Chinese Odyssey CD review?

runsatdawn's picture

Hi!  I'm currently looking into multimedia options for learning Chinese.  I found I really enjoyed the Multimedia companion for Integrated Chinese Level 1, Part 1, and found it to be an extremely useful learning tool.  Unfortunately, Level 1, Part 1 is still the only portion of Integrated Chinese that has the multimedia companion CD -- the rest of the series just has audio CDs and textbooks/workbooks. 

 In terms of multimedia content, it looks like Chinese Odyssey was geared around it, which interests me a great deal.  Can anyone who has seen both compare and contrast the Integrated Chinese Multimedia Comanion with the Chinese Odyssey multimedia?  Or can someone who's got the Chinese Odyssey CDs write a good review that highlights the strengths and weaknesses they found when they went through it?  Unfortunately there's no preview lesson available from the CD for CO yet, so I can't just check that.

 Thanks for any help you can provide!


Laurel's picture

Hi JB,

Thanks for posting on the forum, and thanks for your compliments about Integrated Chinese! We Cheng & Tsui editors wanted to chime in and explain how the two multimedia CDs differ from our perspective, in case that's helpful to you. Of course, we are very interested in hearing other users' reviews and opinions as well! We love to get feedback and suggestions from language learners.

Basically, the difference between the two is that the Integrated Chinese software is supplementary and is designed to be used by students at home for fun or extra practice. Chinese Odyssey software is intended to be used as the core part of the course. It's a much bigger program that also includes an electronic version of all the stuff in the print books. It actually contains even more activities than the Integrated Chinese program.

Here's a list of the main features of each, for comparison:

Integrated Chinese Multimedia CD-ROM

Follows the book in thematic contents and vocabulary, but its focus is on practical application of the material covered in the textbook.

· The exercises are different from the ones in the IC workbooks, and are divided into listening, speaking, reading, and writing, plus a Challenge Corner that incorporates all four skills.

· The CD-ROM also includes pinyin review, a searchable (English or pinyin) dictionary, a section on numerals, and a section dedicated to the 40 radicals introduced in IC level 1 part 1 and their stroke order.

Chinese Odyssey

· Intended as a stand-alone course or for use in conjunction with the Chinese Odyssey textbook and workbook. For students who are comfortable working in an entirely electronic format, they can work through the entire course on CD-ROM. For students who prefer to have a hard copy of the materials, they can purchase the textbook and workbook in addition to the CD-ROM.

· Contains in electronic format all the texts, vocabulary, grammar, audio, and exercises in the textbooks and workbooks, and adds more features such as the ability to view or hide pinyin in the lesson dialogues, watch video clips of the dialogues, see stroke-by-stroke demonstrations of character writing, or hear audio at different speeds.

· Contains in electronic format all the workbook exercises from the print workbook, as well as more features -- you can get immediate feedback on exercises, see hints as you are working through exercises and explanations of correct answers, record your voice for speaking exercises, or participate in “conversations” with the computer by speaking in response to a pre-recorded dialogue.


We are also working on putting a sample of the Chinese Odyssey program up on the website so that you can try it out for yourself. I'll post another comment when that's available!


Laurel (Editorial Department)

runsatdawn's picture


Thanks for the feedback!  It sounds great, and I'll be looking forward to seeing the sample posted.

A couple of quick specific questions for you:

Does it include the vocabulary flash cards similar to IC Multimedia companion, where I can see the characters from the vocabulary for each chapter in randomized order and then click to hear it pronounced and see the pinyin?  Those were a wonderful study aid.

Is the order of the exercises randomized, similar to the way they were with IC?  Once again, one of the things I particularly liked about the IC Multimedia companion.

Laurel's picture

In both of these aspects, Chinese Odyssey is designed a little differently from the IC Multimedia Companion. The Chinese Odyssey software doesn't have the same kind of vocabulary flashcards, but it does have several different vocabulary exercises for each chapter: matching, fill in the blank, and word and phrase composition (where you think of related compound words or phrases that use common elements).

The exercises aren't randomized in Chinese Odyssey; they will appear in the same order every time (and for every student).

Thanks for your feedback on the features you like about the IC software. We will definitely take it into account when we're thinking about future versions of Chinese learning software!

By the way, the sample is up, and you can download it from the companion site:

Laurel's picture

Cheng & Tsui editorial team here again -- we've made a demo version of the Chinese Odyssey software (volume 1) available on the website. You can download it here:

Please do share your feedback!

Book reviews's picture

You can try

Reading & Writing Chinese Traditional Character Edition (Paperback) by William McNaughton (Author), Li Ying (Author)
Don's picture

Not sure about the multimedia option, but I have found the most convient option for me is mp3 files that each leason is broken down into a new chapter in the progression for language development. Worked great for me!

Shawn's picture

I found a great resource on line for audio lessons for learning Chinese... take a look!

Jason's picture

I hadn't heard of this one, I've got Rosetta Stone for Chinese and I really like it. Maybe I'll take a look that Chinese Odyssey and see if it's as good as you say.

Richard's picture

I have been useing Rosetta Stone for some time. It is great!