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

Interference from the Pearson course

Some of you might have noticed that in the last few weeks, some new sentences have popped up and some existing translations have changed in the German course for English speakers (and the reverse course). You can find some of them in the "Sentences" tab.

This is because Duolingo has launched a new (paid) course in partnership with Pearson, and this content, which is not maintained by us volunteer contributors but by Pearson, is leaking into our course.

This is what we've been told by Duolingo staff:

Pearson courses are separated from Duolingo’s courses so that learners are able to access the content that is most relevant to them. Students with Pearson textbooks and Duolingo Pearson access codes will use the Pearson courses on Duolingo so that they can practice the vocabulary and grammar that corresponds to their classroom curriculum. We run daily scripts to ensure that most sentences are not shared between courses. There are some instances where sentence overlap is unavoidable.

Unfortuntely, there seems to be more overlap than expected, and we've noticed that our internal guidelines are not always being observed and many alternative translations are missing :(

August 18, 2017

169 Comments


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

I feel so sorry for all you original course translators. Given that the Pearson alliance seems to be a done deal, I hope duo at the very least prioritizes fixing this problem out of respect for the work you guys put it.


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

Ok...so how does the fact that Pearson has partnered with Duolingo explain this translation: the English sentence is "Are that oranges?" with the German translation being "Sind das Orangen." My understanding is that 'das' is translated to English as 'those' as well as 'that.' Surely the translator -- regardless of what his or her first language is -- would recognize that the English translation for this sentence is wrong to begin with.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/darkwing1619

I just ran into this sentence too! Partnering with Pearson is going to continue to have a negative effect I think...


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PKM252042

I for one would be delighted if the paid-for Pearson content was firmly locked behind the paywall, so I could continue not paying money and not seeing any of it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmalieB39

Thanks for this explanation, christian.

I've been so frustrated lately - being bombarded by sentences/idioms beyond my level of comprehension, encountering lots of poor translations to English that I am forced to reiterate in order to finish a practice, and finding less opportunity to give feedback in exercises when something is presented wrongly.

I thought I must have progressed far enough in the tree that this was going to be par for the course from now on. Hoping it's just a temporary glitch, now.

I really appreciate this free resource - but Duolingo may start losing people who have used it a long time and are getting fed up, if it doesn't get corrected quickly.

Many thanks to the volunteer moderators who are being forced to deal with this in the forums, because of their desire to continue providing free language learning. You guys are amazing!


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

Hear hear to all of this.

I've been getting "type in the answer" questions straight off the bat when I start new skills. I'm talking first question here; vocab that's never been previously introduced, and I'm apparently supposed to magically pull a word out of thin air. It's incredibly frustrating and discouraging.

I feel for all the volunteer mods on these courses - the whole Pearson brouhaha is a real slap in the face to the people who have made the content as good as it is (I've been on Duolingo since 2012, so I can personally attest to how far its come).


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

I've been getting "type in the answer" questions straight off the bat when I start new skills. I'm talking first question here; vocab that's never been previously introduced, and I'm apparently supposed to magically pull a word out of thin air. It's incredibly frustrating and discouraging.

Do you mean "type in the translation of a written sentence"? In such case, are the hints not working anymore for you?

Note: This doesn't look like an issue linked to Pearson.


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

Nope, not sentences, vocab. Single word translations, like "teacher" or "bridge". (Might not have been those specific words, though. I'm actively studying three languages and there's something of a melange of vocab floating around my mind.)

I get a prompt to type in the German for, let's say, teacher. There are no hints to mouse over, and all I get is the English and three stock photos of 'teachers'.


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

I see.
It's an old buggy behaviour that happens (sometimes) in some courses/to some users since far before Duo started anything with Pearson.


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

Huh, well there you go. I've only noticed it in the last couple of weeks, and I've been here (intermittently) since 2012...!


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

That explains it, thank you. I had that happening in Irish (I think?) and it was like "HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW THAT WORD?!" because if I'm doing the very first lesson and it tells me to type in the [Irish] word for woman without having previously been exposed to it, how on earth am I supposed to know the answer? (That's basically why I haven't progressed further than lvl 2, it was too frustrating.)

I'm sure I've seen it happen in German too, although fortunately very rarely.


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

I fail to understand why "sentence overlap is unavoidable," and why Pearson crap keeps showing up. Pearson should be paying to keep their users in a separate program divorced from Duolingo. Let Pearson pay usage fees for the Duolingo software: upfront costs and a percentage from each Pearson user. It seems to me that Pearson found a cheap way to initiate and promote their programs and that Duolingo got the worst of this deal. We Duo users suffer as a result.


