Babbel vs Rosetta Stone: Which Is Better?
Babbel vs Rosetta Stone: which language program is best for you?
Many free language learning apps are available on the market today. They offer courses that will help you get on the right track when you want to learn a new language.
However, apps like Babbel and Rosetta Stone promise to take you to a higher level of understanding with premium courses. Let’s take a look at Babbel vs Rosetta Stone and weigh their pros and cons, how they work, and how much they cost.
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Rosetta Stone is a long-established brand. First launched in 1992, this program has over 25 years of experience in teaching languages through software. Does their extensive experience show in the quality of their courses? Or are they overshadowed by more modern apps and teaching methods?
Pros of Rosetta Stone vs Babbel
1. Fully immerses you in your target language
The first positive thing about learning a language with Rosetta Stone is that they won’t hold your hand by speaking in your native language. This means you’ll be fully immersed in the language with no English in sight (except for navigation options such as menus).
2. Teaches your target language visually
They use images, associations, and audio to give you the information you need to learn words through context. This is an amazing way to grasp the language if you’re a visual learner.
3. Provides a user-friendly interface
Many users report that the interface is user-friendly. You’ll spend less time learning the ropes of the site and more time learning the language itself.
4. Offers original stories in your target language
You get access to Rosetta Stone’s stories. You can read them aloud to compare your pronunciation with that of a native speaker. The stories are accompanied by helpful images that give you simple clues as to what you’re saying.
5. Invites you to join group tutoring sessions
Group tutoring sessions are available, which pair you up with a live tutor and other students to play games. It’s a fun way to get hands-on language experience from the comfort of home.
Cons of Rosetta Stone vs Babbel
1. Learning can be slow and repetitive
Many users have said that the Rosetta Stone program is slow, repetitive, and boring at times. This is mainly because of the small number of words you learn in the time you spend on the app.
2. Voice recognition software is reportedly not accurate all the time
Its voice recognition software is not entirely accurate. Sometimes you will get correct marks for incorrect pronunciation and vice versa.
3. Users reports not being able to speak the target language after a 200-hour course
Users also report that, after completing the 200-hour course, they are able to understand but cannot speak much themselves. This is mainly because the app does not encourage practicing conversations and focuses more heavily on vocabulary and grammar.
4. Group tutoring sessions cost extra beyond the monthly fee or lifetime membership
Group tutoring sessions cost extra on top of the $9-11 monthly fee or the one-time $200 payment for a lifetime membership.
Is Rosetta Stone Worth Purchasing?
Here’s why: This program is great if your ultimate goal is to be able to read a book or watch a movie in Spanish.
It gives you enough information that you can go to a Spanish-speaking country and understand signs, menus, or have basic conversations with locals. However, its passive learning methods do not encourage as much engagement as other free apps on the market.
Some people describe it as boring and repetitive while other customers are satisfied with the service Rosetta Stone offers. They recommend the program as a great way to set a solid foundation before learning a new language.
In my opinion, Rosetta Stone doesn’t offer anything that goes above and beyond what apps such as Duolingo do for free. So, while Rosetta Stone can certainly take you where you want to go language-wise, you might want to look elsewhere before deciding if this is the best program for you.
Babbel has been growing in popularity in the past few years. Their name is a reference to the biblical story of the Babel tower, where God made the workers speak in different tongues to confuse them and prevent them from finishing their construction. But, another reference to this name is the Babel fish from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; a fish that can understand and translate any language so the listener can communicate without a language barrier. So, do Babbel courses relate more to the biblical story of confusing languages or the magical language-barrier-busting fish?
Pros of Babbel vs Rosetta Stone
1. Teaches conversational skills in your target language with audio
In the first five minutes of the Babbel course, you’ll be exposed to common conversations in your target language. For example, the first phrases you learn in the Babbel Spanish course are
- no entiendo (I don’t understand)
- estoy aprendiendo (I’m learning)
- ¿puedes repetir? (can you repeat that?)
