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      January 19, 2020

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Transparent Language vs Rosetta Stone

To help you find the Best Chinese Lessons, provides you with an in-depth comparison of Transparent Language and Rosetta Stone.

To see ALL of our reviews for the Best Chinese Lessons, please Click Here

Learn Chinese with Rocket Languages Today! With more than 16% of the world's population who speak Chinese as their first language, it's no wonder that modern education is prioritizing learning Chinese as a foreign language. From immersion-based elementary schools to language learning programs found online, it is estimated that as many as 40 million non-native speakers around the globe are currently studying Chinese.

There are two primary dialects of Chinese: Mandarin, or "Standard Chinese", the official language of China and Taiwan; and Cantonese, the official language in Hong Kong and Macau and influential in the Guangdong Province. While the two are similar, Chinese students may want to focus more on one or the other, depending on their purposes for using the language.

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Chinese Lessons Reviews

4.5 stars
Transparent Language


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$29.95/month for Online Chinese monthly plan

$24.99/month for Online Chinese 6-month plan

$16.66/month for Online Chinese 12-month plan

$49.95 for Everywhere Chinese Audio Course

$29.95 for KidSpeak Chinese desktop program

Transparent Language's Chinese lessons strive to deliver "radically better language learning, in one complete experience". Their program uses speaking practice (users compare their speech to a native speaker's), multiple choice questions, listening exercises, detailed grammar lessons and more in order to approach learning Chinese from many different angles. While their instructional methods seem to be fairly similar to other programs', where Transparent Language stands out is in the fact that they offer Mandarin and Cantonese instruction, though the latter is only available in the online format and not in CDs or audio course.

Prospective customers will appreciate the 14-day free trial of their online Chinese lessons, and no credit card details are needed to access it. Because many Transparent Languages' users report that the system has a less rigid structure than other language programs in our review, we suggest that students make full use of the trial offer to see if the more flexible approach is a good fit for their motivation level and self-discipline.

In the event that a customer is not satisfied with their Chinese lessons, Transparent Language does give a full refund for all of its products, within six months of purchase for any physical/downloaded product, and a full refund prior to the next billing cycle for subscription members of Transparent Language Online.

Transparent Language is one of the few Chinese lesson programs that has an option for live instruction and tutoring. It's more expensive than the basic program, of course - $299 for an 8-week, customized online course that meets weekly, and/or $99 for 90 minutes of one-on-one online tutoring at the student's level of proficiency - but the investment may be worth it for students who need a bit more structure and personalized attention, especially with the tonal aspects of Chinese pronunciation.

We give Transparent Language's Chinese lessons high marks for including both Mandarin and Chinese options, and for offering live tutoring/instruction for those who want more in-depth help.

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4 stars
Rosetta Stone


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$179 for 12-month online access for 1 user (regular price $299)

$249 for lifetime online access for 1 user (regular price $249)

Other options available for downloading individual levels/sets

Rosetta Stone is one of the best-known names in language instruction. Their model to language learning is what they call "Dynamic Immersion": instead of teaching Chinese by translating from English to Chinese and vice-versa, or using rote memorization, Rosetta Stone Chinese emphasizes learning as naturally as possible - similar to how a child learns his or her first language.

Rosetta Stone Chinese has a free demo that presents several words - without translation, so as to be immersive - that walks the learner through several simple vocabulary matching exercises. However, there were no sample activities that used actual Chinese characters, so we were unable to determine at what point those characters are introduced, or what type of instruction is provided to help students learn to recognize and use them. And, where other Rosetta Stone demos include speech recognition activities, the Chinese trial does not; given the importance of tones in speaking proper Chinese, we had no way of telling how sensitive the speech recognition is within Rosetta Stone's instruction.

Rosetta Stone has a good guarantee/return policy: where in the past, their 30-day, no risk, money-back guarantee only applied to their CD products, it now includes any of Rosetta Stone's Personal or Homeschool editions, from online subscription to downloads and CD-ROMs.

As one of the most widely used programs for learning languages, it's no surprise that Rosetta Stone has many reviews that describe their Chinese instruction as fun, useful, and worth the investment. On the other hand, it is easy to find other reviews complaining that using Rosetta Stone does not actually result in language acquisition that is as simple as learning one's first language. Of course, no program can deliver a truly immersive experience comparable to what a person gains by living within a culture that speaks the target language.

In general, Rosetta Stone's Chinese program is likely to be useful for most language learners, especially given the number of students who have already experienced success using their methods. We recommend that prospective customers keep an eye on Rosetta Stone's pricing and make sure to take advantage of any special offers, to keep the program affordable.

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Continued from above

From beginners learning the intonation of a simple ni hao to those looking to fine-tune their knowledge of Chinese characters and pronunciation, students have many programs from which to choose to help them better grasp the intricacies of the Chinese language. When deciding which Chinese lessons will be the best option, we recommend getting a feel for each program's methods.

The most well-rounded Chinese lessons use strategies to reach different learners - visual, auditory, and so on - through flashcards, pronunciation practice using a microphone to compare the student's speech to that of a native speaker, games, and other online resources.

On the other hand, some Chinese programs focus on a single approach to teaching the language (for example, worksheets or audio lessons) that may or may not be the best way for a particular student to learn.

When choosing a program for Chinese lessons, there are several things to consider. These include:

  • Instructional Methods. Does the format of the lessons match well with your learning style? If a free sample or trial is available, how did you feel after giving it a try?
  • Skill Level. Does the program have an option for your level, whether that is beginning, intermediate, or advanced? Can you move from one level to the next for what you purchase, or do you have to buy more levels later?
  • Value. Is the program effective? Is it worth the money necessary to purchase the program?
  • Mandarin or Cantonese. While the majority of Chinese learners and thus teaching programs focus on Mandarin, you might prefer a Cantonese program if your primary use of the language will be in Hong Kong or with speakers from that area. has reviewed and ranked the best Chinese Lessons available today. We hope these reviews help you learn the most common language around the globe quickly and easily!

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