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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Drempt

Immersion - Just a waste of time, unfortunately / Inmersión, una pérdida de tiempo, lamentablemente

A heads up to new duolingo users:

This is really appalling. A few days ago I spent two hours translating a number of sentences from Spanish to English.

Later that day I started getting notifications that my translations had been corrected. When I checked, I found that people who are not even close to being fluent in English had replaced my translations with literal word-by-word or Google generated translations. Furthermore, some people had piggybacked with "non-edits" (i.e.: you copy the sentence then delete it and paste it back in).

When I messaged one of them, a Spanish speaker who is learning English, she said that she "had not doubt that my English was much better than hers but she just had edited again my translation because it bothers her when people appropriate her texts once she's made the effort."

I actually had to explain to her that she doesn't own "the texts" and that duolingo's immersion is not a game. She finally stopped replacing my translations.

However, today I checked my translations and I couldn't believe what I saw. All of them had been replaced with either the 'non-edits' I mentioned above, Google generated translations or bad translations from people who are not fluent in English.

I saw 25 contributors. When I translated that text there was none. That tells the story, doesn't it?

It's evident that most people use immersion to get points, some will even paste text that has absolutely nothing to do with the document.

I am using duolingo to learn Dutch and refresh my Italian. I'm also doing the Spanish tree to collect lingots for the languages I'm learning.

Duolingo should only allow truly bilingual people to work on immersion (a proficiency test should be mandatory) and they should also develop some other feature or a translation game with points for learners.

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Un aviso a nuevos usuarios de duolingo:

Ésto es realmente terrible. Hace unos días me pasé dos horas traduciendo una serie de frases del español al Inglés.

Unas horas más tarde me llegan notificaciones de que mis traducciones habían sido corregidas y cuando fui a ver de qué se trataba me encuentro con que gente que todavía no habla bien en inglés había reemplazado mis traducciones con traducciones de palabra por palabra o generadas en Google. Aún más alarmante, algunos editan falsamente simplemente copiando y pegando la misma traducción!

Cuando contacté a uno de ellos, una persona de habla española que está aprendiendo a hablar inglés, me dijo "No dudo de que sepas mas que yo de Ingles pero te he vuelto a cambiar el texto por que me molesta que se apropien de mis textos ya que hago el esfuerzo de traducirlos.(sic)"

Le tuve que explicar que ella no es la dueña de esos textos y que la sección de inmersión de duolingo no es un juego. Ella finalmente dejó de reemplazar mis traducciones.

Hoy volví a darle un vistazo a mis traducciones y realmente me costó creer lo que vi. Absolutamente todas mis traducciones habían sido reemplazadas con falsas ediciones ('copia y pega') o con traducciones generadas en Google o malas traducciones de gente que está aprendiendo inglés.

Yo fuí la primera en traducir esos textos y ahora hay 25 contribuciones. Ésto definitivamente demuestra el problema. Es evidente que la mayoría de la gente usa inmersión sólo para acumular puntos, como si fuera un juego. Algunos incluso copian y pegan textos que no tienen nada que ver con el documento.

Yo utilizo duolingo para aprender holandés y refrescar un poco el italiano que también aprendí de niña pero no he usado en muchos años. También completo el árbol en espańol para ganar lingotes que uso para los otros idiomas.

Duolingo debería permitir acceso a inmersión sólo a personas que son completamente bilingües, ya sean traductores or gente, como yo, que creció (y continúa) hablando varios idiomas. Un examen de proficiencia debería ser obligatorio.

Y también deberían crear juegos de traducción con puntaje para los que están aprendiendo idiomas.

October 27, 2016

28 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/matfran2001

Yes, it is appalling. I never use immersion for that very same reason. Most people that use it don't know the language at all and only do it to get "easy" points.

One possible solution would be erasing all points from immersion, this way those kids would not come to immersion to "steal" points.

If you want to translate texts and your possible errors be corrected by natives, try "lang-8", a much better site for that specific task.

October 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Drempt

Thanks, but I am a "native" :). I was doing the translations only to help (as stupid as that may sound).

October 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DreamsOfFluency

Drempt, I think you might have misunderstood matfran2001. I believe they were completely agreeing with you and said, "If you want to translate texts..." in the general sense of other people, not you specifically.

I tried to use immersion when I first came to Duolingo. I quickly saw that it was way over my head and then when I realized Duo uses us to get texts right, I knew I had no business there until I was proficient. But, I didn't realize the gaming aspect was being used for points and encouraging non-proficient people to mess with other people's translations. I can understand how you feel. I had no idea someone could change someone else's translation. If that is the case, I agree with both of you that it should change.

October 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Drempt

I understood what matfran2001 said.

I knew that translations could be changed and, had my translations been edited and enhanced by speakers with my level of proficiency, I wouldn't have minded at all.

Look, I've been helping a nice girl here, a Spanish speaker, who somehow has managed to get to level 25 and 72% fluency without actually knowing a thing about English grammar (she would post stuff like this on my activity section: Yesterday I do not saw you. I think you not inter in Duolingo.) and... she does translations.

Anyway, I hope this thread helps new duolingo users understand what immersion really is.

See you around :).

October 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/b05aplmun.ca

As I understand it, at any given time the vast majority of the articles in Immersion were uploaded by users, rather than part of Duolingo's translation-for-fee service. This is even more true now, given that Duolingo's business model is moving away from translation.

