9 Best Language Exchange Apps in 2023 to Connect and Converse
Believe it or not, there are others out there who want to learn a new language just as badly as you… and some of them want to learn your native tongue.
Out of these eager learners, there’s somebody who’s also a native speaker of the language you have your eye on.
That’s what we call a win-win situation, and you can find these wonderful learners to complement your goals with apps for language exchange!
I’ve gathered the best language exchange apps of 2023 where you can find the perfect partner for you.
- 1. HelloTalk: Best for Ease of Communication
- 2. Tandem: Best for Straightforward Practice
- 3. HiNative: Best for Specific Language Questions
- 4. Meetup: Best for In-Person Groups
- 5. Idyoma: Best for Careful Connections
- 6. Speaky: Best for Simplicity of Use
- 7. Twitter: Best for Organic Connections
- 8. Reddit: Best for Group Discussions
- 9. Discord: Best for Sense of Community
- How Do Language Exchange Apps Work?
- And One More Thing...
1. HelloTalk: Best for Ease of Communication
Based in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China, HelloTalk boasts over 30 million users and more than 150 languages.
HelloTalk offers tools to assist with translation, transliteration, voice-to-text and text-to-voice features. Even beginning language learners are sure to understand each other.
This app excels at making communication easy. You can chat with your language partners via text and voice messages, voice and video calls and even doodles!
HelloTalk also allows you to share “Moments” like you would on social media. Anyone learning your native language can see your Moments, and you can find others’ Moments in your target language.
2. Tandem: Best for Straightforward Practice
With Tandem, you can text, talk or video chat anywhere in the world.
Like many social networking sites, you can “Follow” people and filter who can see your profile. You can also write reviews about users you interacted with.
Tandem acts much like a chat program with added features for language learners. You can communicate via text, video, audio and images. There’s also a “translate” feature and the option to correct writing.
The free Tandem app covers a lot, but you can upgrade to Tandem Pro for $13.99 a month to remove ads and gain a few extra features.
3. HiNative: Best for Specific Language Questions
HiNative is a Q&A platform that specializes in getting your questions answered by native speakers of your target language.
Click the “Ask” button, and the app will provide question templates. Once you fill in the blanks, your question will be auto-translated to other users’ native languages.
You can record yourself talking to allow native speakers to provide feedback on your pronunciation. There’s also a category for asking about a country or region, and one called “Ask Something Else” for cultural and opinion questions.
A monthly subscription of about $6 gets you access to additional question templates, faster responses, and more.
4. Meetup: Best for In-Person Groups
Meetup shows you people in your area who regularly come together over a common hobby or interest, including practicing your target language!
Start your search by looking for conversation groups. Browse the “Share language + culture” section to find conversation groups in your area, tailored by target language and level.
You may also meet a language exchange partner through Meetup’s cultural groups, which have a mix of native speakers and individuals who are interested in the culture.
Meetup is free to join but requires a small fee to RSVP to events.
5. Idyoma: Best for Careful Connections
Idyoma aims to help its users “learn languages together,” per its slogan.
An intentional misspelling of the Spanish word idioma (language), this app was originally created for native Spanish speakers, but it’s now available for virtually any language.
After creating a profile on Idyoma, you can then meet other language learners in your area or worldwide and connect with them in the app via text chat. Within chats, press and hold messages to get an instant translation.
There’s a monthly cap on the number of chats you can start, but for $2.99 a month, you can upgrade to a premium subscription.
6. Speaky: Best for Simplicity of Use
Don’t mistake the simple interface of Speaky for low functionality.
It lets you do language exchanges primarily via text and audio messages, and you can make corrections to your partner’s written messages to help them improve, and vice versa.
When browsing for conversation partners, Speaky lists them based on who’s online. You can filter your search by native language, target language and even interests.
The no-frills interface makes the app easy to use. Speaky claims users from 180 nationalities and over 110 languages. It’s free to use, with a subscription of around $6 a month for additional features like more translations and choices for filtering partners.
7. Twitter: Best for Organic Connections
Ever thought about advancing in your target language in 280 characters or less?
That’s where Twitter comes in. There’s content in virtually every language, valuable study resources and even communities of language learners, like #langtwt.
You can also search for a hashtag related to your target language, like #LearnGerman or #LearnArabic. If you find a user who looks like they could be interested in an exchange, DM (Direct Message) them with a polite self-introduction to try to get the ball rolling.
You could even send out a tweet looking for a partner with the relevant hashtags and wait for replies!
8. Reddit: Best for Group Discussions
Reddit is a giant collection of internet forums. Each forum—called a “subreddit” or “r/” for short—is its own community.
Look for subreddits that start with “r/learn,” like r/LearnJapanese or r/LearnFrench. Learners often congregate in these places to share resources, organize exchanges and offer learning tips. These are great places for more in-depth discussions about your target language.
You can also try r/language_exchange. The subreddit posts have titles showing what language the user is offering and what they’re seeking to learn. Reply to one of these posts to start a language exchange, or create a post of your own!
9. Discord: Best for Sense of Community
While Discord started as an interface for user-created chat rooms to accompany live-streaming gamers, it has since grown into a collection of group chat rooms for just about anyone.
Chat rooms, known as “servers,” generally revolve around certain topics or themes. You can join a server for your target language, where the focus is to learn and communicate in said language, or servers specifically for language learning, like The Global Language Federation.
You can also use Disboard to search for Language Exchange servers and find your tribe of like-minded learners.
How Do Language Exchange Apps Work?
Language exchange is a valuable learning experience. Find a native speaker of your target language who wants to learn your native language, and start talking!
Typically, you’d set a time limit for each language and help each other converse in that tongue until the time is up. You learn a lot and (hopefully) make a new friend.
Language exchange apps take the whole process mobile. You don’t need to struggle to find time to meet in person or feel awkward talking in real time face-to-face.
The apps for language exchange above can help you do many things:
- Learn on the go by sending text or voice messages when convenient.
- Get individual feedback on writing, pronunciation and grammar.
- Ask questions and get personalized answers.
- Practice any and all language skills as desired.
There’s nothing like taking notes from someone who’s a linguistic insider. But of course, language exchange shouldn’t be your only study method!
You might enjoy learning songs in your target language. Adding music into your studies is not only a fun way to learn, but also a great way to help you remember vocabulary, plus other amazing benefits.
Memorizing the lyrics to a couple of popular tunes will likely impress your language exchange buddy, too.
Or, you might be more into learning with videos.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Knowing about pop culture can also give you plenty of interesting topics to discuss on your language exchange.
So now you know about nine of the very best language exchange apps in 2023!
But they’ll be worth nothing unless you hit that “Send,” “Call” or “Post” button.
Don’t wait for someone else to make the first move. Make it yourself and gain a new friend in the process!
And One More Thing...
If you dig the idea of learning on your own time from the comfort of your smart device with real-life authentic language content, you'll love using FluentU.
With FluentU, you'll learn real languages—as they're spoken by native speakers. FluentU has a wide variety of videos as you can see here:
FluentU has interactive captions that let you tap on any word to see an image, definition, audio and useful examples. Now native language content is within reach with interactive transcripts.
Didn't catch something? Go back and listen again. Missed a word? Hover your mouse over the subtitles to instantly view definitions.
You can learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU's "learn mode." Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
And FluentU always keeps track of vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You get a truly personalized experience.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store.