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

FrankEdger I am not part of Duolingo, and share your frustration. However it is also the case with software systems that as they grow, and acquire unanticipated complexity, bugs appear that from an outside perspective would appear as simple to fix but would require unaffordably thorough rewriting and re-architecting of major parts of the system. There are even mathematical proofs (see Gödel's theorem) that this phenomenon is unavoidable. So we all have to suffer because it's a fundamental property of formal complex systems. The universe is not ideal. I am sure Duo is internally aware and would love to be able to afford to rewrite their back end. Maybe one day they will.


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

I appreciate the concerns of all of the moderators and volunteers. I was shocked to find this sentence combination in my review today: "Are that your houses?" Translation: Sind das eure Häuser? I know that is very incorrect in English, and I believe it's incorrect in German as well. It was very frustrating to try to remember it long enough to get through the strengthening exercise. I reported both issues, hope it makes a difference.


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

The German is actually fine -- and the singular das in the (correct) German may well be the source for the singular "that" in the (incorrect) English, by someone who speaks German better than English.


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

> ...... by someone who speaks German better than English.

Unfortunately, that "someone" does not use the online dictionary www.duden.de
Today in the course "English speakers for German speakers" in the Android app:

A picture and the German word "Weltall"

I think every Duolingo student, who has finished this tree, has a better knowledge of German and English than the "someone of Pearson"
(Even the students like me, whose mother tongue is neither English nor German)


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

Hahaha, it's hilarious how a company that produces paid textbooks for University is creating worse content than non-paid volunteers.

Absolutely hilarious.


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

That's from the "English for speakers of German" course, right? I think I've found that spot. (I don't have permission to change anything in that course, though.)


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

If that makes you feel better.

Or the contrary. :(


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

I have also reported it via the "flag" button.


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

If that makes you feel better.

I can't see any place where reports for picture exercises are visible to ordinary course contributors, so there can be 1000 reports but we will not see any of them.

It's possible that someone in Duo HQ keeps a counter of them and that they're not completely useless, but unfortunately, errors in picture exercises are probably best reported through a forum post.


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

That particular translation is two years old and unlikely to be due to the Pearson co-operation.


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

That's very helpful, thank you, mizinamo.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LFG183608

This just happened to me. Posting a response here in hope that someone can fix it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mjanis54

With Pearsons involvement this may not end well. Live Mocha was also a great program, unfortunately Rosetta Stone changed it, so that users left and then RS killed it. Lets hope this doesn't happen to DuoLingo.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jaye16

We all hope the same.


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

We all know how easily Duo team wins Incredibly Bad Planning Award

As soon as I saw their Pearson announcement I knew that we would have problems in the existing courses. Though I should admit, as there is no Russian course, I have nothing to worry, But I do feel for other volunteers.

Let's admit it, the incubator is no longer a priority for the Duoteam. They let us exist, but we don't generate money, so we're disposable. Whatever generates money is much more important.

Yes, we would all agree - Person courses should be completely separated from our incubator courses. Will the Duoteam invest into keeping them separate? I don't think so, because those are the incubator courses which will suffer, and they are not a priority. End of story.

I got this horrible "learned helplessness" in the incubator. I don't even see the point to fight for anything any more.


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

Let's admit it, the incubator is no longer a priority for the Duoteam.

Let's Duo admit it. Honesty is important, no?
It's one thing we do know it (seeing how things stall), it's another one for it to be officially acknowledged publicly by Duo.


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

Not sure about that, sometimes it's better to leave things at the status quo. "Don't ask don't tell" kind of approach.


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

"Don't ask don't tell" kind of approach.

It's already told (our above comments), so... why not ask now. ;) ;)


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

Actually, if we want to survive, we should start investing our time in finding the money :)) Maybe campaigning somehow to attract donations and separate the incubator as a non-for-profit project. But we have no right to do that, because the incubator belongs to the Duoteam. No matter how much time we invest, we'll never be able to claim anything, we accepted that when we agreed to become volunteers.

The only other option is to move somewhere else. However, I'm not aware of any such place where we would be able to create courses on the same scale. So, while this current arrangement is not ideal and extremely vulnerable, we have no other options. Unless someone will go and invest a lot of effort into creating an alternative platform. Until it happens, we have to accept the Duoteam rules.


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

those are the incubator courses which will suffer

Not if the list of accepted answers (and the hints) keep doing a "ping-ping" by being "changed and reversed" by Pearson, then by volunteers, then by Pearson, then by volunteers, ...
Pearson courses would also suffer from that, no?


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

I mean, if the Pearson courses start suffering, the solution will be found, while in our cases - it's unlikely.


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

This is truly the beginning of the end for Duolingo, if you ask me.

Well, see you on Memrise guys!


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

This is due to a bug that will be fixed soon! Sorry about this.


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

I don't know how much of this has been fixed but 11 months later, I am still getting some of these issues in the German course. Apparently, "Wir sind groß" doesn't mean "we are big".


