Lost in Translation: Hello Pal App Review

written by local expert Anna Faustino

Anna is a co-founder of Adventure in You and has been traveling the world for the last 9 years. She has spent time living in Thailand, Mexico, Indonesia, and Spain and is our local expert in these areas. Her expertise on travel, gear, and building businesses have been featured on Foundr, Business Insider, Yahoo Travel, and more.

When traveling, because we are often not fluent with the local language, things often get lost in translation. Okay, who am I kidding? Things ALWAYS get lost in translation!

I can fondly recall the time in Thailand where I tried to say no spice on my food only to be handed the spiciest plate of noodles fathomable. Or the time in Cambodia where I asked to use their restroom only to find an old woman ushering me to a hammock in the stock room.

Naturally, I don’t blame them. I am the one in their country so I should be the one adjusting to their language and culture. In fact, during our recent trip to Ecuador, I made a pact that I would begin learning how to speak Spanish.

We took lessons, we practiced every day, heck, I even called my mom once in a while in my feeble attempt to be able to converse with someone who fluently spoke the language. However, despite all that, I’ve found that…learning a language is hard.

It takes a lot of dedication and hard work…which is why I often scour the web for language learning tools that will make learning easier.

Related: Travel Gadgets and Apps We Can’t Live Without learning spanish in olon and Montañita

Hello Pal- Languages just got easier


Surprisingly, I found learning languages hard. I would pull my hair out in our Spanish classes as the classroom just bored me to death. Quite ironic because in my previous life, I used to be a teacher! Then, we heard of HelloPal. Designed as a social learning app which connects people from all over the world making learning fun, interactive, and quite honestly, social! hello pal app review

Through the app, I am able to chat with people from all over the world, in the language that I am trying to learn. I can filter through age groups and even by country. It really is quite nifty as it has built in phrase books and translation functions, allowing me to communicate and carry out a full blown conversation, even if my basic knowledge is still quite limited. It was pretty cool getting the opportunity to chat with people real people from Ecuador all while being able to practice my slowly fading Spanish skills.

Related: Tips on How to Learn Spanish in Ecuador

hello pal app review

Hello Pal: What does it Do?

After filling in my initial profile which includes where I am from and what language I want to learn, I can immediately find a pal which I can then chat too. The chat function allows me to look up basic translations,  record my voice as I saw basic phrases, all while allowing me to build my vocabulary.

Use Hello Pal when Traveling and for Meeting New People

I can see Hello Pal as a great way to begin learning basic phrases before we even get to a country. As we move a lot quite a bit, learning a set language is hard but I think that learning basic phrases is still essential. Using this app, we can connect with locals all while learning basic phrases and word translations. Connecting with people even before you get to the destination.

Because of the whole social platform nature, what’s stopping you from asking your “new pal” for restaurant recommendations and the like? As avid travelers, we get tired of following the whole tourist route. We constantly and actively search for ways on how to get to know a place through the eyes of a local-which is also one of the reasons why we love couch surfing!

Related: Why You Should Live Local While Traveling

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Hello Pal Review- What do we think?

I initially found Hello Pal to be easy enough to navigate. Although there is a lot of information listed, there is a comprehensive enough video at the very start of the app to help explain what exactly it does. It takes a while to get a feel for the app, but with that being said, everything is pretty self-explanatory and is easy to pick up. Apart from the social aspect of it, I can also use Hello Pal to play a game to further practice the vocabulary side of things.

Although this feature isn’t something that I would particularly use. The phrase book seems quite limited and isn’t something that is designed to get you fluent. Instead, it provides a fun way of picking up a language, as you interact with other people.

The social aspect of it is quite brilliant as it pairs me up with native Spanish speakers (the language of my choice) while people that are looking to improve their English or Tagalog (the national language in the Philippines) can connect with me. It’s like having friends from all over the world all in one portal. It is definitely an app that I would personally use as it’s made learning a language seem less tedious and daunting, all while connecting me to locals all over the world which is definitely a plus in itself. The best part about this language platform is that it is FREE!

So to those that are interested in this language social platform, definitely check it out as I think it’s a great way to connect and learn at the same time.

More information on Hello Pal can be found by checking out their website. hello pal app review

Please note that this article was written in partnership with Hello Pal App but despite this, all opinions are ours and remain completely unbiased.

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