Lingq, from Wow to not so Wow

After several months of heavy use (more than 500.000 words read) I feel in the mood to give my opinion on the site. (Should be working on my german youtube videos but the import feature is not working)

Strong points:

1.- Learning philosophy behind the site is great. I believe Steve is promoting the right (and most efficient) way of learning languages. Lingq somehow reflects his ideas and that is great.
2.- The possibility to read and listen at the same time, whilst keeping track of known words is really useful.


1.- It is extremely difficult to import kindle books. For me it has been a lost battle, after investing 5 hours of my time, gave up.
2.- It is impossible to import videos more than 20-25 minutes long.
3.- Frequent importing issues (I am writing this because at this very moment the function does not work).
4.- To be honest, there is a lot of not so meaningful-engaging texts in the library (at least in german). The quality of the content should be a priority.

It might be that my expectatives were so high after listening to Steve´s speeches (that I completely buy), that thougt of the site as a comprehensive resource for language learning. I believed that Lingq could be the site to invest the 100% of my study time. Now I see that I cannot watch in Lingq some tv programs (zdf, art) because they are too long, neither can read some books that I consider to be crucial for my learning journey.

To summarize, lingq is a brilliant idea with mediocre/poor execution. It can be used as an interesting side resource to leanguage learning, but not as a sole resource. And that is also ok, but not great.

Hope this can be useful for both the company and the prospective users.


I combine Lingq along with Amazon Prime. It offers a lot of free radio plays which you can listen to and a lot of dubbed movies/TV shows in German. Agreed with you in the sense that it lacks in the content department for German but still, you can import a lot of interesting content that is freely available online.

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Hi, Isaac-Clemente!

I won’t discuss your “modern(ist)” expectations [“one” learning method, “one” tool, “one” site for ressources… and “one” ring to rule them all :-)], but focus only on your pain points:

1.- It is extremely difficult to import kindle books.
Yes, that’s a known issue. Unfortunately, there’s not much the LingQ team can do about it because it’s a DRM question and therefore in the realm of Amazon.
You have to rely on workarounds such as using conversion tools à la “Calibre”, buying DRM removal software, looking for or buying ebooks without DRM, etc.

2.- It is impossible to import videos more than 20-25 minutes long.
As a LingQ power user (for seven months), I’ve imported more than 100 videos, mostly from Youtube. The import mechanism worked without problems more than 95% of the time. I did this in several languages (English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Japanese), so I don’t think German is an exception.
Maybe there are problems when trying to import videos from ARD, ZDF, etc. This is the case, for example, when there is no transcript. And then, of course, there is the restriction on the length of the video to be imported.

3.- Frequent importing issues (I am writing this because at this very moment the function does not work).
Again, since July 2020, I’ve imported several hundred videos, articles (Wikipedia, New York Times, Foreign Affairs, etc.), blog posts, ebooks, Busuu PDFs, etc. in various languages. Yes, there are some minor import issues, but the emphasis here is on minor (in my case: ca. 1-5 percent), not frequent!

4.- To be honest, there is a lot of not so meaningful-engaging texts in the library (at least in german). The quality of the content should be a priority.
Definitely “no”, it shouldn’t!
As an autonomous language learner, it’s your responsibility to look for content that is appropriate to your language level, that you like and are interested in, because the basic idea of LingQ is that of a content flexible audio reader.
Or to put it differently, the LingQ team can’t know what content interests each of us. That’s why today I could use LingQ perfectly without any pre-made / existing content, because I can find “everything” myself.

This doesn’t mean that the LingQ software can’ t be improved! Of course there’s room for improvement, so we’re all eagerly waiting for the update, i.e. version 5.0. But, even an improved program won’t solve the underlying problems on the learner / user side, especially when it comes to basic attitude problems and “wrong” expectations.

Have a nice day

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1- …
Have you considered using Epubor?

re: painpoints

  1. This isn’t LingQ’s fault. Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is with the primary places you can get e-books. While I personally have had success removing DRM for Amazon books, I know a lot of people have not had success. Have you tried One of the lingq members here has had success with that site in removing DRM. They have a free trial so maybe give that a shot?

  2. Unfortunately, I don’t have a suggestion on this. Most of the youtube videos I’ve tried to import are less than 20 minutes. For those that are longer I don’t find great for lessons (I prefer shorter )and would simply rather watch with subtitiles. If I find I want to dive deeper, I’d just import the subtitles alone. You can watch along on youtube while Lingq’ing in LingQ.

  3. Have you posted some links that don’t work to import for you? I and others import all kinds of content without issue, aside from some of the specific things you point out. There is all types of content that DOES import.

