Italki - What's your opinion

The company I work for has a budget for people that would like to learn languages. I was originally thinking of getting a personal tutor but in my area there only seems to be about a dozen or so people that are able to do this. So instead I have been looking at Italki as another way of me having a 1-1 tutor but of course online has anyone had any luck or experience with Italki?

If so what has happened?

Did you progress or did you feel like you was wasting your money?

Many thanks

Look forward to your replies.

That depends on a tutor you’re hiring. Italki is but a platform where teachers offer their services.

Yeah I suppose I was also thinking would it be better to have a tutor in person or over the internet.

I guess it’d be cheaper to have a tutor over the internet, can not say for sure. In my humble opinion, it is not that important. Don’t need a language coach to learn a language.

Of course, it’s a matter of taste. I’m not saying that learning with a tutor along the side is not helpful, it certainly helps. It is just that some people are uncomfortable with that (like me).

Well, maybe LingQ has got some Spanish tutors for you?

Anyway I feel like italki’s main advantage is that it helps you connect to other native speakers of the target language trough it’s community.

I’ve met a lot of great people that way, which sometimes even led to good friendships. So the community part to me is the best thing (not only italki has this, there are a lot of sites which offer the same thing)

But when I tried the ‘paid tutoring’ I was not really impressed and stopped after two tries. But I do not exclude the possibility that it could be a good thing for someone else.

I personally would suggest to find someone around your area who can sit down with you and actively be involved in the process, and it should be someone who really wants to help you improve… and not just make money by talking in their mother tongue :wink:

Hope this helps.

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Thank you very much for the reply!

Yes, Italki has worked out very well for me. I had an amazing Russian tutor on Italki. Also, the prices on there are very low. You can choose between a community and a professional tutor. However, I choose community because I simply wanted to talk.
I certainly feel that I progressed with weekly tutoring sessions. I became more confident with speaking Russian.
Since it was my favorite part of my studies, I got way behind with LingQ. I have an extremely small vocabulary and bad listening comprehension skills. (This should not be a problem considering your known word count.)
Feel free to use my referral link for an extra $10 in credits after your first lesson. italki: Become fluent in any language

I advice you to go for it, I had a tens of online sessions through Italki which is done practically through Skype of course and I benefited a lot.

I would suggest you go for it no doubt but choose carefully the best tutor you can find and it would be much more beneficial for you if you can decide with the tutor to have short sessions with more practicing days

meaning that instead of taking two hours a week you will benefit more if you do 20 min a day for 5 days a week because you will be speaking more frequently and that really makes the vocabulary sticks to your mind faster and thus finding the words and producing it easier.

Good luck and all the best

I’ve only used it for corrections and in this area it’s poor, like all online correction.

People telling you normal language is wrong when it’s not simply because they would prefer to phrase it a different way.

There’s a ‘correction’ on there at the minute.

“I am going to travel to Paris in my summer holiday with my parents.”

Ok, it’s not grammatical but it’s perfectly fine to say ‘in my summer holiday’. Native speakers might say this. Yet someone comes along, strikes out ‘in’ and puts ‘during’ with no explanation.

The author now thinks they can never say ‘in’ in this situation when they CAN. “What are you gonna do in your summer holiday?” is perfectly acceptable English. But not in the mind of the writer any more.


To me the answer is massive input combined with intensive reading so you feel what is right. These corrections are pointless and in some cases damaging. There are far too many pseudo teachers and poor teachers on there working for 5 bucks an hour trying to correct people to academic standards of writing when these people are beginners simply trying to write personal diary style entries in a more laid back style.

If you want to know specifics about something you’re better off asking specific questions and not simply being corrected on a sample of your writing.

Yes Robert i agree. Nobody can be TAUGHT a language anyway. It’s all about exposure. Most teachers are damaging to a learner because the real way to improve in language doesn’t involve teachers. And they’re not going to make themselves redundant.

“In my summer holidays” may be perfectly acceptable Globish, but it doesn’t sound correct to this native English speaker. I would also have suggested “during” instead. You can call it a question of preference, and you’re right to say that a native speaker would have no problem understanding it, but understandable isn’t the only criteria for “acceptable” or “correct”. (Nor, for that matter, do I write things like “gonna” for “going to” or “u” for you, etc.)

Globish is at once wonderful: it allows people to communicate across vast linguistic differences, but it is also somewhat horrible in what it has done (and continues to do) to the English language. :slight_smile:


Did you just complain that they are “try to correct people to academic standards of writing”, and that’s a bad thing? How terrible that your free written corrections were edited by the community to “academic standards of writing.”

