How many people here use Hellotalk? (Also advice, please)

#1

I’ve been wanting to use my Japanese a little more practically recently, and I’ve always had my eye on Hellotalk. So I was wondering, how many people here use Hellotalk, and if so, what do you recommend I do? I know it shouldn’t be that complicated, but I’m being a bit of a chicken. :wink:

Any advice will help.

Thanks!

EDIT: Oh, and I should mention that I just started working through Genki II this last week after finishing Genki I the week before. Didn’t know if that might be relevant.

2 Likes
#2

It looks like there has been a big update recently, looks much better than it used to, but I haven’t used it since.

It was a little fiddly when I used it last, but I don’t know, give it a go!

#3

Hi, I have had mixed experiences with it. When outside of Japan not so great. I would exchange messages with people in Japan, but it was a lot of basic talk… somewhat boring tbh… that didn’t went no place. Then when I tried reaching japanese people in my city, very few actually responded, and then when finally I even got to talk more often with one and even set a meeting, she went cold feet and stop talking altogether… so I had for the most left the app unused for about 8 months.

Two weeks in Japan now, I went straight for people in the same city, and have found much more interest here, to chat first, and even more helpful, to meet and practice talking. In one day a girl responded me and we were meeting next day. She is traveling in a couple of months to an english speaking country so was very interested in practicing regularly before going there.
So far I write mostly in japanese, 'cause it’s much easier to me than talking over audio messages, and hopefully little by little the meetings will add more japanese to the table (as our first meeting was mostly in english).

So I would guess there has to be at least intermediate or above level for it to be of any benefit for both parts, and then, go for what you really are interested in, if it’s talking, people in your area probably are your best best. I’ve been messaging with other people as well, and thing is to find someone that it matches your rythm (super into it and check the app regularly or more casually writing there maybe daily or more sporadically) and have something in common to talk about it.

I’ve check meetups groups here as well… but actually much of the images they post looks like an international big party :sweat_smile: … other options are tandem websites, that basically let you find a 1-on-1 language partners; I’ve considered those too, but haven’t try them so far.

EDIT: another thing to consider if meeting to talk in this setting… go fresh. I mean, don’t leave the meeting for too late, specially if you’ll be tired and wanting to relax. Your hearing will be affected and your concentration wont’ be there. After a bit more than 2 hours I was really tired… even if you get along with the other person, it’s an extenuating activity, not like meeting with your buddies after work.

EDIT 2:

… I didn’t realized this until now… well, if that translates that your diving into basic grammar now, I would actually suggest to work a hell lot on reading and listening first then. Maybe it’s just my personal opinion, but I would say when you understand what your shows are saying (even if not 100%, but you can listen to the words and parse them correctly, so you can pick an unknown one) and / or the same for reading even basic native content, this kind of activity and practice will be of much more use.

2 Likes
#4

I’ve installed and deleted it plenty of times in the past and am currently not using it. I find it hard to make conversation with strangers as is, so that plus having to speak my third language was really intimidating.

It was fairly easy to get to usual greetings and how old are you’s, what are your hobbies, those sorts of things, even with my lack of grammar. After that my conversations usually died off and I admit that was probably on my end a lot, simply because I couldn’t say much back then or didn’t know what to talk about.

What I found difficult in general was being online at the same time as my conversation partners. Usually it was always really late for them when I finally had time to chat or they were asleep already, which really killed the flow.

The other problem was that sometimes they didn’t use Japanese but English or my native language and I didn’t know how to convey that I wanted to practice Japanese at some point too, lol. I’d suggest you agree on a certain time frame (20-30 minutes, an hour or so) where you speak in one language and then switch to the other.

Something else I experienced, although rarely, were men wanting to meet up if they lived in my area, regardless of how little we texted before that. I know there’s an option in the settings where you can only talk to people of the same gender, but usually guys were a lot more open to talk to me than women, soo…

Maybe Hellotalk would feel different to me now if I gave it another chance, but I feel like a tutor would suit my needs much better at the moment.

2 Likes
#5

My experience mimics those above me pretty closely. I had HelloTalk for a while, and even had the premium membership (or whatever it’s called) so that I could add all of the languages I speak. I thought this would boost the amount of people I’d interact with by broadening the possible audience. It didn’t. Well, it did, I suppose, but the conversations across the board were extremely basic, empty, and short. After about 32546252532524 conversations repeating the same, “I’m from ____”, “How old are you?”, and “Your English is so good!” messages, it became more of a burden than anything. Not to mention the time difference makes having conversations unbearably long/drawn out. When there’s a 9 hour gap between a “Hey! What are you doing today?” and a “Oh hey! I worked today. You?”, it’s pretty hard to actual carry a more in depth and meaningful conversation.

I’d agree that a tutor would be much more useful to start. I’m not knocking HelloTalk, I actually love the concept of it, but specifically for speaking with Japanese natives it’s pretty hard to actually have it play out positively.

Okay and here’s a glory story, where things actually worked out and were pretty amazing:

Within the first 3 months that I had HelloTalk, when I could pretty much only say what I like to eat in Japanese, I met a Japanese native who was attending university in my city (Chicago). He happened to be staying with a family that lived literally a half mile from me. So we talked and met up at a café, and he even came over to play Final Fantasy in Japanese at my house. I taught him a bit about whiskey and how Americans drink, and he taught me that literally no natives ask if you’re “元気?” This was the only positive story I have from it, and it’s pretty great. But comparing it against the other 99999999999999999999 that lasted a whole 2 minutes, you can decide if that’s worth it or not.

4 Likes
#6

I used it. I felt it was useful for the time I was using it, but the makers of the app didn’t do a good job with making data transfer easy/intuitive. After losing the data that contained saved corrections with previous interactions, my motivation to continue using the application dwindled. Instead, with the people that I feel I’ve made a connection on Hello Talk, I try to make a connection with them on another platform so that I can keep a history of our chats.

Perhaps I was an outlier, but I basically learned how to make understandable sentences on Hello Talk thanks to the feedback I got from the people I interacted with. I didn’t use genki, but I could tell you that I only had rudimentary grammar before I started really pushing myself to use the app. I avoided using the app for voice conversations because I felt it was easier to find individuals to set up weekly skype conversations instead.

I feel a lot of people come to the app with the expectation to make friends; I didn’t do that. I came with the expectation to improve my Japanese by having friendly discourse. So having to cycle through over a dozen people didn’t become such a big deal because I saw having to reintroduce myself as an opportunity to practice basic small talk. I also stuck to the premise of the app of doing an exchange (i.e., I always used Japanese, while the other person was supposed to use English). If my partner chose not to use English, studied how they put their sentences together and used it as a model for future times when I wrote messages.

I can say that despite having no expectation of meeting friends on the app that I did make a couple friends whom I’ve stayed in contact with for the past three years. So despite not using the app actively anymore, I’m really grateful for having at the beginning.

3 Likes