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

Please report any missing translations within the lesson so we can find and fix them. Many thanks, batmaneatsgravy!


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

When we report mistakes, nothing changes!


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

Myra, I've reported many many issues, so far I'm not even convinced that anybody at the Duo team reads them, let alone tracks them.


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

I get "we now accept this translation" messages back now and then. Typically some time after reporting something, but the reports are definitely being looked at.

As I've understood it, though, your report has to be free of other typos in order to be useful so make sure to not be sloppy in other parts of your answers.


[deactivated user]

    Just got a sentence with IMHO missing translation and discussion thread redirected me here. Wow! So are we still in "soon™" land? The more I use Duolingo, the more I regret paying for it.


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

    And this is the primary reason I HAVEN'T subscribed to Duolingo yet. So many of these errors have NOT been fixed. NOT paying for the course is the only way I can justify even utilizing the free version. When these numerous errors are fixed, then and only then will I consider paying for the subscription. And PS: all the so-called 'explanations' of any of the errors regarding the various incorrect answers make no sense. The predominant errors I've referred to seem to be based on the fact that a computer is utilized to determine the correct answer, and yet the computer's answer, again, is nonsensical.


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

    This is, in fact, a reasonable point you have made in my estimation; it is a little bizarre that the source of any errors is, without getting into pedantry, from a paid-for course. It even borders on the faintly amusing.


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

    "When these numerous errors are fixed, then and only then will I consider paying for the subscription"

    What percentage of the errors would need to be fixed before you'd be happy paying the fee? Since more bugs are reported all the time, presumably you would not require 100%. My personal feeling is that 75% fix rate, within 1 year of the initial report, of a bug reported by at least 20 users, would be a tremendous and ambitious improvement.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nancy783127

    11 months later, still not fixed! Just got a wrong on "it is warm already" when the question "es ist schon warm" was looking for "it is already warm". Person in sentence discussion said it was from Pearson.


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

    Thanks for pointing this out Nacy783127! The bug that caused this course overlap has been fixed and our team is reviewing all affected content. You can help us improve any outstanding issues by reporting missing translations via the "report" option within the lesson. That way your feedback reaches the right person directly :)


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

    2019-03-26 I'm not certain it's completely fixed. I got to this discussion today from a locked discussion on an exercise (one of three) for Ihr Hund ist schmutzig. One exercise translates that with "Your", and two with "Her". One of those two has 2 comments and is locked, and that's the one that links to here.


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

    bug that will be fixed soon!

    @Luis
    It is two weeks later now, and the bug is still there.
    Please, read about the awful translation in my comment above this comment https://www.duolingo.com/comment/24066422$comment_id=24332757


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

    And a further three weeks have passed since Pentaan's comment, and I'm still stumbling upon ridiculous errors in the German tree ("I am pupil", seriously???).


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

    And a further 10 months


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

    These errors are still here and you care much more about money than you do about the actual language learning behind it, obviously. Errors don't matter as long as you make a quick buck.


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

    Having been a computer programmer, I know it ALWAYS takes a LOT longer than you think to fix things - and then the other side changes something - and then you have to fix it again. SOON for programming is anything short of a couple of years.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Usagiboy7

    Having been here four years, there have been a ton of changes, and they've happened much more slowly than people in the forums are expecting. It's been two months. Honestly, I don't think there's been enough time to declare any conclusions. Let's see if this is still happening in 12 months. If there is, have at it.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sea-mist

    I think it will be still problems after 12mths. Im commenting 7 mths after your post to report Im being marked wrong for something which is correct. See my todays post way down in this thread


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

    For those of us learning, 12 months is too long to have to deal with incorrect translations and the inability to type alternatives. I dropped duo in favour of other platforms and returned to see if it was better, and now I see it's worse. 2 months on from your comment the same issues are happening, and I will be returning to those other platforms.


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

    which platforms do you use?


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

    For those of us that are newbies in German, is there a list of incorrect Pearson translations with corrections? I've seen a couple of obvious mistakes - "That are my children" comes immediately to mind - but I don't know German well enough to catch them all and I don't want to "learn" something wrong.


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

    I've noticed that Christian's been marking them as they turn up - the discussion is locked with a single comment with the link to two threads (this one and the main Pearson announcement).

    My sentence rage today was triggered by "I am pupil" - not only is it grammatically incorrect, but the missing article means you have to guess whether to use a definite or indefinite article in your answer. Grrr : (


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

    Some of them are locked with a link to those threads; Christian has done some and I have done so a few times.

    But there are lots more Pearson sentences that are not locked - some may have a comment saying they're a Pearson sentence and some not.


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

    Thanks mizinamo. Didn't mean to overlook your work! Is there anything we can do to help you guys out? Leave a comment? Report the sentence? Comment in this thread with the sentence/lesson?


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

    Thanks for the support! I'm not sure whether there's anything that users can do at the moment except be patient.

