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Duolingo often doesn't accept its own translation

I haven't looked at the other languages, so I'm not sure if this is just an issue with German, but I have long noticed (and been irritated by) Duolingo occasionally showing a new vocabulary word, then you look through its dropdown list of suggested translations, pick the one that seems best, and then Duolingo tells you you're WRONG, and shows the "correct" translation -- one that doesn't even show up in its dropdown list!

This seems like a bug. If someone disagrees, I'm curious to hear the rationale for introducing a new word, with a list of translations without the "correct" one being one of the top choices, possibly not even in the list at all.

August 21, 2012



The only thing that I have ran into is they give 4 different english words for a german word but they all mean something in a different context. Confusing sometimes I know, but I am not sure about a word that wasn't even on there... which word was it?


Yes, I have sent a "feedback" message to them as it seems like sandbagging us which is discouraging. However, thinking more about it, I think that's the way the program is designed. It saves programming time, and makes us, through trial and error, learn that you can't always use a dictionary definition when you translate. Of course this is very frustrating, especially when you are on answer number 20 with no hearts left and bomb out on the last one because of this. It happens not infrequently that they don't accept their own synonym as an answer. At times with a new excerise I just push "skip" four times in a row to see the traps waiting. Then start fresh with a "retry". This saves a lot of dropped hearts.


What is frustrating is that you learn fairly early on not to trust the definitions that appear in the drop down lists, because many times the first (and sometimes only definition) given is wrong. It's possible that the frustration I then feel leads to me learning the word better, but surely the intent wasn't to frustrate me. There are also some times when the opposite happens. One of the later lessons, which isn't as fully developed, consists almost entirely of contextless use of verbs in sentences like, "he had _." The multiple choice questions are next to impossible, because it is so difficult to learn multiple meanings for the words without context, and having already learned to distrust the drop down menu. Usually the multiple choice questions are pointlessly easy, but in this one instance they're baffling.


@jnason11: I did not have a specific instance in mind. It was just something I wanted to ask about, since I was also asking another question. I figured anybody who's been using Duolingo for awhile has probably run into this, so I didn't think a specific example was necessary. If you like, next time it happens, I'll post the specific instance to this Q/A thread.

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