  4. To me, the beauty of LingQ is that you can import the content you want (ignoring the difficulties you seem to be having for the moment). I’ve read and listened to all kinds of interesting things. I also find for German that Vera’s and Evgueny’s content provides for short, interesting content. Do you not find anything interesting in the “library feed” that others have imported or just read? Be sure you are filtering to your level so you aren’t looking at tons of beginner content flooding your stream. Those, of course, would not be interesting at your level. Any interest in news? or podcasts? What are your interests? Have you checked the pinned post at the top of the Community board with a list of various sites with content for all the languages? Here’s the link LingQ Language Resources - Google Sheets
    I think also there was a thread of German content specifically. I can’t seem to find it, but if I do I’ll post it here.

Anyway, I personally don’t see LingQ as a sole learning resource, but imo it is a fantastic primary one. Some of the issues you point out are not LingQ’s fault, or due to the technical nature of keeping up with changes by the source of input (youtube for example), sometimes there are issues. Many of the import issues, they’ve turned around fixes fairly quickly, so post on the forum if you’re seeing an issue. Maybe hopefully with LingQ 5.0 the 20-25 min limitation may be gone too. If not, there is tons of content that is shorter than 20-25 min. There’s no reason to limit yourself to LingQ solely. There is a lot of content I pursue outside of LingQ, but if I want to really dig deep into something LingQ is really the best resource available imo. There really isn’t any other application that does as much that I’m aware of…sometimes this shows through with some blemishes. I’d rather take the blemishes, if the capability of bringing in content for the most part is much better than other similar tools.

Just my thoughts…hopefully you can work out some of the kinks you’re experiencing…and hopefully you can find content that’s of interest that you can import.


Here is the link to the post by SergeyFM that has a list of youtube channels with proper subtitles (not autogenerated). I think some do have a mix of autogenerated subtitles so you may have to poke around some of the content in those channels to be sure, but hopefully there’s some content of interest for you.

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I personally don’t see LingQ as a sole learning resource,
I agree 100%.
LingQ should better be seen as a content-flexible hub in a “zoo” of tools (various spaced-repetition systems, writing/speaking platforms, grammar websites à la Busuu, AI translation tools, etc.) and media services, i.e. ebook, AV, and streaming platforms.

And the same “pluralistic” view applies to the learning method mix!

But, both presuppose self-responsible learners who act as independent content hunters and look for workarounds when something doesn’t work instantly…

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It is good when you are a content hunter, I also consider myself one. My problem is that, even though I find the content I need, some times it is not possible at all to use it in Lingq.

1.- Videos more than 25 min.
2.- Books.
3.- When for some reason the importing feature does not work (in my case 5-10% and this is significant in my view.)

But there is also a lot of people that is not so good when finding the content they need, and I think it would be helpful for them to find here the material well filtered. I know this first hand since some friends of mine are experiencing this problem and in constant need of advice on what lessons to pick.

I´ve said that my expectations are one part of the problem. Since my learning method consists mainly in listenin+reading, I thought I could keep track of everything I do within Lingq. Now I´ve realized that have to start reading and watching 50%+ of my learning content out of the tool. Since that content are videos and books, it is a bit desapointing not having the chance to go trough them in here. The other part of the problem is that execution does not match the expectations Lingq sells.

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Thanks for the tip. I tried with calibri and did not work. I´ve decided not to lose more time on this and started reading the books on my kindle.

1.- Videos more than 25 min.
Unfortunately, I’ m not able to reproduce your problem.
As a test, I just imported this YT video from “Deutsche Welle” (subtitles in US English, length: 42:25 min) via the LingQ Google Chrome extension:

It worked like a charm. But, the video needs transcripts / subtitles and its length should be less than 54 minutes.
What doesn’t seem to work is importing the audio from Netflix. Only the subtitles are imported here. But this fits my learning style, i.e. 1) watching an episode without subtitles or with English subtitles 2) working on the transcript in LingQ 3) watching the episode several times with / without subtitles.
BTW, Netflix and LingQ is an “excellent” combo for language learning, because Netflix offers thousands of series / movies for many languages!

2.- Books.
I usually find all the books on IT, social sciences, history, politics, etc. I’m interested in and can convert them into the right format…
As others have already suggested is your conversion friend in this context.

3.- When for some reason the importing feature does not work (in my case 5-10% and this is significant in my view.)
Do you get any error messages?

But, I wouldn’t say that an error rate of 5-10 per cent (or: in my case: 1-5 per cent) when importing text / AV material is highly problematic. This means, for example, that you can import 90-95 (in my case: 95-99) texts from 100.
And I’d say you can reduce your import error rate even further by using conversion tools à la Calibre, epubor, etc. correctly.

