Verbling vs italki: Review
Of all the skills a language learner needs to practice, speaking is generally understood as the most important. It’s also usually the most difficult, because depending on your location and the language you’re learning, you might not be able to find a native speaker anywhere close to you. Fortunately, we have the internet.
The internet has a
First and foremost, the more popular one. Italki is the website that’s recommended by much more language learning bloggers, which is where most language learners get their resources. That being said, an i
Italki review: the lowdown
In general, italki is a really nice, easy, user-friendly site. Just
- From: specify any accents or dialects
- Also speaks: can be helpful to not struggle as much in the conversation
- Price: specify the minimum and maximum you want to pay, though there is no option to view teachers from lowest to highest price, or vice versa
- Availability: specify days and times you’re available; can be confusing if you’re not familiar with military time, but it is automatically based on your local time zone
- Teacher type: professional teachers, community teachers, or both*
- Specialties: tutors who teach children as young as 4, or tutors who specialize in teaching beginners, business students, or for test preparation
- Native speaker: if you only want to speak with native speakers
*Note that the difference between a professional teacher and an italki community tutor is, well, the difference between a professional and someone who just speaks the language. Generally, a professional is going to be more expensive, since you’re getting much more.
Once you narrow down all these specifics, you’ll have a collection of teachers who match with what you need. Each of these teachers also provide a video intro and a text intro. If you click onto their page, you can see an easy-to-read calendar of their availability, their resume, reviews, ratings, and statistics of completed lessons, response rate, and attendance rate. It’s a lot of information, but hopefully it’ll give you some confidence.
If you’re looking at a professional tutor, you might also have the option of informal tutoring at a significantly lower price. Or, if it’s your first time looking for a tutor, you’re allowed three 30 minute trial lessons for just a couple of bucks, so you can just dip your toe in the water before you commit.
Once you choose your teacher, all you gotta do is show up! Italki uses Skype to connect teachers with learners, so you really just need to be ready for the call. After the call, you and your teacher review each other, and the record of your call will always be available to you under My Lessons. It’s a super smooth, user-friendly platform to find foreign language teachers that suit all your needs.
Now, the price of your lesson depends completely on the tutor you choose, and which option you choose (if your teacher provides different options, which is more common with professional tutors).
The thing about the i
I can see where they’re going with it – different countries use different currencies, and credits are used to make it easier on everyone. For you, the italki cost is the same, you just have to load in your money beforehand. It’s not difficult to load up on credits; italki accepts debit/credit, PayPal, Skrill eWallet, or bank transfer, so suffice to say you shouldn’t have any problem giving them your money.
The only hitch, if you can consider it a hitch, is that the minimum you can put into your account is $10. Again, not really a hitch, but it exists. You can also use a coupon if you have it, and even buy/redeem gift cards. It’s really nice and professional, so you don’t have to feel skeevy about paying some random stranger for language lessons.
Overall, it’s a simple system: narrow down the kind of teacher you want, pay them without having to think about conversion rates, and wait for the Skype call (after receiving a reminder email 2 hours before the scheduled lesson). Italki is really great about making it a seamless, easy interaction, so you can just be worried about your actual conversation.
At least for me, the concept of teaching English online just seemed to make sense: I love languages, and I speak the world’s most sought-after language natively, so it should be an easy side gig. And that thought isn’t wrong if you’re genuinely interested. While I quickly realized teaching English online isn’t my cup of tea, Italki jobs might be right up your alley.
Using italki to become a teacher is pretty much as seamless as being a student, so more kudos to whoever made the italki website. Since you can learn whatever language you want with a community tutor for cheap, it makes sense that you don’t need to be a professional teacher in any way to become a teacher on italki – it’ll help you make more money, but it’s really not necessarily. Just speak the language fluently, and you’re good to go!
