Our reviewers evaluate products and services based on unbiased research. Top Consumer Reviews may earn money when you click on a link. Learn more about our process.

Rosetta Stone Review

Friday, April 19th

2024 German Lesson Reviews

Rosetta Stone Review 4 Star Rating

Rosetta Stone

4 Star Rating
  • 3-day free trial period
  • Option for short-term or lifetime subscription
  • Most recognized language-learning program
  • Fun and interactive

Rosetta Stone is one of the biggest trademarks in language learning. In fact, when other language courses are mentioned, people often wonder if it's as good as Rosetta Stone, whether or not they have actually tried it! Rosetta Stone has longevity and reputation on its side. But Rosetta Stone is more than that. Right away, you will begin to read, write, listen and speak German, and you can work on your pronunciation so you can be sure people will understand you.

Rosetta Stone caters to you

There are lessons for 43 languages, including German. They have lessons for beginners, intermediate learners, and those who want to hone their skills. First, you'll select the level at which you want to begin, and then you choose a subject area: German for work, travel, communication with family, or just German lessons in general? Rosetta Stone has courses for individuals, businesses, and schools.

The brief history of Rosetta Stone

Allen Stoltzfus, the founder, had a tough time learning Russian through traditional methods. He knew he had already learned his native language, so why couldn't he learn another? It was the methodology! His thought: we have all learned at least one language, how did we do that? We learned with sounds and images in their context, and there was no word-for-word translation in the process. Allen and his brother then created the Rosetta Stone language-learning method, named after the artifact that broke the code for understanding the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Allen felt he, too, had broken the language code, so to say.

The natural approach

Just as we learned our first language the natural way, by associating sounds with images to create meaning, that's the tried and true method of Rosetta Stone. If you have been frustrated with traditional language learning methods and are not a fan of direct translation, give Rosetta Stone a try! Fans celebrate learning to speak right away and with a good accent since the technology offers native speaker voice recordings and immediate feedback on students' practice with speech.

Speak German right off the bat!

Even in your first lesson with Rosetta Stone, you'll get to speak German! You'll hear a German word associated with a picture representing that word: the natural method all the way. If the picture-sound meaning is confusing to you, you can click on an arrow that shows the English translation of the word. You can hear the German word as many times as you like, and you can repeat it back. You speak German right out of the gate.

If you like translation, you may want to shop around

Rosetta Stone might be fine for you in the beginning. Since you may not be accustomed to the natural method, there are helps with translation as you first start. As the lessons progress, and vocabulary words advance to vocabulary phrases, there isn't the option to get the translation. The company has heard this frustration, and they offer the suggestion to look at context cues in the photo, use the words you do understand to figure out the words you don't understand, and don't feel you have to understand every word to understand the concept: basically, don't lose the forest for the trees. When we don't understand something in real life, we often look at the cues around us, just like Rosetta Stone is asking us to do with their program.

Best German Lessons

Depends on your comfort level

The problem with the natural method is that when we learned our first language, we had nothing to base it on. Now that we have our first language, many of us have a hard time giving up translation, and we want to know all the words in the paragraph, and not figure only some of them out. Neither the natural method or translation is right or wrong. You just have to do what you feel comfortable with. If you can live without translation and can trust this tried and true method, you'll join the many fans of Rosetta Stone. If you rely on translation as part of your learning style, you might want to check out some of our other highly recommended German language programs.

Short stories that include culture

Once you've got a little German under your belt, enjoy putting it all together by reading a short story. You can listen to a native speaker read the story to you or read the story on your own. If you choose to read aloud, the speech-recognition software will let you know what it heard you say correctly, and what it didn't understand. The bonus is that these stories include culture, which is a fun way to learn it.


  • 3 months: $11.99 per month, $35.97 total
  • 12 months: $7.99 per month, $143.88 total; on sale for $95.88 (save 33%)
  • Lifetime, unlimited languages: $299, on sale for $179 total (best value)

Take the 3-day free trial

You can easily have a three-day free trial by just giving them an email address. Choose your current level of German and your reason for taking German: family, travel, work, or "basics and beyond." You are then given a plan of study and ready to jump in. Give it a good try to see if the Rosetta Stone method is right for you. There is something important to keep in mind if you feel you need translation and get frustrated with Rosetta Stone. Translation takes time and it takes mental energy. When a language learner talks to a native speaker and needs to translate, it takes too much time. For example, a native speaker asks you how your day was. You quietly translate that to English, then come up with an answer in English that you now have to put into German. The long pause takes a lot of mental energy for you, and a lot of patience on the part of the native speaker who is waiting and waiting for a reply. If, instead, you choose to go from image/thought/idea to German, it doesn't take as much mental energy, not as much time, and the person you're talking to may not have the urge to exit the conversation with you and move on.

We believe in Rosetta Stone and highly recommend it

Translation is often desired, as that's what we're accustomed to in our traditional classrooms. When the student can change paradigms from the translation method to the natural method, they can start thinking in German much sooner and with ease. There are huge fans of Rosetta Stone and tout that they can think in their new language! All of that said, we do wish there was a bit more opportunity for some translation. When a student cannot understand the image in the photo in relation to a foreign language sentence, it can stick in your head and be difficult to move past. Just a bit more English, Rosetta Stone, just a bit more. We also wish Rosetta Stone had more to offer the advanced student. Rosetta Stone has been around since the 1990s, and yet the lessons are focused on the beginner, offer limited work for the intermediate student, but are lacking for the advanced student. We would recommend they develop the lessons to include all learners.