But there is also a lot of people that is not so good when finding the content they need, and I think it would be helpful for them to find here the material well filtered.
This may be the case. But from my teaching experience both in languages and in math (> 10 years, about 10k hours), too many learners are too passive. That is: They don’t take much responsibility for their own learning process, they tend to give up almost immediately when things get unpleasant, etc.
Unfortunately, an extreme form of this passivity can be seen in math and programming when learners (esp. teenagers) just want to imitate the solutions presented by others without thinking for themselves, without investing the time and effort to find solutions for themselves, etc.
In short, they don’t want to struggle and want to avoid pain/discomfort at almost any cost. But the paradox is: what protects us in the short term (avoiding discomfort) undermines us in the long term, because the pain avoidance mechanism can “ruin” our life in general and our path-of-least-resistance learning in particular…

Well, it’s a pet peeve of mine and I’m in the middle of writing a book on the subject. So, sorry for the rambling! :slight_smile:

Now I´ve realized that have to start reading and watching 50%+ of my learning content out of the tool.
Well, I started as a LingQ power user only a few weeks before you (in July 2020). And I’ve imported between 200-500 videos, blog posts, articles, audio files, e-books, etc. in five different languages so far.
In this period, I’ve gotten an import error maybe 10 times. Did this affect my language learning? No, not at all because I usually find a workaround…

But, I agree: (at least at the levels A1-B1) LingQ doesn’t work equally well for all languages.
In my case, it works like a charm for Indo-European languages, but not so well for Asian languages like Japanese.
So I probably spend 75 percent of my learning time on Japanese outside of LingQ because I focus more on the oral dimension. Later, I will focus more on reading with LingQ.
However, as a Spanish native speaker learning German you shouldn’t face the same problem with reading / writing!

The other part of the problem is that execution does not match the expectations Lingq sells.
Well, I’d say they’re a small team that is trying to do their best. But, from my own experience in software engineering I can assure you that things that seem obvious or easy from a user perspective are sometimes really tricky “under the (software) hood” :slight_smile:

However, you make yourself unhappy when you consider LingQ the “only” language learning tool that you need.
If you adopt a “hub” perspective (see my reply to @ericb100) where you combine a flexible audio reader with a “zoo” of tools (in my case: Netflix, Anki / Memrise / Mosa Lingua, Deepl, Busuu, JPod101, etc.) you’ll be much happier because you’re more flexible regarding tools and methods.

Or to put it in Tolkien’s “logic”: Sauron’s mistake was that he thought “one” ring could rule them all. The lack of diversification and disregard for the “lesser” creatures therefore provoked his downfall.
As language learners, we shouldn’t repeat Sauron’s mistake.
In short: “LingQ < > master ring” :slight_smile:

Have a great evening (if you’re in Europe / Spain)

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Sure, LingQ would be better without the limitations you mention. On the other hand it may not even be good to have one tool you see as a “comprehensive resource” where you do all your language learning. You should see LingQ as somewhere between being a comprehensive tool and a springboard to further learning. If you want to learn a language to real fluency, you´ll eventually have to engage with it without any “platform” anyway. That´s to say, you´ll need to watch videos, listen to audio, write, internet chat and most importantly just converse with people without any assistance from a platform. So it´s always a good idea to at least occasionally do some of these things outside of LingQ, even when LingQ is your main learning method.


Reg. your video import problem:

  • Could you give us the links of two videos (> 25 min) with subtitles / transcripts in German where you got an import error message?
  • What was the error message exactly?
  • What’s your device and your configuration, i.e. operating system, browser, and browser extensions?

for some reason the importing feature does not work

  • Apart from the videos which other material (articles, e-books, blog posts, etc.) can’t be imported?
  • And what error messages do you get?

If these are common errors, we should be able to reproduce them.

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it may not even be good to have one tool you see as a “comprehensive resource” where you do all your language learning
Yes, I agree!

BTW, you can see this “diversification” principle in many areas of life such as::

  • Mixed Martial Arts where you combine different effective styles and discard the ineffective ones
  • Strength training where you can combine calisthenics, training with machines, free weights, sandbags, kettlebells, dumbbells, etc.
  • Software engineering. For example the “UNIX philosophy” ("write programs that do one thing and do it well, write programs to work together, wirte programs to handle text streams, because that is a universal interface"Unix philosophy - Wikipedia ), the modularization of software, etc.
  • Technical and organizational systems in general where you want to avoid “single points of failure”.
  • Investment strategies
    There’s even the old saying not to put all our eggs in one basket :slight_smile:
    And, of course, a tool is (sometimes) just a crutch that you should throw away - sooner or later.
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Apropos “lack of content in German”
As a German native speaker, I don’t need any language tools to teach myself German. But, I just checked the number of German courses / lessons on LingQ out of interest.
You’re right, the absolute number of courses / lessons in German is lower than in the two most popular languages on LingQ, i.e. English and French (for a comparison of different languages on LingQ, see: Lingq's 16 Languages Which Have More Than 1000 Lessons - ...).

