1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Duolingo
  4. >
  5. Translations



Are the translations of the pages that we and others are doing actually being used or is it just more for practice? Because lot of the translations I have seen are wrong or poor (including my own sometimes).

July 15, 2012



RasTanura, if you are the first person to translate a sentence, straying too far from the machine translation will result in an evaluation of "incorrect." I think you get points anyway, and you have the opportunity to evaluate existing translations.

User 1km has instigated a couple really good threads about the translation system over the past couple of days:




I looked at a number of translations in the Spanish section (where I am more advanced) and they were almost uniformly horrific, terribly ungrammatical. I think the problem is Duolingo's scoring. You get points for "word-for-word" computer-like translations and you lose points or get marked incorrect for colloquial translations. I sent feedback on the issue from the Spanish side.


I totally agree with you Mark. The translations often are wrong and don't make sense. Any variation from the dictionary matches is often not recognized as correct.


While anyone can call themselves a translator. the requirements for certification look pretty rigorous and there are more than a few universities that have translation and interpretation programs.


That's why DuoLingo works with crowd-sourcing: the more translations there are, the higher the quality of the 'selected best' translation tends to become. I agree they need to do something about the first-time translations (it's not very encouraging to see all your translations unrewarded), but when there are a decent number of them (10+) you'll usually get the points if your translation is reasonably good.


I notice the overwhelming bulk of users are only translating the shorter simpler sentences. The quality of translations probably goes up with the more difficult sentences that only a few more advanced users are attacking. Anyway the CEO of Duolingo said on Reddit that the process is working. They are getting articles fully translated as well as professional translators could do.


@rocko2012 - Since there are no recognised professional qualifications, a "professional translator" is just someone who is paid for doing what I do for free on Duolingo. I would therefore hope the standards are equivalent, or Duolingo is just wasting everybody's time.

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