I guys, I was wondering if http://duolingo.com/#/DuoBot is actually run by Duolingo? I wonder what the value of adding automatic Google Translations to all documents is since they are routinely selected as the final translation when in fact the translation is rubbish. If anything the machine translations should be presented as a 'suggestion' not a true translation of the block of text.
My guess is that it is. Duolingo probably has this bot to test automatic translations (I also guess they are testing different algorithms) and see how it compares to human translations.
I don't have a problem with the bot per se. My problem with the current setup is two fold: 1) The system does not show enough alternative candidate translations once some of them are being picked up by enough people; 2) Different users have different language skills to judge what constitutes a good translation.
My suggestions to this are 1) to use some algorithm to diversify the candidate translations more, maybe showing a few at random with some probability (and an option "none of the above" to the current sets), and 2) to have a translation score weighed by the level of the user on Duolingo. That is, the sentence picked up by a level 10 user must have a higher score than one picked by a level 1 user.