The conversation of Babbel vs Rosetta Stone depends completely on what kind of language learner you are, and how far you want to go with your language.
Rosetta Stone, for example, is great for ultimate beginner learners who just want to get to tourist-level understanding, while Babbel is for much more intensive learners.
But, if that doesn’t answer the question of Babbel vs Rosetta Stone for you, let’s go into detail. Both resources are genuinely high quality and very useful, but neither is for every single type of language learner.
Babbel vs Rosetta Stone: languages
First things first, which language(s) are you interested in learning? Both Babbel and Rosetta Stone teach:
- Portuguese (Brazilian)
Rosetta Stone also covers:
And Babbel has:
Babbel vs Rosetta Stone: lesson format
Both languages apps are structured very similarly…but there are key differences.
For example, Rosetta Stone is much more simple. It’s designed for the simplest goals: tourist level of the language. The lessons are static, and you know exactly what you’re going to get. You’ll also be consistently drilled several times over.
This is excellent for beginner language learners without any experience who need to get used to repetition, but boring for those with experience.
Babbel, on the other hand, is more responsive to your answers. If you keep getting something wrong, it’ll bring it up again and again until you get it. Plus, the content is going to go much more advanced, considering it’s built to be more textbook-like.
Babbel leads you through significantly less repetition than Rosetta Stone. Babbel does it SRS (Spaced Repetition) style, where you see more difficult terms more often; Rosetta Stone has a set number of repetitions for you to get through in every lesson.
If you try Rosetta Stone, you’ll learn very quickly if the repetition is too much for you, or if it’s exactly what you need.
From here, it’s pretty evident that Rosetta Stone and Babbel come from very different beginnings: Rosetta Stone being 3-figure-investment CD sets, Babbel being one of the first language learning apps.
Babbel vs Rosetta Stone: levels
As mentioned, Rosetta Stone is only going to get you so far. Babbel will get you…well, farther than that.
The first sign: Babbel asks you to assess your current level. And interestingly enough, the whole thing is in English!
On the other hand, Rosetta Stone doesn’t attempt to assess your level at all. Instead, it presents you with the lessons available and lets you choose the one that you think matches up with your current skill level. This approach is ideal for complete beginners.
Rosetta Stone’s static lessons follow the subject-verb-noun sentence structure all the way through its advanced content. It is engaging and well-rounded and helps you learn to use the language in more than one way, but it still maintains the same, identical patterns regardless of content.
This isn’t a problem if you just want to use the language to communicate simply, maybe for an upcoming trip or something. More experienced learners, however, will get bored quickly.
Rosetta Stone will get you speaking and understanding fast because of its real-life content; Babbel builds your skills over the long term because they’re being built to be more flexible, and useful in a variety of contexts (reading books, watching TV, etc.).
This isn’t to say Babbel doesn’t provide a real-life education, though, but we’ll talk about that later.
Language learning journeys: Rosetta Stone vs Babbel
One of the most important things to keep in mind is where your language learning app is going. It is worth noting here that the exact content from language to language isn’t going to necessarily match.
Like with any other language app, more popular foreign languages are going to be more developed. It’s a simple supply/demand thing. Regardless, here’s how the Spanish courses compare.
Babbel does offer support for more niche interests than Rosetta Stone, at least with languages as popular as Spanish.
However, Rosetta Stone, again, drills its lessons thoroughly. This leaves less room for the fun stuff or other needs you may have.
If being able to speak your target language is important to you, it’s just as important to choose a language app that will support that goal. So when it comes to learning to speak, how do Babbel and Rosetta Stone compare?
While Rosetta Stone was offering live coaching for a minute, I’m guessing it never really took. At the time of this review, Rosetta Stone is limited to the tech in their app.
On the other hand, Babbel’s coaching system, Babbel Live, seems to be going strong! Basically, every month you can join a certain number of small group classes (limited to 6 participants) with a Babbel teacher where you can get real-life conversational practice.
*Note that a Babbel Live subscription is separate from the Babbel app, but if you pay for Babbel Live, you get the app thrown in free. The Babbel app is priced similarly to the Rosetta Stone app.
Which is your next language app?
While both Rosetta Stone and Babbel are pretty huge language learning apps and are insanely well-known within the language learning industry, they’re actually quite different from each other and serve wildly different needs.
Rosetta Stone is simple. It’ll get you to basic conversations pretty quickly, and will drill you again and again until the lessons truly sink into your long-term memory. And even if you want to eventually go into more intermediate content, Rosetta Stone is still a high quality start.
Babbel is more flexible. It follows your lead and gives you only the information that you need when you need it. Plus, the skills you learn from Babbel can be easily applied to any language learning goals you may have.
Made your choice?
If Rosetta Stone sounds more like your speed, you can learn more about it in my Rosetta Stone review.