An italki teacher sends 15% commission to italki itself, but I wouldn’t get too upset; it’s a small price to pay for having your name listed on the most popular website for connecting with foreign language learners. And that’s the reason to use the italki platform: I mean, it just uses Skype, so you could theoretically do the same thing on your own. However, they’ve not only found potential students for you, but they’ll bring them right to your computer.
Verbling is the lesser-known option between the two for finding a foreign language teacher. Off the bat, the most obvious difference (and maybe the reason why Verbling is so far behind italki), is that Verbling advertises hosting teachers for over 50 languages, while italki advertises every language. This a wild difference, considering there’s around 6,500 languages in the world.
When you search for a Verbling tutor, you get a similar search to italki’s platform. You can search for which language they teach, when they’re available, what language they speak, their price, and where they’re from.
Verbling does one-up the competition with their search function, though; you can also find teacher based on gender, more specific lessons like test preparation and accent reduction, and you can just straight-up search for the teacher you want, if you know their name.
So, while you might not be able to find some of the smaller languages, you can definitely niche down to teachers who specifically prepare for any exam you might be looking to take.
Clicking onto a teacher’s profile, you’ll get significantly more information than you will on any italki tutor. Not only will you get details like a significantly more detailed resume, response rate, and average number of lessons per student, but you’ll also get more visually friendly reviews by the teacher’s students.
Another huge huge huge difference between Verbling and italki is the flexibility in Verbling’s lessons. First off, italki offers you three trial lessons. Period. Verbling understands that you might not find a teacher you jive with that quickly, and does not cap their trial lessons.
They also offer bulk lessons, where teachers have the option of providing a small discount in return for a financial commitment. On top of that, even if you find you can’t follow through with the commitment, it’s easy enough to get a refund on unused lessons. I’ve personally done this when switching continents, which meant my time zone changed drastically and I was no longer able to take lessons at the same time.
Finally, a lot of teachers will offer their own little courses, ranging from an intro to the language to courses preparing you to take certain exams.
Once you choose a teacher and set up a lesson, Verbling goes above and beyond. While italki just kind of facilitates a Skype conversation, Verbling has its own platform which not only hosts a webchat, but also provides the option for the teacher to upload files that you can work through together. You can also write messages together (if you’ve ever taken a foreign language class, you know how helpful this can be), create flashcards, and then review them together, all in real time.
This platform goes way above and beyond italki…which doesn’t even have a platform. It can take a second to familiarize yourself with the program, but having the option to use it in place of being able to handle physical documents is incredibly helpful. Here, Verbling offers students tools that no other website does.
Verbling has one more hat than italki: the Verbling community. The Verbling community is a fairly active collection of forums in a variety of languages, including a support community and a teacher’s lounge. You can start conversations and ask questions in any of the available languages.
This is a good option for questions involving grammar, reasons for learning languages, differences between language exams, or even topics like the Oscars. It’s good for written practice for sure, and who knows, you may learn something new!
Teaching on Verbling
Just like on italki, most anyone can teach on Verbling, as long as they are in need of your language. For us English speakers, we’re lucky that literally everybody in the world is trying to learn our language, so it’s easy to find students.
To apply, you fill out an application, and also include a short video snippet, which I’m assuming they use to judge your proficiency in the language you’re applying to teach. If you’re a native speaker, no problem.
Italki vs Verbling
Like most things, the italki vs Verbling debate is really all about what you’re looking for. Like I said, I know most bloggers and language learners tend to gravitate toward italki. Personally, I started with Verbling because just seeing the term “italki credits” seemed like it was going to be stressful and hard to understand. Course, now I know that it’s not actually difficult.
Nonetheless, I am happy that I personally went with Verbling. While italki claims to host every language under the sun (I’m still honestly having a hard time believing it, but that’s what they claim), the Verbling platform itself is much richer, with much more options.
So, if you’re learning one of the 50 most common languages in the world, and especially if you’re doing so with a specific goal in mind, I would recommend Verbling. If Verbling does not have any or enough options for you to learn the language of your choice, go ahead and check out italki because, apparently, they’ll have it!