Speaking in Tongues

Rosetta Stone’s TOTALe adds ‘social’ to language learning

As business continues to become more globalized, fluency in multiple languages is increasingly important to compete and remain relevant in the marketplace. Not so long ago busy professionals looking for true language learning could exercise one of few options: relocate for complete immersion, take courses at a local school, or hire a tutor. Then came programs from Berlitz Language and Rosetta Stone, which offered ease and convenience.

Recently, Rosetta Stone has upped the ante on Rosetta Course Version 3, with TOTALe, an online program that integrates two new modes of learning: Rosetta Studio and Rosetta World, which the company calls “dynamic immersion.”

Black Enterprise tested TOTALe German. With Rosetta Studio, once users reach a certain level of competence, they can schedule a session and practice with a studio coach, live and online, in a small virtual classroom. The coach is a native speaker and other students in the studio are at your level. Rosetta Studio helps learners practice and develop their skills in a small social environment. In Rosetta World, students can take what they’ve learned and practice with others worldwide via interactive games and chats.

The one drawback to all this? It’s pricey. TOTALe’s 12-month, online access costs $999. However, learners can also opt for the interactive software and audio companion, starting at $206 for Level 1. But this does not include the “dynamic immersion” of TOTALe. Rosetta Stone is available in 31 languages.

Pros:
Rosetta Studio; milestones help track progress; social gaming and chat

Cons:
Expensive; photo images can be ambiguous; vague approximation of pronunciation sometimes netted a positive score

Also consider:
Transparent Language
(www.transparent.com); starting at $49.99 for audio lessons

BBC Languages
(www.bbc.co.uk/languages) for audio and video courses

Mango Languages
(www.mangolanguages.com) to develop conversational skills

iTunes
(www.apple.com/itunes) for numerous free podcasts

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