What is iTalki, how does it work, and is it affordable? Our iTalki review will answer your questions about the language learning platform and determine whether iTalki is what you are looking for.

What Is iTalki?

You may have heard of iTalki, seen its great reviews on language learning blogs. It seems to be everywhere around the globe, but what is it?

iTalki is an online language learning platform that offers online lessons in over 100 languages. Currently, over five million people are learning at least one language using iTalki. Over 10,000 professional, qualified language teachers use iTalki to teach languages, including native-speaker teachers.

iTalki claims that you will master more than just a foreign language. You will discover a timeless skill, new perspectives, and even connect with fascinating people.

iTalki History

Launched in 2006, iTalki was a social network designed for language exchange partners with learning new words as the primary purpose. They wanted to teach languages by connecting with others.

In 2008, iTalki began the marketplace version you have today. It was a new idea met with skepticism. However, the concept proved to be ideal because, in 2012, iTalki expanded its marketplace with angel financing.

To keep the business growing, iTalki rebranded and relaunched its site and apps in 2016. Growth continued, and it completed its first acquisition in 2019. iTalki acquired Lingbe, a Spain-based company.

In 2020, iTalk looked towards the future with no looking back and not an end in sight.

How Does iTalki Work?

  1. Choose your iTalki teacher
  2. Book your trial lesson
  3. Connect with your tutor via video chat

As mentioned before, iTalki employs over 10,000 different community tutors and teachers qualified in teaching languages. Some say that the platform has too many teachers and that it is challenging to choose a tutor.

iTalki classifies its professional teachers as either advanced or native speaking. You also get the choice of community tutors or a professional teacher.

A professional teacher is a language teacher that has passed several teaching exams and is fully qualified to teach the iTalki lessons. So depending on your level of expertise, you will be able to find a professional teacher, including a native speaker teacher, whose language you want to master. They plan in review time to help make sure all content sticks and you don’t lose what you’ve worked hard to build.

How to Choose an iTalki Teacher

Once you find which type of teacher you’d like, you can narrow your search for the perfect tutor by hourly rate, language, and even skills.

The skill section refers to exam prep and age. For example, if you want your child to learn Spanish, you can select the skills section to teach children. This is also where you choose which type of teacher you’d like.

If you want a native speaker, you would prefer to narrow down your search. Now that you have selected all the criteria you’d like in a tutor, you can search through a list of professional teachers.

See the teachers on iTalki

Professional teachers generally have plans and programs to ensure a cohesive understanding and learning of a language. This will help you learn a language.

italki professional teachers

Some things to look for when searching through the list include stats, star ratings, and availability. The availability times will be in your time zone, so there is no need to try to convert back and forth. This added feature helps to schedule an appointment time that is convenient and easy.  Finding tutoring times in your preferable times is a positive aspect of iTalki.

Once you find an iTalki teacher you like, you can click on their name and watch a prerecorded video that will give you an idea of how they will really interact during a session. It will also give you an idea of their audio/visual capabilities and see if you really like them.

A few teachers offer discounted trial classes to see if you are a good fit for them. They may also provide packages for iTalki lessons all on the same topic. For example, if you travel to France and want to speak French for tourism, a tutor might lump together five lessons about tourism in France.

Our Tips

You can sometimes find professional teachers on other social media forms such as Facebook and YouTube. Look into these resources to see if they will fit what you need and like.  Many of them upload language videos onto youtube, so youtube is another source to see how they teach.

Also, take advantage of a 30-minute trial session; this will give you an excellent idea if they are the perfect fit for you. After the 30-minute trial lesson, you will be able to know if you like the iTalki teacher and want to continue your lessons. Once you book an experience with one of the teachers, iTalki will send you reminders of your lessons to ensure efficiency and preparation.

How Much Does iTalki Cost?

On iTalki, teachers set their own prices, making it one of the most affordable online language platforms. It is much less and more affordable than many other common ways to master languages. Offline tutors cost 30% more than iTalki.

Language software can cost multiple hundreds of dollars for just a beginner. For example, the first piece of software for Rosetta Stone costs the same amount as 20 hours with a live teacher on iTalki.

An offline language school can cost thousands of dollars. Offline schools offer no flexibility and limited tutor availability. iTalki is a fraction of the cost of an offline school.

It is hard to pinpoint a specific cost for iTalki. Many factors go into how much iTalki costs, including the price per lesson and the price of the lesson packages.  Teachers set the price for each session and language they are willing to teach.  You, as the customer, only pay per session and at the price that meets your budget.

italki prices

The platform offers various time rates depending on what the teacher charges. iTalki Teachers can charge as low as $4 per hour $80 per hour. There are even trial lessons that are as low as $1/lesson. The average cost for a lesson is between $10 and $20.  When you join, you receive three free trials as well. The free lessons make getting started very affordable.

Book a free trial on iTalki

Location Matters

Keep in mind; there are teachers from all over the world, and prices may reflect where they live. Just because a session costs $80/hour does not mean it will be a better class. Only because a session costs $4/hour does not mean you will get an inefficient session. Teachers set their pricing.

