Transparent Language

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Transparent Language, Inc.
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows, Mac OS X, iOS
PlatformMac OS X v10.4.4 or later
Windows XP
Windows Vista
Windows 7
Available inEnglish, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese
TypeEducational (foreign language instruction)

Transparent Language Inc. is a language learning software company based in Nashua, New Hampshire. Since 1991, Transparent Language has been offering its products to individual consumers, and in the past decade has grown to provide services for educational institutions and government agencies, ranging from MIT to the Department of Defense.[1]


Transparent Language’s products are developed based on the declarative method of learning. The human brain has two memory systems: declarative and procedural.[citation needed] The declarative system is responsible for remembering facts (such as words, phrases, or dates) while the procedural system learns skills (such as riding a bike). Language learning depends on both of these systems, as vocabulary is learned declaratively, and the associated grammar rules are learned procedurally by recognizing implicit patterns in the vocabulary and phrases learned. Backed by this linguistic research, the company holds the position that vocabulary is more fundamental to language learning than grammar.[2]

Since declarative items are best learned through repeated exposure, Transparent Language programs track learning and employ an algorithm to repeat vocabulary at the appropriate intervals to ensure memorization, a practice known as spaced repetition. A vocabulary item must be repeated several times to be considered “learned”, and after a specific period of time, these “learned” items must be refreshed in order to be committed to the memory.[3]

Products and services[edit]

Transparent Language partners with more than 12,000 K-12 schools, universities, and libraries to offer its language learning products to students and communities. These institutions integrate Transparent Language Online into their classroom instruction or provide access to the program in their resource libraries. The company also has a substantial involvement in government language learning programs.


Byki was discontinued in 2017. [4]

Before You Know It (known as Byki) is flashcard-based language acquisition software designed for beginners looking to build a large vocabulary base. Byki is available in three platforms:

  • Byki Express: a free download limited to the flashcard-based activities
  • Byki Deluxe: an upgraded version of Express with advanced features including mp3 audio, pronunciation activities, and vocabulary games
  • Byki Mobile: a mobile application version available for Apple and Android devices that includes flashcard activities and mp3 audio

Byki is available in over 70 languages and comes with a standard set of more than 100 topical vocabulary lists. These lists cover topics as greetings, colors, directions, locations around town, and weather. There is also a virtual community, List Central, where users can create and share their own vocabulary lists, expanding the vocabulary database.


The Essentials course is a language acquisition course designed to help users communicate in a foreign language in everyday life or while traveling. The 30 lesson course is available in 33 languages, and covers vocabulary and phrases relevant to topics such as going shopping, dealing with money, getting help in an emergency, and asking for directions. Essentials courses are available as part of Transparent Language Online or Transparent Connect.

Transparent Language Online[edit]

Transparent Language Online (TLO) is a web-delivered language learning platform that provides access to the full suite of products, including the Byki vocabulary lists, Essentials course, a grammar reference section including grammar videos and written explanations, and cultural resources including language blogs and social communities. TLO is available for individual subscriptions, as well as school and library subscriptions.

Transparent Connect[edit]

Since September 2011, Transparent Language has been offering language courses through Transparent Connect. The language courses combine self-guided learning and personal instruction. Transparent Connect is available in 8 languages and in 3 different levels of instruction:

  • Live classroom courses: Weekly courses taught by a live instructor and access to supplemental learning materials and the Byki Mobile app
  • Self-guided courses: Access to learning materials and private coaching
  • Online tutoring: Private coaching tailored to the student’s learning goals and proficiency


For the government sector, Transparent Language develops the CL-150 Technology Matrix for Critical Languages, which is licensed by a number of United States Government organizations, including Defense Language Institute and Special Operations Forces. The CL-150 is a growing suite of applications and content for the acquisition and sustainment of language for specialized government purposes. Available exclusively through the CL-150 is Rapid Rote, a language instruction and learning system available through a web portal which can also sync learning materials and user progress to desktop and handheld devices.

Heritage and Endangered Language Program[edit]

Transparent Language launched the Heritage and Endangered Language Program (HELP) to give back to the language community. Through this program, Transparent Language offers free support to organizations to create software programs for less commonly taught or endangered languages. The company has partnered Grassroots Indigenous Multimedia to preserve the Native American language Ojibwe, and has worked with BASAbali to create a course for Balinese, a threatened language spoken on the Indonesian island of Bali. The program equips these partners with tools to continue teaching their language of interest, while also exposing the language to the entire Transparent Language user base.[5] The CEO, Michael Quinlan, explains Transparent Language's commitment to this initiative in this way: "We live in an age of global interaction. No language is so small that no one needs to learn it. If we could, we would provide learning material for all 7,000 languages in the world." [6]

In April 2013, Transparent Language announced the launch of the 7000 Languages Project. The initiative replaces and expands upon the former Heritage and Endangered Language Program in an effort to provide the company's language learning technology and platforms to under-resourced languages, in conjunction with NCOLCTL.[7]

Languages offered[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Language training company based in Nashua inspired by son's word games". Nashua Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
  2. ^ "The Five Principles of Effective Second Language Acquisition". Transparent Language, Inc. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  3. ^ "The Five Principles of Effective Second Language Acquisition". Transparent Language, Inc. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  4. ^ "Byki discontinued". Transparent Language. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  5. ^ "The Business of Rescuing Languages". Transparent Language. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
  6. ^ "Transparent Language H.E.L.P. Program". Transparent Language. Retrieved 2013-03-05.
  7. ^ "Leading Language-Learning Company Launches "7000 Languages Project"". Transparent Language. Retrieved 2013-07-23.

External links[edit]