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Translations - fluency or accuracy?

I am slightly curious as to the approach we should take with translations. Should we focus on translating so that every word in the original language is translated to English or focus more on providing something that flows as if it was written in English at the expense of some less important words?

January 5, 2013


[deactivated user]

    There's a common misconception that literal translations are more "accurate". They're not. They're just plain bad and useless. First and foremost, a translation has to sound natural in the target language. The grammar and individual words of the source text are absolutely irrelevant for the translation. A good translator translates ideas, not grammar or words.


    Provide a translation that flows, as christian says. I think DuoLingo should publish a manifesto of intent (or call it Recommended best practices) with this being only one example of the content.


    I agree, Duolingo should make a FAQ or something available explaining what is expected of us as translators, because most people seem to think strictly literal translations are the way to go (which is actually understandable if you're brand new to language learning and nobody has pointed out differently). But I wouldn't hold our collective breath. I've begged Duo for this before, with no results.



    I wrote a tirade on this very subject several weeks ago that covers my own ideas when it comes to translating. It can be found here:



    As I understand it always fluency as that's why we're here and computer programs aren't doing the translating instead

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