Yabla vs. FluentU vs. Others: Yabla Barely Takes the Lead

As a teaching medium, video has some serious advantages over text and audio: it’s entertaining, easy to interact with, and can make the digital learning experience more relatable and lifelike.

And given the amount of video content that’s produced every day around the world in just about any language, the potential for language learning is high.

New companies are jumping on the video-teaching train all the time, and this review will aim to sort through several options, including two heavyweights in the arena: Yabla and FluentU. In addition to those two, we also tried out 3ears, Language Learning with Netflix, LingoPie, and CaptionPop.

The unifying feature among all of these resources is that they use interactive subtitles, which are basically subtitles you can click on and translate on-demand. Some offer additional practice opportunities, some are free, and all have different types of content on hand. (more…)

Rocket Languages vs Rosetta Stone – Probably Neither

Rocket Languages and Rosetta Stone are widely-used language learning resources that teach a number of languages. They start with the basics and work up in difficulty, though a variety of speaking, listening, and grammar activities.

Both tools use different teaching methods to cover a lot of material. The key difference between the resources is:

  • Rocket Languages includes lots of English and explanations whereas Rosetta Stone only uses the target language.

Both are fairly expensive, neither is really outstanding, and both tend to get boring quicker than other courses.

If I had to choose one, it’d probably be Rocket Languages, though some of their courses are worse than others, so for some cases, Rosetta Stone might be better.

Generally speaking, I’d recommend language learners to check some of the alternatives out there, as many are better and cheaper.

We’ve outlined some of our favorite language learning resources based on the language you want to learn in the table below. (more…)

Transparent Language vs Rosetta Stone – Both Are Lacking

Transparent Language and Rosetta Stone are two fairly popular online language learning resources. They offer courses to get beginners engaged in the language they’re learning in a matter of weeks, starting with the basics and progressively getting more challenging. They utilize a variety of different exercises for reading, writing and speaking practice.

For most learners, we wouldn’t recommend using either of these programs as there are much better alternatives available. The main differences between the two include the following:

  • Rosetta Stone only uses your target language while the lessons on Transparent language also include English.
  • Transparent Language offers courses in over 100 languages, including rare languages like Buriat, Kazakh or Turkmen. Rosetta Stone offers fewer, though still covers most popular languages.

Both programs are priced more expensively than competing (and better) resources. They’re both lacking in a number of areas, but if I had to choose one, it’d be Rosetta Stone. The only reason I’d ever consider using Transparent Language is if I were learning a very rare language, but even then, I’d probably look for a textbook first.

To find our top recommendations of language learning resources for some of the most studied languages, see the table below.


HelloTalk vs Tandem: Our Experience Testing Both Of Them

HelloTalk and Tandem are popular resources for language learners interested in language exchange. They have millions of users between them and use built-in language tools to facilitate communication between native speakers and those learning their language around the world.

Both HelloTalk and Tandem are similar in the experience you’ll gain from them, but they do have their differences, such as:

  • Aside from language exchange, Tandem offers a separate tutoring service, while HelloTalk offers audio lessons in 10 languages.
  • HelloTalk allows users to post life updates and use the app as an all-round social platform, whereas Tandem focuses more closely on its private messaging function.
  • While Tandem has a slick, modern feel to its design, HelloTalk is more cartoony and emoji-heavy.

Both resources are flexible and free to use (although both offer subscriptions for pro versions and additional services). It’s hard to recommend one over the other, and in our case, Tandem comes in slightly higher than HelloTalk, simply for aesthetic purposes. We also had better luck in finding partners on Tandem, but that’s subjective to each individual user.

HelloTalk and Tandem are great choices for people looking to learn a language through language exchange. They make good complementary resources to use alongside a structured language-learning course. You can check out our favorite resources based on the language you want to learn in the table below. (more…)

Busuu vs Memrise: One’s A Course & The Other A Flashcard App

Busuu and Memrise are popular language learning tools available online and on mobile. They teach languages in fundamentally different ways, but both can be useful for (primarily) beginner level students.

  • Busuu teaches languages in a more well-rounded manner, covering different language skills such as grammar, listening, speaking, writing, etc.
  • Memrise is more of a supplementary resource that’s better suited for learning and reviewing vocabulary rather than learning all aspects of a language.

Both Busuu and Memrise have paid plans as well as some community created features that can be used for free. The free content on Memrise is much more robust compared to the limited language exchange aspects that are free on Busuu.

As they do fundamentally different things, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend one over the other.

But, as Busuu is more of a language course than anything else, there are other platforms that provide higher quality courses. There aren’t as many direct competitors to Memrise and Memrise compares favorably to the alternatives. You can also find more language learning apps here.

You can find our most recommended resources for some of the most popular languages from the table below. (more…)

Busuu vs Duolingo: Both Have Their Own Weaknesses

Busuu and Duolingo are online language learning platforms that are available for a wide range of languages. Both are created with beginner and lower-intermediate level students in mind.

