Transcription exercises are really translation exercises in the French --> German course
In the last couple of weeks or so, the transcription exercises have become translation exercises. In other words, Duolingo asks you to write what you hear - but refuses a transcription.
I encountered - and reported - this first in some fairly late stages of the tree. Checking on earlier lessons, though, I discovered that the problem seems pervasive.
It does not affect the review lessons for each skill - only the lessons themselves.
You can see a screen shot here: http://imgur.com/a/sLvhi
Here are some intermediate screenshots that may help you, but not on Mac, sorry...
First step: Menu button, click on history, then "show all history":
...and here is the final step:
Hope it helps. But remember that my problem was not exactly the same as yours...
Thank you all for the help. It looks like they've removed the transcription exercises for now, so apparently they're working on it. eric.59, I think you and I had the same problem, actually - it just took me a while to realize that when it rejected my transcription, it wanted the translation.