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Rosetta Stone Review: Is It Worth All The Hype?

Chad Emery Published on August 16, 2021
Rosetta Stone review

Learn languages like a child

From the moment you start using Rosetta Stone, you’re completely immersed in another language. The app uses audio and images to teach you words and phrases, as well as high-quality speech recognition technology to check your pronunciation. While it’s not a perfect language app by any means, Rosetta Stone’s method is effective and backed by science. The courses cover quite a few topics and the app is easy to use, too.


User Experience 9
Quality of Content 8
Features Available 7
Value for Money 8


  • Mimics complete immersion in a new language
  • The app is easy to use
  • Courses are flexible and you can choose your lessons
  • Additional features help you practice all skills


  • No writing practice
  • The progression of the course is a bit slow
  • You learn more formal language, not conversational
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Languages Available on Rosetta Stone

The following 22 languages are available on Rosetta Stone:

Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Dutch, Filipino (Tagalog), French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Persian (Farsi), Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Spanish (Latin America), Spanish (Spain), Swedish, and Turkish, and Vietnamese.

Rosetta Stone also offers English (American and British) courses and endangered language materials for Chikashshanompa’, Kanien’kéha (Mohawk), Sitimaxa (Chitimacha), Iñupiaq (Coastal) and Iñupiaq (Kobuk/Selawik), Iñupiaq (North Slope), Diné Bizaad (Navajo), and Inuttitut.

Rosetta Stone Overview

I’ve tried a lot of different language apps, and it’s always interesting to see which ones can help you learn a language vs those that are just hype and high marketing budgets. That’s why I was excited to write this review. There is a lot of hype around Rosetta Stone, and it also has a huge group of devoted users (and also quite a few who think it’s a waste).

So I decided to take a closer look at the latest version (Version 5) of the Rosetta Stone language learning suite. I wanted to see for myself if it was worth all the hype. And honestly, I have a mixed opinion.

The Rosetta Stone company has been around since 1992, making it one of the most established language learning companies in the world. Older doesn’t necessarily mean better, but I do think Rosetta Stone is a solid app.

Its teaching method is best for complete beginners, but the way it completely throws you into the language with no instruction or guidance may be offputting for some.

The best way to see if it’s a good fit for you is to sign up for a free trial and test it yourself.

Rosetta Stone Price

When it comes to price, Rosetta Stone has a few different choices and choosing the right one can be a little confusing. In general, the cost of Rosetta Stone tends to be a little more expensive than other major language learning apps like Babbel and Mondly. It’s still cheaper than some others like FluentU and Pimsleur though.

The table below shows the different Rosetta Stone price options you can choose from on the website or in the app.

Subscription LengthWeb PriceApp Price
3 months$35.97 (1 language)$44.99 (1 language)
12 months$143.88 (1 language)$109.99 (all languages)
Lifetime$299.00 (all languages)$199.99 (all languages)
Lifetime Plus*N/A$299.99

*The Lifetime Plus subscription includes 12 months of unlimited access to Rosetta Stone Live.

Rosetta Stone Cost Per Month

If you want a clearer idea of how much you actually pay for a Rosetta Stone subscription, it’s a good idea to break down the Rosetta Stone cost per month.

The table below shows you the monthly Rosetta Stone price for web and app subscriptions.

Subscription LengthCost Per Month (Web)Cost Per Month (App)
3 months$11.99 ($35.97 total)$15.00 ($44.99 total)
12 months$11.99 ($143.88 total)$9.17 ($109.99 total)

Rosetta Stone Free vs Paid

You can try Rosetta Stone free for 3 days if you sign up online. If you sign up in the Rosetta Stone app, you can try the first lesson of each language course for free.

There is no free version of the Rosetta Stone program. A paid Rosetta Stone Subscription starts at $11.99 per month. It’s definitely worth trying it for free before you pay for a subscription.

Rosetta Stone Unlimited Price

If you plan to use Rosetta Stone long-term or want to study multiple languages with the app, you should consider an upgrade to lifetime unlimited access.

The Rosetta Stone unlimited price is $299.99 if you purchase on the web or $199.99 in the app.

You can also purchase an unlimited Lifetime Plus subscription in the app for $299.99, which includes total access to Rosetta Stone Live for the first 12 months.

Rosetta Stone Sales, Deals, and Coupons

Rosetta Stone has some sales and deals throughout the year, usually around major shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. These promos are the best way to get cheap access to Rosetta Stone, so keep an eye on the Rosetta Stone website throughout the year.

