Immersion has a new look...
I'm not sure I like this...it feels cramped to me:
Feedback from users (based on the comments below): The new article box is too confining to accurately translate sentences, because context is key in Immersion. When the single sentence fills the entire box, we will spend half our time scrolling back and forth to check for pronouns, meaning, etc. This is not conducive to an accurate translation, and is disappointing for people that spend hours in Immersion. Unfortunately, this was a downgrade for the Duolingo site.
Edit this sentence, and you'll know everything you need to know about the new interface. https://www.duolingo.com/translation/3647172e1e6b71b524df1489c639146a$index=145.
Try this one, in German:
[I posted this below, but I'm putting it here so it's more visible to anybody that happens on this thread:] So, for anybody who's (1) interested and (2) seeing the new-new translation UI (that keeps the fixed right edit pane but lets the article content fill the whole window), I've posted a user stylesheet to widen the display and get rid of all the useless whitespace on desktop browsers: http://userstyles.org/styles/102270/duolingo-translation-embiggener. (Sorry, tablet users, no help here for you.) You'll have to install the Stylish extension for Chrome or Firefox to use it--the userstyles.org homepage has links to them--and after that you'll see an "Install with Stylish" link on my userstyle page that'll do the rest. Go to translate an article and the display'll look like the screenshots I've posted. (I occasionally find that the first time I bring up an article I have to reload it to get the modification to "take.") As the translation UI continues to be updated this modification may break, but I'm happy to continue maintaining the code, at least for as long as I find it useful to have it around ;).
The change is another tipping of Immersion in favor of the game side of things. That's a concern to people who are trying to use it for something more serious. I would think it's not best for Duolingo as a potentially profitable service, either, although that's not my business.
Another stand-out flaw in the new interface: the list of contributors is no longer visible anywhere except under each sentence. This impacts my purposes very significantly. Intolerably, really.
You are hiding credit. Hiding the list of contributors is like putting the author's name in a footnote.
How can I thank all the people who have worked on my article and turned it into something worth sharing with the target-language world?
How can I take note of my "friends", my favorite translation partners have contributed to this article, which recommends it highly for my attention?
How can I avoid wasting my time on vandalized articles? You can deduce what it means to see the names of notorious vandals and spammers there - also valuable information.
I am finding this a real detriment. I like to know when some of the more experienced translators are "in the room" as I'm more willing to take risks and try something (as opposed to just passing over a too-difficult passage) when they are. Similarly, I like to know when there are many beginners active so I can remember to be helpful.
This is like going to a party where everyone's head is covered by a paper bag.
I don't necessarily mind having the edit window in a fixed position like this, but stuffing the source text into such a small box is awful. There's absolutely no need for all that white space all around, and only being able to see a tiny portion of the text at one time is immensely frustrating.
I think it could be a lot better if text area was considerably wider, and the headers and footers were confined to the edit column to allow for more vertical space for the text.
So, just to follow up: I've been doing translation here and there in the last day using my embiggened Immersion pane (popped the reformatting code in a bookmarklet, click on it when I've opened an article bc I'm too lazy to make a proper user script), and the combination of extra width and the static editing panel makes it easily the best translation experience I've had on the site to date. Really hope Duo can be persuaded to consider making some similar desktop accommodation here.
No, I haven't progressed to the userscript stage yet, though I may. Chrome (like FF) comes with a suite of debugging tools that allow you to, among other things, live-edit CSS in the browser and immediately view the results--essential functionality for front-end Web developers. So that's all I've been doing. Busy evening ahead of me, but if I get the time I'll try cleaning up the display and posting a screenshot.
Confining is indeed the word. I use immersion a lot on iPad and this new UI is worse then the previous one. Proof reading is just useless due to bugs. (Yes I did report it to support). The old UI was not perfect, but was much more intuitive, and less fatiguing on the eyes because of special proximity.
Edit this sentence, and you'll know everything you need to know about the new interface.
I just saw (but didn't translate) a sentence that was adjacent to the Wikipedia info block near the start of the article. The sentence barely fit in the little viewing window, stretching starting in the first line and ending in the last. Longer sentences may easily be longer than the space available, making it difficult to read and understand context.
Of course, I'd probably have passed on a sentence that long before anyway, but I surely would now!
Try this one, in German:
I assume you mean the initials, as the actual phrase comes from Tyndal's Bible of 1526.