Where Can You Find the Best German Lessons?

Did you know that German is the second-most spoken language in Europe? Or that around 95 million people worldwide speak German as their primary language and that it is an official language in six countries? Perhaps you have German roots in your family and want to get in touch with your heritage by learning German?

If you study sciences, you may know that German is the most commonly used scientific language. Learning German can provide you with an insight into the German people's way of life and also broaden your horizons. Whatever your personal reason for wanting to learn German, the next step is to find your best way to study the language.

The Best German Lessons Compare German Lessons Compare German Lesson Reviews What are the best German Lessons Best German Lesson Reviews

German Lesson FAQ

You might be surprised to learn that about 130 million people speak German as a first or second language! It's the most widely used "mother tongue" in the EU and is an official language in seven countries (not just Germany!).
Yes, but fortunately they are all mutually understood (for the most part). Standard German is taught throughout Germany, but there are regional dialects that might be harder to grasp as a non-native speaker. Think about how a non-native speaker of English would experience moving from the accent used in the Midwest to the one used by people in Boston! You'll also find vocabulary and accent differences when you visit other German-speaking countries like Austria, Switzerland or Belgium.
English borrows a lot of words from German (e.g. kindergarten, bagel, iceberg), so learners often find it more familiar than they expected. But, because there are some big grammatical and pronunciation differences from English, German is ranked as a Category II language in terms of difficulty: not as easy as French or Spanish, for example, but easier than Greek or Japanese.
Experts recommend that you start with basic vocabulary. If you plan to use German in a specific way, like during an upcoming trip or to study documents from your ancestry, choose words and phrases that apply. You can also use the language settings on your favorite movies and TV shows to begin watching in German: it's a great way to pick it up naturally!
Studying any language online is going to be more affordable and accessible than trying to find an in-person class. While German used to be taught in most secondary schools throughout the US, it has dropped in popularity with the rise of other languages like Chinese and even ASL. Fortunately, there are many online German lessons that are effective and fun, and you can study at your convenience.
German is easier to learn than some languages because it mostly uses the same alphabet as English. There are a few characters and accented vowels that are particular to German. The good news is that, on a smartphone, you can usually hold down the base letter (like "b" or "u" ) and accented options will be displayed, while on a keyboard there are shortcuts you can use.
Not at all. You can choose between a one-time fee for a defined package of lessons or a monthly subscription for ongoing access. You could pay under $100 for a whole level of German coursework, or under $20/month for unlimited lessons. Either way you choose, it will be much less money than paying for an in-person German class.
Most German courses have a way to preview the materials, either through a free trial period or through full sample lessons on the website. We encourage you to use every complimentary resource provided by the German lessons platform you're considering before committing to a paid program, because not all of them come with a satisfaction guarantee. You may only get your money back if you cancel within 30 or 60 days of purchase, or you might be able to cancel future monthly payments without getting a refund for what you've already invested.
Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

So much of our life now is digital, so it's natural to consider learning German online. There are many programs to learn languages: live, one-to-one tutoring; a real person teaching you through recorded video lessons; video-game-like lessons and practice; recording your voice and getting computer-generated specific feedback; getting feedback on written work by real people; or playing games and letting the time fly by while earning prizes and getting on a leaderboard. With so many different methods of learning and practice, we can help you narrow down what is best for you and your learning style.

The first thing to consider is how much German you may know. Have you had German classes in high school and want to brush up and continue to proficiency? Or is Gesundheit! when someone sneezes the extent of your German? If you are a beginner, choosing an online program will be easier, as most focus at least on the beginning German student. If you already know some German, some programs offer a placement test and others have you look at their curriculum and you select your own placement. If you are pretty advanced or your goal is to get there, only a few online German programs can help you get to advanced proficiency, while others fall short past the beginning German level.

How would you like to learn German? Would you like live one-on-one lessons with a tutor or in a small-class setting? Would you like to learn from a person, but via video so you can pause or review? Would you like to learn interactively with a computer program where you match phrases you heard with images, then record your voice speaking, and then have game-like practice exercises with awards and a leaderboard with a little healthy competition? It's all out there, and you get to decide which is for you!

Once you know your current level of German and how you might want to learn it, there are a few more aspects to consider:

  • Value. Does the program offer a free subscription that will offer enough to meet your goals? Is there a free trial period before buying a membership so you can really get a feel for it before you commit? Many German learning programs can give you a lot of features with a relatively low cost or at no cost.
  • The right fit. If you take advantage of the free trial period, you can get a good idea if that program is right for you. It might be fun for the first lesson, but does it get boring and repetitive after that, so that you won't be motivated to continue? Does it offer enough features that you feel you need? If you want feedback on your speaking, is their speech-recognition technology advanced enough to make you feel satisfied with their evaluation? Do you gravitate to how you learned a language or other subjects in school? They have traditional-type programs for you to try. Or do you stay motivated with all the bells and whistles of a game-like learning atmosphere to make the time pass quickly and stay motivated?
  • Refund policy. Before you commit to a membership or monthly or yearly subscription, check out their refund policy. Most offer between 7 and 60 days to cancel. With some you can cancel with a simple email, and with others you'll have to read pages of fine print to find out how to cancel. It's best to check out the refund policy before committing with a payment.

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed, evaluated, rated, and recommended the best choices for learning German online or via an app. We're sure that with the information we have for you, you'll be able to make your best decision for learning German and becoming more proficient and fluent in this common and popular language!

The Best Reviews of German Lessons