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3.6 out of 5 stars
Learn Spanish: Rosetta Stone Spanish (Latin America) - Level 1-3 Set
Platform for Display: PC/Mac DiscChange
Price:$159.00 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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185 of 191 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon September 15, 2010
Platform for Display: PC/Mac DiscVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Rosetta Stone may be the most mis-named program in existence. The *real* stone, of course, presented the same information in three different languages, permitting archeologists to crack a language they had never been able to before, based on knowing the other two.

Rosetta Stone *the language program* works on the sink-or-swim paradigm. There is no English whatsoever in the interaction. No grammatical theory, no lists of conjugations, no explanations of irregular verbs. Everything is entirely picture and repetition based, and you learn like an infant does. A picture of a plate. "Plato." A picture of a girl holding a plate. "La muchacha tiene un plato". A picture of a girl holding a plate with a talk bubble coming from her mouth. "Yo tengo un plato." And so on, through three Levels (I believe five are available), of four Units per Level, and about ten Lessons per Unit. The Lessons (up to 30 interactions) cover vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, and so on, and older Lessons are thrown into the mix as well just to provide reinforcement. It is possible to go through a Level in a weekend if you do absolutely nothing else except eat and sleep, but I eventually found I could realistically only absorb about a Unit's worth per day, which took up a solid evening.


- There is a voice-recognition system that continuously checks and reinforces your pronunciation, including a pop-up wave form analysis window. It cares mostly about cadence and vowels (it has no problems if you use "B" for "V" for example), but these are the things that are key to language comprehensibility.

- There is a very nice and comfortable headset included, with a microphone and earphones.

- There are writing interactions, and a set of keyboard stickies to translate your keyboard into a Spanish version (with accents and N~, etc.)

- There is an audio file "companion" set (12 disks) that can be loaded onto an MP3 player for listening practice when you're away from your computer.

- Many features are customizable, including how sensitive you want the voice recognition to be; whether you want to focus on writing, speaking, or both; and how many interactions you can get wrong before the program decides you need to repeat a lesson.

- There are online interactions, to do solo, with another online student, or with an instructor. These include stories to listen to, and games to reinforce your listening skills. This is a new feature in Rosetta Stone, and it's way cool.

- While the program can only be installed on one computer (and there's an activation process to insure this), there can be multiple "learners" in the same household, using the same program (though not at the same time, obviously).


- The voice recognition can be frustrating at first. I found myself doing a Dracula accent so it would pick up my inflections, though eventually things calmed down. (They need a level zero, with the exaggerated vowel sounds and cadence found in baby talk).

- The endless repetition really is endless. And the audio companion is more of the same dialog. This can get really boring.

- At times, the multi-cultural pictures evoke a giggle. Sorry, but a picture of Japanese woman bowing does not make me think "Hola!'.

- The end-of-unit "milestone" interactions, which supposedly emulate a real-world conversation, are almost impossible to pass the first time around, since you have to figure out what dialog the program expects you to say.

- There are some usability issues - the key picture in the advanced match-picture-to-phrase exercises is very tiny and hard to see, and, in the sound-identifying exercise, the second presentation of the sound (the sound repeats after you've answered) comes right before the first presentation of the next sound, with no gap (confusing to the ear, especially early on).

- The program supposedly works with a 1024x768 screen, which I have, but when using this the progress bar and pause button show up under my computer's system tray unless I go into full-screen mode. (This is a genuine bug, and should have been caught in Beta).

Despite it's foibles, the program does get you up to speed really fast, with a pragmatic and immediately useful level of understanding (I have no idea what the grammatical tenses are called, but I can pronounce them). As the company suggests, compare the cost to the cost of a language class, not other programs. Because, given the constant feedback, that's pretty much what this is. Con muchos campanas y silbidos (that's bells and whistles, for you gringos).
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134 of 141 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2010
Platform for Display: PC/Mac Disc
I bought this based on reviews that I now realize were written by people "vine" who had not actually bought the product but received it as part of some Amazon vine reviewer program. I paid $500 for this because I am going to Costa Rica and I am motivated to learn Spanish. I used this program every day for a month and felt that it was tedious and boring. I do feel that I was learning some Spanish words but not language. Looking at photos of little blue eggs and seeing azul pequeno huevo may teach the words but did not seem practical or useful. I started using the fluenz program and feel that this is geared more toward adult learning. I feel that I will actually learn something that will help on my trip. I did not feel that what I was learning with Rosetta was going help me. Neither program is easy. At 55 it takes a lot of work and motivation to learn a new language.
This may be a good program for some but it was not for me. Rosetta did honor the guarantee and are giving me a full refund so I am happy I tried it.
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62 of 67 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 12, 2010
Platform for Display: PC/Mac DiscVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Rosetta Stone says in a word it is all about immersion. You learn without translation. They call their program "dynamic immersion." It has 5 features:
1) Intelligent sequencing for introduction of new concepts and lessons
2) Actionable feedback (e.g. select the picture which matches a sentence)
3) Natural discovery
4) Speech recognition technology
5) Native socialization: listening to native speakers and opportunities to converse with them

