|Rocket Chinese||Transparent Chinese||Fluenz Chinese||Pimsleur Chinese||Tell Me More Chinese||Rosetta Stone Chinese|
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The Chinese (Mandarin) language has experienced considerable growth over the last ten years. This is largely down to the explosion of the manufacturing sector and the subsequent rapid growth of the Chinese export market. Chinese has gone from a primarily domestic language - spoken by approximately 1.4 billion people - to a desirable language of the business world. Chinese has also been adopted into the curriculum of many western schools, as education institutions realize the future value of communicating in Chinese.
China has undergone huge reform, both politically and socially, which has resulted in a dramatic increase in Chinese tourism. The rise in the amount of Chinese tourists visiting the USA, UK, Australia and Europe has prompted foreign tour operators to step up their proficiency in the Chinese language. This exponential growth means that learning to speak Chinese is not just an asset when visiting China, but also puts you at considerable advantage when applying for work with multinational companies. Chinese is, without doubt, going to be one of the three dominant world languages in years to come.
The advantage of learning Chinese using language software is that you can move at your own pace. Language school lessons tend to be rather regimented, and if you miss a class or two it's easy to fall behind the curriculum and become demotivated. Moreover, the thought of having to sit in a classroom-like environment is a little daunting if you have long finished school like I have. Private lessons are a great option if you can afford them, but then you have the additional hassle of arranging lesson times and possibly having to travel to meet your tutor - it can also be a struggle to find a teacher you feel comfortable with.
In the modern era of smartphones and tablets, having the flexibility to learn on the go makes absolute sense. Digital language software enables you to access your lessons and audio anywhere you have a 3/4G or WIFI connection. Perhaps the best aspect of buying a course, however, is that you pay a one-off fee. Once you buy the package you have instant, permanent access to the learning tools. And because of the competitive nature of the market, language companies are giving away incredible value with their software, unrivalled by language schools or private teachers.
The comparison table above compares the most popular software choices on the market, and without doubt Rocket Chinese shines through in terms of price value and comprehensiveness of learning materials, coming in at an impressive $80 cheaper than its nearest rival, Transparent Chinese. The Rocket package doesn't just score highly on price, though. It outdoes the likes of the popular Rosetta Stone on both learning diversity and post-purchase support by offering a dedicated virtual teacher, learners forum and an enormous library of quizzes, lessons and audio that can be accessed from any digital device.
Coming in a close second, Transparent Chinese is as easy to use, and also matches the colloquial language-teaching prowess of Rocket, but features slightly fewer language games and audio lessons, and as you can see, stumbles fatally on price.
Both Fluenz and Pimsleur offer similar value to that of Transparent, providing recently upgraded platforms to support new smartphone and tablet technology, but are still unable to rival the comprehensive, user-friendly design of the Rocket program. In addition to these pitfalls, Pimsleur, in particular, has priced itself way out of the market, with a whopping $695 price tag for the CD version of its course. The comparison chart is the result of my personal analysis based on my thorough review of each program. However, please take time to read through each review and make an informed decision based on your learning style and goals and objectives.