Busuu, the language learning community, just launched its seventh language: Russian.
This not only enables the already signed up community members to learn a new language but, maybe even more important, it opens Busuu a whole new market for its service as the entire platforms is from now on also available in a localized Russian version.
According to their blog post, Russian has been one of the languages that community members requested for a while and there are also thousands of native Russian speakers already registered on the community which is a great basis for the non Russian speakers of Busuu to get speaking practice.
In a short Skype chat I had today with Bernhard Niesner, Co-Founder of Busuu, he told me that the team worked for quite a while on the implementation of this language and they invested a considerable amount of resources to get a product of the same quality Busuu is known for. This was of course not that easy as the Russian language is totally different from roman or germanic languages like the first six languages Busuu offers its users.
As an example, the Busuu team had to develop a tool that enables the learners to type the cyrillic alphabet.
As always, the basic version of the Russian course is available for free and as a premium member you will have access to audio lessons, key phrases, downloadable pdfs etc.
The localization of the website has been done by a professional translator, so no machine translation which is important if you are trying to get a foot on a new market. According to the Busuu blog, Russian is spoken by over 280 million people and hence is the 8th largest language community in the world and even the biggest in Europe.
Comparing the new Busuu Russian course to the Russian course of Livemocha I have to say that Busuu invested more effort and eventually did the better job. As Russian uses another alphabet it is essential to learn it in the first place. To my mind using transcription is never a totally satisfying experience. Busuu offers an extra section where you can make yourself familiar with the writing and pronunciation and I did not find something similar in the free version of the Livemocha course.
All in all the course looks pretty decent but as I said, I think the most value for the platform will be the localization of Busuu in Russian. Bernhard also told me that more news from Madrid will be announced in the coming weeks. So, for those of you interested in Busuu news, pay this blog here a visit