Review of Transparent Italian
I know – you’ve tried other language learning systems in the past. Maybe you’ve attempted to learn a language in school. You sloughed through dismal sessions of repeating totally useless phrases, and you don’t remember a word of it today. You don’t want to repeat that scenario with Transparent Italian, especially not at $179.95 for an electronic download. The ads extolling Transparent Italian make it sound like an amazing program – but is it really worth it?
That depends on how you learn and what you plan to do with it.
Despite its developers’ claims to the contrary, Transparent Italian is not a particularly comprehensive program – if by “comprehensive” you mean “designed to teach me to speak Italian fluently and well.” Transparent Italian will teach you simple phrases that are more than adequate for a visit to Italy or a conversation with your Italian relatives. You will likely succeed in learning basic Italian, regardless of whether you learn better by listening to audio tracks, watching videos, or playing video games designed to build your vocabulary, because Transparent Italian includes all those and more. You will even be able to record your voice speaking Italian, and the software will compare your accent to that of a native speaker. (Hopefully your accent is accurate enough for the software to analyze!)
Clearly, what is missing in Transparent Italian is the personal touch. Similar programs such as Rocket Italian offer an exclusive learner’s forum, where students can go to interact with other students of Italian as well as native Italian speakers. Here they can pose questions, receive feedback, and share successes, frustrations, and suggestions. In short, they can do what real students do, in a real learning situation. Most students actually learn more from their interactions with their professors and other students than they do from the assignments and readings alone. And this element, unfortunately, is completely absent in Transparent Italian.
Given that Rocket Italian is less expensive than Transparent Italian, and is considerably more comprehensive in scope, it is certainly a better choice for the money.