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Babbel vs. Rosetta Stone: Which is the Best Language Platform for You?

Trying to choose between Babbel and Rosetta Stone for language learning? We've done the research and provide insights on their teaching methods, pricing, and you'll get our expert recommendations.
by Chris Allmer | Nov 7 2023

So, have you ever felt the urge to learn a new language? Maybe you dream of negotiating business deals in Mandarin, ordering coffee in Italian, or just having some French tête-à-tête. Knowing languages opens so many doors. 

And as soon as you are committed to learning another language, you’ll already find many tools out there that can help. 

At Blinkist, we’ve spent some time exploring two of the big names in the language-learning game: Babbel and Rosetta Stone. Let’s take a look at these platforms to help you find the perfect fit for your language journey.

Babbel vs. Rosetta Stone – the Facts

Babbel, founded in 2007 and with headquartered in Berlin, Germany, is an innovative online language-learning platform known for its practical approach. This learning platform offers courses in 14 languages and focuses on teaching learners conversational skills they can use immediately in real life. 

The lessons are concise, typically lasting between 10 and 15 minutes. Babbel’s curriculum balances grammar, vocabulary, and speaking exercises, ensuring learners get a well-rounded education in their chosen language. The pricing operates on a subscription model, providing flexibility to learners based on their commitment levels.

Rosetta Stone, established in 1992 and based in Arlington, Virginia, is one of the pioneering digital language learning platforms. It offers courses in 25 languages. Instead of direct translations or grammar drills, Rosetta Stone introduces learners to the new language through visuals, sounds, and context, mirroring the way one would naturally acquire a language.

The platform is specifically designed to facilitate immersion, ensuring that learners are exclusively exposed to the target language from the very beginning. This can be challenging, but it is believed to help learners become fluent in no time. 

Key Features & Offerings

Babbel Rosetta Stone
Users 10 Million Subscribers 500,000 Subscribers
Languages 14 Languages: Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Dutch, Swedish, Turkish, Danish, Norwegian, Polish, Indonesian, Russian, English 24 languages: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Dutch, English (American), English (British), Filipino (Tagalog), French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Persian (Farsi), Polish, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Spanish (Latin America), Spanish (Spain), Swedish, Turkish, Vietnamese
Free trial 1 free lesson/ language course 3-day-free trial period
Teaching Approaches Combines writing, audio exercises, and voice recognition practices Focuses on associating words and phrases with images
Length of lessons 10–15 minutes 10–30 minutes
Gamification Offers points, badges, and leaderboards for motivation Offers Rewards and scoring systems to motivate progress
Mobile App Mobile app for iOS and Android, and a Desktop version Mobile app for iOS and Android, and a Desktop version
App rating on iTunes Rating: 4.7 (531,485 reviews) Rating: 4.8 (201,297 reviews)
Offline Access Download lessons for offline use Download lessons for offline use
Rating on Trustpilot 4.1/ 5 (20,000 ratings) 3.5/5 (7,000 ratings)
Get your money back 20-day money-back guarantee 30-day money-back guarantee


Babbel vs. Rosetta Stone – the Teaching Methods

We all know that mastering a new language is no small achievement, and what works for one individual might not resonate with another. Everyone’s learning journey is unique

With that in mind, let’s explore how Babbel and Rosetta Stone tailor their teaching methods to cater to their users’ diverse learning styles and preferences.

How does Babbel teach?

  1. Practical Contextual Learning: Babbel emphasizes real-world situations in its lessons. It aims to prepare learners for actual conversations they might encounter, be it at a restaurant, hotel, or in daily life situations.
  2. Grammar and Vocabulary Integration: Babbel introduces grammar and vocabulary lessons contextually. Instead of isolated vocabulary lists or abstract grammar lessons, learners encounter these elements in the context of conversations or sentences, making them more relatable and easier to grasp.
  3. Spaced Repetition System (SRS): Babbel incorporates a review system that brings back old words and concepts at intervals to enhance memory retention. This spaced repetition ensures that learners get repeated exposure to the material, aiding long-term recall.

How does Rosetta Stone teach?

