Contributing to translations from the web?
Most "translation from the web" I have seen are 3 word phrases, or long sentences with several propositions. I also saw one with slang. This is useless for learning. I am a native french speaker, and came to duolingo to learn spanish from english. I'm thinking it would be nice if multilingual people like me could contribute by filtering texts, choosing which sentences to include or not, cut long sentences into smaller pieces... The reward would be to have a better duolingo to learn languages from!
There is a slight conflict of interests here between teaching and getting pages translated.
The ideal situation for "translating the web by crowdsourcing" is to have pages and sentences screened (and rated for difficulty) by bots only. When a sentence has been translated enough times that the 'current best translation' doesn't change anymore, there is little point (from the translating viewpoint) to have more people translate it.
As for some sources being "poorly written in the first place", well, but that's the page someone wanted translated. And if it's poor enough (or complex enough) to make bots struggle, that's when you need humans to do the job.
It is a very daunting task Duolingo has set out to do, but they seem to be succeeding in much of it. Hopefully it will continue to improve.
I agree, some of the sources are pretty-poorly written in the first place. The other thing that is useless, is "translating" long lists of short entries, or even numbers, that don't require much insight beyond, e.g: just changing French "cm3" to "cc" (centimetres cubed)" in conventional English usage. +6 skill points each, yet a really convoluted sentence merits +12 to +15 at best.
I agree that many of the articles are ... uninspired. However, I disagree that the presence of slang or long sentences makes translation useless to learning. First, I'd imagine that some familiarity with slang terms would be very beneficial to many or most students. Second, it seems that long sentences are considered less unwieldy in the Spanish language than in English. When translating, I usually split them as needed.