Will Spanish learners eventually be able to do English-Spanish translations?
I'm just wondering, but since the aim of learning a language is usually to speak and write it (not just to read and understand it), wouldn't it make sense to offer English-Spanish translations to Spanish learners too?
It would be good for learning but it would not be good for Duolingo's other goal, which is to translate the web. I mean, the translations would likely be unreliable. Even professional translators usually only translate into their mother tongue. Translating into a second language is much more difficult, as you can see with the non-native-English speakers here on Duolingo. A lot of little details get missed. I think the place to practice writing is in the Stream, writing to each other, and you can practice speaking at sites like LiveMocha, or in person (check Meetup.com or Craigslist to find conversation groups in your area).
There's some English->Spanish work in the lessons, but no general translation. I find that entirely appropriate: you will need many, many, many more hours' exposure to quality written Spanish to be ready to write it fluently than you're likely to get through any teaching website. Just think how many years and hundreds of hours of reading and English composition work you went through to master writing in your native language.
Angiedaytripper, that's not the same. Because Spanish speakers will have difficulty with comprehension of the English text but have no problems with actual Spanish grammar, vocabulary and spelling. For learners, the opposite is the case, so the focus of the error-correcting systems etc. is totally different.
@mprey Perhaps but at some point Duolingo will be a business and may not be in a position to support features that do not contribute to their main goal, which is to provide quality translations. Personally I think they could be making the lessons more difficult, with longer sentences that need to be written and translated in the learning language. That might be a better solution than supporting 2nd language translation of websites on top of everything else.