"Let every soule submit him selfe vnto the auctorite of ye hyer powers. For there is no power but of God. The powers that be are ordeyned of God."
In the KJV:
"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: The powers that be are ordained of God."
Who all in this discussion is part of the translation group involved in this weekly event https://www.duolingo.com/comment/3013480 ?
This is not an official inquiry, just a point of personal curiosity. I know that your group spends a lot of time in Immersion and I'd like to know what y'all think after 2 weeks of using Immersion. (Also, does your translation group have a group name/nickname?)
EDIT: I meant after 2 weeks of regularly using Immersion in it's currently modified form. EDIT: Feedback right now is good too though. I want to be along for the journey, I'm just not in a place to be a member of the group yet.
For myself, I don't need 2 weeks of using the new format to know it's a disaster. I didn't need 2 minutes. I frequently can't even see two complete sentences in this absurdly restricted text window, let alone a full paragraph. So for me it's horribly cumbersome to find and hold in mind the contextual cues I need to shape a translation: but for users who don't have any particular translation experience? The weakest aspect of Immersion, the biggest drag on quality, is the sentence-by-sentence focus, and the new UI basically instructs users that there's no reason at all to be concerned with anything other than the sentence currently under the cursor. I won't get into the (seemingly insuperable) contradiction between gamification and translation quality, but it's hugely disappointing to see Duo pushing in a direction that can only make overall quality worse. I stopped using the site for quite some time because of the change that forced notifications every time a sentence was edited (with no global opt-out): it was just too ugly to have to be confronted, constantly, with the race-to-the-bottom aspects of gamification. Having just started back, I now find Duo degrading the Immersion experience from a different direction. Translation is the reason I'm here, and after this latest worse than dubious change I don't know whether I'll stick around (or why I would).
Hear hear. I've been on Duolingo since it was only by invitation, and I've been trying to develop a reading (not speaking) ability in German (and reinforcing some old Spanish knowledge). Immersion (and the Wikipedia articles specifically) is where I've practiced that. I've reached a purported level 69 in immersion (I don't think I'm that good, but whatever). I have a streak of more than a year. I'm seriously reconsidering whether I want to bother to continue with a site that makes it difficult for me to do what I'd like to do.
I'm a part of that Mar Plateado group, and today was the first day that I had seen Immersion in its current form. And I've been on Duo, using immersion for the past two weeks, so I assume that it was rolled out to groups at different times.
The short version is: I don't like it.
The long version: Like others have said, it feels cramped. The text box is not big enough in proportion to the screen, so that the article is in a much smaller space than it was before. It is nice having the editing box be in the same spot each time, but when I want to look at multiple previous alternate translations, when I scroll the screen down to see the bottom ones, I lose the box with the original article.
Two issues that I have reported via the support tab, are difficulties seeing the bottom of the word suggestion lists in the article (again, it's a problem with trying to scroll down the page. But in this case, the article scrolls down, the drop down word list doesn't move, and I still can't see the bottom of the list.) and that the proofread tab simply doesn't work for me at all. I click on it, and there's nothing there :(
I think that they made these changes to make immersion friendlier to beginners, but it may cause dedicated translators to stop using immersion.
Hi Usagiboy! I'm an original member, and today was the first time I saw the new format. The small window combined with some of those long unwieldy Spanish sentences is just a pain. It's very hard to find my place within a long article. And it makes it harder to read the context around any given sentence...since the group's focus is coherent translation of entire articles, a small window makes achieving that much more difficult.
Hi Professor01, I'm in the same loop along with other non-staff users 99.99% of the time. So, I don't have the answer. What I do know is that Duolingo often tries new things. Then they (often graduate students) gather a bunch of data to see what produces the best results for the maximum number of Duolingo users. Additionally, staff reviews user feedback and appreciates it very much.
I'm not aware of any singular place where Duolingo stores all of its research, some of it might not be accessible to the public. However, you can find at least some of the research through Google Scholar. However, I'm not sure if there is anything about this latest change there or not.
I'm not involved in that group, but I do spend time with Immersion. If I can give my two cents, I don't think I'll be using Immersion anymore until a solution is found (if it is found). This update is more of a downgrade for me, and that's a shame. The article box is simply too small (making translations of long sentences -- especially in Spanish -- frustrating). It feels like everything has been condensed into a small space, like pushing all the furniture into the middle of the living room. It is not useful for me whatsoever, and makes translating difficult.