New Teacher Pricing

New teachers tend to set their prices lower so they can get good reviews.  Teachers need good reviews to get more students.  New teachers will raise rates once they have reviewed and established a positive rating. This shows you they are working at pleasing their language learners. Professional teachers want to set prices their language learners can afford while still making money.

How Much Does iTalki Pay Teachers?

earn money on italki

You can make some extra money using this language platform to become a teacher on iTalki.  You set your own session prices, which is a great way to ensure you are earning money.  The site requires teachers to pay a 15% commission or fee from their classes.

They do not require their language teachers to pay anything until they are making money.  If you need cash, iTalk teachers make good and quick money while teaching something they love. All you need is a good internet connection, a headset or microphone, and a webcam.

iTalki Credits

Using iTalki credits as money, teachers can withdraw their credits and deposit them into a PayPal account. These credits round up because partial credits do not exist. For example, an iTalki teacher charges $10 for a 30-minute English lesson to a Hong Kong student.

This student will pay $10, but the tutor will only receive $8.50 in credits because of the commission fee. The credits round up, so the tutor will receive $9. Once teachers are ready to get paid for lessons, they must withdraw their credits and deposit them into a PayPal account. The minimum deposit is $30.

Lesson Packages

Many teachers offer lesson packages. These packages will help teachers make more money.  Teachers will receive a session package price bonus when all lessons are complete.  The more students and session packages a teacher has, the more credits they will make.  Teaching with this site can be very rewarding, not only financially but also emotionally.

iTalki Features

The iTalki Community

iTalki is more than just a great place to take language lessons; it is also a great community. It encourages its users to interact with people who are learning the same language socially.

Possible Interactions

The first way they do this is through articles. The site publishes articles a couple of times a week. These articles correlate with words and review the best way to master languages. The next way it encourages an institution of interaction is through the notebook, answers, and discussion platforms. These platforms allow you to post in the dialect you learn and answer in the same style on other people’s posts. We’ll look at these in-depth a little later.

The final way it encourages an institution of interaction is through its “language partners” section. This section allows you to search for people learning the same language as you. Once you find someone, you can message each other and work on your conversational skills to learn and review together.

The site started as a great social network designed for language exchange partners, and they have kept this purpose at the forefront with the community aspect.

Efficiency

The teachers and site provide efficient instruction. Once you’ve chosen the language you wish to master, iTalki helps pair you with a good teacher that will deliver one-on-one lessons. You don’t need to worry about the teacher helping another student during your time. Customized lessons will meet your needs and desires, and you get to converse with the teacher before the lesson and review what will occur during your experience.

One of the most efficient ways of language learning is through human conversation. The site began with the human conversation being the best way to master a language, and they incorporate this when hiring knowledgeable teachers. During this social conversation, the teacher will guide you through real-world scenarios using conversational skills.

Lessons delivered this way are far more efficient than merely repeating what a computer tells you to say, as many other platforms teach new languages. Having a qualified/knowledgeable tutor is very important in learning a different language.

Convenience

Learning new languages has been made extremely convenient with iTalki. You have complete access wherever you go to work at any time.  The access convenience is because it works as a web-based program and on an app, which allows you to learn from anywhere, any time around the globe. You can select which language you want to master and whatever time is convenient for you. Some teachers offer “teaching now,” an option that will allow you to take a lesson whenever suitable for you.

For example, if you have 30 minutes of downtime you didn’t plan for, you can take a lesson during that time. Conveniently, the site provides multiple platforms for having video lessons. These platforms include Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts, and QQ.

You get to pay per lesson, which is convenient because you don’t have to commit to several lessons. Taking lessons with iTalki is very convenient when it comes to location, time, and access.

Personal-Customized Learning

Their professional teachers create a personal-customized learning atmosphere. With it, you can achieve the learning goals that you set with the help of a tutor. The online site does not only offer language, but they offer dialects as well.

There are seven different dialects (Taiwanese, Mandarin, Shanghainese, Cantonese, Hokkien, Hakka, and others). They even offer 13 various forms of sign language with different languages. Many teachers provide niche classes. For example, you can take courses in business in English or tourism in French. You could also master Latin American Spanish vs. American Spanish or Spain Spanish.

The personal aspect also comes into play in the community interaction discussed earlier. iTalki will also let you take lessons in multiple languages simultaneously if that is what you’d like. As mentioned earlier, the lessons are catered to your desires and taught by native speakers with teaching experience in both language and culture.

Because iTalki only does one-on-one lessons, you don’t have to worry about sitting through a standardized experience. Speak up in your lessons. If something is not going well, let the tutor know. If they are talking too fast or you don’t like their language resources, let them know. The direction the lesson should go is up to you, don’t accept a bad lesson. The experience is entirely personal and customized to your desires and goals.

Free Language Resources

Many of the site and app resources are free, including the features on the community tab.  Students can use the community tab to practice with other students and even have papers edited.  If a student uses these features along with lessons, a student will learn in no time.

