The Right Software For Your Budget
The more definitive, strong and clear your motivations are, the more inclined I am to urge you to buy the most expensive of the three, Auralog's Tell Me More Spanish Premium. If your job requires you to learn Spanish, by all means, go for Auralog's program, dig in, and enjoy it.
On the other hand, if your budget makes you reluctant to buy Tell Me More Spanish, then Instant Immersion Spanish Deluxe is the right choice. It is an excellent buy, since it combines an earlier version of Auralog's program with audio CDs produced by Topics Entertainment.
If you are unsure whether Spanish is the language for you, but you think that it is, then Instant Immersion Spanish is also the right product for you. If you turn out to be correct, you will probably want to plan on buying Tell Me More Spanish after you have exhausted all the material in Instant Immersion Spanish, and you'll be very comfortable with it. Tell Me More Spanish is essentially the same program, with the same look and feel, but the volume of material has been vastly increased.
If you are going to be learning with others, then the multiple-user feature of both of these products (along with the day planner to set goals and assess the progress of individual learners) make it a wise choice. Institutional purchasers would be advised to not go on the cheap--buy Tell Me More Spanish, as 10,000 academic institutions already have.
Finally, Transparent Language's mid-priced Complete Spanish Learning Suite remains to be considered. First, the price is easily justified because there are several valuable programs in the suite, including a large, useful dictionary and audio CDs. For total beginners who know they benefit from flashcards (and most do), Before You Know It is the cat's meow. Being able to import, export and create your own flashcards is a very attractive feature for learners who have a difficult time learning a foreign language just because of their trouble with retaining vocabulary. The testing system in this component is superb. For visual learners, LinguaMatch is also a terrific component of the suite. It is likely more appealing to junior-high-aged learners and older than Tell Me More Spanish or Instant Immersion Spanish.
That said, LinguaMatch is not juvenile, but its look and feel have a lot in common with the environment of computer games. All three programs use voice recognition software. The usefulness of the waveform graphs in Transparent Language is questionable, but even so, the quality of the playback is very good, and the readings of the speech meter will give you reliable feedback about your pronunciation. If you have a good ear for music, you will be able to discriminate between your speech and the native model without needing a graph to tell you.
Every aspect of the voice-recognition feature, including the graphs and scoring in the other two programs is terrific. Tell Me More Spanish or Instant Immersion Spanish re better for learners who mistrust their ears and/or appreciate a meter with a good scoring system. Without any knowledge of any particular learner's needs, my ranking of these three products is, in descending order:
- Auralog's Tell Me More Spanish Premium
- Topics Entertainment's Instant Immersion Spanish Deluxe
- Transparent Language's Complete Spanish Learning Suite