Incubator Stories: Meet jitengore and Damascene
This week, we're excited to introduce you to jitengore who helped build the English for Hindi speakers course and Damascene who contributed to the English for Arabic speakers course. These are two community members who are volunteering their time in the Duolingo Incubator to help bring free language education to the world.<h1>Meet jitengore</h1>
Contributor to the English for Hindi speakers course
Where do you currently call home? San Francisco, California
What do you do? I'm a big data consultant. What does that mean? It means extracting value from the huge amount of data that gets generated in today’s digital world, using technologies such as Hadoop and its ecosystem (distributed computing architecture for processing massive amounts of data).
Why is language learning important to you? I believe that languages are windows to understanding their associated cultures. Learning a language sheds the disconnect and that slightest feeling of alienation towards a foreign language. It makes one a better world citizen. As a personal benefit, it keeps the brain active and ready for that pleasant encounter with the foreign language speakers, either locally or abroad.
What languages do you know? What are you learning? My mother tongue is Marathi. I grew up in a Hindi speaking community and had English as the medium of education. I have learned basic Japanese (N5). On Duolingo, I have been learning Spanish and French and am excited about starting many more. Life is indeed too short!
Why are you excited about the Incubator? I feel honoured to have been chosen to help drive the Hindi language course on Duolingo — something that will potentially benefit millions of Hindi speaking people and help towards the larger goal of breaking the language barriers throughout the world.
What's in your toolbox for translating on the Incubator? I use Google Hindi input, bilingual dictionaries both digital and physical. Hindi version of Wikipedia is very impressive and useful, especially for the UI strings. Being a data fanatic, Excel is part of the toolbox :-) Duolingo is a huge addiction in itself, and also the ultimate source of motivation!
What's your greatest language related accomplishment? Volunteering to build the Hindi course has enriched my knowledge of Hindi because of the research I have had to do about the language and because I have learned so much more from my team members and beta learners (course validators). Thanks to Duolingo’s powerful crowdsourcing model, language learning here is a collective and collaborative experience, the way it should indeed be.
Anything else you'd like to share with the Duolingo community? You are simply an outstanding community, and you bring out the best from the incubator contributors. Keep up the good work, and continue to remain an excellent sounding board that you are, so that Duolingo remains headed in the right direction!<h1>Meet Damascene</h1>
Contributor to the English for Arabic speakers course
Where do you currently call home? Syria, Damascus
What do you do? Any special hobbies or interests? I am a journalist aspiring to do some valuable creative writing. I teach English at Damascus University and play the violin with friends.
What languages do you know? My native language is Arabic. I also am fluent in English. I also speak French, but am not yet fluent. A little bit of Italian and German.
What's in your toolbox for translating on the Incubator? Due to the current living circumstances in my country, electricity and internet connection immediately comes to my mind! You would also see several tabs on my internet browser: dictionaries, a thesaurus, and of course google for anything problematic.
When do you translate on the Incubator? Because my job requires a lot of creativity in writing, whenever I get a brain block I refresh it by doing some translations on the incubator. Besides work time, anytime else is a good time!
What's your biggest language accomplishment? I can read the articles about Quantum Physics which are only available in French and which I am very interested in. In the past, I had to copy and paste the whole article to Google translate.
Anything else you'd like to share with the community? In the past few months, especially in the time when I started contributing to the Incubator, I have learned that no matter how hard life becomes, the more you work, give and do your best, the more you are able to transcend all times of hardship.
To get involved in the Incubator apply here: http://incubator.duolingo.com/apply
Thanks jiten for everything you've contributed! Also, great meeting you at the SF language picnic last month!
Likewise, it was my pleasure meeting you! It is truly inspiring to see the positive impact your small team of 35 can make on millions, soon to be billions, of people all around the world.
In response to Damascene's equally inspiring piece, I would say that the only response to the negativity and strife in the world is small positive steps such as those team Duolingo has been taking.
Only by doing so we can change the world!
Thank you Duolingo team and learners! I am very happy to have the chance to contribute to this amazing community. Nice to meet you jitengore and thank you for your great work. Can't wait for your reverse course!
No amount of lingots can replace my happiness! :)
"In the past few months, especially in the time when I started contributing to the Incubator, I have learned that no matter how hard life becomes, the more you work, give and do your best, the more you are able to transcend all times of hardship." You are amazing. Those words are wise. I can only severely hope that the situation in your country will be better over the next years... Keep your awesome job and stay strong!
Two of my favorite incubator contributors. Nice to get to know you both better, and thanks so much for all your hard work!
I couldn't have said it myself. You guys are just incredible and very inspirational. I can tell you guys genuinely want to effect positive change in the world.
It's an honor to meet you two! Thanks for all your help in the incubator! And thank you kristinemc for introducing them to us! ^-^
I was waiting for this edition! It's great to see jitengore out there! :D Also Damascene! Two very hardworking contributors. Kudos to everything you'll have done to make Duolingo even better! :D Keep up the awesome work! Thanks Kristine for sharing this with us!
Thanks for your kind words, LeMaitre. And let me also highlight the remarkably valuable work you have been doing on the Hindi forum, both before and after becoming our community moderator!
Thank you both so much for helping to build these courses. Both Arabic and Hindi are beautiful languages that I am looking forward to learning in the future. Thank you for these gifts!
And I hope that Damascene will leave a comment so I can give them some lingots in thanks as well. :)
And also (((((JITENGORE!! xD!!!)))))
Thank you for being a part of this community and for all the work you do, jitengore and Damascene!
This was very interesting to read, so thank you Duolingo. And thank you Jiten and Damascene for the incredible amount of work you have put in!
Also Jiten it's great to see your face, and I love the tshirt!
We shared your stories on Twitter :) https://twitter.com/duolingo/status/472426977379745792
Great to know some more about you guys. Thanks for all the hard work you've put into your respective courses.
Man, these are really fascinating! It's amazing that the Incubator contributors also have really involved, complicated jobs O:
Especially working with data the way jitengore does. I'm learning mySQL and how to configure LAMP stacks right now and I've never heard of Hadoop until today! Big stuff. Y'all are truly exceptional. :D