There are three components of this Rosetta Stone course: Rosetta Course (interact with the computer program by typing and speaking), Rosetta Studio (live online tutoring environment), and Rosetta World (online community of learners with activities such as language games and conversations with native speakers). There are also 12 Audio Companion CD's that you can rip and use on your portable audio device. These audios reinforce what you learned in the interactive computer lessons. I didn't hear any English translations on the CD's.

For Levels 1-3, access to the online activities expires after 9 months. (Note that if you purchase a different level, online access for Level 1 is 3 months, Levels 1-2 is 6 months, and Levels 1-5 is 15 months.) I called Rosetta Stone and was told that they were just setting up the renewal system and the cost of renewing Levels 1-3 was going to be around $49. The first component of the course, the interactive computer program, has no expiration. I was told that if you purchase a new computer in a few years that you can call Rosetta Stone and they will reauthorize the software on your new computer.

Version 4 TOTALe includes several features that are not in the previous versions. There is both online and offline access. The online content includes the Rosetta World games and Rosetta Studio conversation sessions. The interactive computer course can be run offline. All of this now runs from a single icon, a single computer application. And there is the TOTALe Mobile Companion which allows you to practice anywhere using your iPod Touch or iPhone.

In the computer lessons (Rosetta Course), a speaker announces a phrase or sentence and you are shown a picture that correlates to that phrase or sentence. Then you hear the speaker announce another phrase or sentence and you are shown 4 pictures, and you must click on the picture that corresponds to that phrase or sentence. If you select the wrong picture, you get a big "X". If you select the correct picture, then you get a green check mark and the phrase then appears above the picture to help you associate that sentence with that picture. Later you'll have to select the correct word from a list to properly complete a phrase or sentence corresponding to a picture. As an example, you'll be shown a picture of a man who is jogging. The Spanish phrase at the top of the picture is "Él corre." So then one has to infer the translation from the picture. Rosetta Stone states that "intuitively, you just know what it means." You can't click on the phrase or the picture to get a translation. So one might infer that this means he runs. But one might also think he is running, or he ran, or he is a runner, or he is jogging, etc. So you may not find all of the the rules of grammar here. Also, you'll see words like esta and está, and I didn't see any way to get any help regarding rules pertaining to diacritics or accent marks and how they change the meanings of words.

I showed the course to a native Spanish speaker who also took Spanish in college. His initial impression was that Rosetta Stone appears to be targeted more to someone who has some initial familiarity with Spanish. He also indicated in some cases that he would have have chosen a different verb than what was used by Rosetta Stone to convey the meaning in the picture.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Platform for Display: PC/Mac DiscVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Will using Rosetta Stone Spanish allow you to say: "Me sorprende que soy capaz de hablar un español fluido después de usar este programa sólo por un par de semanas!" ('I am amazed that I am able to speak fluent Spanish after using this program for only a few weeks')?

Probably not. It is, however, a very useful and well thought out program.

The Rosetta Stone line of language products all share the same basic design and interface. The key to the Rosetta Stone system is the presentation of word and action associations, influenced by context. This simulates the sort of cues that one would parse and process in speaking any language, even your own native language. Normally, you don't think about this as you speak your own language. But it's one of the hardest things to simulate outside of dealing with a second language in its own country and having the chance to deal with real life situations involving speakers of the second language.

