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The Japanese timed practice is too "mean".

Has anyone tried timed practice in Japanese on the web? And are you using the default word bank input or the keyboard input from your computer?

It appears to me that it needs a lot of improvements:

1) The time reward for translating from Japanese into English is too small. My English typing is very fast as I did some intensive training 30 years ago. But even for sentences that I know the answer immediately, the net time reward is only a meagre 2-3 seconds. It seems unreasonable for many, especially younger students to be able to get rewards from these translation exercises.

2) The matching exercise that you match a kanji word to the hiragana word, or to match a hiragana to a romanji, the net time reward could sometimes be negative even though it was super easy for me. Since I use a notebook, it may be a bit slow to use the trackpad than a mouse, but still...

3) My biggest complaint is with the English-to-Japanese translation exercise. You can choose to either use the default word bank input method, which is to select some pre-made words displayed at the bottom, similar to what you do on an iPhone or Android, or you can choose to use the Japanese input method from your computer. I don't want to use the word bank method as I want to learn to type in Japanese properly and also it feels like cheating as the word bank gives you lots of hints. However, if you choose to use the keyboard input, bad luck. You'll be severely penalised by Duolingo. Since it's a new input method, you can't type super fast with it, but the time reward is so small that you end up losing probably 10 seconds per exercise. And if it's a hard question that you need to think, it may take you well more than 30 seconds.

By the way, I also do timed practices in other Duolingo language courses such as Spanish, and the time rewards are much more generous even though there is nearly no problem for me trying to type in Spanish...

November 11, 2017



After I finished the Japanese tree, I started doing the timed practice and what I realized is that the only way to get 20/20 is to immediately know the answers and if you are very quickly able to shift from english to japanese keyboard and vice versa. However, I think they also calculated that as with timed practice its get golden relatively quickly (too quickly in my opinion). With some skills i would only have 4 out of 20 in my first try and it would already be golden.

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On my computer, pressing alt+shift or start+space switches between my keyboard input languages. Once in Japanese, alt+caps lock switches between romaji/hiragana/katakana. So that can at least help with the switching portion.


People have been griping about the additional difficulty of entering translations requiring non-Latin based input and the lack of corresponding time allotment for years. With all the effort poured into Japanese, maybe someone will finally listen.

I think the time rewards are based on sentence length. Sentences in the Japanese course having a tendency to be short, that may be why it seems you're getting more time in other courses. I agree the matching exercises in timed practice are a particular annoyance, and I come out even on time at best.


Yeah, they definitely need to increase the amount of time you get per correct answer.


I easily passed the JLPT N5 (the test that Duolingo Japanese is supposed to prep you for), and regularly do timed practice in Japanese to review. I also do timed practice in German, and my Japanese is much better than my German. The rewards for translating sentences from Japanese to English and vice versa are much, much too low. I regularly can amass a minute or two of time in German, but with Japanese it feels like a speed typing exercise more than anything else.

This is before we even get to the fact that listening exercises don't consistently allow for typing in Kanji despite the fact that those same translations are acceptable in other exercises. It makes those particular questions an exercise in guessing which kanji are acceptable to Duolingo, rather than what is correct Japanese.


I switch over to IME input and have years of experience typing in both English and Japanese. This being said, I can usually get no more than 3 or 4 answers before it times out, sometimes not even 1 correct.

A lot of it has to do with knowing what the program wants you to say ('corridor' not accepted, but 'hallway' is accepted,,, use of the singular for words that are more appropriate in the plural, etc.). As I skipped most of the course in the placement test I have no friggin idea what specific word order the language nazis want from me.

I complete the Italian course's timed practice without issue for every lesson that I know well enough. The same cannot be said for Japanese.

TL;DR I mightily concur.

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