Transparent Language’s Byki Spanish is based on the flashcard teaching method and it works well for this purpose. Learning a word or phrase consists mainly of selecting cards, choosing to view them in Spanish or English, translating them and then finding out if you’re right or wrong.
You can step through the cards one at a time or in quiz mode. The idea is that if you practice, you’ll learn enough words and phrases to string them together in what approximates a sentence.
Launch the Byki Spanish and you’ll immediately go to the Lists section, which is populated with 10 QuickStart! lessons. The lessons consist of generic words and numbers such as “Good evening,” “Hello,” and similarly ordinary words and phrases.
The only way to find out what content is in each of these learning stages is to tap one of the items on the list because all 10 are labelled Quick Start!. This hit-or-miss approach mars what is otherwise a simple and accessible interface.
The learning steps in quiz mode involve looking through each card on which there is a Spanish word or phrase, then choosing what you think the word means from a list of four buttons, each with one possible response — multiple-choice style, in other words.
Make your selection, and if you’re correct, the button will turn green; and if you’re incorrect, the button turns red. Regardless of whether you’re right or wrong, the card flips over to display the word or phrase in Spanish and in English. Byki Spanish audibly repeats the word or phrase in Spanish when the card is first presented, and then in English when it’s flipped over.
Once you feel comfortable with the QuickStart! lessons, or if you would rather try something a bit more challenging, tap the Downloads icon on the menu bar at the bottom of the screen and you’ll go to a list of phrases sorted into categories.
Here, you can download packets of flashcards to practice commonly used phrases in specific situations such as when you’re ordering at a restaurant, buying tickets, asking for directions, talking about the weather and so on. There’s a long list of these flash-card packets.
Once you downloaded them, you’ll find them on your main Lists page, so there’s no need to download them again.
Your settings options in Byki Spanish include being able to adjust the volume, slow the pitch of spoken words to make them easier to understand and set the speed at which the flashcards appear.
Also in settings, there are buttons labelled “Display Hints” and “Display Transliteration” but tapping either didn’t seem to do anything.
Transparent Language says Byki Spanish is introductory priced at $7.99 and is regularly $9.99. That’s a few bucks more than you’ll pay for similar apps. The Byki family of language-learning apps includes Dutch, Irish, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, French, German, Japanese and Portuguese.