Both tools utilize short, quick study methods to help a student to learn a language at their own pace, but their methodology differs. The key factors that set the two resources apart are:

  • Busuu offers a social aspect that allows users to get feedback on writing and pronunciation from other users, which Duolingo doesn’t have.
  • Duolingo takes a more gamified approach to lessons and aims to help students “learn a language in just 5 minutes a day”, while Busuu’s exercises have more of a serious approach.
  • Duolingo is available for free and Busuu requires a subscription.

Duolingo is a solid option for those that are just curious about language learning, but their courses aren’t suitable for more serious students. They’re lacking in quite a few areas.

Busuu does take things a step further, with more grammar explanations, better audio, and all-around more comprehensive courses, though there are still some weaknesses.

Both platforms are well-designed and make learning a bit more fun and accessible to the masses. However, they both have a few weaknesses to be aware of as well. Neither would really be my top choice, but both are fine options.

There are plenty of other resources to consider as well and you can find our favorites for popular languages from the table below. (more…)

Babbel vs Busuu: Similar But With Important Differences

Babbel and Busuu are two of the most popular online language learning tools with millions of users between them. They are both available on the web, on iOS, and for Android, and are designed to teach courses in a variety of languages to a basic and intermediate level.

Both courses offer grammar and vocabulary practice through a number of short, self-paced activities. The key differences between the two resources are:

  • Babbel’s lessons have a stronger focus on grammar, while Busuu doesn’t cover the area in as much depth.
  • Busuu offers more varied exercise types. Babbel features many different exercises, but it favors repetition, and structure doesn’t change much.
  • Busuu’s unique community feature offers a social aspect to language learning that Babbel doesn’t have.

As Babbel and Busuu are fairly similar in their offerings, it’s not possible to recommend one over the other as a universal preference. It’s worth looking at your own learning style and requirements for an online language course when deciding which of the two is most suited to you.

Another point worth mentioning is that Busuu’s Chinese course was of much lower quality than their courses for other languages. As such, this led to them receiving a lower overall rating when we reviewed their courses. So, if you’re considering studying a language that doesn’t use the Latin alphabet, we’d be very hesitant to recommend them.

Babbel doesn’t offer courses for Asain languages which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We appreciate their humility in not attempting to make a course for a language if they can’t do it well. Many language learning resources pump out courses for every language they can while following the exact same template. Babbel seems to focus on ensuring their courses are well-designed.

The table below highlights some of our favorite resources based on the language you want to learn.


Pimsleur vs Fluenz: Communication Focused vs Academic Learning

Pimsleur and Fluenz are two language learning programs that are quite different. Both offer learning of the same or similar languages, but their approach is not the same.

In short:

  • Pimsleur is mostly focused on speaking, whilst not including written language as much and ignoring grammar. Learners will need to participate and speak aloud often.
  • Fluenz simulates a one-on-one tutor experience with the focus on more passive learning. An academic approach is characteristic of Fluenz as it explains important aspects of the language well.

Although my personal preference would be Pimsleur, as it is much more practical for beginners who want to quickly be able to communicate, I can see how Fluenz can be useful for learners who want a more balanced approach to learning a language.

There are, of course, many more language learning resources, including apps, to consider besides these two options. You can find our favorites for the most popular languages from the table below.


Rosetta Stone vs Living Language – I’m Not A Fan Of Either

Rosetta Stone and Living Language are online resources providing numerous materials for learning a language. The tools combine a number of activities aimed at helping users to gain skills in communicating, writing and reading a language at a beginner or intermediate level.

Both resources use contrasting methods of teaching, and there are some notable differences between the courses that are worth pointing out:

  • Rosetta Stone is fairly easy to use and navigate while Living Language looks more like a database than an interactive learning tool.
  • Living Language presents lots of information in a scattered way. Rosetta Stone presents its material more clearly but doesn’t explain everything, leaving users to infer meaning from images.

Looking at both resources together, I wouldn’t say that either was very good. Both Rosetta Stone and Living Language charge more for subscriptions compared with other resources, and I personally don’t think they’re worth the investment.

I wouldn’t recommend either tool for someone looking to learn a language. There are much better options available for lower costs. It’s a good idea to look into all of your options before choosing a course that’s for you.

The table below highlights some of the better language learning resources based on the language you want to learn.


Duolingo vs Pimsleur – Both Have Their Benefits, But I Prefer Pimsleur

Duolingo and Pimsleur are two popular language learning platforms. They teach in completely different ways, having different strengths and weaknesses.

The main differences between Duolingo and Pimsleur are:

  • Duolingo is free to use while Pimsleur requires a subscription or purchase of their courses.
  • Duolingo more broadly focuses on the different aspects of a language, with no proper speaking practice, while Pimsleur’s courses primarily focus on oral language.
  • Duolingo’s lessons are more fun with their game-like elements, while Pimsleur’s can get boring.

Comparing the two platforms, Pimsleur offers higher quality lessons that will improve your communication skills much more quickly, as such, I’d recommend it over Duolingo.

That said, Duolingo is free to use, so if you’re not quite ready to commit to a subscription fee, or dabble in a few languages, you might want to get started on there.

Remember that there are plenty of other language learning apps that might be better for you than Duolingo or Pimsleur. Make sure you know your options before you settle on a final choice.

The table below shows some of the best language learning tools based on the language you want to learn.