There are also some other websites that offer coupons for Rosetta Stone, like Groupon. These aren’t always reliable though. Usually these sites are just Rosetta Stone affiliates that get a commission if you click their link and buy a subscription. They don’t actually offer any deals, so don’t waste too much time searching on these sites.

Rosetta Stone Discounts

In addition to different sales and deals throughout the year, Rosetta Stone discounts are available all the time for different groups. Here’s a list of Rosetta Stone discounts you can access anytime:

  • Rosetta Stone Student Discount: Active college students in the US and Canada can get 10% off of a Rosetta Stone membership once they verify their status through the Rosetta Stone website.
  • Rosetta Stone Military/Veteran Discount: Rosetta Stone also offers 10% off of all subscriptions to active and veteran military members. You can verify your status through the Rosetta Stone website.
  • Rosetta Stone Discount for Nurses and Healthcare Workers: In the past, Rosetta Stone has offered discounts for nurses and other healthcare workers. However, the official Rosetta Stone website doesn’t show this anymore.

Rosetta Stone Review: Main Features

Like a lot of other language learning apps, Rosetta Stone guides you through a complete language course starting from the beginning. These courses are Rosetta Stone’s core feature, but the language app also has some other features that add value to its main courses. Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll find in the Rosetta Stone app.

Rosetta Stone Courses

The Rosetta Stone language courses are the main part of the language learning app. Some languages have more units and lessons than others, but they all cover similar topics. Ranging from the basics of the language to more conversational topics like shopping and family, the units teach you words and phrases you may encounter in everyday life.

Rosetta Stone Course Screenshot

Rosetta Stone courses are completely different than most other language apps though. They immerse you in the language right away. You listen to the words and phrases and look at a picture to figure out what the words mean, which is similar to how children learn a language. This approach makes you think a lot more actively about what you’re learning instead of passively memorizing words and translations.

Embedded Translations

The complete immersion aspect of the Rosetta Stone courses can be somewhat intimidating (and even frustrating) for language learners. While some people love it, others completely hate it. And Rosetta Stone understands this. To make the lessons more accomodating for everyone, the courses now have embedded translations.

Rosetta Stone Review Embedded Translation Screenshot

They aren’t readily accessible because Rosetta Stone still wants you to try and figure out the words and phrases on your own. But if you’re really stuck, you can press and hold the image to reveal its translation. This is available in the latest versions of Rosetta Stone, and I think it’s definitely an improvement.

Seek & Speak

Seek & Speak exercises are an additional way to practice your target language outside of the main course. With Seek & Speak, you choose a topic like packing a bag or going to the grocery store.

Rosetta Stone Seek and Speak Screenshot

Then you use your phone camera to take pictures of items around your house. With these pictures, Rosetta Stone creates a conversation and you practice discussing the items. This is an interactive way to practice and it can help you remember words more effectively.


The Phrasebook is another feature of Rosetta Stone, and it’s pretty straightforward. It shows you common words and phrases and lets you listen to a native speaker pronounce them.

Rosetta Stone Phrasebook Screenshot

It’s helpful for reviewing vocabulary and practicing your pronunciation but it’s pretty limited. I think the other features are more helpful for learning vocabulary and practicing it. A much better app for quickly learning words and phrases is MosaLingua


The Stories feature is one of the most useful feature in the app. It has short stories in your target language that you can read, listen to, and even record yourself reading. I enjoyed using this feature because reading to yourself and aloud is one of the best ways to improve your fluency. The stories start simply and become more complex as you work your way through the course.

One aspect of Stories I didn’t like was that they use the Latin alphabet for languages that have non-Latin writing systems (like Mandarin Chinese and Japanese).

Rosetta Stone doesn’t teach you to write these languages or read them in its course, which was a bit of a disappointment. But using an app like Drops or Skritter along with Rosetta Stone can help you with this.

Rosetta Stone Live

A newer feature offered by Rosetta Stone is live tutoring. The Rosetta Stone live tutoring and group coaching sessions let you practice with expert language coaches. There are free lessons every week that cover conversations, grammar, and pronunciation. You can also take group lessons or private classes with a Rosetta Stone online tutor.

Rosetta Stone Live Screenshot

All Rosetta Stone live classes follow a curriculum the company developed, and the tutors are experienced professionals. I tried a few of the live classes in different languages and I enjoyed them. The lesson plans were easy to follow and all of the tutors were really engaging and fun. Similar to the app though, the topics are somewhat basic.

