User experience
Value for money
Read Rosetta Stone review
$7.99per month
User experience
Value for money
Read Babbel review
$7.45per month

Rosetta Stone vs Babbel


Rosetta Stone is one of the oldest and most tried and tested solutions for language learning. It immerses you in interactive core lessons conducted entirely in the target language and provides speech technology to get you speaking in your chosen language quickly and correctly. Rosetta Stone lets you choose both your level and your reasons for pursuing a language and if you purchase Lifetime Plus, you can access regular small group lessons with a live tutor.

Babbel is the world’s best selling language app with 10 million purchased subscriptions. It teaches common words and phrases and then immerses you in simulated conversation to practice them. Recordings of native speakers and advanced voice recognition help to hone your accent, and culture and grammar tips bring the language into context. A review manager tracks your progress and with Babbel Live you can receive small group tuition.

  • Very immersive, you see, hear and read only in your target language in true to life scenarios
  • Speech technology to fine tune your accent and object recognition which allows you to point at an object with your phone camera to identify it and have a conversation about it in your target language
  • Allows you to personalize your language goals
  • Provides In depth progress reports
  • Flexible - available in desktop and device versions
  • Regular small group lessons with live tutors for Lifetime Plus subscribers
  • Good user experience
  • Covers all elements of language learning - speaking, listening, reading and writing plus grammar explanations and exercises
  • Personalized learning paths and a review manager to help identify weaknesses
  • Provides access to native speaking teachers through Babbel live 
  • Regularly updated content and a focus on practical, real-life conversations
  • Available on both web and mobile platforms
  • Culture Bites and Babbel Magazine promote cultural savviness
  • Integrated podcast series promotes language immersion
  • Can feel rather repetitive
  • Not great for grammar, writing or cultural context
  • No placement test
  • Full immersion in the target language may be off putting for some
  • Pacing is a little slow at times
  • Fewer languages than its competitors and only one Asian language (Indonesian)
  • Minor interface annoyances with the desktop version
Best for

Best for: Those looking to learn a new language from scratch or seeking to improve their speaking and pronunciation. Most suitable for those happy to learn purely in the target language and to learn intuitively rather than in a structured analytical way.

Best for: Babbel is a comprehensive language learning platform that’s great for a wide range of learners. That said, I’d say Babbel is best for those wanting to learn a new language from scratch or looking to improve their intermediate skills. It will especially suit people who want to learn flexibly in short bursts and those interested in joining small live tutorial groups.


From $7.99 per month

From $7.45 per month

Number of users

500,000 active users

10 mlllion subscriptions sold


Overall: Rosetta Stone propels your language-learning forward by adapting a program of courses to suit your learning aims. It immerses you in the target language (combined with visual and audio clues) so you can learn instinctively and without relying on translations. It also stands out by offering additional features such as voice and object recognition.

To provider

Overall: Babbel is an excellent choice if you want to learn a new language efficiently and effectively. Its well-designed lessons, practical approach, and customizable learning paths make it a great tool for gaining real-world language skills. Babbel Live instructor-led classes provide a more immersive experience for anyone serious about language learning. Combine Babbel’s curated courses with the Babbel Live classes and you’ll be speaking your target language in no time at all.

To provider
Supported languages

Spanish, French, German, Italian, English, Japanese, Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, Filipino, English (US), Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Irish, Korean, Persian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish (Latin America), Swedish, Turkish, Vietnamese

Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Dutch, Swedish, Turkish, Polish, Norwegian, Danish, Indonesian, and English for non-native speakers.


Rosetta Stone is a language e-learning service founded in 1992 with the aim of unlocking the secrets of language learning success. This is why it was named after the actual Rosetta Stone (which unlocked the secrets of Egyptian hieroglyphics).

It's now one of the oldest and best known names in the industry with 500k+ active subscribers.

As well as having platforms designed for personal and business use, Rosetta Stone has a K-12 educational platform. Around 15% of schools in the US subscribe to one of Rosetta Stone's products.

