Babbel vs Rosetta Stone


Debating which language software you should use to learn a new language this year? If you’re reading this, Babbel and Rosetta Stone are probably on your list already.

Both solutions are fairly well known to the mass audience given their length of time in the market, price points, and advertising. But which one will be the better solution for you? In this post, we’ll go over how both Babbel and Rosetta Stone works, their pros and cons, and alternatives you should consider before you make the final decision.


Overview of Babbel and Rosetta Stone

Before we go into detail of these two apps, let’s go over the major highlights. We’ll go over the following important factors:

  • Price
  • Convenience
  • Language options
  • Interactive
  • Focus



  • Price: $12.95/month to $83.40/year
  • Structure: Focuses on use of words and some conversation.
  • Language options: 14 languages available
  • Interactive: Medium
  • Focus: Helps with beginner conversation phrases


Rosetta Stone

  • Price: $179 to $479
  • Structure: Learning vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structures
  • Language options: 30+ languages available
  • Interactive: Low-Medium
  • Focus: Grammar and vocabulary


Babbel vs Rosetta STone breakdown




What is Babbel?

Babbel is a paid language instructional app that offers 14 different languages. Babbel offers tools like grammar lessons, vocabulary lessons, and ways to practice basic phrases for beginner conversations. While it is a paid application, it is known to users to be cheaper than Rosetta Stone, which can cost $400+ a year versus the $80-150 cost for Babbel. The company is based in Berlin, Germany.



What is Rosetta Stone?

Rosetta Stone is also a paid instructional program that is offered via desktop, tablet, and mobile. From a branding perspective, it’s the better known name in the English speaking world, given how long they have been around (back in CD-Rom days!). The brand was named after the Egyptian hieroglyphics and was founded in 1992 by a US founder.


How Babbel Works

Let’s go through how Babbel works for a new user looking to onboard the app.


1. Select which language you want to learn 

Users get started by choosing which language they want to learn, as you’ll be directed to the appropriate language course. The app also requires you to pay per each language, so if you want to learn Spanish and English, you’ll have to pay separately.




2. Take a proficiency placement test

To determine what language proficiency you have, Babbel asks 5 different questions to better judge what level you are. They appear to have the same format as the lessons inside the language course, but they’re strategically selected to determine your language skills.




3. Upgrade to a paid subscription

Once you’ve finished the first trial lesson, you’ll be asked to select a paid plan to continue your lessons. As of 2018, Babbel offers 4 different options, including a monthly plan, 3 month plan, 6 month plan, and a 12 month plan. Any payment plan that is not the 1 month will require you to pay upfront.




How Rosetta Stone Works


1. Explore their interactive demo

Compared to Babbel’s onboarding process, Rosetta Stone appears to be less open. They offer an interactive demo which allows you to get 4 free lessons to give you an idea on how their lessons work. From this first glance, it doesn’t appear to be too different than what Babbel offers from a user experience perspective.



2. Choose between CD-Rom or Online subscription

Rosetta Stone offers two different products: an instant downloadable CD-Rom version and an online subscription that expires once you cancel. The online subscription product seems to be fairly new given the trend of where technology is heading towards. There seems to be pros and cons for both options. The CD-Rom option allows you to keep the license forever, and offers 5 users. But it only includes 3 months of trial for their mobile app and games & activities feature.



3. Upgrade to a pricing plan

Given that most people are likely interested in the subscription option, let’s explore the pricing for Rosetta Stone’s cloud version. Like Babbel, Rosetta Stone’s pricing is set up such that you’d need to purchase a separate subscription per each language. Their prices for all the languages are identical, but compared to Babbel, it is 2x the cost approximately. It could be because Rosetta Stone has a better known brand and they’ve invested more into building their curriculum and technology, but it’s up to you to decide what the value is between the two.




Business model

This is also a slight difference between Rosetta Stone and Babbel in terms of their business model. However, this has shifted ever since Rosetta Stone decided to offer their subscription product.

As we mentioned previously, Rosetta Stone has a secondary model where they charge you an instant downloadable product.

Rosetta Stone price breakdown (for CD-Rom):

  • 1 level: $179
  • 2 levels: $279
  • 3 levels: $379
  • Full 5 levels: $479

This can certainly add up because each level according to Rosetta Stone will take about 40-50 hours to complete. That means, once you complete the very basic beginner level in a month, you’ll have to invest another $179 if you decide to purchase these separately.



Both of the language software apps are specializing in helping you grasp basic vocabulary, grammar rules, and form simple sentences. Babbel does claim that they have a greater focus in helping you with conversational skills, say compared to Duolingo. On the other hand, Rosetta Stone is now offering live tutoring as an upsell for those people that want to book private video lessons.


Is Babbel better than Rosetta Stone?

It depends on what you’re looking for. Rosetta Stone seems to offer more features, particularly in their subscription product which includes games & activities and according to Benny Lewis, a fairly advanced speech recognition technology. However, it is 2x the cost of Babbel when you’re looking at it from a financial perspective compared to the end result you may see.

Keep in mind that neither apps are designed strictly to help you reach fluency in conversation, and investing in either applications expecting to become a fluent speaker in months is false.


An Alternative to Babbel and Rosetta Stone

We’ve shown you the major differences between the two language instructional apps, and we also covered their major downsides. Neither offer an effective solution for improving your conversation skills nor do they allow you to speak with native speakers to get real-time feedback.

If you’re trying to get a basic grasp of how the language works and form basic sentences, then going the instructional app route may be for you. However, if you’re looking to achieve conversation fluency faster to:

  • Build genuine relationships/friendships with other language speakers
  • Explore new job opportunities in foreign countries/companies
  • Travel around new countries with confidence
  • and learn around your busy schedule.

We’d like to introduce you to Rype.


Speak with confidence in record time with Rype

If you want to see real results in your language speaking abilities, research shows that the human brain retains…

5% of what they learn when they’ve learned from a lecture.
10% of what they learn when they’ve learned from reading.
20% of what they learn from audio-visual (Babbel and Duolingo)
30% of what they learn when they see a demonstration
50% of what they learn when engaged in a group discussion.
75% of what they learn when they practice what they learned (Rype)
90% of what they learn when they teach someone else/use immediately (Rype)

babbel review

In short, according to scientific research, the learning method used for Rype is 4.5x more effective than Babbel and Duolingo.


100% personalized language program 

While Babbel and Rosetta Stone offers a standard ‘one-size-fits-all’ curriculum that is identical for everyone, Rype offers a fully personalized language program based on your specific needs, goals, and level. The reason we can offer this is because each of our lessons are private. Think of it as having a personal trainer but for learning a new language.

The benefits of this approach is that you’ll be able to learn what you want, how you want, when you want. We understand that as individual humans, we all learn with different styles and that some students learn faster or slower than others. By personalizing each lesson to suit your specific needs, we’ve seen that students can learn significantly faster with higher engagement and enjoyment.



Concluding our Babbel and Rosetta Stone review

We hope this breakdown between Babbel and Rosetta Stone was useful. Like most solutions, both offer pros and cons, and you should be aware of them to see which one is right for you.

If you’re ready to accelerate your results to speak a new language confidently, Rype offers a risk-free trial for new members which you can claim today. Or learn how it works here.

If you still have questions, email us at anytime:

We can’t wait to have you inside our family.



Other language reviews you may like