FluentU Review : Details, Features and What Real Users Have to Say
Do you wish you could understand all your favorite K-pop group’s lyrics or watch Netflix’s “Dark” without English subtitles?
Or you want to use your language skills to impress the swoon-worthy French guy you swiped right on.
FluentU can help you attain all these goals.
It teaches you a language through videos that native speakers watch, like TV show clips and music videos.
Read on to find out what it’s all about, along with reviews by actual users and popular language gurus.
- What Are FluentU’s Main Features?
- FluentU Testimonials
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What Are FluentU’s Main Features?
Here’s a quick overview of what you can expect from your FluentU subscription:
FluentU offers a constantly growing collection of real-world videos, including various clips, movies, music and more:
All videos are authentic, making them great resources for full, at-home immersion in your target language. Watching authentic videos comes with an abundance of perks:
- You’ll get attuned to native accents, so you’ll actually be able to understand locals.
- Learning with authentic materials will also make it easier for you to pick up a more native accent from the get-go.
- You’ll learn local slang and idioms that will impress natives when you whip them out in conversation.
Each video features subtitles in your target language and English. The subtitles are annotated—hover over any word to see its definition, part of speech, example sentences and an associated image. When you pair these annotated subtitles with native audio, memorizing vocab becomes easy!
For certain videos, you can even download transcripts as PDFs for offline reading:
FluentU consistently adds new videos and corresponding quizzes for each language. This means you’ll never run out of language learning material!
Use FluentU’s advanced search engine to find exactly what you want to watch. Search “adjectives” or “pronouns” to see videos about grammar, or “Paris” to sort through videos about life in the City of Love.
Every time you watch a video on FluentU, you can go into Quiz Mode. It’ll take you through interactive flashcards and fun exercises to review vocabulary from the video:
If a question is too easy, just click “Already know,” and FluentU won’t quiz you over that vocab again. If a question is so difficult that you can’t even venture a guess, click “Don’t know.” This way, FluentU will know that you need to review this material in the future.
When you answer a quiz question correctly, you’ll hear a ding and see how many points you’ve earned for that question.
Every user’s experience is 100% personalized. FluentU tracks your learning level and habits, and you have a certain amount of control over what you watch/learn.
You can even set personal goals based on how much time you want to spend learning with FluentU per day, ranging from one to 50 minutes:
Whenever you reach your goal, you earn points. FluentU tracks how many days in a row you’ve reached your personal goal, and for each day, you earn even more points. When you earn so many points, you’re ready to move up to the next level!
FluentU currently offers ten languages: Mandarin Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Portuguese.
Just one FluentU account grants you access to all ten languages, which is a great feature for those working to become multilingual. Some language learning programs require you to pay separately for each language or download individual apps for each language.
If your native language is Korean or Japanese, you’re in luck! FluentU has a translated platform that allows you to see everything on the site in your native language while you’re learning English.
FluentU works for every level of language learner. When you set up your account, you can choose from Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced. When browsing videos, filter by six levels: Beginner 1 and 2, Intermediate 1 and 2 and Advanced 1 and 2.
You can access FluentU on multiple devices. Access the full video library on your web browser or, better yet, learn on the go when you download the FluentU app for iOS or Android.
You’ll gain full access to FluentU’s features with a free trial, so feel free to test it out.
Reviews by Users
Here’s what real FluentU users have to say about how FluentU fits their needs:
“I started using Fluentu having only a beginner’s knowledge of Spanish. After one evening with this app, I felt I learned more than Duolingo and Rosetta Stone combined. They seemed to take up so much of my time with no real progress. Now I can form whole sentences instead of just identifying fruit!”
— Chantal Thiessen
“I love that you see the definition of every word and hear how a native speaker pronounces it in context. It is just as important to know which words to emphasize in a sentence as it is to know the pronunciation of the words themselves, but this information cannot necessarily be ascertained just by looking at the sentence on paper; you have to listen to somebody speak in a natural setting and FluentU gives you that opportunity.”