Each screen is accompanied by a phrase, spoken out loud by a native speaker in the program, and four slightly different picture scenes that require you to pick the one that the sentence is referring to. Beginning at a very basic level -- such as "the boy is under the tree" (in whatever language) with four pictures of a boy next to, under, in the limbs of and cutting down the tree -- your proficiency improves as you move through these basic cues to more advanced and complex speaking and contexts. By the end of the program you are dealing with fairly complex situations, sentences and associations.

The program also allows you to repeat the phrase and, using the supplied microphone, match and score your own pronunciation against the supplied sample. You can also test your ability to properly write out a second language by spelling out and typing the phrase, although the work arounds for using a US English QWERTY keyboard with the special characters and distinct keyboard layouts used by different languages can be awkward. There are several variations on all the visual, verbal and textual tests.

The most important question one must answer when considering this product is: will it, as the advertising suggests, be a magic gateway to language learning that is all you need? The answers is: sort of.

First, this is an expensive product. Make no mistake, when you pay for a heavily advertised product like this that you are, in part, paying the cost of the extensive advertising that brought it to your attention and put you in a mind to buy it.

Second, although Rosetta Stone is an extremely well thought out and useful system for review, practice, improving reaction times to prompts in other languages, and gaining fluency through exposure to variable contexts, it is not a complete language course.

I have purchased a load of different language courses for languages that I have wanted to study on my own, and I can say, at least for me, that using at least two or more different packages that compliment, reinforce and overlap with each other is always better than trying to learn everything with only the logic and pattern of one single course. Besides, you really do need to learn grammar and other parts of the subject that cannot really be covered by, or communicated well by, a single program, even one as well thought out as Rosetta Stone.

At some point you really do have to crack a book and do some regular studying and learning, even though Rosetta Stone strongly implies that you can be speaking away in a second language with nothing more than some time in front of your laptop.

Conclusion: whatever language you are wanting to study, seriously consider Rosetta Stone. But also seriously consider buying a Pimsleur and a Living Language course to go along with it, and seriously contemplate the very un-Rosetta Stone-ish subject of studying verb conjugation rules, grammar, usage and verb tables.

All together you will stand a much better chance of gaining real fluency, and not just the ability to distinguish if the boy is in, under or besides he tree, or if all of the people, two of the people, the two men or the three women in the picture are eating steak or drinking wine. It's all good, but no one product or course can do it all.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on July 30, 2012
Platform for Display: PC/Mac Disc
I was idiotic enough to spend $400 on Rosetta-Stone when I could've used a far better alternative for free. :(

Anyway, try, it's free, fun, immersive and works just as well if not better than Rosetta Stone, with an easy interface and Facebook integration, along with it being FREE. Seriously, give it a try if you want to learn Spanish, French, German, or all three.
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2011
Platform for Display: PC/Mac Disc
If you buy this be warned that Rosetta Stone's copy protection is draconian at least. The software key is a 25 digit number, along the lines of a Windows OS key. The problem is, it is difficult to uninstall and move to another computer. The controls are confusing due to the lack of standard design, but you can eventually find an uninstall software option. It removes the language plug-ins, and presents you with another 25 digit uninstall key, which you must copy down and report to Rosetta Stone via phone before your machine is truly de-registered. As Leo Laporte often comments, Rosetta Stone's copy protection serves to hurt legitimate purchasers without deterring hackers. It's a real pain, worse than most.

We bought this so our family could learn Spanish together. There is a little-advertised limit of two computers that the license key can be installed on, which doesn't work very well for a family. We got into attempting to move licenses between computers within our family to work around the two computer limit. At the end of the day, we ended up with no computers able to run Rosetta Stone due to their copy protection policies. Pretty sad for a $600 piece of software.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2012
Platform for Display: PC/Mac Disc
The Rosetta Stone Spanish is great when and if it decides to work. However, we have spent hours troubleshooting problems and getting error messages frequently at totally random times. I can be working along happily and then it just quits working and pops up an error code. The customer service people are not helpful and tell you to "reboot the computer 3 times" which works for a while, then all the problems start again. Our new computer has all operating systems & requirements that the program requires and never gives problems with any other software. The Rosetta Stone is the only software that is a constant problem. I bought levels 1-3. I have finished #1 finally and can't decide if I even want to fool with the other levels. I could have been done by now if I had not had to spend so much time on customer no-service. My favorite line from the tech guy on the 800 number was that I had to pay $19.99 to talk to them on the phone, but I could do a live chat on the internet for free. All they try to do is get you to spend more money on upgrades. Worthless! For the expensive price, I would expect a much higher quality. Would not buy this product again.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2010
Platform for Display: PC/Mac DiscVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Review: Rosetta Stone TotalE Version 4
My preferred review mode is to discuss the strengths and weaknesses, so let's get going!


