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Uber launches UberENGLISH, offering English-speaking drivers in Colombia

Uber users in Colombia will soon be able to request a driver certified as an English speaker, through a newly launched service called UberENGLISH. Operating similar to specialty sub-services like UberXL or UberBlack, the new service would let users in Colombia request drivers certified as English speakers. More than 1,000 Uber drivers have already opted for the certification, which the company says will allow drivers to earn more money. The service is slated to launch in other Latin American cities in the months to come.

The service is made possible by a new partnership with the language-training app Duolingo. Duolingo already offers language lessons through its app and will certify the drivers under its existing Test Center, which conducts tests through remote monitoring. The certification test typically costs $20, but Uber has agreed to cover the fee for drivers once they log enough training or place out through preliminary testing. Together with the announcement, Duolingo is also launching a free "quick test" feature, although quick test users will not receive a certification.

It's the latest in a string of recent partnerships for Uber, accompanying the company's successful fundraising efforts. In April, the service partnered with Capital One to give discounts to certain card holders. In June, a Foursquare partnership launched to let users order rides from within the Foursquare app. Recode has reported that Uber is also mapping out a partnership with retailers and fashion brands, which would employ the company's drivers as a delivery service. There's also been some speculation that the company might partner with Tesla for a partnership concerning both companies' self-driving car technology. Other Uber partnerships have been more controversial: the company drew criticism last year for aggressively marketing predatory auto loans to drivers, getting more cars on the road but saddling drivers with unpredictable debt payments.