Babbel vs Rosetta Stone: Which One Can Work for You

Maria Claudia Alvarado Published on July 23, 2023
Babbel vs Rosetta Stone

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If you’re trying to learn a new language, you’re probably looking for the best app to help you achieve fluency. Babbel and Rosetta Stone are two popular language-learning platforms that are effective at teaching you a new language. In this article, we’ll compare both apps so you can pick the one that works best for you.

Editor’s Choice

Babbel Overview

Babbel is the winner because its courses can teach you a language from the basics, and take you up to an advanced level. You can choose what you study next, and learn through practice instead of memorization.
babbel logo
Price $14.95 / month
Free trial 1 Lesson
Try Babbel

Between Rosetta Stone and Babbel, Babbel is the best choice for complete beginners who want structure and flexibility in their lessons. It doesn’t overwhelm you nor distract you from your practice with long grammar explanations. You can choose which tools you want to use to review what you learned, and even take live lessons with native speakers. For how effective it is at teaching you a new language from zero, Babbel is the clear winner.

Babbel vs Rosetta Stone: A Quick Breakdown

Babbel and Rosetta Stone have similar lesson plans that are both structured and flexible. Rosetta Stone has an immersive approach to language learning, while Babbel has courses more fitting for absolute beginners. Babbel has interactive exercises that help you understand grammar by teaching you how to apply it to real-time exercises, and Rosetta Stone has more advanced voice recognition tools to develop your listening and speaking skills.

Here’s a table to help you see the differences between both: 

BabbelRosetta Stone
14 languages24 languages
1 free lesson3-day free trial

Rosetta Stone vs Babbel: Cost Comparison

To unlock all the lessons for one Babbel language course, you need to purchase a subscription plan. A basic subscription costs $7.99 per month, $35.99 for 3 months, 6 months for $47.94 for 6 months, or $95.88 per year. Babbel also has a Lifetime subscription available for $499 that lets you access all the languages available on the platform. You can try one free lesson from each language to see if you like the app before purchasing a subscription.

With Rosetta Stone, a Single-Language subscription costs $44.99 for 3 months. You can also choose to get an Unlimited Languages subscription that costs $109.99 per year, or you can buy Lifetime access to all the language courses for $199.99. If you are interested in Rosetta Stone’s live classes, you can purchase a Lifetime Plus subscription and get 12 months of Rosetta Stone Live. You can try Rosetta Stone for free with a 3-day trial before purchasing any subscription.

The cost of these two apps are standard and are comparable with the price of language apps of similar caliber. Babbel is the more economical choice if you only want to learn one language. If you’re interested in a lifetime subscription to an app, or want to learn more than one language, Rosetta Stone will be cheaper in the longrun.

If you don’t feel like either of these apps is a good fit for you, don’t worry. There are more alternatives that you can use to reach your language goal. Here are 3 similar app recommendations:

Babbel or Rosetta Stone: How They Work

Babbel language courses focus on vocabulary and grammar. You can start learning basic phrases necessary for communication with the help of English translations, audio, and images. Rosetta Stone has an immersive approach that completely eliminates English translations and fully relies on images and audio to teach you the language you want to study.

Take a look at how these two apps compare across the internet:

Reviews BabbelRosetta Stone
Apple Store4.74.7
Google Play4.54.6
Trust Pilot3.93.6
Total Average Score4.44.3

How Babbel Works

Babbel is an online platform and app with comprehensive language courses. You can take a placement test and let the app decide which is the best level for you, or pick where you want to start. Babbel offers a structured lesson plan, but you can also choose which topic you want to study next. Or you can jump to a more advanced level if you are already familiar with the topics taught at the beginner level. 

Babbel vocabulary

In each quick lesson, you complete a series of mix-and-match and fill-in-the-blank exercises. Babbel uses audio and voice recognition tools to help you develop your speaking and listening skills, but there are also grammar tips integrated to teach you how to use the language. There are flashcards, and quizzes you can use to test your knowledge and review what you learned. 

Babbel also has live group lessons with native speakers on Zoom. Each lesson lasts around 60 minutes and has up to 6 people per group. You can learn more about it in this Babbel review.

How Rosetta Stone Works

Rosetta Stone has immersive language courses that you can use to learn a language from zero. There are no English translations in Rosettas’ courses, so you rely entirely on visual cues to learn new vocabulary and phrases in your target language. The lessons last around 10-30 minutes and use audio and voice recognition tools to help you train your listening and speaking skills. They use a mix of fill-in-the-blank, mix-and-match, as well as listen-and-repeat exercises to make sure that you get the right pronunciation, meaning, and context for the words.  

Rosetta Stone Korean course

Each course has a complete beginner, intermediate, and advanced level but some language courses have more units than others. There are different tools like on-demand videos, stories, and phrasebooks that can teach you more about culture and vocabulary. Rosetta Stone also has alphabet charts to help you practice the pronunciation of each letter.

If you want more guidance, Rosetta Stone also has live lessons with native speakers available for free every week. There are also private and group tutoring sessions available in Rosetta Stone Live. You can learn more about the app in this Rosetta Stone review.

