Our Review of Lingopie
Lingopie is a good study tool for intermediate and advanced learners, but doesn’t offer lessons or explanations, so it’s not a great fit for beginners. We recommend using it as part of a diverse language learning routine since the app has very little flexibility and sometimes contains confusing or even incorrect translations.
Ease of Use8
Engagement and Motivation3
Lingopie helps intermediate and advanced-level learners practice languages by consuming real-world content: videos, TV shows, audiobooks, podcasts, movies and more. The app features click-to-translate subtitles and a flashcard system to help learners review new vocabulary – picture foreign-language Netflix with clickable subtitles.
Lingopie is a relatively new app and still has some technical issues to fix, however the expansive list of titles across eight different languages makes it an attractive tool worth including in your language study routine.
Table of Contents
- What languages are available on Lingopie?
- How much does Lingopie cost?
- How does Lingopie work?
- How to get the most out of Lingopie
- The bottom line – is Lingopie worth your time and money?
What languages are available on Lingopie?
Lingopie currently offers English learners eight study languages: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean and Russian.
It’s worth noting that Lingopie does not make a distinction between regional dialects, such as Latin American and European Spanish. You’ll find content from all over the world when studying your target language and you might discover some cool new places. When browsing the French language content, for example, we came across a crime series from New Caledonia (a French territory in the South Pacific).
How much does Lingopie cost?
Lingopie is a great app for polyglots and foreign-film fanatics alike. Their subscriptions aren’t limited to one language, so you can watch as much as you like in any of the eight languages offered.
At the time this article was written the subscription options are:
- Monthly: $12/mo
- Yearly: $5.60/mo ($67 total)
- Yearly – Family & Friends: $8.25/mo ($99 total)
We decided to get the Yearly – Family & Friends subscription since it allows up to four users on one account, which is a pretty good deal compared to other similar apps.
How does Lingopie work?
Lingopie uses click-to-translate subtitles to help users practice their target language while watching videos, TV shows, documentaries and more. It’s best for intermediate or advanced-level learners who already have a decent grasp of their target language and are interested in expanding their vocabulary and improving their comprehension.
When you sign onto Lingopie for the first time you’ll be asked to select your target language, your proficiency level and a few genres that might interest you.
You’ll then be given three suggested videos and asked to choose one as a starting point (which we found really helpful for reducing decision fatigue).
Within the video player you have the option to view subtitles in English, in your target language or both. When you click on an item in the subtitles you’ll see a translation and hear the audio playback.
Additionally, that item will be added to your flashcard deck for that video so you can go back and review your new vocabulary later on.
Flashcard decks for storing and reviewing vocabulary
Every time you watch a video, Lingopie will create a flashcard deck specific to that video. You can view all of your flashcard decks in the “Review & Practice” section of the website dashboard.
It’s pretty helpful to have all of the flashcard decks organized in one part of the website, especially if you plan to re-watch videos for more practice. Within each deck you can see a “Words List” containing all of your vocabulary as well as “Games” and “Flashcards” to help you practice.
The Flashcards feature is neat because it shows you exactly where that given word came from in the video. You can even watch the specific video clip by clicking the play button.
In the Games section you have “Word Master” and “Pop Quiz,” which sound more exciting than they are: Word Master is simply matching items to their translation and Pop Quiz is just a multiple choice quiz. Neither are incredibly exciting but can sometimes be more interesting than going through the deck of flashcards.
Mashup – mixing English and target language subtitles
Lingopie has a feature called “Mashup” to help learners ease into watching videos in their target language. Mashup lets you watch with English subtitles while displaying a few key words in your target language.
In the screenshot below you can see the English subtitles along with a Mashup tag for “Entschuldigung (Excuse me)”.
Mashup items will appear underlined in orange in your transcript and will automatically be added to your flashcard deck for that video.
It’s unclear how Lingopie determines which words to list as Mashups – we wondered if they might be chosen randomly by an algorithm. In one Russian video, for example, the character’s name (Stepan) was tagged as a Mashup word and added to our flashcard deck, which we found rather peculiar. Out of all the words in the sentence below, why would we want to focus on memorizing the character’s name? It would be much more helpful to have “one day” highlighted since that comes up way more often in everyday conversation.
The Mashup feature is a good idea but overall still needs some work. A lot of the Mashup words are very elementary words like “and” or “I,” which aren’t incredibly helpful. Luckily, you can turn the feature off by clicking on the “CC” button in the video player.