I believe that it is possible to surmount the contradiction between gamification, and learning and quality, but there needs to be recognition at least, that the contradiction is very real and it is a constant frustration for everybody - gamers, learners and translators alike.
This interface makes translation harder by making context less accessible. It is more crowded and more difficult to navigate. It also removes the ability to make a document private ("delete" it), which increases the conflict between learners and translators on the one side, and gamers on the other. (edit: ability to delete has been restored)
The gamers are the majority. They have a right to be here, too. Many of us started out as gamers who later got bored with XP, Upvotes, Completed articles, and Tiers. The light dawned, and now we see those only as play money rewards for more real-world achievements.
But to the extent that we are immersed into domination by gamers, learning and translation will be constantly frustrated. Distrust and retaliatory behavior will increase. We had more of an ability to avoid conflict with the gaming mentality before this interface was implemented. (edit: partially repaired now. Still very cramped.)
I followed the pointer by AlexisLinguist and Pleurocystites, and see that the re-enable link has returned.
Thanks for listening to us.
I was out of town for two of the last three weeks, but I appear to have only the old version of immersion. That is, I have not seen anything different.
I don't blame Duo too much for deploying something bad, given that they listened to the feedback and rolled it back. I learned at Amazon was that it is often faster and cheaper to determine how well something works by deploying it and seeing how people react, provided you can roll it back with no harm done. However, it does make me fear that they're not talking to the right people about what sort of changes Immersion really needs.
Given that Immersion pays their bills, that puzzles me a lot.
Immersion is simply not a big priority in Duolingo (see Immersion ). They are more focused on teaching a language rather than translating the web. It does pay some of the bills, but it still doesn't cover all their bills (they are still in the red). At least that's what I read a few months ago.
As a person knowledgeable in software development, I think that they are taking the right route. Doing so much work on a change or feature before introducing it can have devastating results. Imagine working for several months on something, introducing it and suddenly learning that all users hate it. That can cause both psychological and monetary damages to the team. The users may also start distrusting Duolingo's motives and decisions.
I find that this change is positive given that immersion has hardly changed for almost a year.
Well, as a professional programmer/manager with 40 years of experience (most of it related to natural-language programming) I think my opinion should carry some weight too. :-) However, as it happens, I don't disagree with any of the points in your second paragraph.
I'm disappointed that Duolingo has put so few people on something as important as Immersion, though, because Immersion is critical to language learning--not just to making money. I do get your point that any change (even a bad change) is a good sign at this point, simply because it shows that they're at least giving it a little thought.
I have been a member of that group since it started but have only just become subject to the new format, and as I have said elsewhere on this thread I don't like it one bit.
I don't know which other members are using which Immersion format, but the group's original members seem to be much less active at present.
Expecting translators to operate in a wandering mini-window -- while the rest of the screen is wasted -- will surely go down in IT history as one of the Top Ten Dumbest Coding Moves of All Time. Duolingo staff are out of touch with their users and the tech people should be furloughed.
So, hey, for anybody on this thread who's (1) interested and (2) seeing the new-new translation UI (that keeps the fixed right edit pane but lets the article content fill the whole window), I've posted a user stylesheet to widen the display and get rid of all the useless whitespace on desktop browsers: http://userstyles.org/styles/102270/duolingo-translation-embiggener. (Sorry, tablet users, no help here for you.) You'll have to install the Stylish extension for Chrome or Firefox to use it--the userstyles.org homepage has links to them--and after that you'll see an "Install with Stylish" link on my userstyle page that'll do the rest. Go to translate an article and the display'll look like the screenshots I've posted. (I occasionally find that the first time I bring up an article I have to reload it to get the modification to "take.") As the translation UI continues to be updated this modification may break, but I'm happy to continue maintaining the code, at least for as long as I find it useful to have it around ;).
The new-new version is still not as good as the old version when I'm working on my phone. When I turn the phone to landscape orientation the band at the top ("Click a sentence to help translate it") takes up too much space; if I enlarge the column of source text, that band gets bigger too, and takes up the whole space.
The window showing the most recent translation...I can only see it in the smallest default size. When I try to enlarge it, it just scooches out of the area visible on my phone screen.