The Community Tab

If you want to learn more outside of your lessons, you can use the Community Tab to help.  We mentioned earlier that iTalki started as a social network that connects language learners with language teachers to master a different language through conversation. We want to take a moment and look at each of these components in-depth. To find these components, look in the drop-down menu of the community tab.

The Notebook

If you are looking for a way to improve your writing in your studied language, the notebook is an excellent place to get started. Use your newly acquired skills to write about any topic and share it in the notebook section. It is a public forum, so be sure that you are comfortable with other people reading whatever you write.

Usually, community tutors and native speakers will come along, read your post, and correct it. It’s like peer editing in the target language you are learning. Use the “pay it forward” mentality when using the notebook section. If someone reviews your writing, you should correct someone else’s written in your native language. Fixing other people’s writing helps keep the flow going in the notebook section.

The Answers

This section is similar to the notebook section, but it is all questions and answers. If you have a question you’ve come across while studying, you can post it in the answers section, and people will give you the answer. These questions can be anything from grammar-related to pronunciation, culture questions, or anything relevant to learning a different language.

Much similar to the notebook section, be sure to ask questions and answer some. You can learn a lot about your studied language by simply scrolling through this section and reading questions people have already asked.

The Discussions

As a discussion board from an online college class, the discussions section is a forum for people to discuss anything that deals with language learning or dialect. Learning from mistakes is one of the best ways to master a dialect.  Not many people use the discussions component because they have the notebook and answer sections that work just as well for anything they want to discuss.

The Language Partners

The language partners tab is probably one of the best components of iTalki. If you want a real person to practice speaking your dialect, you can find someone in the partners component. Both people help each other master the language.

You can filter through all partners until you find one you think is the best fit for you to practice with. Once you do, you can message them or add them as a friend. Once they message you back, you can begin your partnership and learn from each other.

The community tab on the site dashboard leads you to multiple places where personal learning can take place. Did we mention that everything in the community tab is free? That’s right, you can post to all the different components and find a language partner, and it is free. You can’t beat that!

Our Honest iTalki Review

We like it so much because iTalki provides a learning encounter that is easy to use, efficient, convenient, affordable, and personal. The free resources are great and enable students to utilize the platform more effectively than just taking classes.  However, the process can be a bit tricky. Choosing an instructor can be overwhelming.

With so many teachers, it is hard to pick the best fit. Also, it does not have any technical requirements for its teachers, which can make lessons difficult. We all know that some video platforms require faster internet speeds. If teachers don’t have these quicker speeds, lessons can be choppy and distracting.

Inconvient Credit System

Using virtual iTalki credits to pay for a class at iTalki is also not the simplest way to make a payment. You have to deposit funds on a digital wallet to pay for online classes. You can not refund these funds and iTalki charges fees. Be cautious when depositing funds to make sure you don’t overpay.

Is iTalki Any Good?

With everything that has been said, we think the positive aspects outweigh the negative aspects. We like that you can take lessons in multiple languages at one time from native speakers and language exchange.

The price range is very affordable, making it far more likely for someone to take more lessons and become a more fluent speaker. Taking trial lessons helps pick a good tutor who can help you master the chosen dialect.

ITalki allows language exchange with native speakers, which is easy to use and encourages language learning. Teaching with iTalki is really great, and they have everything you need to practice and teach classes.  It is a professional platform for both students and teachers. You will like using iTalki.

Is iTalki Safe?

One question that arises when using an online language platform is, “Is it safe?”  When it comes to money, it is safe to use iTalki.  It is very professional when working with purchases, refunds, payment transfers to teachers, and disputes.  iTalki is fair in its decisions to both language teachers and students.

As a tutor, you may deal with students who send you to spam or messaging about other things than to learn a tongue.  As a student, iTalki lends itself to this with the encouragement of conversation practice. This is the same with other online platforms like social media and marketplaces.

Teachers have a code of conduct to help ensure lessons stay on topic to avoid unsafe situations. Teachers and students can ask the other party to be banned from iTalki, which also helps with unsafe situations.

Is iTalki the Right Online Learning Platform for You?

iTalki is excellent for just beginning to learn a language, as the lessons are skillfully tailored. The platform offers several free components that help with language learning, and we absolutely love these components. Realworld application is so important when learning, and iTalki offers those for free! With iTalki acting as a facilitator, people will grasp a new language. Having a human conversation will get them there.

If you are looking for a space to teach your love of languages or just looking to make some extra cash, this site is a perfect place for you. With an easy-to-use guide to get you started, you won’t spend hours preparing to teach but actually get started right away.

Picking a niche will get you more students, and designing the best materials will ensure they stay with you. You choose your own hours for sessions and availability. With the platform as a facilitator, you don’t have to deal with disgruntled customers. Instead, iTalki takes care of all of that.

The need for learning languages has always been there, and people love iTalki because it meets this need. Whether you are interested in learning a new language because of travel, education, or personal goal, iTalki is the resource for you! We hope we could answer all your questions in our iTalki review.

Now that you’ve read our review of iTalki leave the Rosetta Stone CDs in their cases, hop online, and have a much-needed, real conversation with a real human being practicing the target language you’ve wanted to learn. If this all sounds good to you, book your first trial on iTalki.