Microsoft quietly launched an interesting new app for the iOS recently. The company’s latest iOS app helps users learn and improve their Chinese speaking skills. It doesn’t have any fancy names, and it’s simply called Microsoft Learn Chinese.
Microsoft’s Learn Chinese app uses artificial intelligence and speech recognition in order to track the user’s performance. You start off by taking the beginner lessons, where the app will teach you basic things like how to say hello in Chinese, and then you will be quizzed on those lessons. Once that’s done, you will be able to test your progress by speaking to the AI-powered chatbot.
Microsoft is leveraging its speech recognition tech and AI to grade your Chinese accent and speaking skills on the app. It will ask you to repeat a certain phrase in Chinese, and then rate your accent using AI. When your scores aren’t decent, you’ll be asked to try again and you will be taken to the next task as you improve your accent. There’s also a Conversation Challenge where you will need to speak in Chinese during certain scenarios like a job interview, and the app will rate your speaking skills using the exact same tech to test your performance. It’s a pretty neat conversation-based interface that could actually help you effectively learn a sophisticated language like Chinese really quickly.
At the end of the day though, Microsoft’s Learn Chinese app is basically like Duolingo — but specifically for learning Chinese. There’s a decent possibility of Microsoft making a similar app for other languages, or even integrating its features into the Microsoft Translator app in the future, and that’s where it will make the most sense. We’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, you can get the Learn Chinese app here.