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Wrong final translations - compulsory selection

What I would like to discuss is the sentence translation part of Duolingo (Italian). What I noticed during the last weeks as I started Italian is that many sentences are translated totally wrong, and now I am talking about 100% ready, accepted translations.

My favourite example is the following: "Andiamo a vedere cosa é successo." Now the well accepted 100% translation of this was "We go to see what is successful." The problem is that this actually means "Let's see what happened." That is not just a minor, tolarable error, but the meaning is something totally different.

What I am suggesting is that the source of this mistake must be the way the software checks which is the best translation. Many people - including me - use Google Translate to help with more difficult translations. This wouldn't be a problem, but the problems start because some people do not translate just expressions, but put the whole sentence into Google Translate, and simply copy-paste it to Duolingo. Now when the first several people to translate it do this very same thing, the software recognises that this must be close to the real translation.

Now when you come, and translate it properly, your translation won't even appear in the list from which people can choose, and since they HAVE TO choose one, one of the wrong translations will get closer to being accepted (100%). This leads to totally wrong translations being accepted as final translations.

Any thoughts on this?

January 17, 2013



Very good point. I think that, when we have to chose between bad translations, we should try to fix them (clicking the "Pick and Edit" button), and commenting on WHY we are editing so that the author will see his/her possible mistake. As a side note, I don't understand what is the point in translating sentences using Google Translator, and then copy and paste! I find that if a sentence is too hard, whether you try yourself anyway and then be open to people editing it, or you just skip to the next one. I don't gain any knowledge using google translator. However, I find WordReference to be very useful, especially thanks to the forum section where most grammar topics are discussed, and otherwise you can start your own.


You make good points there, but I cannot agree with the part where you say that using Google Translate is useless. Actually there are expressions that are simply impossible to figure out with the tips/helps duolingo gives, but Google Translate can recognise them, Therefore it is a very useful tool to get the meaning of expressions of 2-5 words. However, using it for whole sentences is totally pointless, as you said it.


Using Google Translate is useless if you take it as the final correct result. That should be used to give some hints. My 2 cents.

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