  1. Full Immersion Technique: Rosetta Stone’s cornerstone method is immersion. From the get-go, learners are introduced to the language without translations. This method encourages learners to think directly in the target language, rather than translating back and forth in their minds.
  2. Visual Association: Lessons in Rosetta Stone are heavily reliant on images. Learners associate words and phrases with corresponding images, which aids in intuitive understanding. This is especially useful in the early stages, when direct translations are not provided.
  3. Speech Recognition: Rosetta Stone incorporates advanced voice recognition technology that helps learners perfect their pronunciation. By comparing a learner’s speech to that of native speakers, it provides feedback and guidance on getting the pronunciation right.

When it comes to learning a new language, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. People have different learning styles, preferences, and goals, which is why various learning approaches are available. Each method offers its own set of advantages and challenges, catering to the diverse needs of language learners.

One excellent resource in the realm of language learning is “Fluent in 3 Months”. This guide on Blinkist provides a unique perspective on mastering any language in record time. Take a look.


Babbel vs. Rosetta Stone: The Pricing

How much is Babbel?

Babbel operates on a subscription-based model. Typically, the longer the subscription term, the cheaper the monthly cost:

Babbel Subscription Cost
1 month $13.95/month
3 months $9.95/month
6 months $8.45/month
12 months $6.96/month
Lifetime Membership $299.99

The monthly subscriptions give you access to one language, you can access all 14 languages with the Lifetime membership.

How much is Rosetta Stone?

Rosetta Stone also uses a subscription-based model, with the monthly cost decreasing as the subscription term lengthens:

Rosetta Stone Subscription Cost
3 months $35.97
12 months $95.88
Lifetime Membership $189
Lifetime Plus
(includes 12 Months of Unlimited Group Coaching)

The monthly subscriptions give you access to one language, you can access all 24 languages with the Lifetime Membership.

Babbel and Rosetta Stone are excellent platforms for language learning, offering structured courses and immersive methods to help users master new languages. However, if your interests extend beyond language learning to acquiring various skills, you might want to explore our detailed comparison of Skillshare and Udemy too.

The Pros and Cons of the Language Tools

The Pros

Babbel Rosetta Stone
With “Babel Live” you can join small group classes and learn with others Game-like exercise format, progressing from one level to the next for a fun learning experience
Simulates real life situation, for you to practice day to day conversations TruAccent speech recognition compares your voice recording to native speakers and gives immediate feedback
Offers “Culture Bites,” which consists of short videos about cultural facts Very good audio quality and you can download MP3s
Babbel covers various language levels, from beginners to advanced Great for beginners, as it is very interactive
A great mix of writing, listening, and speech recognition exercises Offers Podcasts for several languages (Spanish, French, German)
Follows traditional grammar and vocabulary lesson format and gives explanations Option to switch between languages at any time
Spaced Repetition, where you see more difficult terms more often You can download lessons for on the go with Audio Companion
Babbel offers a variety of lessons and interactive exercises, including speech and writing Rosetta Stone makes learning easy with visuals, intuition, and inference

The Cons

Babbel Rosetta Stone
Offers only 14 languages, missing languages like Chinese and Thai Not ideal for individuals aiming to extensively write and speak in the target language
Lessons are taught sequentially within one language, you can’t switch languages No writing practice
It provides a skip option for questions, which could encourage users not to engage or challenge themselves fully Course structure may be more repetitive in nature
The voice recognition software can be frustrating You learn on the go, and don’t really have grammar lessons
Content quality varies between languages Rosetta Stone never uses your native language, and can be confusing


Babbel vs. Rosetta Stone – our Final Recommendation

For newcomers to language learning who value structured practice, Rosetta Stone could be a great match. Its fixed, repetitive lessons offer a straightforward approach to achieving basic conversational skills. The only challenge is that the lessons are in the language you want to learn, and there are no translations. If a methodical learning style suits you, consider exploring Rosetta Stone. And if you want tp get a big discount on unlimited access, click here!

Babbel, in contrast, adjusts to your learning curve, revisiting concepts you find challenging with a more intermediate curriculum. It’s less repetitive and more like an interactive textbook, perfect for learners who want a tailored experience. The tricky part: You can skip lessons you don’t want to practice. But if you are a disciplined one, dive into Babbel’s smart learning approach. And with this link you’ll get 55% off your subscription.

And if you need just a little more motivation to get started on your learning journey, take a minute and browse through Blinkist’s endless resources for short key insights on the best motivational books out there. Todays highlight: The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden. Take a look – the first week is on us!

Start your free 7-day trialThis article includes affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission if you make a purchase through them. Rest assured, our opinions remain unbiased.

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