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Problems with Spanish voice recognition

I have noticed a few issues with the Spanish voice recognition: 1. It often cuts me off when I'm in the middle of saying a sentence, even when I'm speaking fairly loudly. 2. It often takes loads of attempts to get it to even half-recognise what I'm saying, especially with 2 or 3-word long sentences. I often have to do ~5 (I even once counted 10) attempts to get it to understand it, especially with short sentences. I've also noticed it doesn't often pick up the consonants ll, g or b between vowels, and y. 3. It often seems to think that everything I say is in English (initially, until it works out that I'm actually speaking Spanish). It in particular likes to think that I'm saying the word "wow".

These problems are Spanish-specific: the German almost always picks me up correctly, and Italian almost always works. I don't know about Dutch, as we don't seem to have speaking exercises yet.

(In case this helps) I use an iMac, with a built-in mic on top, sitting about 50cm-60cm away from the microphone. There's rarely much background noise. Going closer to the mic tends not to help much. I don't think my Spanish accent is rubbish, although I speak English with quite a strong British accent, which may affect the audio.

Thanks for looking at this in advance :)

July 19, 2014



Me too. I am using a PC with a Microsoft LifeChat headset. I am also working in a room with virtually no background noise. If I have to translate English to Spanish - then duolingo seems to pick me up okay. Although sometimes it doesn't report what I actually said correctly. Also... after three attempts it gives up and moves on with no heart lost.

My bugbear is with the text you just have to read. I dread these. On a couple I have made dozens of attempts to be recognised - listening to the official audio again and again to try to perfect my attempt. Like you I cannot believe my Spanish accent is that bad. Worse. On the reading sections duolingo does not 'give up' after a couple of dozen attempts; you have to skip - and lose a heart.


Hi I am having problems as well and they keep taking my hearts because I am trying so many time I ended up skipping because getting so annoyed! I sent a message o support but havent heard anything back, just wondering if you have as well if so did you hear anything back? Mine keeps saying a number of things such as cant hear me, can not understand me or there seems to be a problem. I am in a very quiet room, my microphone on my pc and head set work no problem with other programs like skype so its not that. But I am wondering is it my accent as I am Irish, so nothing like a Spanish accent. I hope you have got yours sorted. I am ready to pull my hair out already :(


I have whined about this every time I have lost a heart. I think DL may be doing something about this behind the scenes as in the last couple of days I have done much better at getting my responses accepted.

Interesting that the three of us who have flagged this up have mentioned our 'native accents'. Mine is West-Country so maybe that has something to do with it!


Still does not work as well as it could, in my opinion. I often have to try many times to get it to recognize me.


Same here; didn't use to be like this.


I've been having the same problem - sometimes I would touch on the "click to speak" button and be marked incorrect before I had a chance to say a word! I have just discovered, more by accident than skill, that the speech recognition works fine on chrome but not on my other browsers. I have no idea why but I've experimented giving correct and incorrect answers and, so far, my speech has been recognised and marked accordingly. Hope that helps.

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