Rosetta Stone is very immersive and uses only the target language (combined with audio, images and speech recognition) to teach you from the very start.

Babbel was founded in Germany in 2007 as the world’s first language-learning app. It’s now the best selling, with over 10 million purchased subscriptions. It has a strong focus on intuitive lessons that center on learning a new language through real-life conversations

Babbel’s methods have been developed by 150+ language experts and the platform now has 13,000+ hours of content across 14 languages. It uses proven techniques that move new vocabulary through all your brain’s memory stages before cementing it into long-term memory.

In a study of Babbel’s teaching methods by , researchers found that 100% of participants improved their language proficiency by a statistically significant margin

All Babbel’s courses are unique and take into account the similarities and differences between ‘language pairs’. That is, your native language and the one you’re learning. This accelerates progress and helps develop cultural sensitivity.

Babbel also provides customized experiences that adjust to your progress and preferred way of learning. It recently added live instructor-led classes to create a more immersive and interactive experience for anyone serious about language learning.

How it works

To get started on Rosetta Stone you choose the language you want to learn and either go for a three day free trial or subscribe to one of the options (see costs below).

Following this, you choose your proficiency level and your learning aim (travel, work, etc.). Rosetta Stone will then present you with a learning plan based on your answers:

These plans are the core part of the program. The overall aim is to teach you useful vocabulary and phrases that match your learning aims.

Each lesson is split into bite-sized parts which challenge you in different ways and help to keep up your engagement.

Rosetta Stone also offers a range of supporting features such as:

  • Speech recognition to hone pronounciation
  • Seek and speak (object recognition)
  • Phrasebooks
  • Stories
  • On demand videos
  • Live tuition with expert coaches and native speakers (for Lifetime Plus subscribers)

All of these are described in detail in the features section below.

To provider

Babbel is a subscription service available on both desktop and mobile, providing portability if you want to learn on the go. Lessons are self paced so you can fit learning around your schedule.

Core lessons are arranged by Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) levels. Additional lessons are grouped by language-specific skills and themes so you can pick and choose based on what you want to develop. This combo of both structured and flexible approaches lets you progress through the material in a logical but personalized manner.

The Babbel method:

  • Is grounded in real-world conversations to get you speaking right away
  • Promotes cross over learning by building grammar and vocabulary in each new language using “language pairs”. That is, similarities and differences between your native language and the one you’re learning
  • Supports learning by teaching you in your preferred style, be it by reading, writing, speaking, seeing or listening
  • Trains your brain to learn constantly with spaced repetition, periodic prompts and reviews 
  • Uses audio dialogue examples recorded with native speakers (not bots)

    You’ll also learn about the history of your target language, discover recipes and songs, and gain tons of helpful cultural tips.

Babbel tracks your progress and displays it on a leaderboard. This gamified approach encourages healthy competition among learners and makes language learning more motivating.

To get started you simply select the language you want to learn and answer some questions about why and how you want to learn, how much time you’re willing to commit each week, your age range and where you heard about Babbel.  You then either select a subscription or scroll down the page for a free trial.

To provider
What a lesson is like

Generally, whatever the level or language, Rosetta Stone’s lessons are structured in a similar way.

They are grouped around communication topics depending on your purpose for learning (eg: business, travel, etc.) and designed to teach useful vocabulary and phrases which you then practise.

Lessons themselves are split into bite sized exercises conducted entirely in the target language.

You’ll usually hear and see a word or phrase along with a number of pictures and try to match them together. The aim is to get you learning actively and intuitively, rather than just memorizing words and translations. You’ll also be asked to repeat words and phrases using voice recognition.

  • Self-paced lessons that teach new material through context-based exercises
  • Easy-to-understand grammar instruction 
  • Voice-recognition software to perfect your accent
  • Babbel Live virtual instructor-led classes

Lessons take about 10 to 15 minutes to complete and are broken down into bite sized chunks.

Babbel introduces you to new vocabulary through context-based exercises, accompanied by images and native-speaker audio. This helps you memorize the vocabulary and understand how to use it in real-life situations. A combination of matching, fill-in-the-blank, sorting, writing and speaking exercises are mixed in with cultural and grammar tips.

