https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JamesTPhillips

Anyone else had to abandon skills in the new French tree because they're so badly written?

I'm talking about the tendency, in this new tree, for perfectly good translations to be rejected, and only one very specific translation to be accepted. It's incredibly frustrating and people are getting really irritated in the comments for sentences.

It's as if many of the questions have had no alternative translations written them at all, and thus much of the tree is incomplete and incredibly frustrating as learning sessions become more of a game of memorizing which particular translation Duo expects, instead of actually learning the language.

I'm partway through lesson one of level one of "Arts," and I've already had 4 perfectly good answers rejected (confirmed by others in the comments). It's like whomever worked on this skill was not a native speaker and made no attempt was made to write translations in commonly spoken English. We see "The actors who act in this show" as the correct answer to a sentence which rejects the more realistic "The actors who play in this show." It's horrible and I've decided to abandon the skill for now because I can see myself throwing my phone across the room.

Realistically, how long should I wait to go back to that skill? Are Duo making fixes for some of the more incomplete skills? This tree is a mess!

July 10, 2019

15 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Judit294350

"The actors who play in this show."

And this sounds odd to me :-) I'd probably go with "The actors who are in this show." (with "act" as the second choice). So lots of variations.

July 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FranM2

Just keep reporting them, I get an email every now and then saying they added my translation.

But please check the sentence before actually reporting it, some people report sentences with typos or incorrect grammar and it just wastes staff's time.

July 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Klgregonis

Actually, I'd probably go to "The actors who act in this show" in lieu of "The actors who play in this show." Actors just - act. While play is one of the synonyms for act it isn't as common as other synonyms. So - just report it and know that the Duolingo developers may not agree with your version of English.

July 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lynn318025

I would also write 'the actors in this show' as noted above. The actors who act sounds redundant and 'the actors who play' sounds awkward

July 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Randall654620

I will agree that this is somewhat frustrating. As others have said, keep reporting the mistakes. I am sure they have a large backlog. I tend to get no responses for a long time and then I will get a whole batch in one day. So they are working on it and it will get better.

That said, before I was upgraded to the new French tree, I was at the point of abandoning it because the notes were either non-existent or not helpful. There were some rules that I just could not decipher based on the examples. Thus far the notes have been excellent on the new tree.

July 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ColinJGoodwin

The thing is, you are learning how native speakers would commonly phrase it.

"no attempt was made to write translations in commonly spoken English" because if you are conversing with a French speaker, you should be speaking with commonly spoken French phrases, not just translating from English. You need to articulate your sentences in French and completely remove English from how you do so, because the way native French speakers construct sentences and speak is very different from how native English speakers do so.

July 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JamesTPhillips

The skill "emergency" is the same - just really sloppily done and with loads of missing translations. For examplez there are loads of questions with the verb "sortir" used with "par la fenĂȘtre" and "par la porte" and they only accept ONE possible translation of sortir as eg"leaving by," whilst rejecting "coming out of" and others. Each lesson takes an age to complete as perfectly good translations are rejected and you attempt to memorize which specific translation Duo wants. By the time the sentence rolls around again, you've forgotten and you get it wrong a second time. It's just a horrible learning experience. I hope Duo puts some kind of safeguards in place in the future to make sure that skills are properly written with complete translations before they release a new tree. The last few weeks of frustration with this sloppy new French tree has been so frustrating and my opinion of DuoLingo as a learning tool has plumeted.

July 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Henna506949

Please use the reporting tool for reporting missing alternative translations. There are plenty of discussions in the French tree where people are complaining about things that (a) have nothing to do with French, and/or (b) have already been fixed, some of them years ago. Let's not create more threads like that.

July 11, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JamesTPhillips

I didn't see any of that. I just saw people complaining about the same errors and unfair grading that I went there to complain about. It really is very bad.

July 12, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roody-Roo

Judging by old forum posts, all of the former trees were like this when they first came out. They improved rapidly as people reported errors and suggested alternatives. The same can already be seen with this tree; if you do spaced learning you'll notice improvements over the last 3 months.

However,some foibles are inevitable. There isn't a single language program or human teacher in the world that doesn'thave issues and errors.

So stick with it If you can and help out by reporting errors in the lessons. Or take the summer off and come back to a wonderful tree in the fall.

July 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Andre989530

they seem to be improving them one by one. certain lessons have vastly improved (and I have translations of mine being accepted to show this) but others remain pretty bad. There are several bad translations that stick out in otherwise good lessons as well, which can really throw you off when you're practicing and have to remember that a certain sentence will only accept the masculine gender or informal or whatever.

i think the main issue was that the new lessons were presented as a gift, but they had a lot of work when they launched when compared to the old ones and not a lot of people were prepared for that. the 'users fix the issues' thing is great and empowering and all, but not when you pay for the premium service and are expected to bug test a service that you pay for.

July 13, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roody-Roo

Then quit paying for it and use the free version, if you don't think it's a good value. Simple!

July 14, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/zzttz

Why not just write it the way they want you to so you know the word? You would never say "the actors who play in this show" anyways.

July 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JamesTPhillips

Of course you would. It's just one of a handful of commonly used ways of saying it. Actors play, star, perform and act. Play is given as a synonym of act in dictionaries, and vice versa. "Writing it the way they want it" completely misses the point that Duo is teaching a language, not a very specific subset of it in which only one possible translation of a sentence exists. I mean think of all the possible ways to phrase a question in French. What if Duo only accepted one way, while rejecting all the others? Exactly how beneficial would that be to someone's French studies? We're supposed to be forming proper neural pathways for the language, and that means connecting words with concepts, not one-to-one mappings of one word to another. Language is far more complex and diverse than that.

July 10, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Roody-Roo

Some of the sentences in the old trees have literally hundreds of accepted variations. The new tree is now developing to that point. Of course it's always frustrating at some point because Duo accepts 100 variations, and you happen to use #101. But you should get most of the lessons right if you study hard.

BTW, thanks for posting this in the French forum. It's disheartening to read the constant complaints of a few learners on the sentence pages.

July 13, 2019
Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.