Transparent Language 2016 Year-in-Review Posted by Transparent Language on Dec 21, 2016 in Company News, Language News, Product Announcements
It seems like most people are ready to say good riddance to 2016, but we’ve actually had a memorable year here at Transparent Language! Our engineers have been cranking out new features, our linguists continue to fill our products with new languages and courses, and our sales folks have partnered with more organizations, schools, and libraries than ever. Before we look forward to 2017, let’s take a look at what’s new and exciting in 2016.
New Transparent Language Online Features
This summer we released version 1.11 of Transparent Language Online, an update heavy with feature requests from users. This included more practice activities, the ability to practice on learned vocab, and new quiz activities. For educators, this update also marked the transition to an HTML5-based list authoring tool—for non-nerds that means it’s a whole lot faster. No update would be complete without some design upgrades, too.
This winter we upgraded once again, this time to Transparent Language Online 2.0. This update focused on making your life easier as a learner. Transparent Language Online will now remember where you left off, making it easier to jump back in to learning. You can also opt in to daily email reminders, each of which will suggest words or phrases that you haven’t reviewed in a while. The new Support widget also makes it much easier to contact our friendly tech support team in case you still have any questions.
Most exciting of all, this year we launched the Transparent Language Online iPad app! Subscribers could previously access Transparent Language Online from their iPad using the Safari browser. The new Transparent Language for iPad app refines the learning experience with a full-screen fit and an easy-access icon right on your home screen, so you can learn even if you don’t have internet access.
New Language Content
As the platform itself gets better, our language offering gets bigger! While we didn’t add any new languages this year (standby for at least 3 new languages in 2017), we added a number of new courses in our existing languages:
- Conversations in English: With 27 units at your fingertips (that’s 50+ hours of learning), this new ESL course focuses on fun and practical spoken exchanges between characters about themed subjects. Each conversation is supported with vocabulary lessons and grammar lessons which simultaneously summarize the conversation and tie in with the grammar and vocabulary focus for the unit.
- French Elementary Course: On the heels of the Spanish Elementary Course from 2015, this year we introduced French. Specifically designed for children between 6 and 11, the 68 lessons in the French Elementary series teach age-appropriate words and phrases that elementary students actually say, covering topics like meeting friends, school supplies, and birthday parties.
- Teen Voices Spanish: Intended for learners in grades 6+, the course follows the lives of the Garcia and Gómez families as they face typical situations like school days, chores and responsibilities, job shadowing, and organizing events. Conversations amongst the family members tie together the 20 units, each of which also includes a challenging reading passage and the Spanish language and Latin American culture.
- Word of the Day Courses: If you enjoy our Word of the Day emails, you’ll love the new Word of the Day courses in Transparent Language Online. Do more than just read the email—in these courses you’ll go through a full suite of interactive activities including matching, fill in the blank, and flash-card style drills. Currently available in Arabic, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.
- Spanish for Librarians: We work with librarians around the country, many of whom serve populations with high concentrations of Spanish speakers. That’s why we released four conversation-based lessons to step librarians through common scenarios, including issuing library cards, checking out materials, providing computer services, and answering phone calls.
- Each year we also release a few new special seasonal lessons. This year’s batch included:
There’s a lot more to Transparent Language than just our product, of course! We love working with our partners as much as we love working on our products.
This year, that included the wonderful folks at Edovo with whom we partnered to bring English and foreign language learning opportunities to incarcerated inmates throughout the US. Edovo strives to reduce the recidivism rate (the number of inmates who return to prison) through education and we’re proud to be on board with that mission.
We are also very proud to see our very own 7000 Languages Project evolve into a full-fledged 501(c)3 non-profit organization, 7000 Languages. Though no longer under our wing, we will continue to donate our technology to their efforts to preserve and promote endangered languages.
Sometimes our partners surprise us, as was the case when we were awarded the Platinum Award from the 2016 Modern Library Awards. The MLAs were established to recognize the top products in the library industry, an honor that means so much more because the voting is done by librarians themselves!
Speaking of libraries, we also made it easier than ever to find a library near you that offers Transparent Language Online to its patrons. Search your zip code and see what’s available nearby!
If 2016 is any indicator, we have a lot to look forward to in 2017 here at Transparent Language. We hope you’ll come along for the journey. Happy New Year, language lovers!