How to get the most out of Lingopie
While Lingopie has an impressive variety of video content, we found the subtitle translations and “Learn” features (flashcard decks and practice activities) to be rather lacking. We discovered several inaccuracies in subtitles and flashcards (we suspect as a result of machine translation) and the user settings can be difficult to navigate.
Translations & flashcards are not always accurate
One of the biggest issues we found with Lingopie is that the flashcards are sometimes inaccurate or misleading. For example, at one point we saw the Spanish word “en (in)” translated as “this at.”
Another issue is that flashcards display words exactly as they appear in their video of origin which can lead to confusion or even memorizing a word incorrectly.
Russian and German use complex case systems, meaning that a word can have many forms depending on the situation in which it is used. The Russian word “город [gorod] (city),” for example, can have nine different forms: город [gorod], города [goroda], городу [gorodu], городом [gorodom], городе [gorodye], городах [gorodach], городами [gorodami], городов [gorodov], городам [gorodam].
Learners of Russian and German are expected to always learn a new word in its nominative (unchanged) form so that they can correctly decline the word (use the appropriate case) in a sentence.
One of our Russian flashcard decks listed the word “the city” as “городом [gorodom],” here using the instrumental case (one of the Russian language’s cases), but the nominative form of the word “the city” in Russian is “город [gorod].” A new learner not yet familiar with the Russian case system could potentially memorize the word “city” as “городом [gorodom]” and then run into issues later on.
This problem happens across different languages. In the below example, we’ve clicked on the German “einen Einsatz” and see that the translation is “an assignment.” This sentence is using the accusative case form of the word “der Einsatz; ein Einsatz,” whereby “ein” changes to “einen.” It would make more sense to memorize the phrase “Wir haben einen Einsatz (We have an assignment)” because the complete sentence provides the appropriate grammatical context.
Lingopie’s flashcards should always be taken with a grain of salt since they’re sometimes inaccurate or taken out of context. To get the most out of Lingopie we recommend watching the videos and then using a different program for flashcards and vocab memorization.
Whenever we come across a new word in a video, we type it in to see a few sentence examples (guide here).
After that, we memorize the word using our own flashcard decks, often on Anki. Anki is a flashcard program that uses spaced repetition to help you remember better – see our guide here.
User settings are difficult to navigate
Lingopie’s interface offers almost no customizability for users; there are very few options to change features and the app doesn’t even have a designated user settings panel.
The lack of customization is particularly apparent in Lingopie’s flashcard decks. Every time you click on a subtitle to view a translation the app automatically adds that item to your flashcard deck.
We found ourselves regularly clicking through entire sentences just to analyze the structure – that didn’t necessarily mean we needed to have a flashcard for each word. Our vocab decks pretty quickly filled up with obscure words like, “Gesetzeshüter (law enforcement officers)” for example – words we might want to translate but wouldn’t want to memorize.
Unfortunately there is no way to modify this behavior; users are simply stuck manually sorting each individual flashcard deck and removing the random extra items that appear.
Lingopie’s interface as a whole feels underdeveloped and clunky, which is understandable given it’s a rather new app. We hope that Lingopie invests more resources into improving the usability of their program but as of right now the user experience feels quite limited.
The bottom line – is Lingopie worth your time and money?
Is Lingopie worth using? Can you learn a language on Lingopie? The answer is – yes, it’s a good study tool for intermediate and advanced learners looking to improve their vocabulary. Lingopie doesn’t offer lessons or explanations so it’s not a great fit for beginners (if you’re brand new to your target language we’d recommend reading our article on where to start as an absolute beginner).
Lingopie will help you learn lots of everyday phrases and expressions, however it shouldn’t be the only tool in your arsenal. We’d recommend using Lingopie as a supplementary resource for expanding your vocabulary and improving your listening skills – one part of a diverse study routine. For more information about how to set up a balanced language study routine, check out our guide here.
Lingopie is a really useful app in that you can consume tons of foreign-language content with click-to-translate subtitles, all for a reasonable monthly price. It’s still a relatively new app so the interface/study experience is a bit lacking, but the expansive list of titles definitely helps compensate. Lingopie offers new users a 7-day free trial so check them out today and see if it’s a good fit for you!
– written by Drew Grubba for Smarter Language. Drew has ACTFL-certified proficiency in Swedish, German, Portuguese, French and Spanish. He’s also studied Mandarin Chinese, Norwegian and Dutch, and is currently learning Russian.