Duolingo needs to fix this now

I am fluent in Chinese and English right now. Now when I try and do the take test skill or take test to pass that point I take it and for example 我的妈妈订了位子 it has to be exactly like or something like My mom has booked at a place and if it’s not that you’ll get it wrong so can you try and fix this issue or more options? Thanks.

February 8, 2019


There are finicky specific demands on us to give certain answers. Im annoyed too with some of this. I would drop an apostrophe or Id use a contraction . Flagged me . Ive taken university courses in Chinese. I am aware of the inherent variation. But when in Rome ...well...

February 8, 2019

I'm going to get a bit nerdy here(I'm in IT), so skip if that's not your thing.

When you're dealing with code, it's incredibly difficult to infer meaning from text/speech, which is what makes applications that rely on natural language(things like Siri) so difficult to program past the basics. i.e. You can say "route to" with an address, but it's going to be a little while before you can say "route me home but stop for a doughnut on the way and call Bill" and expect it to understand.

Dealing with any of this dynamically would require you to infer common meaning from the phrases in both languages in order to properly match them up with any number of valid syntaxes. To solve that problem, I'm sure they've got a mix of humans and AI determining the accuracy of answers, possible substitutions, etc. but they're probably still heavily reliant on dictionaries of possible answers/word combinations matched against the original phrase. With the number of languages Duolingo supports, that's likely millions of word combinations.

I really hope they continue to work on it because I agree that it can be pretty annoying to know you've phrased something right, and it's just not how Duolingo wants it. At the same time, it's worth remembering that the scope of the problem is truly immense, and I can easily see why it's not further along than it is.

February 10, 2019

I am totally in agreement with this Adam! I have just sent yet another email to the team. They're being very picky over the answers that each student gives per translation. I have the exact problem in Spanish, French, and German. Currently learning Chinese and Welsh so will have to see how I get on!

February 9, 2019

The problem is general to the platform, not just specific to the Mandarin course.

Form reading on the forums and observing how it works, each sentence has some number of approved translations. There's almost no automatic validation done by the system, it just tries to match to an approved sentence from the data base. (I think the system only ignores punctuation, capitalization, and some spelling mistakes automatically).

Course creators can't be expected to make all imaginable variations to every single phrase. There's a mechanism to report translations you consider should have been approved. Some teams approve faster and/or more variations than others, you'll be notified by email if they did. Use the report button, it's there for that reason.

I recommend trying to stick with the most literal translation possible. Try to alter the order of words only as strictly necessary.

As long as Duolingo keeps the current system, it's going to keep happening. There was a team member who even reported they couldn't add more translations to some phrase in a course, due to intrinsic limitations.

February 10, 2019

I agree. and then sometimes they allow stuff that shouldn't be. But this is still one of the most accurate free things for learning Chinese.

April 11, 2019
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