Once you get these phrases correct, they immediately give you example sentences using the phrases in a conversation. Thus, you’re instantly submerged in the language you’re learning. This is reminiscent of learning a language with personal tutors who speak the language with their students from day one. These conversations also have different accents depending on which character is speaking in their audio lessons, which is a nice detail that adds to the realism of the course.
2. Entertains while teaching useful, colloquial language
The Babbel lessons are dynamic and entertaining, mainly focusing on conversational and colloquial language rather than vocabulary. Babbel understands that the crux of learning a language lies in conversations, not in merely knowing a bunch of words.
3. Introduces grammar in manageable chunks
They introduce grammar little by little. Whenever a new grammar rule is introduced, they provide a short explanation to teach you about it. You can also move through the course catalog freely.
4. Provides a tailored review section to practice improving your mistakes
A nifty review section lets you practice lessons that you didn’t fully grasp.
Cons of Babbel vs Rosetta Stone
1. Lose access to content if you miss a payment
Unlike Rosetta Stone, Babbel does not offer a lifetime payment, which means that if you stop paying the monthly subscription fee, which ranges from $7-10 a month, you’ll no longer have access to their content.
2. Lacks personalized attention from an instructor
Your only source of information is the course itself, which means you’ll lack the personalized attention a personal teacher can offer.
3. The course can’t take you beyond the intermediate level of your target language
The Babbel course will only effectively take you to an intermediate level, so intermediate and advanced speakers might find the courses dull and redundant.
4. Your language of choice may not be taught in depth
Finally, as is the case with Rosetta Stone, less popular languages have less in-depth courses, so you won’t get as far with Danish as you would with Spanish, for example.
Is Babbel Worth Purchasing?
Here’s why: Babbel offers quality lessons and no-nonsense approach, which can get you to the intermediate level of your target language. If you’re planning a backpacking trip to a foreign country, or if you are a self-motivated learner with a tight schedule who can benefit from the freedom and flexibility their courses offers, then Babbel takes the cake in the Babbel vs Rosetta Stone debate.
What’s the Best Way To Learn a Language?
Without a doubt, the best way to learn a language is to surround yourself with people who speak it. If you’re in a city where no one speaks English, you’ll have to learn how to communicate a lot faster since you won’t be able to default to your native language once things get tough.
However, this method of learning can be overwhelming to some, and it’s not the right way for many, especially if you don’t want to end up missing your stop at the train station or blindly choosing something to eat from a foreign restaurant menu. There’s another way to achieve this effect in a way that’s friendlier and more fun, which is one-on-one conversations with a native speaker.
We compared Babbel vs Rosetta Stone because they offer many different languages for you to learn, but if you want to learn Spanish, you’ll want to consider Homeschool Spanish Academy as an option, too.
Your BEST Option? Homeschool Spanish Academy
While pre-recorded online courses that Babbel and Rosetta Stone offer can supply you with vocabulary, grammar, and spelling lessons, it’s prove that with live, 1-on-1 language lessons, you learn faster, more efficiently, and your memory of the lesson lasts longer. You have the rare and empowering opportunity to practice your pronunciation and fluency in a way that far surpasses speech detection technology.
With Homeschool Spanish Academy, you go at your own pace and learn about topics that are important to you, while your personal tutor weaves essential grammar and vocabulary into your lessons. This eliminates the issues that are common with standardized programs; a significant amount of students either fall behind or are way ahead of the learning curve of pre-planned language programs.
With a highly selective hiring process, the HSA team is full of quality teachers. They must have teaching experience and certification to teach Spanish as a second language. English proficiency and the ability to speak understandable English is a must, as well!
HSA is based in Guatemala, which has a reputation for being one of the best places to learn Spanish. Since many inhabitants speak Spanish as a second language, Guatemalans tend to speak slower and more clearly than other Latin American countries. If you want to try out the program by yourself, take a free class with us and you’ll be speaking Spanish on your first day!
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