The Linguist

The Linguist 55,5

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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28 The Linguist Vol/55 No/5 2016 FEATURES Thebig idea Q How did the idea for Free Language come about? A Free Language was started in 2006. I graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in Linguistics and was searching for a way to continue learning more languages while travelling. Originally, I intended it to be a directory of available language learning resources, based mainly around free materials and services, and categorised by learning style, age, goals, budget, etc. There were some sites at the time that listed a few resources, but none that were comprehensive. Q What challenges did you face? A Learning to use the software it is run on, Drupal, was a learning curve. Another was deciding which languages to focus on. I decided to start with the most frequently learned languages and go from there. There were 12 at launch, now there are close to 100! Q How has Free Language developed? A It has changed from being a directory to a newsletter, an online magazine and a podcast, with a TV channel coming soon. I have been working with some of the biggest language learning projects out there to get the word out about their products, as well as to continue to offer loads of information about where to learn on a budget or totally for free. I have also worked with independent language bloggers to get their ideas out to a wider audience. Q How is the project funded? A By the few affiliates that I work with and whose language learning products and services I recommend. I earn a percentage of sales for these referrals and that pays for the hosting and newsletter services, and leaves me free to continue researching, writing and improving the website. Q How big is the Free Language team? A Mainly it is just me – I do all the research, and write and publish the articles. I also write the newsletters and produce the podcast. Over the years, I have had friends in the Czech Republic, Colombia and England volunteer to help out with aspects such as YouTube videos, finding open-source images and writing articles for the Spanish-speaking audience. I also contracted an awesome web developer in Vietnam, who has managed all the techie stuff brilliantly for the last six years. Q What are your plans for the future? A More and more, I am focusing on growing the podcast and launching a TV channel to help people find the resources they need to How Free Language Founder Chapman Woodriff launched the resource for language learners on a budget fit their learning plan, as well as to provide advice and coaching on how to approach learning languages in general. It will also feature language web tours, showing people the many ways to use the web to learn any given language. I am also growing the newsletter, which is really gaining popularity and is such a great way to reach people directly with helpful information. Q What languages do you speak? A My native language is English and I speak fluent Spanish, Portuguese and French. I can also get by pretty well in Czech, German and Italian. I have studied Chinese as well but would not claim any kind of proficiency as yet.

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