Customer Review

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun & effective!, 26 Aug 2009
This review is from: Berlitz Learn Japanese/Chinese Premier (PC/Mac) (4 CD Set - Windows & Macintosh) (CD-ROM)
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The first thing I noticed about this package is that Berlitz seem to have quite an enthusiastic Marketing Dept. The cover boasts of it being a 4-disc set, which strictly speaking it is, although you're unlikely to use them all as it breaks down as 1x Windows installation CD, 1x Mac installation CD, 1x Japanese language CD & 1x Chinese (Mandarin) language CD. Also included is a manual for the software. Berlitz also say they have "the most powerful language learning system available today" - Rosetta Stone also make the same claim but since their software costs hundreds while Berlitz has an RRP of £29.99, it's unlikely I'll ever compare them!

The audio CD's only last around one hour each, so if you're looking for an audio-only course, a Collins Easy Learning set would be better value. As such, it's all about the software. There are 2 seperate programs - a system of flash cards for revision, plus the main Berlitz Learning System. The Learning System is a little overwhelming at first, mainly due to a vast array of options & not much guidance on where to begin. For this reason I feel it could benefit greatly from a structured lesson plan - the idea is that people can structure their own learning to suit their individual needs but it would have been nice to have a more clearly defined starting-point, so I could have just jumped straight in. Insead, it took a little while to find my way around.

The emphasis of the Berlitz system is to throw you straight into an 'immersion environment' consisting of videos with completely Japanese/Mandarin audio & written text (in the Latin alphabet, not Kanji) & optional games & activities. This is somewhat intimidating at first but after sticking with it & studying a little of the Japanese course every day, as recommended in the manual, then it really did start to stick. The content is also very useful, covering road signs & 'survival phrases' such as how to meet & greet & order food (rather than 'survival' in the Ray Mears sense). I found going over the basic audio exercises to be particularly useful & they include some handy tips, such as remembering 'good morning' - 'Ohio' - by picturing the State of Ohio at sunrise.

Once I was used to it, the Berlitz system became interesting & fun to play with. It took a while to find my way around & to get used to the various features but now it's really paying off. It feels more repetitive than the dazzling array of options would initially suggest but it's undeniably effective.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 27 Aug 2009 07:39:21 BDT
Cartimand says:
Hi. Do you mind me asking if you managed to get this Chinese/Japanese package running correctly under Vista? I've reinstalled it twice now but still no joy.
Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Aug 2009 07:51:11 BDT
Sam Woodward says:
The PC I installed it on has XP but I'll try it on my Vista laptop either tonight or at the weekend & let you know.

Posted on 27 Aug 2009 16:16:53 BDT
Last edited by the author on 27 Aug 2009 16:23:20 BDT
Sam Woodward says:
I've now tried it on Vista & it worked without any problems - I installed it as normal & it worked straight away.

On mine, the multimedia buttons are greyed out on the tabbed sections which don't have videos (eg 'pronunciation') but are ok on the ones which do have videos (eg 'theatre'). And the triangular play button is always where it should be, i.e. in the grey box just below the picture.

Other than checking if Quicktime (or whichever video player software it is they use) is fully up-to-date on your PC, I don't really know what to suggest. Good luck with technical support!

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Aug 2009 19:03:28 BDT
Cartimand says:
Thanks Sam. But I'm even more confused now! A little Googling reveals that other vendors of this product advertise it as NOT Vista compatible. At least my Mandarin audio CD arrived today and I'm quite impressed with that. If only I could get the video working - the buttons are greyed out on the Theatre tab, I'd submit a more complimentary review!

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Sep 2009 18:43:47 BDT
Cartimand says:
Hello again. I've just tried installing on a friend's Vista laptop - and the same irritating problem is present. I wonder if I have a corrupt installation disk and will ask for a replacement.
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Review Details

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Reviewer

Sam Woodward
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   

Location: UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 190