Read for pleasure and super‑fast language acquisition

Speaking mode

October 6, 2015 by Steve - Comments

Speaking and listening skills are an extremely important for learning a language. Readlang already has plenty of YouTube videos for you to practice listening. Songs have proved to be a favorite:

Je Veux

To complement this, you can now enable Speaking Mode. This provides automatic text-to-speech when you click a word or phrase in any text, and when reviewing your flashcards, Readlang will pronounce the word or phrase as it is revealed.

Enable speaking mode via the Settings page:

Settings - Speaking Mode

These features are available to Readlang Premium subscribers only. Go Premium for only $5/month or $48/year.

Works for the following 17 langauges: Catalan, Danish, German, English, Spanish, Finnish, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Swedish, Chinese.

It works on and the Web Reader on desktop and Android Chrome. On iOS it only works on


To translate or not? Monolingual mode arrives

September 30, 2015 by Steve - Comments

There are few topics more divisive among language learners than the question of translation. Is translating a bad habit? Should learners stop as soon as possible? Whatever your opinion, Readlang can now help.

From today, you can disable translations and access monolingual definitions.

Translations On (default)

Translations On

This is the way Readlang is typically used - unobtrusive translations are provided in the text itself, with the option of extra translations in the sidebar dictionary.

Translations Off (monolingual option for advanced learners)

To turn off translations and go monolingual, click on the little arrow so that it turns to a cross. The box representing your first language will be greyed out and the sidebar dictionary will show definitions in the language you are learning:

Translations Off

In the background, Readlang will still translate these words in order to prepare flashcards for you to review later.

Customizing your monolingual dictionaries

You can now define two different custom dictionaries for each language that you are studying, a monolingual one and a bilingual one. Many of the languages have pre-defined dictionaries, for other suggestions see a guide to online dictionaries on Fluent in 3 Months.

Add your own favorite monolingual or bilingual dictionary from the settings page:

Custom Dictionary Settings

Web Reader

The monolingual mode works within the Web Reader just the same way - click the little arrow in the Web Reader toolbar to toggle between translation and monolingual mode. The monolingual definitions will be displayed in an external pop-up window. (On some browsers the pop-up may not appear at first, in this case, click Menu -> Open Dictionary to see it, it will then update on each subsequent lookup.)

Give it a try

The translation mode is still the main attraction of Readlang, with the new monolingual mode as an alternative when you feel like more of a challenge. So which is more effective - to translate or not to translate? Try both ways and decide for yourself.

Please leave feedback in the comments below.


New Activity Monitor to encourage a daily language learning habit

September 10, 2015 by Steve - Comments

The main reason people fail at learning a language is not showing up to practice every day. Effective language learners manage to incorporate the language into their lives on a regular basis, they form daily habits. Having a job where you must speak the language is ideal, but most of us need to find other ways to squeeze practice into our busy lives.


Turn your favorite novel into a motivating and effective language learning tool

July 5, 2015 by Steve - Comments

If you enjoy reading novels, and wish to learn a second language, then you’re in luck, since reading can form a highly motivating and effective way for you to absorb the grammar, vocabulary and culture of a language.


Learn a language while you surf - training wheels for browsing the web in French, Spanish, German + 50 other languages

June 5, 2015 by Steve - Comments

Entranced while browsing the web

The best way to learn a language is to form productive habits, and what easier habit to form than browsing the web? Turn your addiction into a powerfull learning tool with the redesigned Web Reader.

New Web Reader design


Chapters and Rich Formatting

April 15, 2015 by Steve - Comments

Based on your feedback, Readlang has become a fully fledged eReader with the addition of chapter navigation, as well as bold and italics:


Auto Highlight Words As You Read

March 17, 2015 by Steve - Comments

Context is key when learning language. Wouldn’t it be nice to access previous contexts you’ve seen a word in every time you encounter it in a new text?

Based on popular demand, I’ve added the ability to auto-highlight words you’ve previously translated as they appear in new texts. Clicking on any of these underlined words will trigger a pop up showing the translation along with previous contexts.


