"Oda mi nem költözünk, ahol bogarak vannak."

Translation:We do not move there, where there are bugs.

August 19, 2016

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The translations of these sentences are making these lessons much more frustrating than they need to be. I understand the concepts and how things work, meaning it's actually easier for me to translate into Hungarian than it is to translate into English. Never thought I'd see the day when I said that. :P

Don't worry, I do understand that the course is in beta and I have been reporting alternatives — that doesn't mean it isn't nice to express frustration in vain from time to time. ;)


The course-writers are stuck with a dilemma in that translating things into natural-sounding English often involves omitting words or restructuring things in a drastic way that would make it hard to recover the original Hungarian. They've stuck with unnatural-sounding English constructs which match the original Hungarian more closely, and make it easy to guess the Hungarian since the "English" is often more of a gloss than a translation. (Well, sometimes they have. Inconsistency is also a bit of a problem in this course at the moment.)

If the core exercise type is just translating sentences back and forth, then the problem would have to be addressed by (1) in the first place, choosing pedagogically sensible sentences which don't present unreasonable difficulties for beginners, and (2) not simply flipping the E-H exercise to get a H-E exercise but providing different cues depending on the direction of translation. That's a lot of work, of course. On the other hand, trying to do it this way is also a lot of work and doesn't really succeed.

A better but more radical approach would be to base the course less on translating entire, complex sentences (which Duo is kind of historically rooted in) and concentrate more on transformation, substitution, fill-in-the-blanks, and other kinds of useful, easier-to-grade, and sharply focused exercises that would also let the spaced repetition engine shine.

But... alas.


Then they should give to translations

  • one preceded by (litt:), meaning (litterally) or word by word translation

  • one preceded by (usage) meaning how people usually translate it.

That's how proverbs are translated.


why dont we say 'we do not move to the place where there are bugs' ?


there where there?-)

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