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https://www.duolingo.com/Duck_man

What happens to immersion translations?

Duck_man
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Apologies if this has been asked before (a quick search did not reveal it), but does anything ever actually happen with the articles that people have tried to translate in the immersion section?

For example, when a French Wikipedia article is translated, does it actually go anywhere or get used for anything. I am guessing not, because Wikipedia generally already has well-written articles in English on many, if not most, of the topics that you would find in French Wikipedia. Also, the French Wikipedia articles are no doubt changing all the time due to the nature of the beast.

One reason I ask is because I wonder whether it is a complete waste of time, for example, to dutifully copy and paste the origins of words in the first sentence, often typed in Greek or Latin or whatever (not that I have any problem with those languages). It has gotten to the point where I would just rather skip the first two sentences, or at least skip the stuff that is not in the language that I am interested in.

This also might have a bearing on how uptight people get about literally translating the original. It is somewhat comical to me that some people get intently focused on how literal the translation must be when we are talking about a Wikipedia article whose sources are possibly suspect and could be different the next day.

For me, translation is the often the art of paraphrasing and the more people can get away from a literal mentality the more fun the immersion experience will be.

P.S. I realize that your approach to literalness may also depend on whether you are a native English speaker or not.

4 years ago

21 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Carolyn250

To me, it does not much matter if they go anywhere - there is still pride to be taken in a job well done. The hundreds (thousands?) of pages I wrote in English for the sake of getting an education did not "go" anywhere either, except to make me fluent in my own native language. Besides, I work only on articles that genuinely interest me, so I feel that I am learning other things besides French.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pmm123
pmm123
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I've been surprised at how much I am learning about my own native language (English). I sometimes see a word whose meaning I know in the original language, but have difficulty thinking of a good, direct English translation. Things get even more interesting when you're dealing with long sentences whose word order sounds perfectly good in the original language, but is terribly awkward in English.

I do think it's interesting that people get as worked up as they do about relatively minor issues if the finished product is never going to be shared outside the Duo universe. It's one thing to take it seriously, which is responsible community behavior. It's another thing to become obsessive, let alone hostile, about it.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Duck_man
Duck_man
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I agree with you completely. I find the benefits are threefold: 1) I get to think (hope?) I am improving my French (the jury is still out on that one); 2) I get to learn some interesting or entertaining things along the way; and 3) I get to try to help (or think I am helping) others improve their writing, particularly those for whom English does not come naturally. I just wanted to know if there is a purpose beyond that, and, as I suspected, there isn't. I think that the "job well done" here should be writing something well, not worrying about whether what you said is exactly what was written (e.g., I cringe every time someone sees an "en fait" in a sentence and reflexively inserts it as "in fact", a phrase that had been wisely beaten out of me by teachers from middle school through graduate school). Maybe the next thread should be silly translating traps (which I will freely admit I regularly stumble into) to avoid at all costs.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ronnie-JA

I agree with this. Apart from the curiosity of the OP's question, I don't really care as long as it serves the required purpose. 1) Helps me learn French; 2) Helps to improve my own language (English); 3) Improves my understanding of the nuances of the language.

However, I don't agree that arguments over translation or being too literal is minor at all! Ok, some may not be bothered but without the pedants in any group, you will not have such a developed understanding of the less literal approach.

Learning is a curve. Initially that curve might be very steep. So starting with a literal translation to get the basic concepts right is very useful. The problem is the lack of patience from the more advanced students who have passed that stage and become frustrated with Noob literal translations because they can't be bothered to repeat the same correction a million times.

Personally, I do try to be literal where necessary. Overly paraphrasing will leave less experienced students confused. Also, if its possible to be literal and economic then I will opt for this instead of an overly casual translation. However, this doesn't mean being completely literal and as my level improves, the more I incorporate the figurative approach.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Duck_man
Duck_man
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Good points.

There are a wide range of abilities stumbling over each in a space that accommodates none of them perfectly. I originally thought that the French to English translation was focused on native English speakers who wanted to learn French. It turns out that I was wrong. There are lots of people here who are not native English speakers (as a point of comparison, have you tried to get to the section that translates from English to French? I did, after pretending I was a native French speaker.....I barely made it back alive).

So you have to compromise. What I try to do is stay quite close to the original text (as it seems many people do) and not make a quantum leap beyond what is written. Or, if I think I am jumping too far, to provide enough information in a note that my purpose is clear.

That being said, I have learned that French has a lot of idiosyncrasies (Egads it took me forever to spell that right) that translate very badly , So, at times, I think it is useful to show that English has some real advantages (e.g., the great efficiency of the English "apostrophe s" possessive rather than always relying on "of"). Or that saying "It is my wife that I love," will not help you blend.

The trick is to (generally) have a thick skin, whether you are a newbie or not and having some sense of your audience. However.....what is annoying is seeing a sophisticated English speaker insisting on literalism. They should know better.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ronnie-JA

I heard mention of this Reverse tree thing, and I didn't know about the English to French part. What/where is this?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Duck_man
Duck_man
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Well, as far as I can tell, you would never know about it if you are a native English speaker. You can get there by working through your profile, asserting that you are French, and heading for the immersion section. Of course, your entire Duolingo experience is now in French. If you really want to learn French (and if you have the guts), this is the path you should take....baptism by fire. PS. I learned from the experience of going there and back (it felt like I was taking a trip on a Star Trek transporter), that I am considered a level 10 French person speaking English (clearly a higher level than my kids give me credit for).

