Much of the world learn two languages or more from early childhood, but in the United States, most of the population only speaks English. Quite frankly, some of us struggle with English 😎. Still, mastering communication and learning different languages is a worthwhile endeavor. Whether you just want to get ahead in the workplace or travel the world, you’re in the right place.
Rosetta Stone vs. Babbel: Which Is Better?
Rosetta Stone and Babbel are like siblings with very different personalities. They both come from an immersive training approach. However, Rosetta Stone is the serious older sibling that overachieves, and Babbel is the surprisingly successful younger sibling that still likes to have fun. Both services work well, and we have no doubt you will be speaking a new language in no time. Deciding which to choose comes down to which sibling personality is most compatible with your learning style.
Rosetta Stone Review
Forget the ineffective flashcards that you used in High School. Rosetta Stone is all about immersion learning, which can be used on mobile, tablet, or desktop. All the while, you will learn vocabulary and grammar through an affordable subscription.
How can you know Rosetta Stone works? Well, it’s been around for over 25 years, and they have established enough rapport that significant companies around the world utilize the software to help their employees learn new languages. Brands like BMW, Ikea, Lego, Twitter, Uber, and Williams Sonoma all use Rosetta Stone to train their employees. The US State Department has used the technology too. If it works for them, chances are it will work for you, so long as you put in the time and effort.
It’s also worth noting that PC Mag named Rosetta Stone the ‘Best Language Learning Software’ seven years in a row. If you’ve ever dreamed of carrying on a conversation in a new language, Rosetta Stone can help you achieve that dream. Their track record is simply the best.
How Does Rosetta Stone Work?
The bottom line is that you will become more confident and comfortable as you practice, so Rosetta Stone utilizes live, native-speaking coaches to guide you to improvement. While some of us just want to learn a language for fun or its challenge, many people choose to learn a language for a specific purpose. Some learn new languages to better communicate with loved ones, while others learn ahead of significant events (vacations, weddings, or planned travel).
With this in mind, Rosetta Stone helps you develop a game plan, including curated content and schedule reminders, to help you achieve your specific goals. And if that sounds overwhelming, they keep the lessons short and manageable. The bite-size sessions are tailored for your specific goals and timelines.
If you learned any languages in the past, you might have been told that your accent was all wrong. Once in the Dominican Republic, my accent was so poor the natives told me they preferred I just use English. Ha! Rosetta Stone understands how vital your accent is and how embarrassing and problematic it is to have poor pronunciation.
Understanding this, they make sure you have no problem speaking in the correct accent with native speakers. They accomplish this by using TruAccent, which is a speech-recognition technology. As you practice, they will offer feedback to help you dial in your pronunciations. Not only will this make you more effective speaking your new language, but it will also build your confidence.
All of this is accomplished as part of a curriculum that introduces new skills in an immersive manner that facilitates a natural language learning progression.
What Is Rosetta Stone Live?
You can learn a lot on a computer, but computers aren’t always very personable. YouTube is a one-way conversation, after all. Rosetta Stone Live provides students with the opportunity to elevate their comprehension levels by practicing with expert coaches. There are multiple ways to accomplish this, too. There are small group coaching sessions that are tailored to your level, as well as less formal large group settings.
There are a lot of benefits to considering Rosetta Stone Live. The Lifetime Plus subscription to Rosetta Stone includes a twelve-month subscription to Rosetta Stone Live. It can be ordered separately too. But what is the benefit of investing in Rosetta Stone Live? It’s just more natural and productive to practice with other humans that can provide feedback and from whom you can listen to dialect and the nuances of language.
You might start with short phrases, but soon you will be speaking in entire sentences. Utilizing Rosetta Stone Live with help, you grow your vocabulary and tighten up your grammar. It will help you improve your writing skills and reading skills too. Rosetta Stone Live will help you exercise what you know, gain additional experience, and generally advance your language skills. The immersion teaching method is second-to-none.
Rosetta Stone Subscription
There are a few different subscription options if you are interested in trying Rosetta Stone out. The most affordable option is a three-month subscription for one language, though, for most people, it will take more than three months to master a new language. Indeed, you can make a lot of progress in three months and learn primary words and phrases, but developing proper conversation skills takes a little longer for most people, regardless of the software programs they choose to use.
At the other end of the spectrum, you can purchase a lifetime subscription for unlimited languages. Costing just a few hundred dollars, it’s honestly a pretty good value. You can also opt for the more expensive lifetime subscription that includes a year of Rosetta Stone Live. Doing so starts to get pricey, but the benefits of real-life conversations are hard to overstate. If your goal is to learn key phrases and basic conversational skills for a specific event or trip, maybe you won’t need Rosetta Stone Live; however, if your goal is to master the language, we recommend getting the enhanced subscription.
