Transparent Italian Complete Edition
Transparent has 4 Italian language learning products, BYKI, Everywhere Italian Audio Course, Transparent Italian Premium, and Transparent Italian Complete. The “Complete” package is the other 3 software applications bundled together. I am reviewing the “Complete” package here (Windows only). This program competes directly with Rocket Italian, TELL ME MORE Italian, and Pimsleur Italian.
Transparent Italian is stuffed to the rim with content–it provides 65,000 Italian words, and their English equivalents! Whatever your learning goals are, you’ll find the content you need in this program. All of this information is organized into virtual books, which are shown visually and arranged by level. Click on a book and it opens. Inside each book there are chapters and lessons. Each lesson is arranged by situational dialogues, like “Taking a Taxi,” “Asking for Directions,” or “Shopping and Bargaining.”
Each lesson has 5 tabs, Reading, Activities, Pronunciation, Conversation, and Theater. In the Reading tab you find both dialogues and short passages. You get translations of each individual word, and phrase, as well as the written content in full. Click on a word and you hear it’s pronunciation, or you can have the entire passage read out loud by a native speaker. You also have direct access to a grammar database.
Next is the Activities tab. Here you get an assortment of games that teach you everything from grammar to vocabulary to sentence dictation. There is lots to do here. Next to the activity tab is the pronunciation tab, which houses Transparent Italian’s audio course. The audio course is very comprehensive. A native Italian speaker models the pronunciation of each of the thousands of words, phrases and dialogues in the program.
In addition, there is a recording feature you can use to record your pronunciation and compare it to that of a native Italian speaker. This recording feature is complete with visual waveforms and a scoring system to direct your speaking efforts. The last tab is called Conversation. It is here that you have simulated conversations with your computer. The conversations are practical, useful, and, most importantly, a good test of one’s language abilities.
The Transparent Italian program is not linear, step-by-step learning. This bothers a lot of people–including me. In this case, however, the learning environment works. It works because the layout of the program is very clear, and so are the learning goals. You get a goal, and you get easy-to-use learning tools to accomplish that goal. How and when you use the tools is up to you. Here is one example of the type of instruction you get.
“Select an activity. Then select Options and click Start Activity. Use each activity as long as you like.”
The last part of those instructions sum up this program’s learning environment. You don’t have to study in any particular order, and you don’t have to study any one activity for any predetermined amount of time. You spend as much time as you need with whichever activities you learn best with. If you prefer a more structure learning environment, I suggest that you take a look at Rocket Italian. It’s comparably priced and much more structured. You get fewer learning options, though.
Who should buy this program?
This program is great for proactive learners who want to get the most content for their money. If you want tons of learning material, reading, writing, listening, and speaking, and if you aren’t too picky about aesthetics, you’ll be happy with this purchase–you get a lot for a relatively small amount of money. View Transparent Italian Now.
Who should not buy this program?
If you need a highly structured learning environment, this program is not best for you. Also, if slick, Apple-like design and graphics are important to you, you may not like this program, as the interface looks quite dated. Those looking for a more consumer-friendly product should look at Rocket Italian, or, for a 100% audio-based course, Pimsleur Italian.