Translating or "Immersion"
How do I find sentences in this new "Immersion" thing that I can actually translate? Everything is already translated and is way beyond my level anyway.
We're going to be suggesting articles to translate based on a member's level very soon!
I think it would be awesome to have articles assigned an estimated difficulty level by the person who uploads them, but I don't think most of them are really that impossible to translate if you know how to make use of the tools available to you. Besides the hover-over translations, I make heavy use of Google Translate and occasionally Linguee for any phrase that looks like it might be an idiomatic expression. (Linguee is amazing; it shows you a bunch of sentences from source material and what I presume are professionally done translations with the original phrase and the part of the sentence that translates it highlighted in yellow.)
That said, if your primary goal is to improve your vocabulary by reading in the language you're learning, then you want to find things that are tailored to your exact level, containing mostly vocabulary you know with only occasional words that are completely new to you, and the text should be something you find interesting. Plus from personal experience I can say that it can be really nice to have something fairly long, so that you can just keep going and going and becoming increasingly familiar with the terminology used in that particular piece of writing, rather than having to constantly go find something new on a completely different topic. For that, rather than this site in its current state, I would recommend finding children's books (I particularly loved the set of Mexican reading textbooks from Kindergarten through 5th grade that my local libraries have) or, depending on your level, kids' manga series (I made it all the way through the absurdly long Inuyasha, an impressive feat even in my native English!)
There would appear to be a lack of documents to translate, and it is partly that many site users don't seem to upload anything. This is a pity. Another factor in lack of documents is that now I see today, 12 June 2013, that the rules have changed and the administrators are concerned about copyright/ownership. There are programs that automatically translate documents online; from this perspective I fail to see a problem with uploading a copy of a website's document for educational purposes.
Google, as an example, often allows for a given website found in its search results to be auto-translated and displayed on a modified web page. This "creates" a new page and is technically using the apparent "copyright" of the website owner, but nobody challenges this, it would presumably not even stand up in court as possible to prosecute over. So why is it any different to obtain a website document and upload it to duolingo? Sure if a site owner objects, then oblige their wish if they are so insistent, but legally speaking there is nothing in such a demand. Anyone can print an article from their printer, and even by the sheer act of viewing at their screen at home, they are making use of someone else's copyright material, are they not? Let's not bring ourselves to absurdity and go policing things that need not be policed. If it comes to the point that nothing can be uploaded to the site, due to fears of supposed offense of copyright, then the "immersion" tool becomes defunct. Should all the universities shut themselves down too, seeing as they need to garnish materials for teaching that they cannot possibly always pay for to the fullest extent? There is a problem wherein, if a person is on duolingo to learn language X, then of course they don't have their own resources in language X to translate back to their own mother tongue. It's absurd to imagine they could. I would like to be useful in at least bringing these matters up, but even if they can't be changed, at least the point has been made. It would fear me that these things won't find a closure; more than likely a paranoia will mean that more documents are excluded from upload, and that with the administrators not inclined to upload documents for the users to translate, it means the site loses its appeal more quickly and might I say by negative word of mouth. The basic lessons course isn't long and I had mentioned before one time that it would be good if more advanced ones could be added. People do like the site and do want to stay. The more we all stay the more everything grows, organically and surely that grants a higher good than imposing an alcatraz of more complicated interface and sterner rules of sharing on the site. For that is another less point; I have also noticed the interface trying to include more colors and things, more point-scoring but at the same time it has caused the site to slow down in speed noticeably. More existentially why does any web site exist? Only by the good will of the people and indeed numbers count for a quintessential infinity. Despite it all I really do pay homage and give endless thanks for Duolingo existing. It is marvellous and helpful, educational and enlightening, expansive and adding to the intelligence of the web, and allowing a haven of escape from so many other vile realities of the "wild west" which is the World Wide Web. Let's not ruin a cherished portal. I have read how many other people are grateful for Duolingo and despite any drawbacks it has so many incalculable positives in its quiver.