Question about the meaning of albums. Does this refer to a "record album", or does it also refer to the same collection of music on a compact disc or downloaded in .mp3 form?
It can refer to either. It can also refer to a drawing-book or a photo album.
Or a nicely published, illustrated, large format book on art, architecture etc.
I've reported it in this and similar questions, but is does not accept things like: "Two albums are on the table", or: "A vase is on the table." It insists on: "There are/There is..." It really should be possible to describe where something is, without having to preface it with: "There is/There are" all the time.
In Russian, the sentence structure would be different. Два альбома лежат на столе. Ваза стоит на столе. The translation in this exercise is correct. "There is/are..." is correct.
Also, we are translating TO ENGLISH. Not to Russian. Therefore it should be the correct English structure. "on the table are 2 albums" and "2 albums are on the table." mean exactly what "There are two albums on the table". Means, therefore should be correct. If the argument is made that is should be literal translations... The correct answer would be "on (the) table (are) two albums". Also, even if an argument could be made that by some technicality, "there" is absolutely correct and the ONLY technically correct answer. I still would say that the amount of focus on this issue is a colossal waste when the time could be spent on more important issues.
If a Russian friend said "На столе два альбома" and I translated it to a friend as "On the table are 2 albums". Its certainly saying the same thing...
"There is/are" is certainly correct, but it is equally correct to say "on the table are two albums", yet DL has mixed feeliings about this structure, accepting it at times and rejecting it at others (like here). Two simple examples: If you are enumerating the contents of a room or describing it for a blind person you would not keep repeating "there". You would say "on the table are two albums, next to the table is a television set," etc. You might also say it that way in answer to a question or just because that's how you happened to say it.
You're right. DL needs to be consistent and give more correct grammatical options. In Russian, sentence structure is not as rigid as English, so they sometimes miss the mark. Also, to me (maybe regional dialect), "on the table are two albums," sounds backwards. "Two albums are on the table," sounds more natural. I do like your example of describing the room to a blind person, though. It does work perfectly, simplifying, not sounding redundant.
Grammatically correct, but idiomatically terrible English. The course is about translating between two idioms through an understanding of the definitions and grammar.
Duo should not accept your suggested "correct" answers, because they are not complete sentences, but a collection of phrases. The only idiomatically correct English begins with "There are..." You should try to get used to that, so you learn to speak idiomatically good English. It's the pathway to fluency.