Poor English Translation in the Answers
I am enjoyng Duolinguo, I think it is a very good program, However I do find it frustrating with some of the answers because of the poor English in the answers.
I think you could drop the comedy questions like; 'Can you hear what the butter is saying.' It just makes the course confusing and we are not children that need to be entertained.
It is far superior to: 'Hugo's Dutch in Three Months' and my grammar has surpassed what I ever manged to learn with other sytems.
I should not complain as the course is free, but I have done so to help the development of the courses.
Thanks for the feedback, Ieuan! Comments on the English translations are very welcome. With a team consisting mostly of Dutch volunteers, it's hard to avoid the occasional Dunglish. But that's not the only reason; if we're too harsh when rejecting poor English, it quickly gets frustrating for the people who are here to learn Dutch. Especially if they're not native English speakers (as there are no courses teaching Dutch from other languages).
In addition, we have to strike a continuous balance between more natural-sounding translations and more literal (slightly awkward) translations that preserve the structure of the sentence. If the translations are too free, then students tend to get confused and will struggle to pick out the Dutch grammar.
If you have some criticism on particular translations, feel free to report them during the lessons (using the flag button). Writing a short explanation is more helpful to us than simply ticking the "Correct solution is unnatural or has an error" box. Many sentences have hundreds of translations and it's hard to figure out which one is supposed to be unnatural.
There's a difference between providing answers and alternatives in good English, and accepting little mistakes. Aren't courses developed by a team of native speakers of both languages? I would certainly hesitate to participate in course development is there isn't at least one volunteer who's a native speaker of the "other" language. In software programming code is usualle reviewed by a peer before it's put out for testing. I would have thought that a similar reviewing mechanism is in place in Duolingo. Which doesn't mean I don't highly appreciate the efforts of all duolingo teams for the marvelous content they provide.
I where you are coming from but the 'comedy' questions actually teach us a lot, in the example you learn the phrase 'can you hear what...is saying' and a food and with a lot of the other ones they are teaching you grammar and vocabulary at the same time instead of just throwing in a random name that teaches us nothing.