    And in the mean time, please do report missing translations if your translation was rejected but you think it is correct. In the absence of free-text reports where you can provide the rationale for marking a sentence or translation as unnatural, I'm not sure how useful they are.

    And in sentence discussions, look to see whether a bad sentence or missing translation has been mentioned already before mentioning it yourself.

    And if you ask there about a rejected translation, I think it's a good idea not to assume that a rejected one is necessarily wrong -- so a question like "Shouldn't The boy is drinking water also be accepted?" is probably better wording than "What's wrong with The boy is drinking water" which presupposes that a rejection by the system means that your sentence is wrong, when it could simply mean that the number of alternatives isn't as big is it should be.

    And always, always ask about entire sentences -- not "Why is Weg wrong?" but instead something like "I typed Ich kann die Weg nicht finden but it was rejected; can someone explain why this is? Isn't "way" Weg?"

    Because often, the error is not in the word a learner thinks it is, but instead in the word order, in the wrong gender article, or something else.

    All of those are good things to do even on non-Pearson sentences :)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NF6FxQcs

    It will never be said often enough, but thank you all volunteers for the time you spend trying to make things better.


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

    If only the list of exercises touched by Pearson was given to the volunteers...


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

    I was just hoping someone would start a way to track them as they're found.


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

    Like needles in a haystack, that is, because we don't have any mechanical way to spot them.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Neil-VA5WX

    I've seen a couple of VERY strange lessons today (for the first time AFAIK), and twice have followed links to the Pearson discussions.

    if Pearson is producing paid content and textbooks that are this bad, what do their victi- er, students feel about getting such poor quality?


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

    I find the explanation of deteriorating Duolingo content by "leaking" Pearson content to raise far more questions than it answers.

    I work with databases. How exactly does content "leak" from one database to the other? Databases are not old wooden barrels that are stacked on top of each other. People either actively combine them or they don't. Moreover, you do so first on a development system, test it, then do it on a quality assurance system, test it, and finally do the combination on the production system and test a third time.

    The numerous examples of deteriorating Duolingo material already sound disquieting enough. The explanation does not exactly impart confidence, either.


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

    How exactly does content "leak" from one database to the other?

    Because, AFAIK, it's one same DB of all "sentences" (=defined/identified by their sequence of characters) of the 93 (and counting) courses that are at least in the incubator.

    Then various attributes on each entry defines the best translation into each other language (and the list of the other possible translations), etc.
    I guess they recently added a "is_only_pearson" (true/false) attribute and that their script is checking if a sentence is in both volunteers's and Pearson's version of a given course (if not => "yes", otherwise "no").

    The "leaking" from Pearson's course into volunteers' one (which is not a "leak" from one DB to another, AFAIK) is

    • for the "some new sentences have popped up" part of the OP, just that the script hasn't yet been run hence the sentence being in the DB, it can be presented to the users of the free version.
      => Those are "solved" each time they run their script.
    • for the "some existing translations have changed" part of the OP, that the sentence is indeed in both courses: there is no real "leaking", it's just that the volunteers' and the Pearson's courses share one same entry of the DB.
      => No solution, AFAIK.

    A solution would have been to have two independent database (avoids "leaking" (which are not at all leaking), that Pearson potentially can see volunteers work, etc.) but, if as it seems it's only one DB then Duo probably made this (bad, IMO) choice to avoid to have to maintain two siblings DB...


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

    Thank you for the extensive answer, I have been speculating something similar. If that should really be true, it doesn't bode well:

    If it was just to offer similar functionality to different content, you'd create a new database and either clone the web app or have it optionally point at either one or the other DB.

    The only reason why you'd ever merge two databases is that you're planning to eventually merge the content.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hakim747

    The only reason why you'd ever merge two databases is that you're planning to eventually merge the content.

    That is a nightmare.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/W-Ruggles-Wolfe

    It's possible to physically centralize. Requires careful planning though (which the "is_only_pearson" (true/false) attribute calls into question).

    Given DL's goal of "translation services", I assume that DL wanted/s centralized LanguageA-to-LanguageB content.

    It looks to me like DL tried to monetize the system w/out thinking thru the implications.

    (Should anyone wonder, I was a data architect at AMZN, ran the data design group. During the years we went from one product line to multiple. One website to multiple. Started supporting non-AMZN merchants. This stuff is doable. I'm surprised at what I'm "reading" between the lines.)


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

    or because you're too lazy to do it differently. I personally believe that all our sharing of sentences, hints and other things is not done because it's a better design, but just because it was easier to do it this way. So I wasn't surprised, that they just started adding Pearson content to the same databases. It will be a huge mess at the end, and if there will be any sacrifices, then they will be all on our incubator side - that's for sure.


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

    I do web development and programming and such.

