Rosetta Stone celebrates 25 years

The pioneer in digital language learning is now a global education company helping educators, businesses and individuals around the world succeed

Everyone knows the iconic yellow Rosetta Stone boxes that were once a staple at airport kiosks. With their bright and hopeful color, they've helped travelers and other language learners develop practical skills enabling them to speak with confidence in a new place.

As Rosetta Stone marks its 25th year, their mission to expand communication and understanding on a global scale remains unchanged, but their products have evolved quite a bit since those yellow boxed CD-products first appeared at retailers. For instance, the company's offerings are now fully digital, and are available on a number of platforms that enable people to learn on-the-go on mobile devices or at home on a PC. Also, in the past five years, Rosetta Stone has moved away from being primarily a consumer-focused company to one that also serves educators and businesses worldwide.

"We work with teachers to bring technology into classrooms, using it as a way to get students excited about learning a world language," says Matt Hall, Vice President, Enterprise and Education, Rosetta Stone. "We also engage with businesses and organizations who need our products as they grow in different markets and try to interact with clients and colleagues around the world."

Launched in 2016, Catalyst is Rosetta Stone's newest product that is designed to help those learning a new language for business. Like all of Rosetta Stone's products, Catalyst uses interactive software the company pioneered in 1992 to help accelerate language learning. It helps people speak, read, write and think in a new language, and provides access to a language learning community, with live online tutoring sessions that enable participants to speak with a coach who is a native speaker. Catalyst also employs Rosetta Stone's proprietary speech-recognition technology TruAccent, which offers instant feedback to help perfect pronunciation, in addition to interactive games to help reinforce learning.

"One of the biggest challenges with learning a language is not practicing it in the classroom or on an app, but actually speaking it and feeling confident that you can have a conversation with someone in a different language or give a presentation in a different language," Hall says. "We get you speaking right from the very first lesson. When you’re ready to practice online with our tutors, they will only speak in the language they're trained in. It's a huge push. We have individual and group sessions so if you or your team is learning a language, a tutor can help you gain that confidence you need."

Hall says companies offer Catalyst to their employees in different ways. Some offer access as an employee benefit, enabling staff to download language programs and work on them at their leisure. Others use it when they're expanding outside the U.S. and need to train employees moving abroad. Still others may use it to help current workers develop English skills when English is not their first language. Current clients using Catalyst to train their employees include Marriott International, Kimberly-Clark, Royal Dutch Shell and Wendy's.

Thousands of students benefit from Rosetta Stone in the classroom, as well. Technology integration in schools has now become the norm, and savvy teachers are using it to help engage their students. For example, Gateway Academy in Phoenix, AZ, has used Rosetta Stone to unlock a passion for world language learning with its autistic student body. “Most of our students are exceptionally bright, but have various learning and social and emotional skill levels,” says O. Robin Sweet, Founder, Executive Director and CEO of Gateway Academy. “It’s amazing to see how engaged they are with the Rosetta Stone program. Technology has really allowed them to excel, and I truly believe we have some future linguists among us!”

The company also offers reading solutions for schools. In 2013, Rosetta Stone acquired Lexia Learning, a technology-based literacy company that has helped increase reading proficiency for more than two million children across the country. This has been a perfect complement to Rosetta Stone’s language-learning products. It remains a focus for the company as it continues to grow. Additionally, Rosetta Stone’s Fit Brains business offers personalized brain training programs on various digital platforms developed by neuroscientists and game designers.

Special 25th Anniversary Event

The Rosetta Stone team is excited to mark their 25th anniversary with activities, celebrations and educational events at their offices (including Rosslyn) throughout the rest of the year. To help raise awareness across the country about the importance of language learning, Rosetta Stone has partnered with Lead with Languages, a campaign to make learning languages a national priority. In association with Lead with Languages they are hosting an education roundtable on May 17 in Rosslyn, which is home to their global headquarters. "Advocating for Change: Connecting Our Nation through Language" will bring together leaders in business, government, and education who will engage in a dialogue, exchange ideas and discuss contrasting perspectives around the language learning imperative.

To learn more and to register for the Rosslyn event, click here.

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Photo at top: Rosetta Stone staff meet at their corporate headquarters, located in Rosslyn.
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