If you don’t want to splurge for the lifetime subscription (we get it, times are tough), the twelve-month subscription offers a reasonable middle ground. The twelve-month subscription also comes with unlimited languages. But let me say if you are learning multiple languages each year, major kudos to you!
Is Rosetta Stone Worth The Money?
Rosetta Stone was established more than 25 years ago and works with some of the world’s biggest companies. I say that to say; Rosetta Stone is the real deal. Over time, they have fine-tuned their strategy, but the immersion techniques stay the same. You can learn over 25 languages with their software, and several of the subscription options give you access to all of the languages.
Regardless of your current skill level, Rosetta Stone Stone will dramatically improve your vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. Its one-of-a-kind teaching method works so well that they offer a 100% satisfaction, 30-day money-back guarantee.
Forget the flashcards you used in the past. Rosetta Stone utilizes short, manageable tutoring sessions, all based on real-life scenarios. And you can upgrade to Rosetta Stone Live for live group coaching sessions. It’s all accessible wherever you are. Access the training via the mobile version of the software, via smartphone or tablet, or access the desktop version from your home or office.SUMMARY PROS
- Immersion training
- More expensive than some competitors
- Real-life scenarios
- Trains almost exclusively in the target language
- Live group-training available
- 25 languages to choose from
- Used by Fortune 500 companies
- Used by US State Department
While Rosetta Stone is more of a household name than Babbel is, Babbel has sold over 10 million subscriptions, so they, too, are well established at this point. The Babbel system is compatible with most devices, and in fact, is the #1 selling language learning app.
Perhaps it the personalized feel of the software that makes it so popular. Since you will learn more quickly when the topic is something you are interested in or connected to, Babbel uses your interests to develop your personalized plan. And none of us learn in the same way, so Babbel utilizes both visual and auditory content to help you learn.
In comparison to Rosetta Stone, the technology isn’t all that different, but the interactive exercises in some ways feel like a more authentic and genuine experience. It’s incredible how much of a difference a personalized approach makes.
How Does Babbel Work?
Research has shown that new information sticks in the human memory in less than a second, so long as the new information is relevant and exciting to you. Naturally, it takes more than a second to move from short-term memory to long-term memory, so Babbel uses spaced recognition to help develop long-term memory retention. They do this by reintroducing words at six different memory stages.
Sure, some people love learning new languages, and some to whom learning new languages comes easily. For most people, though, the idea of learning a new language is daunting, and the process of actually learning is discouraging. Babbel has designed its path to be the shortest path toward real-world conversations.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you are expected to move at a faster pace learning—quite the contrary. Suppose you are comfortable moving at a slow pace; that is fine. So what do I mean by the ‘shortest path’? Babbel was designed and built by experts that researched and employed the best strategies to teach languages. And I don’t just mean they anecdotally studied the process. They used empirical data to build the best language teaching software they could design.
Each course is designed based on your native language and personalized for your specific interests. The systems are designed to learn a new language through real-life dialogue that is immersive. Better yet, the software uses human voices and speech recognition to help you confidently develop your new skills.
The lessons are designed for practicality, so while you will start with everyday type greetings, such, “Hi, how are you today”, you will eventually work up to less frequently used phrases. Even as you advance, Babbel will focus on using practical dialogue similar to what you use in your native language, but you will start to learn more situational-type conversation, such as learning how to book a hotel room.
Of course, here is the key: Babbel didn’t just design software to help you memorize phrases. No, Babbel was designed to help you passively begin connecting nuances and context while also actively learning new vocabulary. It’s a two-pronged approach. Each training session will help you move a little closer to understanding both individual elements of speech and the language as a whole.
While Babbel uses a version of the immersion method, not too differently from Rosetta Stone, Babbel provides context and feedback in your native language, which reduces some of the friction and frustration you might experience with more zealous versions of immersion training.
What is Babbel Live?
The Babbel software is top-notch, but most people still learn best when talking to humans. So, the brand developed Babbel Live, which is in direct competition with Rosetta Stone Live. Overall, it’s very simple to sign up for these live zoom sessions, and they can make a significant difference in your overall progress. It’s one thing to stare at proper sentence structures technical grammar on an app or piece of paper. Still, it’s an entirely different ballgame when you can get in live practice, particularly with advanced speakers who were recently in the same position as you - learning.
