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Consumer's Edge product test

Mandarin Chinese,
Rosetta Stone style

So the folks at Rosetta Stone offered the Consumer’s Edge a challenge: We’ll loan you our latest language program, called TOTALe, for a product test of the language of your choice. I polled Facebook and Twitter fans and reviewed a list of the dozens of languages spoken at home in the Tampa Bay area and picked Mandarin Chinese. Rosetta Stone says after 200 hours of study, a learner will be able to speak conversational Chinese (It’s about 150 hours for the romance languages). I’m putting it to the test.
Aug. 29
Sept. 19
Oct. 10
Oct. 31
Nov. 21

About this series

Rosetta Stone launched TOTALe in July 2009. The company, the leading language learning business in the world with millions of users in 150 countries, says TOTALe now is its foremost teaching tool. The TOTALe program has 32 languages available and costs about $749.

I chose Mandarin Chinese because Chinese is one of the top 15 languages spoken at home in the Tampa Bay area. Also, with China overtaking Japan recently as the world’s second largest economy, it has raised its profile on the global business stage. Besides, I studied Spanish in school, so that would not have been a fair test. I visited China once for two weeks but never studied the language.

Along with writing about the product itself, we decided to test it (and my skills) on members of the Chinese-American community in Tampa Bay. How well does Rosetta Stone’s TOTALe teach me to speak Chinese as evaluated by native speakers in the community?

Watch for each Consumer’s Edge column detailing experiences with the product and the journey testing it online and in the community. And look for the Twitter tweets about how it’s going during the lessons.