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Translation balance between the language we know and the language we learn

I have been using doulingo in the past six months or so to improve my French. I thank the developers for the great opportunity. I have finished the French tree a month ago, and am continuing on to strengthening my skills. It has been very helpful in the beginning, and I have recommended duolingo to many people.

BUT -- there is an issue that reduces the efficiency of duolingo (at least for me), which I want to bring to the attention of the developers. In the French from English course, majority of the exercises ask to translate from French to English. To speak with numbers, out of 20 questions in a given exercise, on average 15 ask to translate from French to English. Then, finally a question comes where we are asked to translate into French. However, that question either involves a super easy 2-3 word phrase, or a very difficult phrase that usually contains an idiomatic expression.

In my understanding, duolingo's approach is to teach through repetition. However, given the situation above, this becomes difficult, because we are not repeating writing in French. Most of the time, I'm writing in English, and I keep having to dwell upon correcting small English mistakes with choice of propositions and so on. Of course, given the initial goal of duolingo, of training web translators, this would be understandable, as the translators would be expected to write perfect in their original language. But now that the immersion tool is gone (I actually never had access to it in the first place), wouldn't it be more useful to give the users more chance to translate into the language they are learning?

I wish for each exercise we were asked repetitively to translate into French, for at least 10 of the questions, and most of these questions would be medium difficulty, in order to help us automatically think and write and learn.

I'd be happy to hear what the others or the developers think. Thanks!

September 17, 2017



Duolingo uses a very good teaching method for beginners and for people, who want to brush up their school knowledge.

  1. In the course "French for English speakers" you are learning the grammar and the pronunciation. You will mostly translate from French to English and the user interface is in English.

  2. In the "reverse tree", the course "English for French speakers", you will mostly translate from English to French. The user interface is in French, and you can start to read (and write) in the French discussion forums.
    (Switch off the sound and microphone!)

  3. In the "laddering trees" you can do "Foreign language 2" from "Foreign language 1" and reverse. If you are learning two ore more foreign languages.


Absolutely agree. I would add that some of exercises are funny or sometimes ridiculous and we will never use them in life (as "they are calm and rich").


There are so many programs coming online that I think Duolingo will respond with a more advanced option or they will simply become one of the many apps out there and lose their influence. It is, however, very human resource intensive for them to do any changes and for that I'm more understanding. But, I too would like to see more mature sentences that are to be translated into French, and far, far more vocabulary is needed.

I've read that there are companies out there that are preparing their systems for 10,000 words which is basically more than triple what Duolingo offers. Thankfully, language learning is moving to A.I. Soon there will be 100,000 words available and when that happens that app/company will be the winner!

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