Two professors at HEC Lausanne imagine a new way to learn a foreign language

One of the most stimulating ways to learn or improve a foreign language is to immerse into articles or videos that relate to topics we are passionate about. But how to find contents on the web that will suit our level of knowledge? This is where our researchers, Professors Michalis Vlachos and Yash Raj Shrestha, Department of Information Systems at the HEC Lausanne, come up with an answer with their “Lingorank” project, which was supported by UNIL’s Ucreate3 program.

It has been more than 10 years since the idea was born in the minds of our two researchers at HEC Lausanne (UNIL), and their co-author Mircea Lungu, University of Copenhagen.

Experts in information systems and artificial intelligence and themselves confronted with the complexity of learning a new language, they imagined an interactive system that proposes articles and videos on news published on the web in relation to the user’s interests. The future application called Lingorank, asks the user about the level of difficulty felt when reading an article or watching a video in order to evaluate his/her level of linguistic knowledge. On this basis, the system then proposes contents that are more and more elaborate and suggests exercises of sentences to be completed on these articles/videos.

To make the idea a reality in terms of tool and application, our professors Yash and Michalis decided to join UNIL acceleration program UCreate 3– open to all UNIL students, alumni, researchers and staff members.  

That was very useful, as Prof. Vlachos explains: “The Ucreate3 program allowed us to put ourselves in a position to anticipate the realization and the potential launch of LingoRank on the market”. He adds: “We were able to draw up a real checklist of all the aspects to be taken into account for our company while benefiting from a large network of experts in the start-up field.”

We wish our teachers and researchers every success and look forward to seeing the live version of this application in a few months.

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