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how to get translations to teach us

I feel like currently I don't retain much of the information from translations here's my solution:

Duolingo should link the vocab feature to the translation feature so that some words seen while translating will be added to their vocab section.

To do this they would need an advanced dictionary that includes examples so that duolingo can offer definitions and examples for the added words. After a user has translated a sentence duolingo should add a line saying "two new words learnt" on the page that shows the translation score and should show the 'learnt' words (allowing a maximum of two words per translation so the user doesn't get overwhelmed).

Duolingo shouldn't always add new words, but instead when there are "new" or "short-term memory" words in the sentence simply show a "practiced [or improved] this word" text and then show the word(s) practiced/improved.

This translation/vocab feature would allow us to learn and improve words that Duolingo doesn't offer as standard, and would encourage translation, as it would allow users who have completed all of the lessons to continue to learn new German words with examples.

Once added to the vocab section the words could be learnt and practiced, and (in case duolingo isn't willing to curate a range of new possible phrase translations) we could be told just to translate the word alone and then be shown an example sentence in the correct/wrong lower bar.

They would have to do lots to ensure they highlight the right words: 1. see how often words appear in the bank of German documents they have in their translation section, the more often a word occurs the more likely it is that the word it will be picked out 2. they should make sure the word appears in a range of documents from a range of sources (e.g. the Spreeblick is a German newspaper and it's documents will often mention "Spreeblick" but it is not a German word) 3. get a dictionary with word frequency info to spot how common a word is in everyday German (obviously the more common the more likely it is to be shown) 4. if a word occurs twice in the sentence the user is translating (or more than twice) the likelihood that word will be highlighted is increased 5. Words not in the dictionary should never be shown as 'learnt'

August 17, 2012



yeah @xoviat the time/labour is why I was thinking duolingo should use a pre-made advanced dictionary (like the oxford english dictionary for English) to show example sentences and a range of definitions, and also why I thought they might want us to just practice translating the word on its own

I think the main part of my idea was to allow the addition of words that duolingo doesn't already teach you in lessons (so users can learn increasingly niche words) and showing users which words are being put in the vocab section, but it's great that they partly do this already, they just need to make it clearer and expand it.


This is already somewhat done. If you haven't learned a word, and you translate something with the word that you haven't learned in it, AND the word is in duolingo's dictionary, duolingo will add the word to your "vocab" list. You can then practice this word, along with others, by clicking the blue "practice" button. The only problem is that duolingo's dictionary is sort of limited, so this only works for a limited number of words. Expanding is labour-intensive and takes up a lot of man hours from their developers, so they have to go at a slow pace.

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