I love learning new languages, there’s nothing more beautiful than connecting with friends in their local language. To be fluent in a language requires serious, consistent commitment and practice, after about 10 years of investing some time in French and Mandarin and dabbling in a bit of Italian, I’m still far from reaching my language goals — simply because I haven’t been able to practice in real life as much as I wanted to. There are just too many other priorities but it’s something that I definitely want to master eventually.

Below are some tips and tricks that help.

Tips and Tools

  • Download Bubble Translate (or a similar tool) and set a keyboard shortcut so you get direct translation.
  • Set the bi-lingual dictionaries on in your iPhone.
  • Download foreign magazine apps and use the look-up feature for words you don’t know.
  • Subscribe to Spotify and find your favourite foreign artists.
  • Subscribe to Netflix and head to the independent section and turn on subtitle.


  • Vis-a-vis – French
  • Prego! – Italian
  • Get started in Mandarin Chinese – Chinese