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Bad real world translations

Hi guys, i want to begin with a big thank you to those who are making this possible - Duolingo is a great way to learn a new language! One thing i still do not understand is how the 'Real world translation' thing works. When something is 100% translated, does it mean that the text in the box is the final translation? And how is the final text chosen? Because the final translations are often very literal, keeping the structure of the (in my case) spanish original text which sounds often not very elegant. Sometimes even the translation of easy sentences is ridiculously wrong. I translate very carefully and i take my time my time to do it, so I am wondering how the final translations is picked and what happens with the texts?

March 2, 2013



I think that depends on the user ratings. I have often seen some translations that are more or less made by Google translate, or even worse... if users rate them, they are considered good.

For the rest I don't know, I am pretty curious as well... :)


I think it would be great to have sort of a review option or a 'report bad translation' button


I agree that some of the 100% completed translations are really poor. If you hover over them there is an option to edit the translation or rate it though so maybe (hopefully!) feedback is taken into account to improve the translations. This only seems to work on the internet version of Duolingo though - not sure whether you can do that on the iphone app.


yes, i have often seen translation that are made by Google and which are not right every time...


Hopefully it goes through a final translation phase where the contexts of the sentences are challenged to make sure it makes sense.


How do we progress if we can't or don't want to do the translations? As a beginner I haven't a hope so I'm stuck.


They usually come after you've learned a lesson, and even then they will provide translation hover suggestions on each word so you can slowly "interpret" it. You can also edit your translations after seeing how others translated it. If you do get stuck, you can always click try a different sentence or hopefully the image of the article or already translated sentences will help you get the context. Don't worry too much about it, the sentences they give after lessons usually are relatively short.


That's what the lessons are for. You do them first if you don't know anything about the language.


Yes, some of the translations do sound odd but I find it kind of mixed depending on which translation gets voted. I wonder how it works as well. A lot of times when it asks me to pick a "best sentence", I end up doing a lot of editing to one as none of the sentences feel right but I think that some people would be too lazy to do that and end up voting on a very literal sentence. Maybe to resolve this, there should be a separate section for voting and translating somehow, though the only problem with this as you would get an imbalance between the two.

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