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  5. I am very disappointed


I am very disappointed

I had been studying Chinese in the past years but had been getting rusty. I started again a couple of months ago with Duolingo. I was doing very well. I had accumulated 5000 gems just a few days ago.

Then Duolingo started asking for my own English translations for Chinese phrases. I consistently enter answers that are correct, but that are not recognized as being correct by Duolingo.

An example: "jia" can be translated to house or to home. In some cases, Duolingo will accept house, in some others it will only accept home.

Another example: "qing renzhen gongzuo" requires, as an answer, "please take your work seriously". It rejects "please work seriously" or "please take this work seriously" or "please take this job seriously", which are all correct answers.

Getting the correct answer has become a guessing game. I keep on having to buy more health and I spent almost all my gems in just a couple of days. English grammar allows to change the order of words (not all permutations are OK, but many are). Duolingo frequently accepts only one of several good permutations.

This is not about the exercices becoming harder as I advance. It is about Duolingo having an inconsistent treatment of answers and not recognizing many good answers.

I will stop using Duolingo if I fall to 0 gem, which may happen next time I need to buy more health.

Signed: 46-day-streak member.

September 13, 2018



These are valuable examples and you offer lots of feedback; thank you for that! I do highly suggest that you continue to report any issues you have in the course -if you decide to continue- as it will only improve the course over time. For various reasons, changes are not always immediate but we do see the reports and care deeply about our users' experience. I'm sorry yours has been disappointing so far. Please be patient as the various language teams are comprised sometimes of just a few people. While we're so fortunate to have 300 million users, we don't yet have the resources to employ enough people to fix things immediately. Perhaps one day! We do endeavor to grow as a company and to consistently improve our course and language offerings.


There are two big issues here. The first is that Duolingo is supposed to make language learning free and fun, but in the case of Chinese it makes it a frustrating ordeal. I really enjoy Chinese but after only a single session on Duolingo I often want to not look at the language again. The second, to put it bluntly, is that you're teaching those 300 million users wrong things. Not everyone has the patience or external knowledge to know that they need to constantly second-guess what Duolingo is teaching them.

Providing feedback is the typical response people have to those who have problems but the volume of errors and their lifetime frankly make it an unrealistic solution. (I just encountered multiple errors in a single session, including an incredibly basic 9-month-old.) Sadly, the most practical advice people give to aspiring Chinese learners is when they suggest using an app other than Duolingo.

I appreciate the work that has been put into Chinese so far, but it needs a lot more before it is ready for prime time. It would be nice to see a concrete get-well plan, not hopes and crossed fingers.


Katy, The fact that some parts of the course are substandard is not the only source of frustration. The other inability to make the course better. If you look at discussion on some the sentences, you'll notice that people keep reporting the same issue over and over.

Don't get me wrong. I do understand that people reviewing reports might be overwhelmed by their volume.
The thing is that Duo isn't fully utilizing the power behind its user base. Give your users more options to contribute and instead of complaining about various problems, they will fix them by themselves!


Being that this is a free website created by volunteers there are bound to be mistakes, especially in a language like Chinese that is much different than that of English. All we can do is report it to the contributors. I know that the Indonesian course use to be horrific and that after looking at the comments on individual questions the contributors are actually adding correct phrases. From there point of view they had to find extra time in there life to sit down and do this work for free trying to make as few errors as possible. And unless they are native English speakers they are going to under stand much fewer ways to translate. So report and help them learn English better and in return they can help all of use learn all these beautiful languages better as well. Good Luck!! Don't ever give up.

But if you do, try lingo deer, I use it with duolingo for Chinese because they are much more developed but I love duolingo and wish to support them too.


It's free, but it is not a charity. It is constructed for the purpose of creating profit. I get tired of people judging it as if it was a charity. It is not. It makes money from advertising, selling optional ad-free service, and possibly from on-selling user data (which is clearly stated as a possibility in the terms and conditions.) Duolingo needs to just hire some more real teachers to moderate the content a bit more often. It's not good enough to have millions of people relying on other beginners to correct their translations. Translating is an art form. You can't learn it from a beginner.


Duolingo made $40,000,000 revenue last year. Duolingo is worth $700,000,000. It is not a charity. It. Is. Not. A. Charity.

[deactivated user]

    Keep reporting. I have the same experiences and I report them every time. Every few weeks (sometimes months), I get a couple of emails saying that issues that I reported are now accepted answers.


    Wich email do you use to contact them ?


    Unfortunately, i agree with you, Chinese needs to go back to beta, it's not really ready as it is.


    I agree. I am fluent in Chinese and I can't help the translations because it is out of Beta and I can't join the team of editors. It is very frustrating.


    I'm not sure if it is okay for me to say, that Duolingo, in my perspective, is a site for learning languages for FUN! FOR FUN! It kinda acts more like an approach for you to spend your spare time, like Facebook and Twitter. If you really want to learn something for serious, I strongly suggest you purchase some Chinese textbooks, even AP Chinese textbook would work!

    Learn Chinese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.