Recommend more native English speakers involved in improving this course

It seems like a lot of people have already posted about the same problems I noticed with the Chinese course, but I just thought I'd reiterate...

I'm a native English speaker who has been learning Chinese for 10 years (including 5 years living in Chinese speaking countries). I'm also a professional Chinese > English translator. I went through the Duolingo Chinese course just for fun. To me it seems like only native Chinese (ESL) speakers were involved in creating this course, because the English translations are frequently awkward, and often times correct alternative versions of the answers in English are not accepted. I've been flagging them as "my answer was correct" each time, but I was surprised how frequently that occurred. It seems to me that native English speakers should be asked to help make improvements. Honestly, I would be happy to volunteer... I really enjoy this type of thing.

Also, I haven't gone through all the "crown levels", but noticed they don't really seem to get more difficult like they're supposed to...

October 11, 2018


That would be a great idea to improve this course! I tried applying for Chinese for English speakers course since I spent more than 20 years, utilizing Chinese throughout Asian communities. However, I realized that there are no people added to the team nor any progress made, concerning the reports from the sentence pile.

If you have the following:

  • Well-exposed to some/most sentences of same meanings, but different ways of saying; that can include sentences that pose the characters more descriptively and with some complexity other than literal translations.
  • At least HSK 4/5; HSK 6 won't be needed to since that would be a bit too advanced for the learners

Then suggest these (along with your willingness to help) to the Incubator!

October 12, 2018
  1. I've reported a couple sentences and stuff and eventually got a couple e-mails saying my answer was now accepted. :D

  2. You can apply to be contributor. :)

  3. Crown levels are levels of repetition, not levels of difficulty.

October 13, 2018

Actually crown levels are supposed to increase difficulty. Or so they said when we got them.

October 13, 2018

When the crown levels are increased, then you will be limited to manually create your own sentences phrases on your own.

When testing your skills to earn the gold set at 4/5 Crown Level, you are going to encounter that.

October 14, 2018

as you go up crown levels it makes you type the answer more often (omits the word box things) and asks for more english -> chinese translations.

October 12, 2018

I have the same problem. Even though I have flagged the same answers multiple times, it seems like Duolingo does not take any steps to make any correction/adjustment.

October 12, 2018

U'r right! It happens frequently. Duolingo doens't accept my answer even correct in my language. For example, "I am so happy today", In my language, we rarelly speak "I", we speak, " am so happy today" we call this sentence of "subject hidden" but Duolingo doesn't support that.

October 11, 2018

I am glad I'm not the only one who noticed it. I am both a native Chinese and English speaker and honestly I am so annoyed when I tried the Chinese course for fun. A lot of the sentence structures were wrong and the there should much more variations in the answers. There were also Chinese words that can mean many other things in English and the answers should be accepted. I wouldn't mind helping out with improving it too but I'm not sure how.

October 13, 2018

You could apply to become a contributor in the incubator. It doesn't seem likely that you would be accepted (not because you are not qualified, but because of the seeming absence of the Chinese team).

If that does not work, every learner here would be very thankful if you reported correct answers that are not accepted. You can also report sentences being unnatural etc. I hope that you can help to improve the course. ^-^

October 13, 2018

Have you noticed the over and unnatural use of 的? Just that is very annoying!

November 12, 2018

If you think you can help improve the course, there's always a chance that they'll accept you to help if you apply as a course contributor:

There's a link below the course title where you can apply.

October 13, 2018

I applied a long time ago. Never heard back. Just gave up. I lived and studied Mandarin in Taiwan for three years.

October 15, 2018

Oh yes! I have also noticed this. Since I speak fluent Chinese (first language) I decided to try Duolingo's course, but after about one lesson I noticed some colossal mistakes. My mother (who grew up in China) also looked at it and her answers were 'incorrect' as well. It was irritating, so I stopped using the Chinese course and it sits there, in case somebody fixes it and I can go back and try it again.

October 14, 2018

I often click 'my answer should be accepted' and later I often get a message saying 'Thank you.' and 'We now accept this translation.' So I guess the English speakers who do the course our helping to improve it.

October 14, 2018

Same here. I've done both the ZH-EN and EN-ZH courses and liberally used the "My answer should be accepted" button.

It was frustrating, but maybe will help future learners?

October 14, 2018

Having finished the course, is the audio from a native Chinese speaker? In the forum, I have read that it is not.

October 11, 2018

Well, I wouldn't be surprised if it is, but I've noticed the speakers stretch their tones way too far, and they speak quite slower than most people will in China. I know that is kind of a no-brainer for learning, but I think they should speak faster and smoother.

October 14, 2018

It’s a text-to-speech system, as is the audio for the vast majority of Duolingo courses.

October 14, 2018

As a native English speaker, who frequently visits countries where Chinese is spoken, I find it the most frustrating and difficult language on Duolingo. No idea what I am doing. Sad because I want to learn.

October 12, 2018

Some Chinese expressions are not appropriate either

October 13, 2018

If you find such sentences, please report them for being unnatural. It is the only thing to do if you are not a contributor.

October 13, 2018

Im a Chinese person that can barely speak Chinese. Yet i have been seeing that a lot of my answers were not accepted even though i Was positive they were right. I hope People get this right so future learners can get this right :)

October 16, 2018

I am a native Chinese speaker, but the Chinese test I tried for fun only gave me level 6? Some work need to be done here.

October 26, 2018

Many of these lessons can be correctly translated in a number of different variations in English (and to a lesser degree, the reverse is true). That's largely a fact of the way that the semiotics and syntax of the two differ. But it doesn't mean that it can't work. It just means that the moderators need to add a LOT of variations. This thing is not newspaper language! It's colloquial verbal language. So there's some looseness that needs to be applied.

In addition, the consistency of how the many lessons translate words and phrases veers back and forth from literal to heavily interpreted such that someone trying to learn (or even just brush up on something we know very well) is at a complete loss as to what Duo wants THIS time! It'd probably be ok, except for the completely interruptive system. When you're not actually wrong about a translation and you're marked wrong, you have to memorize exactly the phrase Duo wants, and hope you can revisit the phrase before you can forget it! Which never works so you have to repeat the same thing 3-4 times, getting one word wrong each time. At that point I'm screaming "deep. fried dough sticks" at the phone and getting weird stares from across the room.

And good lord, someone needs to ferret out the regionally specific sentences, terms and phrases (dim sum or dian xin? people from Shanghai or Shanghainese? Xiong gong or Hong Kong? and a 1000 more).

Love the potential of this thing, but it's really hard to get past the 2nd level with this many frustrating issues. seems like Duo needs to hire some native English AND Chinese speakers. That isn't THAT rare, but you may have to pay someone rather than get help from whoever wanders by with some opinion about either language

February 5, 2019
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