New Translation Glossing Mode

March 8, 2015 by Steve - Comments

Readlang’s main feature is inline word and phrase translation, as seen here in the Web Reader:


My Favorite Tools For Learning Spanish

November 28, 2014 by Steve - Comments

The best way to learn to speak Spanish is to just speak Spanish. Ideally with native Spanish speakers. But there’s also a lot you can do completely independently, and these are some of my favourite methods of self-study.

By the way, although I’ve focussed on Spanish, these methods are applicable for many languages.

1. Michel Thomas

This is a great place to start. It gives you a really good feel for the grammar, getting you to construct quite complex sentences from the very start, which really gets you motivated with the feeling of rapid progress. The format is unusual in that there are two other students on the CD who are learning alongside you and who will often fumble through an answer to be corrected firmly by Michel. It sounds strange but it really works. As with most language learning CDs, it’s best to actively participate, pausing after each question and speaking the answer aloud, or in your head, before listening to the student’s and Michel’s responses.

After finishing this course you should have developed a really good intuitive feel for the structure of the language, but will still have a very limited vocabulary.


8 Reasons You Should Read More (includes waffles)

May 28, 2014 by Steve - Comments
Selfie of myself reading at the lab. Note the professional Readlang logo in the background ;-)

I’m already addicted to reading in my native language of English. As a child I would read computer magazines cover to cover, as a teenager I started reading novels like The Andromeda Strain, and now as a guy who works at a computer all day long, even when working I’m habitually reading blogs, forums, wikipedia articles, news sites, you name it! So when I decided to learn Spanish, it was only natural to make reading the foundation, and reading in Spanish is now my core daily language learning habit. Here are 8 benefits:


Tips to take charge of your vocabulary learning

April 23, 2014 by Steve - Comments

Readlang now has a powerful new Words page:

This is a flexible tool to manage your vocabulary, whether you’re a hardcore language geek or simply looking for new ways to speed up your learning. Bear in mind that none of this is necessary to use Readlang, which you can very happily do using only the Library and Learn pages. The Words page is a great addition for those who want to take a more hands-on approach to their vocabulary learning.

Here are some useful tips for making the most of the Words page:


Are some people naturally better at learning languages?

April 19, 2014 by Steve - Comments

I just read a fascinating article about the development of Hi-LAB, the “High Level Language Aptitude Battery” test designed to help the US military identify individuals with high language learning potential. It was borne out of a frustration with seeing so many language professionals getting ‘stuck’ at basic proficiency and not progressing to become fluent. After some research, CASL (Center for the Advanced Study of Language at the University of Maryland) concluded that the following three traits were linked to language learning success:


Practise Words From Specific Books

April 17, 2014 by Steve - Comments

By default, Readlang will select flashcards for you to practise which are useful, high frequency words, and are scheduled for review according to Readlang’s spaced repetition algorithm.

But what if you are focussed on a more specific goal? Perhaps your job or studies require you to learn technical terms, or perhaps like me you’re working your way through Harry Potter and would like to restrict your study to those books. I’ve recently added a new feature for Readlang Supporters that allows you to choose to study words from any text from which you’ve translated 10 or more words or phrases, for example:


The Making of Readlang - The First 16 Months

March 27, 2014 by Steve - Comments

It’s been 16 months already. In that time the site has grown from nothing to almost 5000 users, and continues to receive awesome feedback and grow ever more quickly. But it’s not all roses. There’s a long way go to make this sustainable, and I’m very motivated to keep battling on and making it happen!


Learn Languages with Harry Potter

March 8, 2014 by Steve - Comments

A failing of most language courses is that their content is so boring. It’s hard to stay motivated reading stories like “John goes to the supermarket”, I want to read about epic adventures, with drama, mystery, and wizards!

That’s why I’m so excited that the Harry Potter e-books are available to buy DRM free, ready to import into Readlang and help learn languages!


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