    The fact that they have to "run daily scripts" hints at how awful their backend must be. Sounds like it's some huge mess of spaghetti code and duct-tape, to be honest.


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

    As, to be fair, most systems in production are...


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

    Heh, you're not wrong.


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

    Hi, all...I'm an extensive user, but neither volunteer nor paid employee. I'm just now stumbling on the Pearson issue seven months after the press release (I guess because I've recently started studying German). I've tried to read through this entire thread plus the thread generated by the original announcement, but there are a lot of comments!

    What, if anything, can average users like me do to help this situation? Do we report "Pearson errors"? Will they get fixed? Have the volunteers figured out (seven months down the road) whether fixing Pearson's errors is really just giving free labor to a poorly run for-profit company? (I'm not trying to make a back-handed gibe there.) Anything else we can do? And so on. Your guidance would be greatly appreciated.


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

    Please, keep reporting errors, as per the normal reporting.

    You can read about how to do that here:
    https://support.duolingo.com/hc/en-us/articles/204752124-How-do-I-report-a-problem-with-a-sentence-or-translation-

    Reporting errors/issues in the correct way, does continue to assist us in improving the courses.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Matthew-Garvey

    Still to this day getting Pearson material. Really disappointing.


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

    I'm very unhappy about Pearson coming into the mix. Does the partnership have an expiration date?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lisa4duolingo

    Likewise ... let's hope this partnership isn't one of those "billion-year contracts," if you know what I mean.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/andrew605713

    Is this the reason for nonsense like this?

    "You are pupil." Translation: Du bist Schülerin.

    Hopefully these are getting fixed ??


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pronkman666

    so discussions for courses are locked because we have to direct it to this page but it makes it harder because it is not focused on one question/answer and makes it harder to find, so would you kindly reopen the discussions


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

    Just ran into an awful translation that is apparently "locked" due to coming from Pearson. What's annoying is that the forum discussion page for that sentence was locked after only four comments. It seems as if some Duo personnel knew that it would be an issue and locked any discussion of it immediately. That doesn't sound like a website that is interested in feedback from their users.


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

    Heaven forfend that Pearson's proprietary material be glimpsed by non-paying eyes! I'm sure this enormity will spur someone into taking corrective action...


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

    I don't think you got the OP's point. If a poorly tuned Pearson exercise leaks into the public course, it is not happy times at Duo for unwashed masses. Translations are likely missing, a different set of guidelines followed, and consistency goes to [withdrawn] in a handbasket. Depending on the nature of the leakage, a previously correct public exercise may be corrupted. And then users rightly complain in regular sentence discussions. Managed by regular volunteers.


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

    That's right.

    One of the worst side-effects for me is that the result of some bad sentences (so-far untaught vocabulary or shades of meaning or idioms, missing alternatives etc.) -- users expressing their frustration -- ends up with Duolingo volunteers who try to curate the sentence discussions, instead of with the people who created that sentence.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Usagiboy7

    And to sum it up Garpike, Duolingo's free courses are reduced in quality, Pearson gets paid while Duolingo volunteers end up giving them free labor that we had only intended to give to the free courses and the forums used by those users.

    If Pearson's wants to build courses with more (but lower quality) content on Duolingo and lock them behind a pay wall, ok keep those courses from leaking with ours. If Pearson's wants a set of discussion forums general and/or sentence focused, they can go pay someone to moderate it.


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

    Piggy-backing on a fairly high up comment for exposure (sorry).

    I'm going to keep this thread bumped (every few days or something?) until we get an official response (which we won't - I know Duolingo too well).

    I'm also going to harass them via email and social media about this issue and I implore others to do the same.


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

    I entirely understand the point. I was merely pointing out that Pearson is also unlikely to be happy if its content becomes publicly available. I doubt they care about volunteers' months or years of unpaid work, but they will certainly care about their own intellectual property (what huge publishing company doesn't?)
    Besides, if their own offerings are manifestly so low-quality compared to those of the volunteers (to be fair, they might have only just started, and their translations might improve), there's a double incentive to sort out this problem.
    Is the Pearson legal department more likely to effect this change than this thread? Yes, probably. Apologies for cynicism.


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

    Ok, I get your take now.

    Is the Pearson legal department more likely to effect this change than this thread? Yes, probably.

    Perhaps. But I would not take the sentiments behind the volunteers' comments in this thread lightly.


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

    And what if that leaking of Pearson course content was already part of the deal? I mean, to get more course material for the free courses, something like bonus skills the users of the free courses could purchase (another part of monetization, yes) or additional levels leading to B2 or so (also billable?). They could have created the Pearson course content as entirely new courses like those for different languages, couldn't they? Then the leakage would not have happened at all, is that correct? Well, then there must have been reasons against this and merely to save users of the paid Pearson course content from unnecessary repetitions according to the algorithm seems a bit unlikely. And it also seems unlikely that their legal department will take action against something that might have been part of the deal. Yet, from my perspective as a user of this site, I would expect DL to clearly communicate to all volunteers who will deal with the additional workload, because it cannot be expected that volunteers clean up the mess caused by this monetization deal.


