Most experts agree that if you’re trying to learn a foreign language, one of the best ways to do so is via total immersion in the target language, often by traveling to a foreign country where everyone speaks the language you want to learn. Of course you may need a basic grasp of the language’s rules and grammar first, but being forced to read / listen / speak in a foreign language just to make it through the day gives you a wonderful incentive to learn more, whereas living in an English-speaking area makes it difficult to practice since you have to go out of your way to do it.
On the other hand, if you can’t live in a foreign country and still want to learn the language, there are ways that you can at least expose yourself to some level of the language without too much trouble, especially if you use a computer a lot. Some ideas:
Change Your Facebook Language
If you use Facebook, chances are you already have a pretty good idea how to use it. So why not switch it to your target language for some bonus immersion? Here’s how:
- Open the account dropdown menu at the top right corner of Facebook and choose Account Settings.
- Next to Language, click the Edit link.
- Click on your target language and then click on Save Changes.
Easy! You’ll be “Me Gusta”-ing things in no time!
Change your Smartphone’s Language
- Settings -> General -> International -> Language -> Español
- Settings -> Language and Keyboard -> Select Language -> Español
Use the Language Immersion for Chrome Extension
There’s a pretty popular Chrome Extension out there right now called
Language Immersion for Chrome. It lets you pick your language and immersion level, and then it will use Google Translate to automatically translate your favorite websites into your target language. Since Google Translate supports 64 different languages, the extension does too.
Of course, Google Translate isn’t perfect, and sometimes it’s even bad. But using the extension will still give you some exposure to the language you’re trying to learn.
Download a Foreign Language Client for Diablo 3
Like playing games? Addicted to Diablo 3? Also want to learn a foreign language? Great! Just download a foreign language client for Diablo 3 and you’ll get to satisfy your gaming addiction and learn something at the same time. Here’s how:
- Sign in to your Battle.net account.
- Click on Account.
- Click on Diablo 3 (assuming you’ve already purchased it).
- Click on Download Game Client.
- Verify your age (if necessary).
- Under Full Game Client, and next to English (US), click on Change.
- Now click on your target language, and then click on Save.
- Now the “Windows” or “Mac” links should be enabled. Click on your OS to download the game client downloader in your target language. Note that some languages appear to only support Windows.
- Once the downloader is downloaded, run it to start downloading the client in your target language. For me I had to re-download the full 8 gigabytes for Spanish, but it was totally worth it.
Once you’re set up with your new language, you can play Diablo and learn Spanish (or German, French, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Korean, or Chinese).
The whole game has been localized by Blizzard, and they did a really good job. I’ve found that every cut scene, every conversation, and every part of the interface has been localized to Spanish. In other words, total immersion. My favorite is probably when my Templar yells “Lo conseguimos!” (we have done it!).
I recommend beating the game once in English and then playing through your second time in your foreign language of choice. That way you’ll have a pretty good idea of the story and what’s going on, and can deduce words and phrases by context. Actually, you’ll be able to figure out the meaning of almost every word in the target language based on the inherent context of the game itself, which is awesome!