Quality of English

I have found duolingo excellent in my study of Turkish and Hungarian. However I am often frustrated at the quality of the English. In order to make progress I have had to learn to accept "DuoEnglish" and it is for this reason I am unable to advise my Hungarian friends to use Duolingo in their study of English.

December 15, 2016


There are incorrect translations in all of the courses. This isn't surprising - the courses contain a huge number of translations, and there are bound to be some mistakes, particularly in the newer courses.

If you spot an incorrect translation, you can use the report button. It pops up after each question, and it's for exactly this purpose: informing the course team of mistakes, so they can fix them.

December 15, 2016

I'll paste here what I just posted in a another, similar thread:

In all the courses I've done here, the emphasis has been on teaching correct and idiomatic phrases in the language that is to be taught.

This means that, especially in the trickier sentences towards the end of the tree, the translations into the "base language" (so, for example, English in the Spanish for English speakers course) are not always very elegant and idiomatic. Such is the nature of a course based on translating individual sentences. In real life translation, you can use different ways of trying to convey the exact matching meaning, but here, each sentence has to have one "best" matching sentence in the other language, so that user "gets" what they should produce, regardless of the direction of translation. The point is thus to teach the language, not to provide elegant phrases in both languages.

Also, cultural concepts are taught which aren't simple to translate, and which produce endless discussions from learners trying to get their heads around them. (One example is the Swedish phrase for "My wife is a priest.")

So, if you try out the English for Hungarian speakers course, you'll probably find that the quality of thr English is better than what you're experiencing in the Hungarian for English speakers course. (I'm writing probably because it of course depends on each course as well -- some are just better than others.)

December 15, 2016

Except that you shouldn't produce it as a translation if it's bad English. If it's bad English, we are left wondering what the phrase is meant to mean in the original language. If it's a case of set phrases/chunked language and the concept is expressed differently in the two languages, they should be taught as such with whole phrase translations and an explanation - and those whole phrases/sentences should be correct and unambiguous in both languages.

December 15, 2016

Thank you for saying this so eloquently. I agree completely.

I can't help feeling, as well, that the fact that so many of the sentences in for English courses require translation to English, and not to the target language, just accentuates this frustration.

December 15, 2016
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