1. Beautiful interface. The colors in the pictures are gorgeous and the photography is first rate. I suspect the multi-ethnic photography will be used with many RS language programs, but you really notice how much time has been taken to get the models just right. You'll spend a lot of time looking at "un gato" so it's nice to see quality pictures.

2. I did not have to go through the usually tedious process of "training" the program to recognize my voice. If there are problems you can go into Settings and make adjustments, but I had no issue being understood. Sometimes the program did not like my pronunciation and would make me "do over" but that's mostly a good thing.

3. Don't expect to see English here. You get a picture, the Spanish word and the pronunciation in the headset. That's it. Total immersion.

4. As you progress, you have the choice to repeat lessons or words you find troublesome and you can start over, of course.

5. I want to stress how non-threatening this software is. You move at your own pace. Very nice.

Things I had a problem with:

1. First, I had install problems with RS, all of which I were able to overcome without a call to customer support. When I plugged the headset in to the USB port it repeatedly crashed Windows Explorer (I'm running Win7 Pro). Eventually Windows allowed me to proceed, but I still get Explorer crashes randomly while running RS.

2. You cannot use this product without giving your first and last name, gender, birth date and email. I guess this is to check that no one under age 13 uses the on-line services. Yep, if you're under 13, you are blocked from using the online parts of the program.

3. I called customer service to confirm you cannot install this software on another computer, a laptop for instance. It seems for the price you should get to, but no. Even Adobe Photoshop allows another install on a personal laptop. I really don't get this. If you're travelling to a Spanish speaking country and want to brush up on Spanish on the way, you would have to deactivate the program on your desktop before installing it on your laptop. I find this onerous. I understand many people do not even use desktops any more, but the ones who do should be presumed to have good intentions.

4. Dialing an 800 U.S. number will not get you a U.S. operator. The person who took my call was polite, but confused about my question, "Can I install this on my laptop if it's already installed on my desktop computer?" I was put on hold several times before getting an answer. Ten minutes total time with customer service and a rather difficult to understand operator: Not good enough for this class of software.

5. Did I mention the price? Only you can determine the value to you, but be aware it's licensed to you, as the original owner, and no else should you finish it or grow tired of it.

In sum, excellent software, but for the price some parts of the final user experience need to be better. If the issues I mentioned above do not concern you, then Rosetta Stone TotalE Version 4 is 5 stars.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2011
Platform for Display: PC/Mac Disc
If you install Rosetta Stone (RS) on more than 2 computers, you have to call the company to get more seats for your activation ID. The first time my computer crashed, I called the company to get another seat (I had it installed on my husband's computer too in case he was using my laptop - he has a desktop). They treated me like I had stolen the ID, and it took over an hour to reactivate the ID. We wouldn't have been able to get it back, except that my husband has a nearly photographic memory and remembered his old credit card number that he used to buy the program for me for Christmas. He had to tell the RS support where he bought it exactly, the exact date, and the exact credit card number. That's way too difficult for most people.

I am now unable to install my Level 3 CD. I have now been on the phone (and on hold) for 52 minutes. The first person I talked to couldn't help me, and transferred me to technical support, which is now transferring me to technical support #2!! I've never had such terrible customer support experiences with any other product.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2012
Platform for Display: PC/Mac Disc
I actually like Rosetta Stone's approach to learning a language but I tried to update the software and it locked up my computer. After rebooting and trying again, it would state "updating" and sit there. Tried to uninstall and re-install but received exactly the same message. To move it to another computer requires going into the Preferences to get a specific number and calling in to Rosetta Stone. Of course, since it won't run I can't get into Preferences. Reading the horror stories of others with license problems I'll probably take the easy way out and just use It uses the same approach but is free and hasn't locked up my computer yet.
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
Hello Kz,

I'm sorry to hear that you can't access the program anymore! If you could send me an e-mail at I'd be more than happy to look into this for and see what we can do to help you resume your Spanish studies!

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