Babbel's speaking lessons utilize voice recognition technology. You mimic a native speaker’s  pronunciations and get instant feedback to help you perfect your accent.

Babbel also offers Babbel Live, which features live group classes led by certified language teachers. These sessions allow you to practice newly acquired skills with fellow students, receive real-time feedback, and engage in conversation.

Who is it good for?

Rosetta Stone's learning style would suit anyone who's:

  • Learning a new language from scratch
  • Keen to improve their skills in another language
  • Happy to learn purely in the target language
  • Like to learn intuitively rather than in an analytical way
  • Appreciative of consistent, predictable content
  • Interested in applying language-learning to real-life scenarios
  • Keen to join regular small group live tutorials
  • Needing to learn flexibly on any device

Babbel is an appealing and versatile language learning platform that’s great for a wide range of learners. That said, I’d say Babbel is best for the following learners:

Anyone who’s:

  • Learning a new language from scratch
  • Keen to improve their intermediate skills in another language
  • Interested in applying language-learning to real-life scenarios
  • Keen to join regular small group live tutorials
  • Appreciates short, sharp bite sized lessons
  • Needing to learn flexibly on any device
  • Personalized learning
  • Flexible learning
  • Speech recognition
  • Seek and Speak - object recognition
  • Phrasebooks and stories
  • Regular live small group classes led by a tutor
  • Flexible learning with offline mode
  • Personalized approach
  • Speech recognition technology for pronunciation practice
  • Babbel Live virtual group classes with certified teachers and native speakers
  • Review Manager for reinforcing learned content
  • Regularly updated content to ensure freshness
  • Podcast series to aide language immersion
  • Gamification
  • Cultural insights and grammar tips
Is it worth it?

A lot depends on the type of learner you are.

If you like to work things out for yourself and are happy to plunge right into your chosen language then Rosetta Stone's dynamic immersive approach is likely to suit you well.

It will teach you the vocabulary and phrases you need to achieve your language learning goals. And though its core lessons can feel a little repetitive, Rosetta Stone gives you the freedom to jump ahead or focus on the specifics that interest you. It also provides lots of fun resources to help you actively practice the language.

And if you subscribe to Lifetime Plus you'll be able to boost your learning real time feedback with live tutorials from expert native speaking coaches.

But if you are a very analytical person who wants to understand the grammatical structure of a language, or you want a strong focus on writing, it may not be the best choice for you.

While I'm nowhere near proficient in speaking French, after a few hours on Rosetta Stone I was speaking more confidently and precisely than before. Also, the additional features such as seek and speak, stories and videos were a great way of immersing myself in the language outside of core lessons.

Overall, with a free trial option for three days, I think Rosetta Stone is worth trying out. After choosing your goals, you can get a feel for the site by taking a few lessons. As most users agree, it's a helpful place to start and gets you speaking actively in your new language.

On balance, Babbel has a lot going for it if you want to learn a new language.

For a start, it’s more than just an app for acquiring vocabulary and phrases. It integrates cultural understanding into its programs because Babbel understands that language and culture are closely tied. An understanding of how a different culture works helps you learn the mechanics of the language associated with it.

Likewise, Babbel's grammar explainers ease you into complex concepts, whereas other apps rely on you learning grammar intuitively by constantly seeing it used in context.

And the addition of Babbel Live virtual classes addresses the shortcomings of purely pre-set programs. They're engaging, effective, affordable and absolutely no limit on the number you take.

The pacing and structure of core lessons may not be to everyone’s taste and may feel a little repetitive. But they could be ideal for time starved students who need to squeeze in some language learning into their daily hustle and bustle. And the Explore tab is always there in case you get a bit burnt out on the meat and potatoes in the primary lessons.

And while Babbel may not cater to all the Asian language enthusiasts out there, it's a goldmine for Euro-language lovers.

And with the free trial and generous refund policy, there’s really no reason not to give it a shot.