School boy launches new iPad app to teach foreign languages with O2 Think Big!

Tom Humphrey, a 17 year-old A-Level student from Eton College has launched a brand new mobile app – “Lingo – Tangible Translation” – designed to help language learners by combining the speed of online translation services with the learning experience of dictionaries and a built in notebook.

His app development dream came true with O2 Think Big, which challenged students to create a new educational app and promised to both develop and launch the best of those suggested.

O2 Think Big’s “Appskool” competition, in partnership with Golden Gekko, called for schools and students to design a new mobile app with an educational or learning theme.

The competition, open to 13-18 year olds, enabled young people to get involved in creating a new digital service and, by doing so, learn the business and digital skills that are essential in the modern economy. The campaign is part of O2’s commitment to fostering technology skills amongst young people.

Since winning the competition as part of the Eton team, Tom refined and brutally simplified his initial concept, with the support of teams from O2 and Golden Gekko, resulting in the launch of his app, Lingo – Tangible Translation.


How Lingo – Tangible Translation works

  • Lingo – Tangible Translation is a simple, one-tap language dictionary that produces easy-to-use personal wordlists for language students
  • Tom’s aim when designing the app was to allow students to copy their text for translation into the app so that it could be a powerful and simple learning tool for each individual
  • Tapping any words they don’t know will mean that a definition will instantly appear and be stored in the app’s “Wordlist,” just as if they had looked them up in a dictionary – but without having to leaf through page after page of words
  • As a result of using the app, students can more easily spend their time translating the sentence they are struggling with – helping with learning and revision
  • Lingo – Tangible Translation works for on French, Spanish and Italian on the iPad, and is based around the four principles of speed, accuracy, simplicity and learning

Lingo – Tangible Translation, which runs on iPad devices, will be free to download from Wednesday 27th March. Allowing students everywhere free access to this invaluable learning tool in time for their revision over Easter. 


O2 Think Big Appskool was founded in partnership with a leading mobile application design agency, Golden Gekko, who developed the new app. In the process, they’ve been so impressed with Tom’s talent they have offered him an internship.

Tom Humphrey, who currently studies Physics, Maths, Latin and History, said:

“I created Lingo – Tangible Translation based on my own experience of learning languages. The most powerful tool for a language student used to be the dictionary, the introduction of new digital translation tools meant this was no longer the case. These new translation tools could do a lot more a lot faster than was possible with a dictionary, however they were not built to educate but to translate. Students did not learn as much when using the tools, but because of their speed they were far more attractive than dictionaries, even the digital ones. Lingo – Tangible Translation is an attempt to find a balance between the two, to combine the speed of digital translation tools with the educational value of dictionaries.”


Bill Eyres, Head of O2 Think Big, said:

“Tom is a remarkably bright young man and he has been brilliantly professional throughout the process. The sheer volume of entries demonstrated a real desire amongst young people and their teachers to engage with the potential to create digital tools to aid learning. We’re thrilled that Tom had the vision and clarity of thought to use the Appskool prize to develop Lingo – Tangible Translation. We believe it will be a great tool, available to everyone, for learning languages.

“The Appskool competition is just one of the many ways that O2 is supporting people to develop their skills, understanding and use of digital technologies – creating opportunities to learn about coding and getting young people building, rather than just consuming, the internet of the future.”


Tony Little, Head Master, Eton College said:

“It is a great credit to the school that one of our pupils has demonstrated the independence of thought and creativity to design a free and practical educational app. I have been impressed by the teamwork between O2, Golden Gekko and Tom to turn Tom’s initial designs for the app into reality. As a school, we have learnt a great deal from involvement with this project and hope that others will find the app useful.”


Caroline van den Bergh, Head of Business Development at Golden Gekko said:

“Helping provide a platform for young people to gain insight into what it’s like to work within mobile has been more of a success that any of could have anticipated. We learnt greatly throughout the experience, working with young minds.

“Tom’s input throughout the development process has been a testament to what a fantastically talented individual he is and puts many people twice his age to shame. We really hope to see more initiatives like this supporting young people and showing them great alternative career paths”

O2’s Think Big initiative seeks to inspire young people, and those who help young people, to make a positive change to the community. The Appskool recognises the crucial role of education and the teaching profession in young people’s lives; providing them with the skills to make their communities better places, and opportunities to ensure they develop digital skills.




Nicola Gibbens or Laura Bevan

Hope&Glory PR

t: +44 (0)207 566 9747


All O2 news releases can be accessed at our website:


About Think Big

  • Think Big is O2’s sustainability strategy to influence wide social and environmental change.  We want to draw on the collective power of our technology, customers, employees and communities to make a much bigger difference than we could do on our own.
  • Our plan is to champion sustainable business growth.  We aim to promote sustainable living through our products and services; deliver social projects that inspire communities, especially young people; encourage a culture that makes sustainable thinking a way of life for our employees; and, continually reduce our carbon emissions and operate as efficiently as we can. 


About O2 Learn Appskool 


About O2

O2 is the commercial brand of Telefónica UK Limited and is a leading communications company with over 23 million customers – read more about O2 at O2 runs 2G and 3G networks and was the first to trial 4G/LTE, reaching speeds of over 100Mpbs, as well as owning half of Tesco Mobile. It also operates O2 Wifi, O2 Health, O2 Unify, O2 Media and has recently launched the O2 Wallet. O2 employs over 11,000 people in the UK, has 450 retail stores and sponsors The O2, O2 Academy venues and the England rugby team.

Telefónica UK Limited is part of Telefónica Europe plc which uses O2 as its commercial brand in the UK, Ireland, Slovakia, Germany and the Czech Republic and is a business division of Telefónica SA.


About Golden Gekko

Golden Gekko was formed in 2005 and has one of the longest and most proven track records in app and mobile site development. Golden Gekko is in the midst of the mobile revolution with an industry leading technology platform, a vast reference portfolio of proven solutions within all areas of mobile solutions and a great mix of technology and creativity among our employees, Golden Gekko is positioned as one of the leading mobile technology companies in the world. Golden Gekko formed a partnership with O2/ Telefonica in 2010 and together developed a number of market leading apps from O2 Priority moment and O2 Learn video editing app to the first mobile workforce app solution for O2 media sales team.



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