New French upgrade : incomplete translations

I lost most of my french tree when the new upgrade launched, and while I was able to cruise through the first half easily by testing out of each lesson, I lost the ability to do so about halfway down the tree. It's not me, it's the increasing prevalence of incomplete translations from french to english. I understand the material, but my ability to translate is increasingly at the mercy of an incomplete database.


Souhaiter - "to hope" is not accepted, even when "to wish" would be awkward or uncommonly used in english ("I wish to go to Europe next summer"). "To want" is accepted, but inconsistently - not always.

"Vous pretez vos livres a vos amis" - "you lend your books to your friends" is not accepted, only "you are lending".

"site (fr)" translates to "site" sometimes, and other times "website" must be used.

"ce/cet/cette" is sometimes (but not always) only translated as "this", and "that" is not allowed.

Duo, I understand how involved the upgrade was, and I love the alignment with CEFR. I don't resent having to redo the material; after all it's good practice. But it's your database that's getting in the way of my progress, not my knowledge. This is very frustrating. Can you offer any insight as to when the translations will be up to date and internally consistent?

April 26, 2019


I am working with the French, Spanish and, sometimes, Portuguese trees, and all of their new units have vastly incomplete databases.

For example, the imperfect verb tense "j'écrivais" should translate both as "I used to write" and "I was writing" but sometimes only one option is correct. Also "la plume de ma tante" should translate both as "my aunt's pen" and "the pen of my aunt" but again, sometimes only one of these is accepted as correct. (Showing my age with this expression:))

Duo is waiting for us all to report such errors. I know my languages pretty well but new learners are going to be very confused.

April 26, 2019

I understand what you mean. I practice french both from english and from spanish, and I have noticed this too. I tend to simply roll my eyes and let it go when I feel the english translation is off, but in spanish is... well, quite frustrating (Duo may know a lot of french but I'm telling you he has a mediocre spanish at best).

Sadly, there is not much we can do about it other than report and hope someday it gets fixed. It's probably this obvious when it comes to our native languages because, well, most of the time we don't have the knowledge to judge how accurate the information on the language we are learning is, so it's easier to miss any oddities. This is why I always recommend the app only as a complement for language studies, because if you are learning exclusively from it, there will be a lot of empty spaces in the knowledge you acquire, because a lot of the time duolingo requires you to learn it their way and none other.

It's frustrating though, I know. Sometimes it gets to the point where I see the first three words and already know what exact answer duolingo wants me to write (inconsistent or odd as it sometimes is), and sadly when it gets to that level of, say, automatic response from my part, I know I am not and will most likely not be learning anything, because I just wanna be done with it.

Same thing is happening to my mom as I type. She is about to throw the phone out the window because duo just can't seem to get a grip on spanish. Translating to italian is great practice, but translating from it is driving her crazy.

April 27, 2019

Every sentence has many translations - in some languages thousands! (French being so similar to English probably has less) Each sentence has to be added by a human being. Sounds like they didn't get them all in before releasing the course. Just report it and move on.

April 26, 2019

Yeah, but if you're on IOS finding errors/incomplete translations for them -- which should be a benefit to them - it costs you Health for every "mistake" (even though it isn't one).

April 29, 2019

French is not that similar to English and there are indeed many sentences with hundreds of possible translations, either way.

April 28, 2019

It is compared to Hungarian or Arabic!

April 28, 2019

I have experienced the issue of "that" not being accepted for "ce/cette" and its really disappointing that their translation algorithm doesn't just accept both automatically!

In fact with this new French tree, I'm finding that I'm reporting "This answer should have been accepted" 10x more than I was with the old tree.

Just tonight I've been frustrated by a skill's refusal to accept "vous voyez" instead of "tu vois." The tree is very buggy and it's a real distraction to have to learn by trial and error which specific translation it's looking for in a question.

April 29, 2019

You said it well - searching for the "right answer" is not the same as learning. I'm sure the accepted translations will expand and improve over time, but right now I'm having to check "My answer should be accepted" 2-3 times per lesson.

April 29, 2019

Just learn what they are trying to teach. That would be my suggestion. If you are here to learn the language why do you want to continue to use only the words you already know?

I can really relate because I had the same concerns and kept getting upset because I had used French and studied it some before and I KNEW that there were other ways to say things. One day I just realized, though, that I am here to learn phrases, words, vocabulary, etc., not tell those more experienced that me why "My" answer is right. lol.

Does that make sense? It is frustrating but once I made up my mind to learn from every mistake, it was amazing how little my own knowledge really was. I even contacted an old friend who lived in Paris at one point and had him check the translations. It turns out my limited knowledge may have gotten me through school and some conversations but there was a WHOLE lot more language to learn and Duolingo was patiently and quietly teaching it to me.

April 26, 2019

So if Duo is going to teach me that ce/cet/cette means "this", what do I use when it's more appropriate to say "that"?

I'm not frustrated or upset when my knowledge of french can be expanded. I would like translations to english to be appropriate and consistent. The problem I see is that the translations to english are incomplete in the database - not that the translation to french is wrong. See the examples I gave.

April 26, 2019


April 26, 2019
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