The ballots are counted, and readers of About.com Spanish Language have chosen Ouino Languages as the best desktop instructional software and Madrid as the best place to go learn Spanish.
About.com readers voted during February and March 2013 in eight categories for the Readers' Choice Awards. The winners are as follows:
Best desktop instructional software: Ouino Languages. Although Ouino Languages isn't the most well-known software package for people learning another language, it has gained a large following. Ouino, which produces software for people learning Spanish or French, markets software at its website and through retailers. Software is available for the Windows and Mac operating systems and can be purchased on disc or through digital download. You can compare prices using About.com Shopping.
Best Android app for people learning Spanish: Verb Champion. Verb Champion, produced by Backrow Education, is a new entry in the relatively small field of educational software for Android smartphone apps and tablets. Verb Champion uses a gamelike format to teach verb conjugation. Verb Champion is available at Google's app store. For more information, see the Verb Champion website.
Best iOS app for people learning Spanish: Learn Spanish by MindSnacks. The iPad/iPhone favorite is a package of colorful games featuring cartoonish characters. Learn Spanish looks like it was made for children, but adults enjoy these games as well for learning vocabulary and grammar. MindSnacks products are available at the iTunes store; see MindSnacks for more information.
Best travel destination for learning Spanish: Madrid. When it comes to travel, the Spanish capital has everything many students want: culture, history, nightlife, international cuisine, recreational opportunities, personal safety, a comfortable standard of living and an abundance of immersion language schools. Learn more about Madrid at About Spain Travel and check out our list of language schools in Spain.
Favorite Spanish-language entertainer: Javier Bardem. Born in the Canary Islands in 1969, Bardem's rise to international fame began with the 1986 TV series Segunda enseñanza in Spain, and his first credited film appearance came in 1990 in Las edades de Lulú. Since then, he has played roles in about 25 Spanish-language films, and he also has made appearances in English cinema in films such as No Country for Old Men, Eat Pray Love and Skyfall. He was the first Spaniard to be nominated for an Oscar as Best Actor. You can learn more about Bardem at About Movies.
Most admired person who speaks Spanish: Michelle Bachelet. A longtime advocate for women's rights, Bachelet was the first female president of Chile, serving from 2006 to 2010. She has since been appointed as the executive director of U.N. Women, which promotes the empowerment of women throughout the world. You can learn more about Bachelet at About Women's History.
Best online Spanish-English dictionary: WordReference.com. Spanish-English listings at WordReference.com provide information from both the Espasa Calpe and Collins dictionaries as well as numerous phrases. The reference site also provides forums and verb conjugations. You'll also find Spanish-Portuguese, Spanish-French and Spanish-only listings here.
Best Spanish-language website: El Blog para Aprender Español: This site, produced by two Spanish teachers from Madrid, is exactly what its name suggests. The blog, whose name means The Blog for Learning Spanish, is almost entirely in Spanish, with only a tiny bit of promotional material in English and other European languages. The site offers numerous lessons as well as information about Spanish culture.