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

    Did it ever happen before that the content of one course leaked into another, from GE-EN to FR-EN for example?

    Not that I'm aware of.
    The only thing that had "leak" in the past from one course into another (=not same pair of languages) are sentence discussions of one course being associated to the forum of another course: not really a "leaking" between different courses, just an issue in the database while attributing a new sentence discussion to the correct forum.


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

    They could have created the Pearson course content as entirely new courses like those for different languages, couldn't they?

    Yes, and they did.

    Then the leakage would not have happened at all, is that correct?

    No, it would have, and it does. All courses for a given language pair at Duo apparently access the same set of underlying databases.

    Don't think that the man behind the curtain has some grand plan with this leakage.


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

    Did it ever happen before that the content of one course leaked into another, from GE-EN to FR-EN for example?


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

    Yep....

    One of the main explanations for low quality translations is "Duolingo is maintained by volunteers".

    Now, Duolingo mantained by paid professionals is getting worse... and of course, people will keep thinking the same way.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sean.cunnion

    It must be frustrating as a volunteer to put in the work creating translations, and then seeing that they're not being implemented.


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

    True. I wouldn't mind their edits leaking into our course if it what just that, but what's really frustrating is that our guidelines are not being observed, many common alternatives are missing, and many translations are of low quality or simply wrong.


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

    Even more frustrating would be our entire work being used by them

    And worse, after our work is declared "Pearson's work", we'll be seized from keep working on it.

    "Hey, you can't change Pearson's work"

    That's really, really, really unethical.


    I do hope Duo has enforced Pearson to start from scratch.

    And I do hope Duo has taken measures like: Hey, if volunteers and Pearson end up producing the same content, Pearson will not claim exclusive rights on it.


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

    Of course, Duolingo thinks of everything! /s


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jaye16

    We don't believe that, (that P will not claim exclusive rights to it) do we?


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

    You get my Lingot (first time I've ever given away one of my hard-earned L's) for using "Heaven forfend"!!!


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

    I hope that the Duolingo I know stays with us. :( I am also sorry to read about your troubles @volunteers, and am sympathetic to your cause.


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

    The duolingo I knew left a while ago, but still, mustn't grumble!


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

    1476 day streak!? That is 4 years straight (I am sure you've used a streak freeze here and there but wow)

    O_O Plus all those languages? Yeah, I'm going to need you to start learning Klingon.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JackMcCart6

    Never noticed such a stupid mistake on the English end of Duolingo translation before hearing of this.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tink629986

    https://www.duolingo.com/comment/24488622

    Well, this "correct translation" is just wrong. Sorry, for someone offering to teach others a language, for a paid resource even more so, they're absolutely neglecting due diligence.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/drmel94

    Please address incorrect translations. For example, "du bist Schüler" is translated incorrectly as "you are pupil" instead of the correct "you are a pupil". It is a small error, but not a trivial one.


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

    Thank you for all you do! I had no idea why Ihr=her was marked wrong


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

    Ridiculous that this is still going on. Any way to get the errors fixed? Like at least one sentence refusing to accept the informal "you" as a translation?


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

    Thank you for asking! Please report issues via the report button within the lesson so that we can prioritize and fix them. I'm happy to report that the underlying bug that caused the overlap has been resolved. Since we couldn't automatically revert every affected sentence and do it safely, we still rely on learner reports to fill in missing accepted translations.


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

    Pearson? Slightly off topic, but here goes: To me this is not good news. They gobble up companies and I want Duolingo to stay available in all ways to everyone. That is why I took the subscription. Yes, sometimes it's frustrating, but I have seen improvements applied to some language trees. Look at the difference with English learning Spanish...major improvements over time. Nope...no Pearson please.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lisa4duolingo

    Obviously I am not a paying member ... yet. But if this partnership with Pearson looks like it is going to be permanent, I will never, ever consider it. I used to work for Pearson and I could tell you some stories that would not be pretty, but Pearson makes everyone sign some sort of a non-disclosure/proprietary information agreement ... and for good reason, if you ask me. I don't know how legally binding it really is, but I'll play it safe and avoid making the mistake of violating any rules set forth by what might be a very litigious company.

    I guess it might go without saying that I was shocked to discover Duolingo had partnered with them. If this becomes a permanent thing, I think Duolingo is going to regret it. What's funny is that I was seriously thinking of putting in an application to be a moderator for Duolingo or even an Event Host. Now? I think I'll look for other opportunities as I wait to see how this "partnership" with Pearson unfolds.

