Anybody else bothered with too literal translations?
I am here only for the third day, but I've already noticed two things: word for word translation is a sure way to pass, and if I want to go through a pronunciation exercise, I need to pronounce the words separately. Ok, pronunciation is tricky from the technical point of view, so let it be. But "How to know" as a translation for "Comment savoir" sounds a bit artificial. As well as "Une fois" translated as "A time". Although I am not a native speaker, so what's your idea? Anyway, French grammar is pretty different from English, so I'd rather use phrases used by native speakers in the same context instead of literal translations.
I don't know if you are referring to the lessons, but I'm certainly bothered by too literal translations. Both languages are beautiful in their own right and neither has to be debased at the expense of the other. I've got to the point that I won't do the lessons any more and just practice the "Translations" in the menu bar. There's been quite a bit of debate about how these should be handled and rated too, e.g. http://duolingo.com/#/comment/28371 Welcome to Duolingo and the strange world of the DuoBot - but you are not alone.
I was referring both to the lessons and to the translations, so thanks for the link http://duolingo.com/#/comment/28371. I worked as a translator for quite a long time, and read a lot on the topic, that's why I was suprised to see mechanistic translations encouraged. Anyway, this site can still be useful to brush up on my French and German