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Customer Review

TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 2 June 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a revised review, following the performance of their tech support team which was excellent and solved the major problem I had with this, which I will explain and provide the solution for below.

Product:

As other reviewers have noted, this is Brazilian Portuguese rather than European Portuguese. That's not a major issue for me, as that's what I wanted, but the two are distinctly different in terms of pronunciation as well as bits of grammar and vocab. If you try to speak Brazilian Portuguese in Lisbon or other major cities in Portugal, you will be understood but if you go into more rural areas, you may well get blank faces (I know, I've tried!). Maybe in the US, where this product is produced, you can get away with calling it just Portuguese because users are more likely to visit Brazil than Portugal, but if you are selling it in Europe, you should call it what it is - Brazilian Portuguese.

The audio CDs are pretty good and the software is a good attempt at making it an interactive and relatively fun learning experience - probably as fun as you can make learning a language on your own. I have been learning Brazilian through Pimsleur's audio course - but that has no written aspect, so this was the bit I wanted as well as having some other audio to practice on. It's a lot cheaper than the Pimsleur programme and while perhaps not as thorough, it does incorporate reading and writing which the audio programmed don't use. It can be a bit "language lab" like, but that's a bit inevitable. Overall, it's a good resource.

Tech issue for XP operating system.

The tech problem I had seems to only apply to XP. Users of Vista and Windows 7 seem immune from this issue. But initially the programme wouldn't work with the keyboard function - which is kind of essential to get the best out of the experience. (Other reviewers of Transparent courses appear to have had the same issue on XP so it's not just my set up). The first response from tech support read "This is a common problem with customer mostly from other countries. What you will have to do is change to change the Keyboard settings to the United States format (the only format supported by our products). To do so please follow these steps.

1)Go to the Start Menu
2)Select Control Panel
3)Then go to the Regional Settings
4)Select the English (United States) for the format"

That wasn't the whole solution though and it still didn't work. It also begs the question that if it is a common problem outside the US then why not either do something about it or at least label it for non US-sales. Their proposed solution is to remotely access my PC which I cannot allow due to sensitive information held on my computer. Their third solution did work though. This is as follows (I quote their e-mail):

"I have located a few more items that might be causing your keyboard issue. Please try the steps below to change the items that I found on windows XP.

1) Go to the Start Menu
2) Select Control Panel
3) Then go to the Regional Settings
4) Click on the Languages tab
5) Under the Text services and Input languages, press the "details..." button
6) Make sure that the Default Input Language is English (United States) -
7) Also make sure that the Installed services, is set to the English (United States) -> Keyboard -> US"

This did work. So, if you are running XP - you will need to follow this advice.

Conclusion

I still think the interface is a bit "cheap" and it needs clearer labelling that this is Brazilian - but it's a decent programme and I cannot rate their tech support highly enough.
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