23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 1 September 2004
Talk Now have targetted two audiences with this program -- Tourists and beginners. It exceeds what is required for tourists but, as a beginner's tool it can be improved a bit.
I haven't finished using it, yet. I have used it enough to review it though:
The program splits everything into categories (e.g. first words, food, useful phrases, numbers, etc). Within each section there are 5 units: Word Practice, Speaking Practice, Easy Quiz, Hard Quiz, Print Picture Dictionary.
Word Practice: Shows the English word/phrase, the Malay word/phrase, a pictorial representation and speaks it (unless otherwise selected, it alternates between a male and female voice). If you want, you have the opportunity to record your own voice and play back.
Speaking Practice: You are shown several pictorial representations. You can record your voice as the object/phrase whizzes by and, at the end, compare it to their version of the word. When you are ready to record, you have two buttons -- one will record your voice alone, the other will play their speaker's version of the word before you record yours. When you playback, the official version will be played for each word/phrase before yours is.
Easy Quiz: Before the question is asked you will see 4 pictorial representations and the word/phrase in English. The other speaker will then say a word and you have to select the right pictorial representation.
Hard Quiz: The speaker will say the word, with the word being written in Malay. You then have to pick the right pictorial representation (out of 10 pictures).
The scores for both the easy and hard quiz are spoken in Malay (but numbers look the same in both languages ;-) ).
Print Picture Dictionary: Prints out all the pictorial representations for that section together with both English and Malay.
Due to the dual audience of the program, the words and phrases in the general sections tend to be the ones you would expect to use a tourist. There are other sections, e.g. parts of the body, colours and countries (and the food section is very long), which extend beyond the needs of a tourist.
There are things I don't like about it. When it comes to phrases, you are only given the whole phrase (without any comments on the individual words or the grammar). You don't even have half-a-phrase such as "Where is ... ?", "My name is .... .", etc. If you're going to use it as a way of starting to learn the language you'll probably need classroom/native speaker support.
The technical support for the product is amazing. The program runs on my 10.3.5 Mac without any problem. The licence agreement is refreshingly short -- no disclaimers at all (they're in the read-me/website and they only go as far to say "tested to 10.x.x"). When I thought there was a problem with it, I e-mailed their tech support department who phoned me back within 48 hours. It turned out that I was pressing the wrong button (blush).
In short it's a good program if you want to start learning the language (though nowhere near perfect). If you just going to visit a Malay speaking country as a tourist then this is probably a great program.
Talk Now do have intermediate and advanced programs. I'll see how I go with those once I've finished using this one.