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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



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.


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.


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


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!


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).


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.


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.


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


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.

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