Rosetta Stone Languages

These are the languages offered by Rosetta Stone: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Dutch, Filipino (Tagalog), French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Persian (Farsi), Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Spanish (Latin America and Spain), Swedish, Turkish, and Vietnamese. Rosetta Stone has English (American and British) courses too, as well as endangered language materials for Chikashshanompa’, Kanien’kéha (Mohawk), Sitimaxa (Chitimacha), Iñupiaq (Coastal) and Iñupiaq (Kobuk/Selawik), Iñupiaq (North Slope), Diné Bizaad (Navajo), and Inuttitut.

When you subscribe to Rosetta Stone, you get access to one language course. If you want to learn multiple languages with the app, you can either subscribe to each language individually or get the unlimited languages subscription.

While all courses follow the same general structure, there are some key differences between them. Some language courses are longer than others and some have more features. To help you decide if the app is a good option for your unique language learning goals, I looked at some popular Rosetta Stone languages to give you a more specific review.

Rosetta Stone Spanish Review

The Rosetta Stone Spanish course is one of the app’s most comprehensive courses. In addition to the core lessons that teach you the basics, the Spanish course includes all additional features, like Seek & Speak, Stories, Audio Companion, and the Phrasebook.

Unlike most other language apps, the Rosetta Stone Spanish lessons force you to actively use the language. This helps you learn it more quickly and efficiently. Overall, the Rosetta Stone Spanish course is an excellent resource to build a strong foundation in the language.

You can also check out this list of Spanish learning apps.

Rosetta Stone French Review

The Rosetta Stone French course helps you learn how to navigate everyday situations in French. The lessons cover the basics of the language and the additional features help you practice what you’ve learned. The speech recognition technology can help improve your pronunciation, but the most useful feature for this is Stories.

Rosetta Stone French Review Story Screenshot

Rosetta Stone lets you follow along as a native speaker reads the story, then you can record yourself reading it. This feature alone makes Rosetta Stone stand out from other French learning apps.

You can also compare Rosetta Stone to other apps to learn French.

Rosetta Stone Japanese Review

Using Rosetta Stone to learn Japanese will help you understand the language a little, but the Japanese course has quite a few limitations. More popular languages like Spanish and French have 20 units of content, but Rosetta Stone Japanese only has 12. You also don’t learn to read or write in Japanese with Rosetta Stone.

Rosetta Stone Japanese Review of Story Screenshot

The additional features like Seek & Speak and Audio Companion can help improve your conversational Japanese. If you want to learn how to read and write though, you’ll need to use another app like Rocket Languages or Drops.

You can also read about other apps to learn Japanese.

Rosetta Stone Korean Review

The Rosetta Stone Korean course has 12 units and includes the Stories and Audio Companion features. Compared to other Rosetta Stone language courses, the Korean course is more basic. It also doesn’t teach you to read or write in Korean.

Rosetta Stone Korean Course Screenshot

The course can help you learn some of the basics of Korean, but if you want to become conversational, it’s best to use an app like Rocket Languages.

You can also check out other Korean learning apps.

Rosetta Stone Arabic Review

The Rosetta Stone Arabic course has 12 units that help you learn some general vocabulary and grammar. It only teaches Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), which isn’t that useful for talking to native speakers. Other apps like Pimsleur offer more common dialects like Egyptian and Eastern Arabic.

Rosetta Stone Arabic Course Screenshot

You also won’t learn how to read or write in Arabic with Rosetta Stone. Overall, it’s good for learning some basics, but it won’t help you reach an intermediate Arabic level. You can find other apps to learn Arabic if that’s your goal.

Rosetta Stone Mandarin Review

The Rosetta Stone Mandarin course has 20 units that can help you build a decent foundation in the language. While you’ll improve your Mandarin speaking and listening skills with Rosetta Stone, you won’t learn to read or write Mandarin.

Rosetta Stone Chinese Story Screenshot

All of the activities use Pinyin, which uses the Latin alphabet, to show each word’s pronunciation. This is the main drawback of the Rosetta Stone Mandarin course. If your goal is to learn basic Mandarin Chinese, Rosetta Stone could be a better place to start. These Chinese apps can also help you become fluent.

Rosetta Stone Unlimited Languages Review

In addition to its individual language courses, Rosetta Stone offers an unlimited languages subscription. This gives you access to all of its language courses for one price. If you enjoy Rosetta Stone’s teaching method, and want to learn more than one language, the unlimited languages subscription is definitely worth it.