This seems to be a problem especially in the “guided courses” section. But, it’s less of a problem in the LingQ library. For an intermediate level (B1-B2) you have hundreds and hundreds of lessons in the library. For example, the “Easy German” course alone has 125 lessons. See: Entrar - LingQ

If you include all the German videos (< 54 min) from Netflix and Youtube (ARTE, ZDF, ARD, BR, WDR, MDR, Deutsche Welle, etc.) you can import into LingQ, you should have more than enough AV material (I’m talking of thousands of videos here!).
BTW, with Youtube you often don’t even need explicit subtitles in German. It’s enough to select the subtitle/CC option “German (automatically generated)” to be able to import videos.
For example, I just imported this Deutsche Welle (DW) video (from Dec 7, 2020, video length: 42:35 min. German (auto-generated)) into LIngQ. . Chinas Griff nach Europa - Die Neue SeidenstraĂźe | DW Dokumentation - YouTube
It worked like a charm!

If you include German, Austrian, and Swiss newspapers (Neue Züricher Zeitung, ZEIT, Süddeutsche, etc.), “Die Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung” (, German blogs, other German news sites (Deutsche Welle, etc.), German podcasts with transcripts, academic texts (bachelor/master/doctoral theses, etc.), you should have more German media items to import into LingQ than you can digest in a lifetime.

In sum:
In German, there’s definitely no shortage of content that can be imported into LingQ.
So, I d say the problem is much more your content hunting strategy :slight_smile:

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Man, I do not mean to be rude, but have never expresed any anxiety about my content hunting strategy. Instead, reading through your responses I start to get worried about your reading abilities. I have never said “lack of content in german”. In quoting that phrase you are misguiding the nature of the debate, that I want to place in the room for improvement that lingq importation tools, and content, have.

My precise words were " there is a lot of not so meaningful-engaging texts in the library (at least in german). The quality of the content should be a priority. " I am not saying lack of content, quite the contrary there is huge amounts of content, and the sad thing is that it is not well filtered (Beginner, Intermediate, advanced are uselful categories for some reason) and in many cases not well edited (containing mistakes). There is also a big room for improvement in this area for lingq, if they want to tackle the issue.

In spanish we have a saying: a buen entendedor, pocas palabras bastan. And now you have made me write too much. If the company wants to take this criticism from a user as a way to improve, that´s over their roof. If they don´t, that´s up to them too. Now your work is try to understand what I am saying but I am also stopping helping with that.

Good luck and have a good day.

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It is not the shortage of content but the shortage of interesting content I suppose. For example, maybe the books he wants to read they are available as kindle books or the stuff he wants to watch online , they well go over the limit. For example, he bought graded materials and perhaps he liked these materials and he would like to study them. The whole process should be seamless. There are free tools that are offering similar service like LingQ does, however, to my surprise, they are providing a better user interface at no costs at all. Since LingQ is also generating revenues so they can do a much better job.

That is exactly the point, the process should be seamless. i.e. I have bought graded readings (B1-B2) that I would like to read through lingq. The company advertise the tool as if that was feasible and easy to do, which is not the case.

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Of course, this is why I am also having 2 hours of conversation every week with a german teacher. His name is Christoph and he lives in Guadalajara (Jalisco, Mexico. Clever guy). But I do not think the topic here to be my approach to languages learning, which seems to be very interesting for some of you, and of course I could make a whole dissertation on that. The thing is that Lingq sells a product through which a customer should be able to go through videos, books and content in general in a user friendly manner. And the thing is a little rough, to be soft.

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I am in the same boat. I have some interesting content that I would like to study but I tried Caliber and Epubor Ultimate. But still converted files by these software after removing DRM are not imported whatsoever on LingQ. Still getting the same error message. If I am doing something wrong, perhaps, there should be a neutral outlet as a support where you can send these pdf files and get them converted, and uploaded under user accounts or make them public as separate course links. So instead of worrying about this issue, I now focus on those content that I have imported and can work with. There is still interesting content that you can import and work with namely audiobooks and novels. Nevertheless, if a user has the know-how or support staff of Lingq knows how to remove this DRM with Caliber they should lend their support.


It still comes down to your content hunting strategy (and your IT competence):

  • You define your specific interests. The emphasis here is on the word “specific,” not on any broad categories like history, science, IT, etc.
  • Then it’s your job to find / convert and import the appropriate media.
  • The main task of the LingQ team is to maintain a well-functioning software. It isn’t their job to deliver every specific media item (article, blog post, audio file, video, etc.) for every specific interest to every specific learner/customer for every language level. That would be a nearly impossible task, especially for a small team!
  • The next thing is the DRM issue:: If LingQ were to remove DRM from Kindle books by default, Amazon would probably legally rip them to shreds. So, it’s up to you, the user/learner, to either use e-book formats without DRM or remove the DRM yourself.

If you’re willing to accept these facts, then LingQ works amazingly well,
otherwise it doesn’t.