What surprises me is that Duolingo does not appear to provide any direct avenue for English speakers to get into the English to French immersion section (at least so far as I can tell). If I were running Duolingo (which I am not), with an espoused goal of helping people learn another language I would have that link and encourage people to use it, without having to pretend you are French. Je m'appelle l'homme du canard.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ronnie-JA

Haha, merci Duckman! :-)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Red_Rat_Writer

As of this point, the translations are not automatically uploaded into Wikipedia, and the community has to upload the articles themselves. Duolingo has plans to have translations be automatically uploaded in future, but at the moment they are focusing on other areas, such as the incubator. However, they are uploading translations of Buzzfeed and CNN articles right now (I think they are translating them into Spanish, French and maybe Portuguese).

If you want to know how to upload articles here is a guide

The most important things to remember is 1. Only upload articles to the Wikipedia site that you are fluent in (like, if you don't know Spanish very well, don't upload in es.wikipedia.org). 2. References are important. If you don't copy them into the new article, it will immediately get rejected.

Here is a community project for translating articles: http://duolingo.wikia.com/wiki/Translating_the_web:_Untranslated_articles, though it's on a short hiatus and needs updating (because I'm busy with other projects at the moment.)

Also, if you have any articles that were originally in Spanish, and now are in English that need to be uploaded, I would be happy to do it myself.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Duck_man
Duck_man
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Kind of what I suspected, which really means that people seem to spend a good amount of time getting their shorts in a knot over nothing.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/soupcatcher

People have been getting their shorts in a knot for awhile now. It's funny to see the wars that are going on. I means seriously, 42 revisions on a single sentence? Please. I do however, like to translate genuine articles about France and the French, but have never expected them to be passed on.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ronnie-JA

Whilst I agree that translation wars can get out of control, I don't think watching on the sidelines help. Too many fail to give others helpful corrections so they understand why their revisions are less appropriate. In addition, the more experienced learners or fluent speakers use the proof read option rather than commenting on revisions. Both experienced and inexperienced users are not using the community guidelines either. But at the heart of the edit wars is the need for clear clarification and a realisation that it matters to the editors because they are learning even in adversity.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pmm123
pmm123
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Here's the sort of thing that drives me to the sidelines, at least with certain people and certain articles:

Original sentence: "Auch Pilgrim von Passau ist eine Person, die in Sage und Wirklichkeit vorkommt."

My edit of an earlier translation: "The Pilgrim of Passau is also a character who appears both in myth and in reality." I also included this comment because I agree with you that explanations are helpful: "Up-voted and SC. English usually puts 'also' somewhere besides the very beginning of a sentence."

This was reverted to the previous translation, with no comment: "Also Pilgrim of Passau is a person who appears both in myth and in reality." I'm not saying that my translation can't be improved upon, but this sentence is not an improvement.

Someone has since reverted it to my translation, which I appreciate, but I think you can see the problem here. You can explain something, but if someone is determined that their translation is superior, it can become an exercise in futility.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pmm123
pmm123
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Runakom, if everyone were as reasonable as you are, I'd leave comments in their stream without thinking about it twice! :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ronnie-JA

Or you can kindly leave a note in their stream, in the spirit of discussion of course. Plus, this situation you describe could occur if the editor is using the proofread option (as I understand it doesn't give the option to leave a comment). I never use this mode, and always use the line by line translation mode instead.

Re your translation. I don't understand a word of German but I think the English translations have a different and subtle meaning. "Also" in the beginning of the sentence is akin to "In addition [to]", the implication of which is that the additional information in the sentence relates directly to the Pilgrim.

However, placing "also" in the adverb position only adds emphasis to the information which follows. Therefore, it is saying that the Pilgrim also (as in another person or part of a group) appears in myth or reality. (Note I've omitted the second superfluous preposition).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/pmm123
pmm123
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Yes, "also" can be used if the sentence provides additional information to a previous sentence, but in this case, it was the first sentence in a paragraph and it did not continue anything from the previous paragraph. Since the translator didn't choose to leave an explanation, the reason for the edit is anyone's guess.

If a writer must use "also" to begin a sentence, it requires a comma immediately after, which is missing here.

You are right: I could question the person in their activity stream, but I already left a comment which they chose not to answer. I'm not going to hound them about it.

This sentence was edited again, so it's now in its sixth translation. I have seen sentences with as many as 25 edits. There may be some learning going on, but it's hard to know what it might be.

(By the way, the second "in" is grammatically superfluous, but interestingly, none of the translators chose to eliminate it. Here, it adds emphasis, so stylistically, it is not superfluous).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ronnie-JA

@ pmm123 - Leaving a note on a stream isn't hounding for the reason I mentioned about the proofreading mode. There's no way to view or leave comments in this mode I think. But a good comment on a stream is worth 4 or 5 revisions of an edit. I would not think of a message on my stream as hounding, but this is just my view.

You can't learn from ignorance so the reason that learning may not be going on is no-one is making or recognising a useful clarification. But I think you get my point anyway.

Re the English, of course you're correct about needing the comma and the placement depends on context as always. I commented on the basis of the example without context so I guess its a fair clarification in that context. However, the extra "in" doesn't seem to add emphasis or style (to me anyway), as the conjunctional use of and is already linguistically linking "myth" + "reality".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda
Luscinda
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No, in short. Not unless it's sponsored or someone has uploaded it with the intention that they will then do something with it.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Duck_man
Duck_man
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thanks

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/celebrim
celebrim
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Generally, I think the translations are/will be used to create better machine translation i.e. to beat Google Translate.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Ronnie-JA

I think Google translate has been around long enough now to do much better than it has. With all the resources and info Google has at its fingertips, the translator should not be getting basic constructions wrong (which it does).

4 years ago