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Fluenz vs Rosetta Stone
Determine which language program is right for you in this detailed comparison of Rosetta Stone vs Fluenz
Rosetta Stone has been one of the most recognizable names in language learning since the 90’s. However, Fluenz, on the other hand, is a newcomer in the space, but has been making waves with their unique learning framework. In this comparison, we highlight the pros and cons of both programs, so you can make a final decision as to which language course might be the better fit for your particular budget and learning preferences.
Before I dive straight into talking about the strengths and weaknesses of each language program, let’s briefly cover pricing.
Rosetta Stone offers three different subscription plans: a 3-month subscription, a 12-month subscription, and a lifetime plan. Though generally priced a little higher full retail on their website, you can usually find the company’s monthly subscription options for around $8 to $12 per month, and the lifetime plan (which includes access to all Rosetta Stone languages) for around $200.
Fluenz, on the other hand, does not offer any monthly subscriptions. You must either purchase access to each level of a specific language course individually, or you can purchase an all-level package. For example, in considering Fluenz Spanish, you can purchase Level 1 for around $190 or all five levels at once for around $400.
Thus, in directly comparing the two language courses, there’s no question that Rosetta Stone is the more affordable option. Their lifetime plan (when found on sale) is literally cheaper than Level 1 from Fluenz.
Why Rosetta Stone Is Better Than Fluenz
Next, as each company tends to have unique pros and cons, making them better for different learners and situations, I want to cover the major reasons to choose one over the other. Let’s begin with the reasons to use Rosetta Stone over Fluenz.
Speech Recognition Technology
The first clear advantage for Rosetta Stone is their speech recognition technology, which the company has spent years developing. This is called TruAccentand it’s very good.
As you complete the Rosetta Stone lessons, you’ll be prompted to repeat phrases and sentences, or directly asked to describe what is happening in various images. As you do this, the company’s TruAccent tech is listening and will cue you to repeat phrases if you mispronounce them.
Although no speech recognition software is perfect (at least, I am yet to find one I 100% love), I have to admit that Rosetta’s is pretty darn good and one of the better bits of software in the space.
It’s quick and accurate, and I had a great experience with it. In my opinion, it’s as good as the voice tech from Pimsleur and Rocket Languages, two of our top-rated speech packages.
Conversely, the Fluenz speech tool only offers recording and playback capabilities. There is no feedback, and it’s a clear limitation of the program.
Lessons Utilize Lots of Images
Another reason to go with Rosetta Stone’s language program is if you’re a visual learner. Nearly every single Rosetta Stone practice exercise utilizes images, and the program as a whole is incredibly graphic-heavy.
To be fair here, the Fluenz lessons do incorporate video, but it’s really just instructors talking on-screen. There are not many visuals beyond the instructors themselves. It’s still more visual than other programs we’ve used (like Pimsleur), but Rosetta Stone is the program for visual people (even if you are learning Russian).
Thus, if you’re the type of person who tends to grasp new vocabulary through mentally associating those words and phrases with pictures or graphics, then Rosetta Stone will likely be an excellent fit for you.
Immersive Learning Experience
Another advantage is the immersive experience that Rosetta Stone offers its users. As you begin to work through Rosetta Stone lessons, you’ll notice that there is very little use of English for directions and translations. This is on purpose.
Rosetta Stone wants to mimic the natural language learning process as closely as possible, almost like when you were a small child learning English. As a baby, you don’t have a primary language to fall back on, so you have to learn from a raw slate, and Rosetta Stone tries to lean on this concept. This, in my opinion, works extremely well for second language acquisition.
Plus, I also like that Rosetta Stone doesn’t hit you over the head with long, dense grammar definitions and explanations. I think this type of instruction can actually be detrimental during the early stages of language learning. Instead, Rosetta Stone wants you to naturally pick up the language through visual cues, inference, and repetition.
Bonus Tools & Resources
Lastly, the final reason I think someone should go with Rosetta Stone is all of the bonus features and resources that they provide. Beyond their core curriculum, Rosetta Stone also offers live lessons with experienced teachers, live coaching with tutors, on-demand videos, stories, downloadable audio companions, phrasebooks, and more.
It’s a little crazy how much they offer. Rosetta Stone truly does offer a complete set of language tools for its users.
However, of all the different resources, my favorite has to be the stories feature. As you complete lessons and progress through the course, new stories, which are kind of like short podcasts with transcripts, become available.
These stories cover all kinds of topics and genres, from the daily grind of driving taxis to old cultural fairytales. It’s actually pretty interesting. But the real point here is that these stories are a great way to improve your listening comprehension, as well as your reading skills. They’re also just a nice way to break up the standard Rosetta Stone lessons from time to time.
Next, let’s cover the major reasons to go with Fluenz, of which I don’t have quite as many. But they are important points nonetheless.
Video with On-Screen Instructors
In my eyes, the biggest advantage for Fluenz is that their lessons incorporate video. Specifically, I like that the lessons include instructors on-screen, as this offers a bunch of learning benefits.
Personally, I think having instructors on-screen is incredibly valuable, and helps with material retention. I like being able to see their body language, hand gestures, and match up the instructors facial expressions with how they pronounce certain words and phrases. There is a lot of value in the nonverbal communication you see with video.
Unique Lesson Format
Next, I think some people may prefer the format of the Fluenz lessons over Rosetta Stone. Because their lessons include videos with instructors on-screen, their program overall has more of an online classroom-type of experience.
This is by design. Fluenz outright states that they want their lessons to mimic a 1-on-1 tutoring session (sort of like how Michel Thomas lessons work).
To be clear, I think that is a little bit of an exaggeration, as we’re talking about pre-recorded video lessons here. But there is some truth to it as well. The Fluenz program definitely does not feel like your typical language learning app.
In my opinion, if you’re the type of person who excels in classroom environments or you’re just not the DIY, self-studier type, then Fluenz may be a good fit for you.
After using and testing out each of these language programs for a while, I have to give Rosetta Stone the win. While I certainly think there is some merit to how Fluenz structures their program with class-like video lessons and a detailed schedule, I ultimately think Rosetta Stone is the more complete program from top to bottom.
Between their immersive learning experience based on visual elements, quick and accurate speech recognition technology, and all of the extra features and tools they offer their users, it’s a more comprehensive package. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Rosetta Stone is much more affordable. So in the end, between these two language programs, they are my preferred choice.
What is the difference between Fluenz and Rosetta Stone?
Lesson length and format are the two biggest differences between Fluenz and Rosetta Stone. The Fluenz lessons are longer and revolve around instructor-led video lessons, while the Rosetta Stone lessons are shorter, more immersive, and feature a variety of images and graphics.
Which is better, Fluenz or Rosetta Stone?
After testing each program, our team believes Rosetta Stone is better than Fluenz. After using each program, we give Rosetta Stone a higher grade, as they tend to offer more effective language learning programs from top to bottom.
Is Fluenz cheaper than Rosetta Stone?
No, the subscription options from Rosetta Stone are much more affordable than the Fluenz packages.