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Efficient remote tandem calls


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For efficient tandem calls you need:


  • Hellotalk or Tandem as mobile app to find a Chinese tandem partner. I prefer Tandem
  • Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts.... any platform you can use on the pc that your partner and you need to use in the call as its better than the apps
  • A Google document where both have access to for realtime editing


What you will do is:


You will write in the Google document during the call freestyle dialogues eg a taxi drive where a foreigner wants to get to somewhere. You will write it in Chinese and the language the Chinese partner wants to learn. You write your language and the Chinese writes the Chinese. You will write things you personally will need and you will get the characters and correct translations for it by the Chinese partner. It can also go the other way and the Chinese writes Chinese first and then you write it in your language.


For example:

A: Hallo, ich möchte zur Universität.
A: 你好,我想去大学

B: Es gibt 100 Universitäten in Shanghai. Zu welcher möchtest du denn?
B: 上海有100所大学,你想去哪个?

A: Ich habe den Namen der Universität vergessen. Ein Freund von mir studiert dort.
A: 我忘了是哪所大学,我朋友在那里上学




When you use Skritter you can hover over the Chinese character  that you still have to practise and click on s to add them in your Skritter list by using this Chrome extension: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/zhongwen-chinese-english/kkmlkkjojmombglmlpbpapmhcaljjkde

You can also write down sentences in the document during the week to let them translate by the partner once you have the call.

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Just bumping this thread because I've been having good experience with Tandem lately. They recently added a new voice hangouts feature, where you can just duck into voice chats. Kinda helps dissipate the awkwardness of having no choice but to dialogue with a random stranger.


Personally, I've liked just popping in just to listen to people practicing, or even just native speakers bantering back and forth. I do it at work sometimes. It's a great way to take in some good language listening practice that feels a little more emergent than just listening to a podcast or watching a video. 

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