When I want to write just to get words on paper (“personal diary style prompts”), I write it in a GoogleDocs, which checks for spelling. For phrases, I’ll search Linguee’s website for the most commonly used native combinations (I think they’ll show many more examples of “during summer holidays”, making it preferable to “in”)

But, when I wanted to learn clear, academic written expression in Spanish, I had iTalki tutors for whom I’d send a weblink to an essay I’d written on my own, and they’d edit it with me in class, describing the various ways to improve it, marking it for corrections.

Within about 4 to 5 hours of practice on writing, I had written a full paragraph, error-free (!), in one of my 1,000 word essays in Spanish. That was amazingly helpful, and even their free written community feedback sounds helpful, just more helpful than you’d like it to be.

I highly recommend Italki(if you are intermediate or higher). My tip is to take lessons with community tutors. They’re really cheap and useful. I’ve taken English lessons and my speaking skills have improved quickly. I really recommend Italki.

As an alternative you could try looking for a language partner on (this site came about after the folks at Rosetta Stone killed Shared Talk) who speaks your target language and who is looking for a language partner (you) who speaks your native language. You could trade conversation times with that person (I suggest 30 minutes of conversation in the target language in exchange for 30 minutes in your language) and it wouldn’t cost either of you anything except the time and trouble.

It’s really about finding the right language partner who has similar goals (and a similar skill set) as you and who is willing to help you achieve your goals in exchange for you helping them.

The 'Orrible that hath beene perpetrated 'pon the spake of our glorious Brittanic Isle? Would you be referring to the dastardly Romans, the Viking hordes, sacking Saxons, William the Conqueror, perchance the burglarising Yankees of Murica? Forsooth! Nerriere? No, I think not! Imagine that language never ever morphs to become what its users want and need, that might protect your translating business from the ravages of the Mongers of the Trend however, in reality, when everyone speaks the Textspeak you’ll be the redundant Guardian of the Grammar. I’m a native speaker and I can’t adam and eve it wots comin outta your north and south geezer. Yor either radio rental, having a giraffe or you bin down the rub-a-dub for a cheeky cows calf 'o pigs ear (yup, gonna give it to ya, neither correct nor by many unnerstannable and yet at once, like the host of golden daffodils I did espy, wonderful and yea verily, not at all gibberish!) Felicitations from South London via Mönchengladbach.

I’m surprised by all the negativity about teachers/tutors in this thread.

I have had a wonderful experience with a teacher I found on Italki. A friend of mine and I decided to learn Italian and were working hard on it from books when we decided we needed a teacher.

I found her through Italki. She gives us both private lessons and ones we take together. Her planning is thoughtful and creative. She always arrives on Skype on time and often gives us a little extra time just because she’s so interested in our progress. And we have been making tremendous progress from level one to now well along in level 4. When I’m in Italy I converse with everyone far from perfectly but with no failure of communication. Her prices were ridiculously cheap when we started (four years ago and still going strong!) and have gradually been raised to close to what I think her true value is. For me and my friend, hiring her has been the single best thing we’ve done in our quest to master la bella lingua. Her name is Elfin Waters, and if any of you are looking for a fine teacher I’ll tell you how to contact her.

WTF are you talking about ?

They TRY to correct to academic standards and in doing so, correct things that AREN’T WRONG. Did you overlook that part of my post simply so you could contradict me ?

You are a fool.

Pedro you’re free to (ab)use the English language as you see fit, and (mis)use whatever pronouns you’d like, but be prepared to be corrected by native speakers. Your example (“What did you do IN your summer vacation”) is wrong both in the normative and in the practical, day-to-day usage sense. Getting angry at tutors because they pointed this out, and then dismissing italki as a poor service seems somewhat foolish to me.

Otherwise, play nice, there’s no reason to start insulting people in a language learning forum. :slight_smile:

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I don’t know what ‘Globish’ is. There is real English though. The way people talk in North England. The way people talk in South London. You know real language that people actually USE ? Ways that aren’t written ?

If i say ‘I ain’t even gonna go into that…’ some anal grammaright like you is going to pretend this is somehow a siege on the English language just because grammar books and stuffy posh people don’t speak like that. How is pretending that sentence isn’t perfectly fantastic English for an L2 speaker/writer going to be of benefit to them ?

NOBODY speaks grammatically perfectly because grammar is and always was descriptive, not prescriptive. Which is ironic because it refuses to change with language which always evolves.

There are ways of talking and then there is poor English used by thick people. They are not the same thing. ‘I axed you a question blud fam’ isn’t going to be acceptable to most people because the person saying it is a retard. Using constructions like above with ‘ain’t’ and ‘gonna’ isn’t the same thing. There are acceptable grammatical ‘mistakes’ (read: constructions) in languages and then there is just poor language usage.

It would pay you to get that chip off your shoulder and learn the difference.