In any case, at the time I started, Duolingo was encouraging relative beginners to participate in Immersion (I think starting at Level 6 or 7). Rightly or wrongly, it apparently trusted its system to correct for errors made by newbies and people at an intermediate level.

October 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Drempt

given that Duolingo's business model is moving away from translation. It'd be interesting to know more about that. Could you share a source?

October 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/b05aplmun.ca

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duolingo.

http://duolingo.wikia.com/wiki/Frequently_asked_questions/Immersion (unofficial wiki)

This has also been discussed endlessly on the site, especially since Duolingo started the A/B test for Immersion some months ago.

October 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Drempt

Thanks for the links, Anne.

October 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Macjory

Another suggestion: report the abusers to Duo by emailing a screen shot to: Duolingo Abuse <abuse@duolingo.com>

October 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Drempt

Thanks for the tip. I'll keep that in mind.

October 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zzzzz...

While this is true, I would not brand Immersion as "just a waste of time". The most important thing is to learn new things and I have done that thanks to Immersion. I am currently working on translating from English into French and German and have met some of the kindest people on Duolingo while doing that. I am not a native English speaker and my French and German are intermediate. Despite this I have survived thanks to the people I have met in Immersion.

Should you want to continue translating despite your experiences, I recommend that you find an Immersion buddy who is approximately as proficient as you are. And do not give up on trying to help people. There are a lot of users just like me who just need some encouragement and advice. :)

October 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Drempt

Thanks for the advice :) but how would finding an immersion buddy help?

October 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zzzzz...

An Immersion buddy would help you to hone your translating skills. Translation is an art and being fluent does not mean you have nothing to learn. Try translating fiction. Trying to maintain the tone of the original text is a challenge even for people like you, who clearly are linguistically talented.

But most importantly, do not become cynical, because of the more unruly users. Once you start Immersion in languages you are studying, you will notice that there are good, patient people, who will spend a lot of time to help you out. :)

October 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Drempt

Thanks, again. I guess I meant to ask how your suggestion would help the situation I described in my post, but you were referring to something else. My mistake.

October 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zzzzz...

Some time ago, my translations on an article I was translating were changed into very rude, sexual words. I made a report and focused on the people I knew I could trust. You can also avoid this sort of thing by choosing certain topics. Fiction and articles on different art forms are much less likely to attract troublemakers than, say, articles on popular actors and singers. Learn to know the regular translators and focus on their work and feedback. It will not solve the problem but it will make your Immersion life more than tolerable. And you will make friends in the process.

You should know that for some reason the Spanish into English Immersion is the one that attracts most hooligans. When you will start Dutch and Italian Immersion, you will notice that things are much calmer there. :)

October 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Drempt

That's good to know! :) See you around.

October 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gourmetkat

Yeah there are some mean and manipulative people who correct or downvote but please don't get discouraged! Once you rise to higher translation tiers things taper off. It takes longer to move up but the number of people who can hurt you diminishes. I so enjoy translating, when I find the time!!!

October 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VeeDrawStuff

I stopped using Immersion a while ago. Many people have complained about the Immersion section in the past. Immersion is like any other online forum running wild.

October 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/QuadraticLingual

That sounds like a good idea. It's awful that people abuse the system like that, though!

October 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/b05aplmun.ca

If only "truly bilingual people" were allowed to use Immersion, it would be pointless as a teaching tool. The idea is to learn by doing, by checking other people's work, and by having one's own work checked.

I am by no means bilingual, but I am quite serious about translation. I think much the same could be said about many other people who use Immersion.

October 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/espofleet

lo reportaste ? Las traducciones son para aprender más a escribir, leer y entender, no para jugar ni para hacer tonterías y ganar puntos. Reportándolo, vas a conseguir que a esa persona la sancionen y no pueda trabajar con el programa. Suerte !

October 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Drempt

Sí. Lo reporté pero el problema seguirá hasta que cambien el sistema.

October 27, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/peephole

I've had a similar experience a few times and it is definitely discouraging. Take screen shots and report abuse. It's not the most satisfying thing in the world, but it's a start. (I started by asking someone politely on their activity stream to not do what she was doing, since she appeared to be about 11 years old.)

October 29, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Peter.Moss

Try to help them, if they don't want to use your translation, oh well, their loss.

I have seen my translations butchered by non native speakers. It bothered me at first, but now I just ignore them, mark them wrong if they really bad and move on...

October 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/webnauta

I agree with you. This situation is very appalling for me too, I've had using Duolingo since two years, and I preffer to learn only with the lessons from the tree and writing some coments here or in youtube, besides having practice directly in a whatsapp group with native english speakers (I'm a native spanish speaker). If you want, I can send you an invitation to participate in our language (exchange) group. I sincerely wish you all the best in your learning.

October 28, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shortstack99

Even though I've been on Duolingo for a little more than a couple weeks, I still have no idea what immersion is on here. Can you please tell me what it is?

November 4, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Drempt

Hi Sarah,

Immersion is translation. Not all users see an "Immersion" link on their Duolingo main page, though. I'm not sure why that is.

November 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shortstack99

Okay, I think I know what it is now. I did a little bit of research and I think I get what it's for. I don't have Immersion on my main page so I guess hearing about this is all new to me. Thanks for telling me about this!

November 5, 2016
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