— John Hempel
“It’s the program I’ve always wanted, because when I try to watch Spanish clips on Youtube a lot of the time the subtitles are wrong. Even if they’re right, I always have to have Google Translate open at the same time anyways and look things up when I don’t know them (which is unfortunately still quite a lot). I love that the subtitles are all right there with correct definitions and other examples. Better than Rosetta Stone for getting the language down and miles cheaper. Love it!!”
— Lisa Nicholson
“I’m not only a perpetual language learner, but a teacher myself. And out of all the language methods I’ve come across, the rest score from 0 to 3. This is a 10.
It has literally defined a new path for the self-taught.
Where once we had to struggle with simultaneous dictionaries and poorly translated materials mostly without subtitles, now we glide across real-life content where one can see the hand of the teachers behind each and every word.
I particularly love the fact that I can endlessly click on any word or expression to whatever depth I wish, until my curiosity is satisfied at any point while watching the videos.
The quiz algorithm is not only smart in terms of taking note of our weak points, but also has countless examples in different contexts so we are guaranteed to understand the concept explained.
The amount of material is staggering. And all conveniently connected in terms of concepts to learn.
Duolingo is like a low-resolution black and white, blurred shadow of FluentU.
Congratulations, keep it up. It’s most definitely worth the investment.
Before FluentU I had to force myself to study. Now, I’m actually looking forward to it, like my fun time in the morning. It’s addictive :)”
— Hikarus Guijarro-Fayard
“I love FluentU because I can listen and learn dialogue from real advertisements that are aired in China! Also, in the role play series showing conversations between native speakers, the dialogue feels more authentic and contemporary compared to the often dry, boring dialogues found in textbooks. Using FluentU has given me more confidence and is helping me to understand Chinese in ‘real-life’ everyday settings!”
— Kiandra Squires
“Of all the available programs and various learning materials I have tried in the past, including Duolingo, I have found FluentU to be among the most effective methods for learning. I began using FluentU as [an] auxiliary tool for better improving my comprehension in the language but have later come to find the program to be effective as an all-around learning mechanism. I have found it to be incredibly effective for improving vocabulary, understanding colloquialisms and idioms within various countries, as well as intense practice in common speech.”
— Anthony J. Lopez
“I am enjoying FluentU. I have been using this site for a couple of weeks and I have definitely noticed a huge improvement in my vocabulary. I love that it uses a lot of relevant clips like Norman fait des vidéos to practice REAL French, and it is presented in such a fun way that it makes it easy to practice. Using this site has become part of my daily routine.”
— Rachel Hollars
Reviews by Language Pros
What about the language gurus? What do the experts have to say about FluentU?
Eurolinguiste – A Review of FluentU’s Mobile App
Eurolinguiste’s Shannon Kennedy works for Fluent in 3 Months, and she was a content creator at Drops—two killer language-learning companies. She speaks 15 languages!
Shannon is an early adopter of FluentU—she’s been using it since we only had a Mandarin Chinese program.
Once we expanded to more devices, she participated in our mobile app beta testing… and never stopped using our platform to improve her impressive repertoire of language skills.
Her in-depth FluentU review, linked above, focuses heavily on the mobile app during her beta test experience. Her favorite part? FluentU’s emphasis on accent marks and tones in our quizzes!
Spanish Hackers – FluentU Review: The Good and The Bad
Anthony and Jesse created Spanish Hackers to give readers two perspectives on learning Spanish: one from a man who’s already become fluent and one from a man who’s just starting his Spanish-learning journey.
Anthony explains how FluentU helped him overcome a common language-learning pitfall—he was dedicating a lot of time to studying, but he still wasn’t getting the results he wanted. He liked that he could watch short clips rather than entire movies or TV shows, so he was able to move at a relatively fast pace. This kept him from burning out, and as a result, he started making noticeable strides.
Jesse also created a video version of the FluentU review. In this video, he addresses the question everyone thinks about when they sign up for a new program: Is this going to be worth it?