You simply choose a monthly plan with a preset number of classes, and your subscription to Babbel Live gives you full access to the app as well. The most popular program features ten classes per month, but you could go with as little as five sessions per month if you are strapped for time. At the other end of the spectrum, you might consider a plan with as many as 20 classes per month if you need to learn your new language ASAP.
There are hundreds of classes offered each week, so you simply need to find the time that works best for you and sign up. There will be participants at all different levels, so you can feel confident joining in at whatever your current level is. The face-to-face (virtual) interaction will facilitate you moving to more advanced speaking and comprehension levels quickly.
Honestly, it’s a little surprising how affordable Babbel is. First of all, there is no required bundle or long-term subscription, and you can purchase a one-month subscription for less than $15. I always assumed incorrectly that language learning software would be expensive, but they aren’t. This is particularly incredible given the sophisticated voice recognition software that they use.
Of course, Babbel offers subscriptions for those who commit to mastering their new language like a native speaker. There are 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month subscriptions available, all of which cost under $10 per month and get progressively more affordable the longer you commit to the process.
And for simple minds like mine, learning complex grammar and complex sentence structures takes some time, so it is worthwhile to commit to a longer subscription. Utilizing Babbel’s practice exercises, you will quickly start to learn common vocabulary and phrases, but mastering any language’s nuances requires a commitment to learning and repetitive exercises.
All said, Babbel’s subscription is very affordable, so we recommend choosing a longer subscription to give yourself the best opportunity for success. And if you don’t like it, Babbel offers a 20-day money-back guarantee. Write to customer service within 20 days, and they will send you a full refund, but we don’t think that will be necessary.
Is Babbel Worth The Money?
Babbel is a fantastic option as a language learning software. It’s affordable and a little less intimidating than some people find Rosetta Stone to be. Of course, Rosetta Stone is used by Fortune 500 companies and state departments, so it works well, but Babbel has a bit more fun flair to it. The lessons focus on practical dialogue, and most customers enjoy it almost like it is Candy Crush or some other mobile game. Learning a new language with Babbel is a great value. It’s affordable and fun.SUMMARY PROS
- Incredibly affordable
- Immersive, but not as immersive as competition
- Provides context and instructions in native language
- Shorter track record
- Live group-training available
- 13 languages to choose from
- Less intense than Rosetta Stone
Differences Between Rosetta Stone & Babbel
There are a few differences between the two software. Babbel is a little cheaper, but honestly, neither software is overly expensive. Rosetta Stone has more expensive options because they offer Rosetta Stone Live for online, live group lessons, which can be packaged with the other subscription options. If you are looking for that personalized, human touch, then Rosetta Stone might be worth considering before looking at the alternatives.
Aside from pricing, there is one central nuance between the two offerings. Babbel provides explanations and translations in English, while Rosetta Stone trains almost entirely using the language you are learning (using pictures and other contexts to help you understand). The completely immersive experience that Rosetta Stone provides is excellent for some but frustrating to others.
Alternatives to Rosetta Stone & Babbel
If you are looking to master a new language, then Rosetta Stone and Babbel are your best options, but there are some competitors that might work well in certain situations. Our favorite is Rocket Language. The first differentiator you will notice is that Rocket Language doesn’t offer subscription services. Instead, they sell their software at three price points. Level 1 will help you reach an intermediate, conversational speaking level. Level 2 will help you achieve an advanced conversational level, and Level 3 will help you achieve the most advanced conversational level.
Aside from the straightforward pricing structure, we like Rocket Language because of its teaching methodology. Rocket Language will help you learn all of the most useful words and phrases first and then help you fill in gaps and start to master your new language. We like the common-sense approach. It can be frustrating to learn vocabulary and grammar but not feel like you are making progress toward conversational knowledge.
Rocket Language is an excellent option if you try to avoid subscription services or look for something a little off the beaten path.
If you are looking for online tutoring, you should learn more about Rype, and if you prefer classroom-style learning, you should check out Fluenz. Depending on your exact need, Rocket Language, Rype, and Fluenz are the best alternatives to Rosetta Stone and Babbel, but we still recommend the latter two options for most people.
Rosetta Stone or Babbel Comparison
There is no denying that Rosetta Stone has all of the accolades. They’ve been around for 25 years, offer 25 languages, and have been used by Fortune 500 companies and state departments. Their immersion training method gets the job done. Still, if you would prefer to have a little more fun while learning a new language, then Babbel might be for you. Rosetta Stone is a little more comprehensive; Babbel is one of the most affordable options on the market.
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