Babbel: Pros and Cons

Babbel has structured language courses that can take you from a complete beginner level to an advanced level. You begin by learning basic vocabulary like greetings, asking someone for their name, and talking about the weather. If you feel like the content of your level is too easy or you already have some knowledge of the language, you can also skip ahead to a different lesson or level.

Babbel lessons are also very dynamic and don’t overwhelm you with long chunks of information. While you are completing a lesson, a small bubble will pop up and briefly explain the grammar rule and ask you to use it to complete the exercise. This way, you are learning by practice instead of memorization.

One thing to keep in mind is that not all language courses have the same tools available. For example, if you are learning German, you can use voice recognition, games, flashcards, and writing exercises to review what you learned in each lesson. However, these are tools that are missing for other languages like French. Since you pay the same subscription price for all the language courses, it would be nice to see Babbel adapt more of its features to all the languages on the platform.

Most apps offer an extended free trial so you can test their features before you decide to purchase a subscription. However, Babbel’s free trial is very limited. You can only try the first lesson of each level to get a general idea of how the app works. But if you want to unlock all features and content, you need to purchase a Babbel subscription. My advice is to research the Babbel language course you want to study or contact their support center for more information.

Rosetta Stone: Pros and Cons

Rosetta Stone’s courses completely immerse you in the language that you want to learn. It gets rid of the translations and uses images and audio to help you practice your target language. You can follow its structured lesson plan, or skip and choose which topic you want to study next.

The platform has advanced voice recognition tools, and high-quality resources like stories, videos, and phrasebooks. All the audio presented in the courses is voiced by native speakers, so you can also train your ear and become familiar with the language. However, some of the phrases and vocabulary used in the lessons are too formal, which can be a problem if you are trying to learn how to communicate in the real world.

rosetta stone japanese course

While Rosetta Stone’s method can be perfect for learners with previous knowledge of their target language, it might not be the best alternative for complete beginners. Learning without translations can be confusing and frustrating, especially if you are trying to study a language from scratch. Also, the app doesn’t teach you how to write letters for languages with different writing systems like Chinese, Arabic, or Russian. 

Some people also feel that Rosetta Stone’s user interface could be more dynamic. There is something about the user interface that doesn’t seem as inviting as the environment provided in other language courses. Most people say that Rosetta Stone has a “dull” feel to it that has nothing to do with the tools or the effectiveness of the language courses. 

Rosetta Stone or Babbel: Which is Better?

Rosetta Stone and Babbel are both great language-learning resources. However, depending on your language goals, you might like one of them more than the other. 

If you are more experienced and don’t mind the absence of English translations, you could prefer using Rosetta Stone’s immersive language courses. Rosetta Stone has more features available for all its courses, so if you are trying to stick to using only one course or app, this is your best option. If you are a complete beginner trying to learn a new language for the first time, you might prefer Babbel. Babbel also has structured courses and interactive tools. Not all language courses have the same features available, but it’s an effective way to learn vocabulary and grammar. 

Babbel vs Rosetta Stone: FAQ

Which one is better, Rosetta Stone or Babbel?

Rosetta Stone and Babbel are two popular platforms with complete language courses, and which one is better for you depends on your language goals. For example, if you are looking to learn by completely immersing yourself in a new language, Rosetta Stone is the best choice. Babbel’s language courses have a more traditional approach and can help you work on all the areas you need to become fluent.

Can you become fluent with Rosetta Stone?

Rosetta Stone has immersive courses to help you develop all the areas of language but, if your goal is to become fluent, you might need to use more than one resource. The best way to learn natural language is to use authentic language resources like newspapers, podcasts, and videos. If you want to practice speaking with a native speaker, you can always hire a tutor on a platform like italki or Preply.

Is Rosetta Stone better than Duolingo or Babbel?

Rosetta Stone is better than Duolingo or Babbel if you are looking to learn a language in an immersive way. Otherwise, if you are trying to learn a language from zero but still want to have translations available, Babbel is a good option. Duolingo’s language courses aren’t as comprehensive, but you can study all languages available for free.

Is Babbel enough to be fluent?

Babbel can be enough to help you learn basic communication, but you might need to use other resources to become completely fluent. To reach fluency, you need to develop all the language skills necessary to understand, speak, write, and read like a native speaker. While Babbel can help you train in all areas of language learning, you still need to practice speaking with a real native speaker to become conversational. Using other authentic language materials can also ensure that you understand the language the way it is used in the real world.

Is Babbel completely free?

Babbel isn’t free but you can try the first lesson and review of every language free of charge. If you want to unlock all the lessons and content, you need to pay for a Babbel subscription. Babbel also offers an additional subscription that you can buy if you want to have unlimited online classes with tutors on Zoom.

Maria Claudia Alvarado

Maria Alvarado is a content writer and translator from Lima, Peru. She graduated from the Savannah College of Arts and Design in 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree in Writing. She is fluent in Spanish and English, has intermediate knowledge of French and German, and is learning Japanese. She hopes to bring consciousness about the importance of language learning through her articles and aspires to learn as many languages as possible.

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