This is especially true if you want to learn more popular languages like Spanish and French. The Rosetta Stone unlimited languages subscription is perfect for casual language learners who want to learn the basics of multiple languages, but don’t necessarily want to become fluent in all of them.

Overall Learning Experience

While testing the app to write this Rosetta Stone review, I’d have to say my overall learning experience was positive. I enjoyed the immersive lessons, and this is what made Rosetta Stone stand out most from other language apps, in my opinion.

It has become a common trend for language learning apps to show you new words and phrases and teach you to translate them. But this slows down the learning process, in my opinion. Rosetta Stone takes a completely different approach. It forces you to figure out what new words mean by looking at pictures.

Rosetta Stone Learning Experience Screenshot

This is a more “active” form of language and helps you build communication skills a lot faster than the more “passive” method of translating.

Rosetta Stone won’t help you achieve complete fluency in any language, but it will help you build a decent foundation in the basics. The lessons are easy to follow and the fact that you can access the courses online or on different devices makes it a convenient choice.

Areas of Improvement

Rosetta Stone is a solid app in some ways, but it also has a few areas of improvement. And it’s only fair to include them as part of this Rosetta Stone language learning review.

What the app does well is simulate situations that force you to speak on-the-spot. But the content of the conversations could be improved. Rosetta Stone tends to use more formal language as opposed to teaching you how people speak in daily life. This has value for some, but I personally prefer to learn more casual ways to speak.

The pace of the courses could also improve. It seems like the more complete sentences and conversations don’t come until later units and lessons. This is demotivating for people who want to learn quickly.

The final area of improvement I want to mention is how Rosetta Stone teaches languages with different writing systems. For languages like Japanese, Korean, Arabic, and Mandarin Chinese, you don’t learn how to read or write at all. Adding some lessons that teach this would be a huge improvement.

Rosetta Stone Alternatives and Competitors

The language learning industry has exploded in the last decade (and continues to grow). As more people learn languages, a lot of Rosetta Stone alternatives and competitors have been created. Some of them are better than Rosetta Stone and some of them are much worse. Some of the best Rosetta Stone alternatives are Babbel, Pimsleur, Mondly, and Memrise.

Rosetta Stone vs Babbel

babbel homepage

Rosetta Stone and Babbel are two of the most popular language learning apps available. Rosetta Stone completely immerses you in another language from the first lesson and doesn’t use your native language at all. Babbel, on the other hand, uses quite a bit of English to explain new concepts (similar to LinguaLift and Fluenz).

Overall, Babbel’s courses help you practice all communication skills while Rosetta Stone focuses on listening and reading. Babbel is also a little cheaper than Rosetta Stone. Both apps offer a free trial, so it’s worth trying them both to see which you prefer. Learn more about these two apps in this comparison breakdown or in this Babbel review.

Rosetta Stone vs Pimsleur

pimsleur homepage

Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone both focus on developing your listening and speaking skills. Pimsleur teaches you to have conversations starting in your first lesson, and its main goal is to help you become conversational quickly. Rosetta Stone has a slower pace and teaches basic phrases in a more formal context.

Between the two, Pimsleur is the stronger app and will help you become conversational more quickly. Rosetta Stone offers a free 3-day trial and Pimsleur offers a 7-day free trial, so go ahead and give both a try to see which is best for you. You can also read more in this Pimsleur review.

Rosetta Stone vs Mondly

Mondly Homepage

Mondly and Rosetta Stone are both good language apps for beginners, but their structures and features are different. Rosetta Stone lessons should be completed in order while Mondly gives you more flexibility to complete the lessons in any order you want.

Mondly also offers grammar explanations, chatbot conversations, and even augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). In terms of price, Mondly is cheaper than Rosetta Stone. You can try both for free to see which app you prefer. You can also read more in this Mondly review or in this complete Mondly vs Rosetta Stone comparison.

Rosetta Stone vs Memrise

memrise homepage

Memrise is mainly a flashcard app, but it does offer structured courses for some languages. For this reason, it’s worth comparing Memrise to Rosetta Stone. In general, Memrise teaches you more useful vocabulary and also includes videos with native speakers.

However, both apps really only teach you the basics and it’s difficult to become conversational using either one. They also have somewhat confusing price structures. A much better option is MosaLingua. You can also read more in this Memrise review.

