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Is it abuse to post machine translations?

Apparently some users believe that posting machine translations full of errors that real people probably wouldn't make is the best they can do. Maybe they don't speak either language fluently? I can see that's possible.

I realize that people learn in different ways and are at different levels.

However, some translators post literally nothing except lengthy, word for word machine translations. Some have become highly ranked and powerful.

Isn't this a pretty big problem? I've used down votes against them if they spam my uploads, because it worries me to see them advance and they ruin my uploads. I've reported a couple of them (they're still here, and the worrisome behavior continues).

Is it abuse or not ? Or, am I the abuser?

May 2, 2014



Machine translations are sometimes helpful to look at, to aid one's own understanding. But I agree that people posting nothing but word for word machine translations are abusing the system. And even more so, if they become highly ranked and start downvoting the translations honestly being done manually by other people.

DuoLingo (the company) needs to re-think the design of this whole "Immersion" feature, if they want to get the best translations out of it.


Translation is busy work for the purpose of learning. As far as I know, nobody is making any money at all from any of it, except for a tiny fraction that I've only heard about in press releases. That may change, but in the meantime, who knows where the money is coming from? certainly not from translating Wikipedia and Gutenberg.


Perhaps the answer is for the initial Duobot translation only to be available to new translators, eg those in Tiers 1 or 2. After that, you should either have to give it your best shot or you don't bother.

However that wouldn't address the partnerships that Markmcopc highlights which are formed to game the tiers system.


If you see people abusing the immersion view you'll want to report it via the 'report abuse' link in the translation. If the translation is nonsense as a result of a machine translation please do report it! Thank you!


Thank you for replying kristinemc. This problem, and the misuse of down votes, make me want to give up. Immersion would be more fun for me if translation of an article was by invitation only. Not to be unsociable, but the chaos is suffocating!

  • People are advanced despite vandalism and plagiarism.
  • People can be marked down for correct answers, with absolute impunity
  • The system is inherently vulnerable to sock-puppet abuse.
  • Bad motives and suspicion are engendered by the anonymity of down votes.
  • Beginners are discouraged from thinking about and learning from the work of others, because there is no reward for checking unless they make a change.
  • Partnerships are formed for the system-gaming purpose of voting one another into higher ranks.
  • People experience abuse by downvoters and become afraid to participate.
  • An anonymous, unaccountable, uncommented and unexplained, unreasonable down vote has 10 TIMES : GOOD GRIEF, IS ANYONE READING THIS? 10 TIMES the value!! of any well-researched, helpfully commented, personal and friendly shared vote correction.

Please help.


" Immersion would be more fun for me if translation of an article was by invitation only."

Yes. Agreed wholeheartedly. Producing a quality translation requires thought and time to work out how best to translate the spirit as well as the words of a piece, and that isn't helped by the feeling that you have to gallop through a piece trying to beat the machine-translators and other trolls to each sentence.

One can obviously lock a piece for personal work but in order to make it accessible for someone you trust and respect to review your translation you currently have to make it accessible to everyone.

I bloody well wish TDLPTB were as keen to provide features for serious and adult learners as they seem to be to provide them for schools and those who want to treat it all like a kiddies' sandpit.

PS - have a lingot.

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