Translation:I participated in a running competition, my legs really hurt.
Hmm, ”participated” sounds OK to me, although perhaps a little formal. "joined" sounds a little unusual too, as if you joined in after the race had begun. It's the "running race" phrase that sounds strange to me, I don't think I would say that. I'd say, "I ran a race".
I agree with all of these points, though in the "participated" version, "running race" is necessary to make it unambiguous. ("Running race", rather than "running competition", was in the original translation. It's better, and by no means rare, as a Google search confirms.)
For the second part of the translation, personally I'd say "my legs are sore", not "my legs are painful" (as in Duolingo's original translation). A wound can be painful, or a process, but legs? "My legs hurt” and "my legs are in pain" are potential alternatives, but neither is quite as good as "my legs are sore", to my mind.
I'm not sure it would be considered more natural by the majority these days. I think it's fine, but if a Google search can be believed, "foot race"/"footrace" is less common than "running race" these days, at least on the internet, and in any event, a footrace is not necessarily a running race. I've addressed these points in comments below.
The question is still whether the learner has provided all the information in the Chinese sentence. It's about translation, which doesn't depend only on whether or not the learner is comfortable in English. The Chinese refers specifically to a running race and not, for example, a bike race.
I hear and read "running race" often enough. And I get almost two million hits on the phrase with a Google search, almost twice as many as the total number of results for "footrace" and "foot race" combined. These numbers don't give context, but a look at the results would seem to indicate that the phrase has entered into common use.
Yes, I did a search as well and found that it's because a footrace is used in
a footrace run for fun (often including runners who are sponsored for a charity) marathon, or
a footrace of 26 miles 385 yards, an obstacle race, a race in which competitors must negotiate obstacles.
Whereas a running race is used in
A virtual (running) race which is a self-motivated competition that is organized online where you complete a specific distance by running, walking or cycling on a date and time of your choosing, anywhere in the world, or
most running races which test speed, endurance or both, and includes track and field races (usually divided into hurdles, relays, sprints, middle-distance races and long-distance races), races held off the track which may be called cross-country races, marathons (runs that are over 42 kilometres).
But then again, while living languages are constantly evolving, it is google search not an absolute language authority speaking.
KX3. – I think I'd say that a running race is always a footrace, but not the opposite.
By the way, can you help shed some light on my question below?
"my leg hurts" should be accepted. The singularity or plurality of 我的腿 is ambiguous. While "it's obvious" that both your legs would hurt after a race, it's perfectly probably that this sentence can occur in the context of talking to someone who has problems with one leg that were exacerbated by the race.
That seems pretty artificial to me, and not at all language-based, but based on some vague notion of the relative statistical prevalence of running races versus other kinds of races in the world. The first question that I myself would ask, if I didn't already know the context, would be "What kind of race?" Really, most people would say "I ran a 5k race", or "I was in a 60k bike race", or something of that nature. But as we're translating something specific here, it seems reasonable to me that we to try to match the level of information given in the specific sentence presented to us.
It does sound odd but it's not incorrect and people actually do use it. But not enough for it to be the default answer.
I don't know about "better". A problem with "footrace" is that it's not necessarily as specific. It could also refer, for example, to race walking, or to long-distance adventure racing with hills too long and steep to run (there's one I know of called the Death Race), and the Chinese ("跑步比赛") refers specifically to running.
It's utterly normal that a word or sentence in one language can translate two ways into another language which do not have the same meaning. This course is full of such cases, in both directions.
It's not a learner's job to find the least ambiguous translation between two languages. It's sufficient to find any one of the correct translations. The current default English is ambiguous at the cost of being Chinglish rather than what English speakers really say.
I didn't mean to suggest that "footrace" shouldn't be accepted, and I upvoted your post. But "better" is subjective here (never mind "much better"), and my comment is entirely accurate, in spite of the downvote someone has given it.
In any event, I don't find the first part of the current default translation ("I participated in a running race") at all "ambiguous" (even if I might prefer "I ran [in] a race"), and I wonder how you think it could be interpreted that would make it seem so.
I do think the second half, as currently worded ("my legs are painful"), is simply wrong, however, but that's a separate matter.
It's "footrace" that's ambiguous. It's better in that it's much more used than "running race". Other people in this thread are insisting that "running race" is plain wrong. I'm arguing that some people do indeed say it but that it's far too rare to be in the default English version. "Footrace" doesn't suffer from the perception of being wrong but it does suffer from being ambiguous, but not by much.
I'm just as happy with "I ran (in) a race". But there's always roughly half of the users in these comment sections insisting on as literal translations as possible, in which case using "footrace" works with "participated in" and "ran (in)".
In short there's several good and several bad translations and it is indeed subjective which would be "best". But it's certain that "I participated in a running race" is not "best".
It's adequate, to my mind, as long as other answers are also accepted.
My query was in response to your statement "The current default English is ambiguous...". To me it's not, though perhaps you meant "awkward".
(Google's Ngram Viewer suggests that "a running race" is about a fifth as common as "a footrace" in English-language books. I suppose we don't know for sure how many of those references to footraces are also references to races that are performed by running, though it's probably the vast majority, if not all. In a regular Google search of the internet, though, "running race" is more common than "footrace" and "foot race" combined.)
Awkward English in this closely translated sentence. There are numerous variants that should be accepted based on all of these comments. For the first part of the sentence, I find "running race" unusual, so I would say "I ran a race" or "I ran in a race". For the second part, no one says that their legs are "painful", but that they hurt, are sore, or even are in pain. Hopefully this gets fixed soon; but I'm optimistic because I've seen the Duolingo team has been correcting issues in other places.
EDIT April 22, 2019: OK, they changed "My legs are painful" to "My legs hurt".
EDIT May 25, 2019: I only noticed this just now, but it appears that they have changed "running race" to "running competition", which is certainly better. Just that now it is in one sentence with a comma splice, though.
I think they might not be accepting "race" alone because it could be any kind of race, not just for running, so that's why they're using "running competition". I've pointed out in an earlier comment that "I ran a race" or "I ran in a race" are probably the most natural.
Any opinions from others?
We are here to learn Chinese. Using these words in this order helps us to remember the proper word order and general usages of the words. In English, I might say. "I ran in a race yesterday. My legs hurt." My legs ache, my legs are killing me, whatever. I have nothing to gain by showing off my English. I want to think in chinese structure.
That's right. Although I've never heard it, I can imagine an athlete saying it, based on the following very common examples in informal speech:
踢了一场比赛 = played a soccer/football match, where 踢 is from 踢[足]球 = play soccer/football (lit. kick the ball)
打了一场比赛 = played a match. This works for any ball game, or probably any sports game, because 打比赛 is a colloquial term for 参加比赛.
Considering that many of those comments were posted when the English translation was really awkward (used to have "My legs are painful" in the translation), and that there may still be some valid translations that aren't accepted, I think at least most of these comments have been posted for a good reason.
Yeah they're just overly literal which is resulting in Chinglish. They do change the default answers over time though when enough capable Duolingo staff eyes have seen the problem questions. 100% bilinguals must be rare on their team so often the English is unnatural and occasionally I'm told the Chinese is unnatural.