Rosetta Stone Review FAQ

Is Rosetta Stone really worth it?

Rosetta Stone is worth it if you’re a beginner and want to immerse yourself in a new language. Rosetta Stone teaches you vocabulary using audio and images and it helps you actively practice the language. But it’s not a good option for intermediate or advanced learners.

What’s the best way to use Rosetta Stone?

The best way to use Rosetta Stone is to study consistently and complete the lessons in order. Completing the additional practice activities, like Stories and Seek & Speak, can help reinforce what you learn in the lessons. Because Rosetta Stone focuses on speaking skills, it’s best to enable your microphone and use the speech recognition technology to improve your pronunciation.

Can you become fluent with Rosetta Stone?

No, you will not become fluent by studying a language with Rosetta Stone. This is especially true if you’re studying a less popular language like Japanese, Korean, or Arabic. However, you can learn the basics of a language and start having simple conversations.

Is Babbel better than Rosetta Stone?

Overall, Babbel is better than Rosetta Stone. Babbel offers more comprehensive courses and teaches you a more natural way to speak your target language. While Rosetta Stone is better at teaching you to think in another language, Babbel’s courses cover more content and help you become an intermediate speaker.

Is Duolingo as good as Rosetta Stone?

Duolingo is definitely not as good as Rosetta Stone. In addition to advertisements that interrupt your Duolingo lessons, the app doesn’t teach you any natural language. The sentences are random and the lessons are very basic, more like a game. Rosetta Stone’s approach is backed by scientific research and the courses help you absorb a new language over time.

Rosetta Stone Review Methodology

This Rosetta Stone review is completely independent and all of the opinions are mine. I’m not affiliated with Rosetta Stone in any way and I didn’t receive any compensation to write this review. In addition to testing the app myself, I also read reviews online to see what other language learners liked and didn’t like about the Rosetta Stone courses.

Chad Emery

Chad is the founder and editor of Langoly. He was a TEFL-certified English teacher for many years and has been an active language learner for many more. His articles have been featured around the web by organizations like the Government of Canada's Translation Bureau and Simon & Schuster. In his free time, Chad is an avid traveler and loves running in new places. Connect with Chad on LinkedIn.

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  • I bought the French CD Package from Rosetta Stone for $450. Now they no longer support the platform because it uses Adobe Flash, and Rosetta Stone have not made any updates to compensate. So, my purchase is now worthless. I contacted customer service hoping that they would compensate by providing me free access to the online platform, but they did not offer anything.

  • I bought Rosetta Stone back when they were using DVDs. I was still working, and had the funds but not the time. Now I am retired and I have the time-but the DVDs no longer work.
    Rosetta Stone’s solution was to buy the updated product, at a discounted price. Do they have no shame? Why would I spend more money with a company that already got more of my funds than they should have? They actually told me to purchase the “forever” product, and then send a copy of the receipt and they would expedite my “partial” refund. Do they think I trust them? Trust is built, and I have no trust in their company, or its products.

    • I have the same situation. Bought a CD and now they don’t work. The company offers me to buy their program again. This is a fraud. This is cheating customers.

  • I purchased Rosetta Stone’s DVDs several years ago for $400. I worked on learning Spanish some, but life and frustration got in the way. I took it up again a little over a year ago and nearly completed all the lessons.

    However, I’m also doing computer updates and found out the software is no longer supported. Customer service said to buy the lifetime program and they would offer about half off. I still want to learn, so I reluctantly went ahead and purchased it, but didn’t get a receipt to show for it. Trying the online version was also much more difficult than the desktop software and very hard to navigate when using assistive technology.

  • Just wanted to comment that the review of the Japanese and Mandarin courses state that you will not learn how to read with Rosetta Stone. Sorry, this is incorrect! Perhaps the reviewer missed the language script settings that allow you to choose a romanized transcription (pinyin for Chinese and romaji for Japanese) or the characters and furigana. I am currently learning both of these languages with Rosetta Stone.

  • For everyone who bought CDs that no longer work, I had many Rosetta Stone CDs in various languages. You guys must have missed the emails that allowed us to upgrade. All of mine could be upgraded to unlimited languages for free (got an email for each CD set). It was the best deal ever. I did not need a bunch of free lifetime unlimited language subscriptions. They allowed me to upgrade and give them away (I asked permission). I further upgraded one subscription for myself to include live coaching for a yearly fee. There was a deadline with those upgrade offers, though. If you didn’t check your email, you missed the boat.