For phone usage, I'm just about as aggravated as I was with the old-new version, because I can see more of the source text, but it's still hard to do anything else.
At least the new-new version seems to work on my laptop. I think I'll just have to give up using the phone for Immersion...that stationary translation window is just impossible on the tiny screen.
I really should be working more on my tree, so I guess I'll do that on the phone.
I actually like the new design. I always detested that darned pop-up box that randomly popped up anywhere it wanted, it was like chasing a fly or something. So very often I used the proofreading tab to translate rather than the "normal" mode.
As for not being able to read a lot of words in a text, I don't see that as much of a problem, 2 or 3 paragraphs at most is all you need to read. Many people read shorter things on their cellphones with no problems. Maybe they should make the top bar smaller, and move that descriptive text somewhere else or make it smaller too. It makes sense that at least half a page should be visible whenever translating, but for the purposes of reducing scrolling maybe Duolingo could allow a full page.
That being said, it hardly bothers me, since I can easily resize the page and view immersion quite easily. I actually view most sites in a resized manner anyway.
I've noticed another problem with the new layout - before, when I clicked on a notification about an edit to an article I've worked on, it would take me to the relevant sentence in the article. (Roughly, at least; it certainly wasn't perfect but at least it tried.) Now, that sentence shows up in the edit pane, but the text pane always shows the beginning of the article regardless of where the sentence appears within it. Which means a lot of hunting and scrolling around if I want to find the original of the sentence I'm looking at, especially in a longer article.
I do like how the buttons (proofreading, translating, discussion) follow you at the top... but I don't like the permanent space by the side that is either article info or translation... (in translating) I like to have the info about the article always there.
It seems closed in and I'm a little claustrophobic.... I like the openness of the old design.
EDIT: I actually don't want to complain that much. Duolingo is awesome and I am blessed to be able to use it. I'm so glad it's free (and the icing on the cake is that it even gets better reviews than Rosetta Stone and such). I'm not entirely satisfied with the new Immersion layout, and I'd like a little tweaking, but whatever the staff does, I'm content with :)
Since I didn't have access to the old Immersion on my laptop, I can't really say how this compares, but the top bar ("Click a sentence to help translate") really seems to eat into the real estate, even on a larger screen. The first sentence of an article I'm working on is very long and there's a picture taking up half the column, making the sentence take up even more vertical space; it doesn't fit within one screen. (English translation: "The Japanese culture is the result of a historic process that began with the waves of native immigration from the Asian continent and the islands of the Pacific Ocean, followed by a strong cultural influence from China and, afterwards, a long period of isolation from the rest of the world (Sakoku) by the Tokugawa Shogunate until the beginning of Meiji Era, at the end of 19th century, in which it received an immense foreign influence that has been increasing after the end of the Second World War.") To be fair, it might not have fit within one screen even in the old version!
It's very confining for those of us who spend most of our time in immersion. And I'd like to know how many points a phrase is worth, too. I'm working with a text document. As long as the font's readable, that's what's necessary. "Modern" and "colorful" is just annoying - frankly, the fewer distractions, the better.
Change can be pretty uncomfortable. I still remember when Duolingo rolled out the new look for the website (the last major rollout). I saw it before almost anybody else and my first thoughts were that I hated it. But, I had to interact with it and go through every feature on every page to write up my review for staff. And for the reviews, I was expected to think about how each new aspect might be a help and a hinderance to users. With that mindset, I warmed up to it more quickly than I otherwise would as a person who is deeply uncomfortable around change. So, I empathize with people who complain about or critique change. But, I've also learned that if I become familiar with a change and ask myself to fully investigate the pros and cons, sometimes I go from hating something to loving it (or vice versa.) Hrm.. that turned into a long comment.. looks sheepish Anyhow, so I am curious about how other people will feel after having done the same kind of thorough investigating for a couple of weeks. :)
I have not yet been afflicted, but I also do a lot of work off-line. After being away from Spanish for 20 years, I've reviewed my Spanish; practice reading articles every day in Spanish; read Wikipedia daily in Spanish; upload my own articles to translate with a group of friends or Mar Plateado. I enjoy being able to have the article locked for working so that I don't have a level 1 person come in and start doing literal translations over my work. You have thousands of people at level one, but you really have no way of adequately determining who should move up or if they should be "allowed" to edit my translations.