    For the sake of Duolingo, all the Duolingo users who have come to love it, and the Duolingo powers that be, I hope they realize that all that glitters is not gold. Clearly, many of Duolingo's users and moderators have already seen that not only does this new emperor of sorts have no clothes ... he's also going to strip the value off of all those he comes into contact with. You have no idea what this "new emperor" is capable of.


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

    I ran into a sentence not fixed. "Es gibt zehn Töchter" was marked wrong for "There are ten daughters." I reported it, but I read comments from a year ago (comments locked) complaining about it. It seems the preference is the Pearson choice "Es sind zehn Töchter."


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

    Well, now I understand a couple of things that I've been seeing.

    One of the best things about Duolingo is the ability for the course to develop and improve, for alternative translations to be considered and accepted if valid, and also for discussion to explain why someone's attempt at a translation is NOT correct.

    Any change that discourages that is not a change for the better.

    And it's also clear that a paid course is not automatically better than a free one. The quality of these recent introductions is not good.


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

    Coming back to duolingo I notice that this is still occuring as a thread comment pointed me here, a thread from 5 months ago. Why is this not being fixed?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sea-mist

    I just got marked as having an incorrect answer for something which I believe is correct and when I went to comment that was blocked and it directed me to post on this link here.

    The sentence given is "Seid ihr groß oder klein?" Answer that is given is: Are you tall or small?

    The response I gave was "Are you tall or short?" which it marked as wrong. If there is something wrong with my response, it is not helpful to have the comment section blocked so I cant find that out.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jamesworks75503

    The translation that Duo presented in the Communication lesson for the English "you all" was "du." Shouldn't the English phrase have been translated "ihr?"


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

    That could be because Pearson is verhindert.


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

    "Seid ihr groß oder klein?"

    Why does this course not accept the following answers? "Are you tall or short?" "Are you big or small?"

    The only translation the course accepts is "Are you tall or small?", but in context, this doesn't make much sense... Why would the previous two not be accepted (I understand that it can mean both).


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

    And it won't accept "bist du" instead of "seid ihr"!


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

    In German - Dates "Welcher Tag kommt nach Dienstag?" doesn't allow translation into English as "Which day comes after Tuesday." "Comes after" is used mostly that I know of. I've never heard it any other way.


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

    There should not be "overlaps" because those like me who have been using Duo for years are now going backwards because of the ridiculous changes, it's now like starting from scratch again!


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EofW
    • 2399

    It seems this problem is ongoing. https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/25366492 "Will you all call me at eight?"

    For this sentence I just received both the errors that were previously reported in comments. First I was told the correct translation was "Ruft ihr mich um acht an?" (representing plural you as "you all" - at least if it was y'all I might have recognised it as American and made the right decision) then when I made a mistake a second time, being told "you all" should be "du" which is just completely wrong.


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

    Pearson, keep your low quality paid s/ elsewhere. Duo's volunteers have done a much better job at something you do for money. Duolingo, please, we don't want Person's low quality sentences in our tree!


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

    Danke für die Info.
    Which courses are affected by this? Spanish, French, German and Italian from English or others as well?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lisa4duolingo

    Good question. Initially, I was intrigued by this new German course, but when I heard that Pearson was involved, I was more like maybe not so much. Now that I've been this far down this thread, my only interest in it now is to see how bad it really is. Everyone should realize that there are other ways to learn German or any other language for that matter. And I'm not just talking to Duolingo users ... I'm talking to everyone.


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

    If Pearson was involved in the new Spanish and French updates, they've really dumbed it down, gotten rid of the delightful sentences about turtles drinking milk, and are VERY rigid in what they will accept for idiomatic expressions. Hopefully Pearson is not coming soon to a Portuguese, Norwegian or Dutch station near you.


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

    No worries, there's not enough money to be made from a Norwegian course. ;)

    Having said that, Pearson is not responsible for the recent CEFR updates to the French and Spanish trees; those are the work of paid Duolingo staff.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Multi0Lingual4

    Steffi! You're back! Hi! Why did you leave? I missed you!


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

    Had some problems I needed to take care of. This is a new account.


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

    Thanks, I missed you all, too :)


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ReubenHarr2

    Yes, I've noticed some werid sentences in the possessive pronouns section in the German course. Not very happy as I would like to trust the duolingo answers 100% and assume that I'm wrong.


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

    I am puzzled by the sentence "Sind das euere Hauser" .Is using 'das' here colloquial German? The comments were 'locked' on this sentence and reference to 'Pearson' ,thus I am writing here.


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

    No. It is standard German (not colloquial) to ask "Sind das eure Häuser?". Good German. - Other possible options, depending on the situation: "Sind es eure Häuser?", "Sind diese eure Häuser?" (Which is correct but sounds a bit weird); "Gehören diese Häuser euch?"


