https://www.duolingo.com/jake.lin

About English Course for Chinese Speakers.

Hi guys,

I am learning English for Chinese Course, It is great, but I felt frustrated since duolingo marked me wrong for a lot of questions. But I think my answers were right. Because Chinese is so different to English, I don't think we have only one translation for the same sentence. I was using similar expression to answer the question but duolingo wouldn't accept it. I have reported them to duolingo and hope you guys can improve it.

On the other hand, Chinese doesn't need to have preposition in the sentence but in the same context, English must have, for example, in the afternoon. In Chinese, we say '在下午(zai xia wu)',but duolingo only accept the answer ‘在下午里(zai xia wu li)’, the '里(li)' in Chinese is optional. And I feel more nature without 里(li)'.

Thanks for producing such great course for us. Hope it get better and better.

Cheers Jake

4 years ago

8 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/danwizard2013
danwizard2013
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if you think the answer was right you have the report option then they add it to the list of translations

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jake.lin

Yes, I did report them. Seems like that was a general problem. We may need to improve the translation engine to reduce the semantic confusion.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FrankySka
FrankySka
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There is no translation engine - the courses are translated 'manually' sort of speak, by volunteers. :-)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/danwizard2013
danwizard2013
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yes the translations are all crowd sourced they are not done by a translation engine as you call it Jake, some sentences have thousands of translations so they have to be crowd sourced

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FrankySka
FrankySka
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Hey Jake,

Generally, the teams try to come up with all the acceptable translations. However, on average these are around 500 (see this link below , where Luis says this explicitly). I believe this number might be even higher for Chinese, especially for the reasons you stated. So the courses do not have 'only one translation' when they are released. You simply came across one the team has not yet thought about.

So you are helping a lot by reporting the errors. The course is still in beta, and I assume that asian languages might be in beta on average a bit longer, simply because it is so difficult to make asian and non asian languages match (I assume -I have no knowledge of any asian language whatsoever!).

So keep up the good work by sending in the reports. If a lot of people do this, hopefully the course will get better and better, and 'less frustrating' :-)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jake.lin

Thanks, I will keep reporting the answer if I feel It's right. It would be huge amount of work to manually add all variation for the sentence. Thanks for you guys hard work.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sommerlied
sommerlied
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The Chinese/Japanese phrases in Chinese/Japanese -> English courses are a bit unnatural on purpose, as far as I know.

As you mentioned, there are a lot of differences between those languages. Often, there are prepositions (or other things) in the English sentence that just doesn't translate properly into Chinese. If you translate naturally, you might end up with sentences that are written very differently.

For example, let's look at "in the afternoon" / "在下午里". The purpose of this sentence is to teach Chinese native speakers what the words "in", "the", and "afternoon" mean here. How can you effectively do that with Duolingos system? "里" generally has the same meaning as "in". Imagine you show people just this: "in the afternoon" / "在下午". Then maybe some people wonder about the use of "in" here. I believe it may be better to show "in the afternoon" / "在下午里" because then the meaning of "in" as "里" is reinforced. I believe these are kind of the thoughts that are behind those more literal and unnatural sentences.

I think Duolingo should accept the natural translation, but it probably works better to show people the more literal translation (as well), because the literal translation makes it easier to understand the meaning of the English sentence.

So, as others have mentioned, just report it when you think a natural translation is not accepted :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/watashiwa1293
watashiwa1293
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I agree! At first, I found the heavy use of "這" in Chinese and "その”in Japanese quite strange when I reversed the course. After thinking about it though, I'm fine with Englishified Chinese/Japanese sentences, because... the point of the course is to teach English to Chinese/Japanese people... not the other way around. Since Chinese and Japanese are very context-heavy languages, these awkward sentences would reinforce the thinking process that occurs when creating English sentences.

4 years ago
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