logging more than 60 hours between independent study in Transparent Language Online and private sessions with his instructor, he achieved high enough proficiency to survive daily life in Taipei. According to his instructor, the student demonstrated “excellent pronunciation and mastery of a wide range of vocabulary and grammar,” relating to arrival and departure, discussing time and dates, navigating a city, opening a bank account, recognizing Taiwanese money, shopping, asking questions, using polite speech, and beyond.

His tutor wasn’t the only one singing praises. When asked his opinion of the Capstone experience, the student responded:

“I found the online content a fantastic resource […] I am sure that if the work is put in the results will come. I found the online tutor exceptionally good and prepared to try new ways to enhance the learning experience. The strengths of this programme are:

– Ability to learn in your own time and when you have time

– Richness of content and breadth of learning exercises

– Quality of tutor – in my case exceptional and willing to go the extra mile

– Support was fast and willing to help.”

We understand the importance of language skills in the corporate world. If you’re ready to equip your employees with those skills, fill in this quick form to learn more and get started.

If you’re interested in online language classes for personal use, you’re looking for this!

*Details have been altered slightly for anonymity, but this story is representative of an actual Capstone student.

Transparent Language Library Spotlight: Nashville Public Library

Posted on 29. Jul, 2015 by in Company News, Language Learning

Never has a slogan been truer than for Nashville Public Library (NPL), where “books are only half the story.” This library goes beyond books, and beyond the walls that house them, with its extensive adult literacy program that supports immigrants and resettled refugees throughout the community.

In a city as linguistically diverse as Nashville, where over 140 languages are spoken, there is a great need for resources and services for both foreign language and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. That’s why NPL uses Transparent Language Online, leveraging the program in extraordinary ways to support the community’s needs.

While the library is not a direct provider of formal language courses, NPL does partner with local organizations through numerous outreach programs. The library’s mobile computer lab makes the rounds through Nashville, providing access to Transparent Language Online on its 10 laptops. Library staff help bring the lab to ESL classes throughout the community that would otherwise not have access to technology in their classrooms.


Nashville Public Library staff members bring the library’s mobile computer lab to classes around the community to provide access to Transparent Language Online.

One major success story involves a local charter school where about 90 percent of students are the children of immigrants. At the end of the school day, Nashville Public Library brings their mobile lab to the school, where parents can benefit from 90 minutes of language training on Transparent Language Online, while their students enjoy afterschool enrichment programs.

Nashville Public Library hopes this outreach will encourage community members to come to the library and benefit from the other resources available to them. The library frequently provides “field trips”—which are tours of the library— to the immigrant population to acquaint them with the different sections and services. The library also provides on-site civics classes and study materials for the U.S. citizenship test, in addition to the ESL materials in Transparent Language Online. For those who can’t make it to the library easily, there’s a full suite of services available online through NPL’s Pathway for New Americans program.

NPL1Megan Godbey, the Adult Literacy Coordinator at NPL, explains that the library selected Transparent Language Online because of the language diversity, interactive learning activities (which included multiple ways to practice pronunciation), and support on tablets and mobile devices. She also notes that instructors within the community have been “extremely impressed” with the system.

Here at Transparent Language, we are the ones who are impressed and are completely thrilled when our library partners leverage our resources to serve the needs of their community. Keep up the great work, Nashville!

If you live, work, or go to school in Nashville—lucky you! Be sure to stop by your local library branch (there’s 20 of them in the city) and sign up for your free Transparent Language Online account. Not in Nashville? We partner with hundreds of libraries throughout the country, so give your local librarian a call and let them know you’re interested in a Transparent Language Online account!

Six Hard Mode Languages

Posted on 27. Jul, 2015 by in Uncategorized

Itchy Feet: Common Denominators

Everyone’s heard about the world’s most widely-spoken languages – English, Spanish, Russian – snore. So vanilla. So mainstream. They’re so applicable and useful around the world it’s tiresome.

But what about the underground scene in language learning? What about those truly challenging, extreme-sport-equivalent tongues that only the daringest of the daring attempt to master? These languages are so rare, they make four-leaf clovers seem positively abundant. They’re so difficult, you’ll think Russian declensions and Mandarin tones are a Sunday stroll. The following are a few of the world’s least-spoken, most unique, hard-mode languages.

Spoken by four people (as of 2012) on the island of Naunonga, Tanema is a rare Austronesian/Polynesian/Oceanic language in a region of the world brimming with literally thousands of unique languages. If the largest of these Pacific Island tongues, such as Eastern Fijian, Tahitian or Māori are just too ordinary for you, then why not give Tanema a shot? You’ll certainly have your work cut out for you.

archiWith more or less 1,000 speakers, Archi would appear to be much easier to learn than Tanema, not least because the Caucasian mountain region where Archi is spoken is easier to reach than a tiny Oceanic island – but that’s where you’re wrong. Archi’s verbs can be conjugated nearly infinitely; some are recorded having 1,500,000 separate conjugations. One can only imagine what the grammar tables for an Archi textbook would look like.

Taushiro (AKA Pinche, Pinchi)
Thanks to the prevalence of Spanish and Quechua in the Peru/Ecuador region of South America, many native languages in the area are dying fast. Taushiro is one such language, unique for being a language isolate, meaning it’s seemingly totally unrelated to any other language on the planet. With only one reported native speaker, you’re going to have to hope they’re a damn good teacher.

Not really a single language, but a group of languages belonging to the natives of Eastern Siberia and Western Alaska, Yupik is not the rarest language on the list (though with only 15,000 or so native speakers, it’s no English), but it earns its spot by being polysynthetic – that means they like to combine several words into one. If you think German is excessive, try tuntussuqatarniksaitengqiggtuq, the Yupik word for “he had not yet said again that he was going to hunt reindeer.”

Another critically endangered language, Ongata is spoken by half a handful of elders in a small village in Ethiopia. The reason why is actually pretty tragic – the Ongata are despised by their neighbors and their language publically ridiculed. To prevent teasing, the elders have stopped speaking it to their children, who have picked up the larger local language of Ts’amay (which itself is endangered by even larger regional tongues). Help the Ongata stand up to bullies! Learn Ongata!

Silbo Gomero
This one is my absolute favorite. Silbo is an extremely unique language “spoken” by the people of the La Gomera island, one of the Spanish Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco. I say “spoken” because it’s not actually spoken; it’s a whistled language. That’s right. What’s amazing about this is that unlike vocal tones, whistles can carry long distances while retaining their pitch, making it ideal to “talk” to your neighbors across the valley. Silbo has words, grammar, tones and all – and, I can only assume, the La Gomera understand what R2-D2 is saying. With the prevalence of cell phones, Silbo isn’t quite as necessary as it once was to communicate over long distances, and is now done mostly for tourism. It may one day become a cultural cliché, but it’s an awesome one.

Sadly, many of these languages are in danger of becoming extinct forever. The United Nations estimates that we lose a language every two weeks. In many cases, language being inextricable from culture, the death of a language means the death of a culture. Personally, I think this sort of thing is an unfortunate but inevitable byproduct of globalization, but it’s great to have records so they can at least be proudly remembered – and, just maybe, picked up by an enterprising language learner like yourself.

What about you? Do you speak any rare language or dialect?