French Together – FluentU Review: Learn French with Videos
Alysa Salzberg is an American writer who lives in Paris, with experience teaching French to people of different ages.
In her review at French Together, she explains the pros of FluentU (her favorite being the cultural experience) and the parts she’s less crazy about. An added bonus: She lists additional resources that complement FluentU, such as language partners, reading material and writing exercises.
You can also watch this FluentU review by the founder of French Together, Benjamin Houy. He is a Frenchman who immerses himself in other languages and teaches foreigners the French language.
Lindsay Does Languages – FluentU Review: Learning Korean with Videos
Lindsay has taught languages in brick-and-mortar schools, via Skype and Zoom and over the internet. It’ll be hard to find anyone more enthusiastic about languages!
Lindsay loves that FluentU meets you where you are in your language journey. You can choose your desired level and even mark which words you already know or need more help with. She thinks this keeps users motivated because intermediate or advanced learners don’t have to work their way through super simple material.
If you’re short on time, you can check out Lindsay’s three-minute FluentU review on her YouTube channel:
Hacking Chinese – Review: FluentU Chinese
Hacking Chinese covers everything you could possibly want to know about learning Chinese, from improving specific skills to organizing your study routine to getting in the right mindset.
In this review, Olle Linge (the website’s founder) explains what makes FluentU useful in general, but he hones in on the benefits for a Chinese learner in particular—like the ability to choose between traditional and simplified Chinese subtitles, and the option to turn pinyin subtitles on and off.
For more of an up-close-and-personal tour, Olle has his own video walkthrough of the Chinese platform:
Languages Are Easy – Is FluentU Free? — No, But Definitely Worth It. Check This Out!
Roope Kiuttu, the founder of Languages Are Easy, is obviously a master of learning languages. His native language is Finnish, but his entire website is written in flawless English! He also speaks German, French and Spanish.
This review covers a wide range of topics, including the program’s pricing, languages, app, pros and cons. He loves that it’s easy to find videos that match your current learning level—a feature that’s lacking on similar language programs and YouTube.
Roope lists how many videos were available for each language at the time of writing this post, but keep in mind that more videos are always being added.
You can also get a sampling of what the platform is like from this video review:
StoryLearning – FluentU Review: Language Learning with Video
Olly Richards of StoryLearning focuses on teaching languages through stories. So it only makes sense that he loves FluentU!
This FluentU review walks you through the main features of the program, gives tips for maximizing your experience and evaluates the program overall.
Olly loves that FluentU teaches languages through commercials, interviews and music videos. These authentic resources all include elements of storytelling. He also praises FluentU for preparing users for real-life scenarios in their target language.
Smart Language Learner – FluentU Review: Language Immersion App Put To the Test
Yes, Noel van Vliet started Smart Language Learner to teach people languages. But he also created the website to inspire people to start learning languages—and to keep studying when the going gets rough!
This thorough review gives a clear picture of FluentU’s strongest features, plus perspective on who may get the most out of FluentU and why. Noel praises FluentU’s approach to spaced repetition, which helps learners memorize vocab and concepts.
Smart Language Learner has also written up a comparison of FluentU and Yabla.
In online conversations about language learning, you’ll often see that FluentU and Yabla are compared. After all, they both let you learn languages through videos! This comparison walks you through the features of each program and compares them.
You can also read their complete review of Yabla if you’re unfamiliar—and you’ll see why FluentU might be a better fit for you.
You’ve explored FluentU’s features. You’ve read what both the users and professionals have to say about the language learning software.
So, what do you think?
Do authentic videos, annotated subtitles and interactive quizzes seem like a fun way to learn your next language?
Then you’ve got to take FluentU for a spin. Claim your free trial today, and see if it’s the right language learning tool for you!
If you have any questions or comments for us, or if you’d like to post your very own FluentU review for all the world to see, visit us on Facebook or Twitter any time.
Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)