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

    Thank you but I am a bit puzzled because 'sind' is plural and 'das ' is singular!?


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

    @RowenaJane: Now I see what you mean. As far as I know, the word "it" - which is singular - can sometimes be used in a 'plural constellation'. I am trying to think of an example. -> Would it be correct English to say "It's all our houses?" - This would be similar to the usage of "das".


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

    No, you can only say "They are all our houses."


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

    ah. ok. thanks.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Melanie92612

    Bitte Schon means you're welcome as per my native German speaking mother. It's one of the first German phrases I had ever learned.


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

    I just got "Es sind Kinder." for "There are children." ?!?


    [deactivated user]

      A year later Pearson lessons are still causing troubles. https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/24260748


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

      Duolingo has always been an "a year or two or three later and X is STILL Y" kind of company, truth be told.


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

      I just had to answer "here you are" (Bitte schön) in Question 1 despite the fact that it had never appeared before :/


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

      This seems to be an old problem but I wouldn't be too concerned if only I had the proper hint. I had a "Translate to German from English" question. The sentence "Here you are" is supposed to be translated to "Bitte Schon"(excuse the lack of a proper "O") in german. The hint I got was "Hier du bist". As much as I appreciate the literal translation, I think it is important to include the answer as well.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kraljica10

      Hahahaha at first i put: Are you pig or small :))))


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/J.C.Fink

      Well, well, well. This explains a LOT which was puzzling me.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GG9oYZ

      How frustrating this all is. I am glad to now know the reason for so many unanswerable questions

      I was doing an exercise in German, the exercise being to give "Here you are!" in German.

      The tool-tips were Here (hier, ins, auf), you (du, Du, ihr), are (seid, sind, Sind). Scratching my head a little, I came up with 'Hier ihr seid!'

      Imagine my shock when the answer was "Bitte schön!"

      Seriously, these courses need to be separated, or failing which, all the Pearson ones need integrating with the tool-tips/course material. You cannot just leave an algorithm or some programmer to mix courses together, when different material is covered in each.

      Doubtless this Pearson course's additions will become more frequent as I progress in the language.

      Oh well! DuoLingo itself is great and the mods/translators do a great job with it. A pity that business decisions are not made with the language learners in mind.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoeJoe705897

      Horrible!!! Greediness is paying off


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

      I am getting my answers marked wrong even though they are correct, because the Pearson material has insufficient English translations. This is not up to Duolingo's standards. Since Duolingo now has some serious competitors, it is time for Duolingo to address issues like this.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DominicLow12

      As of July 15, 2020, the Pearson sentence "There are ten children" ONLY accepts the translation "Es sind zehn Kinder," when Duo Mod mizinamo has confirmed that "Es gibt zehn Kinder," should also be considered a viable translation. Please fix.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LifeLearn1

      So the sentences like 'Es gibt drei Bücher', 'Es gibt vier Äpfel' , 'Es gibt fierzehn Hemden', 'Es gibt siebzehn Zimmer' are accepted, but 'Es gibt zehn Kinder' - is marked as wrong, with the only option given 'Es sind zehn Kinder'. What is so special about 'children'? Or is it just incompetence of the Pearson "teachers"?


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dragonhawk3

      How does : here u are, translate to BITTE SCHÖNE?! Of all things, I get it, idioms and whatnot, but if u don't have the context to answer it right, people won't. Keep this locked I love Duolingo but if I can't learn i will switch


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

      It translates as a set phrase, in the proper context. Trying to translate word by word is never useful - it's not like "du bist hier" is a very useful phrase when giving something to someone, even though English-speaking people use its equivalent.


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

      @Dragonhawk3: Just don't try to translate word by word and learn idioms and sayings by heart. When you say, sth "costs an arm and a leg" - I am sure you don't actually think of arms and legs and when sb tells me to "take it with a grain of salt" I better not look for the salt shaker.

      Here you go - does not mean: "hier gehst du"

      there you are - does not always mean "da bist du"

      bitte schön - does not translate to "please pretty"

      So just learn "bitte schön" (or "bitteschön"), "bitte sehr", "gern geschehen" in the right context.


      https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lazar23000ZR

      Question (in German course): "Are you this woman?"


      My answer: "Bist du die Frau" - not accepted (wrong).Why?


      You should check it.And stop penalizing us for correct (alternative) answers.


      And another: "This orange is big"
      My answer: "Das Orange ist groß" - again incorrect.WHY?


      EDIT: Next question: "This man is Lukas."
      My answer: "Der Mann ist Lukas" - again wrong.

      What wrong with you (who decide what is wrong and what is correct answer)?!


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

      In every single one of those you have used the German word for "the" rather than "this." All of your answers were wrong and they were properly marked wrong.


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

      My answer: "Das Orange ist groß" - again incorrect.WHY?

      Orange is feminine, not neuter.

      Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.