I've found that the type of translation the average level 1 or level 2 person does is very different from that of level 4 or 5. I also find that by doing only one or two sentences, the writer may not even know what the article is about. An example of this is in one of the article that I worked on, there was a reference to the bell tower and the bells. The word "campanas" can be translated as bell, hood, cover, or with the griega "season". The low level translator translated it as "season" which made no sense whatsoever within the context of the article. There will be a few people who attain higher levels, but there is no way to stop a level one person from decimating a translation that may have taken me hours.
I'm one of the first people to accept change. However, when it hinders my ability to do my hobby, I find another hobby. I don't do this as a job. I don't get credit for doing this. I do this because I enjoy it. It's frustrating that people don't know how immersion works, downvote a sentence because they don't realize that they don't "have" to downvote in order to edit, then just railroad over your translation because they write "season" instead of "bells" is excessively frustrating.
Duolingo needs a lot of fixes. I've made one comment when the interface was not syncing. But for the most part, I've learned to live with the issues that it has.
But I don't "need" the interface downgrades to take the joy from my hobby. And especially do not look forward to not being able to lock a document for working privately on an article.
AlexisLinguist, it's not that anybody's purposely trying to degrade the desktop experience. But there is a growing tendency in the industry to base Web design primarily or exclusively on the tablet experience, and to shortcut the desktop as a result. Partly because few outfits really want to bear the costs of genuinely designing, delivering (and maintaining) both tablet- and desktop-optimized code. (Made worse when people who cheerlead "responsive design" fail to reckon how costly a business overhaul it actualy is.) It's bad practice, and I see it constantly in my own work, and this change bears the hallmarks of exactly that kind of approach.
I didn't feel that my post said that immediate reactions don't count. However, after reviewing your comment and my comment, I can see how my comment might have appeared differently than I intended to someone without the background context.
My intent was to identify myself among people who are uncomfortable with recent changes. Meanwhile, I also wanted to connect my comment to my previous, personal request for members of a translating club to give me feedback in 2 weeks because as a user (not as a moderator), I like to keep up with what they are doing. My concern is how this change might affect (positively or negatively) their coordination as a team. Having been a member of group activities in other situations, it has taken me time to figure out all of the ways in which a change affected my team.
Additionally, as a moderator and a duowikian, I have the instant feedback, but not everyone comes back to give feedback later. I want to know how this affects people at various stages because I can then be more helpful.
Sorry if I seemed to be flying off the handle a bit, Usagiboy7. You said some stuff that managed to touch a raw nerve, mostly based on battles I've had to fight (many, many times more than once) in the office. That, plus my disappointment in yet another adverse direction I see Duo taking, so soon after my deciding to give it another go ... Anyway, no offense meant.
I couldn't comment on your last reply directly, so I'm commenting here.
No offense taken and your feedback was really important. :)
People do have lives outside of Duolingo and that will affect how they interact with Duolingo. I know have my own set of raw nerves. And I apologize in advance if it ever sticks out (as I know it already has in the past.) PS, what you said about confirmation bias was golden!
I have to disagree here. I don't believe they are trying to purposefully degrade the PC experience, but simply trying to streamline the experience (as a whole, the Internet is becoming more "modernized" (not liking that term either) and sleeker, and Duolingo wants that to be reflected in their products. Though some additions are not warmly welcomed (this one), that doesn't mean Duolingo ignores this feedback. Luis was just on another discussion (feedback on possible Discussion changes), so it's a trial and error effect.
OK, kindly supply just one good reason for completely eliminating the capability of the original uploader to temporarily take the document offline? It's already obvious that the incentive to find really interesting raw material has been slashed, as has the appeal of the site to serious and thoughtful translators.
For what it's worth, I don't think I'm much of a complainer, and I was amazed at how much complaining there was about the new look, because it didn't really affect how Duo functioned for me. The change in the amount of visible source text really does affect me negatively, and I'm not sure I can see an upside to that.
Full disclosure: Most of the time, I access Immersion through my phone, because access to Immersion via my (5 year old Mac) laptop was just not a happening thing. Now, I can access Immersion through the laptop, so that access is better than the nothing I had before... so there's a plus. :) But I still want a good Immersion experience on my phone, as I don't always have access to the laptop when I have free time for Duo.