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Feedback on the New Translation Area

<h1>Feedback on the New Translator</h1>

Overall, it's awesome I especially like the comments feature, and the document stats and stuff are really cool. I also like the overall design.

Screenshots: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/70286625/Selection_251.png


The Sentences are Hard To Read

One thing I do not like are the sentence panels. On a selected sentence, each word is split into it's own raised box with a boxshadow. I get that you're trying to make it easier to look up words in the dictionary, but the box shadows are just distracting and the spaces make reading a sentence difficult. It may be helpful to new learners, but for advanced users, it's just plain annoying. Luckily this can be solved with a little Firefox CSS theming on the user-end.

Screenshot: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/70286625/Selection_252.png

The Pie Charts are cool to look at, but I'm afraid they detract psychologically.

There's two reasons for this. One, they foster competition instead of cooperation between users. Two, they devalue your contribution psychologically.

What happens, is that on many articles, people will race to occupy translation slots before they get locked out by others. Duolingo will become less about helping translate articles, and more about shutting out fellow users before getting locked out themselves. The Pie Charts turn Duolingo into a Zero-Sum Game, and in crowdsourcing, you never want zero-sum.

Second, the message "This sentence is now 1% closer to completion" does not help to motivate you. The reason is obvious.

"I put in all this effort to translate this article, and it's still 99% untranslated???"

See: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/70286625/duotranslationarea.png

One of the reasons I like to translate buried articles that nobody has found is that I feel like I'm contributing more, since the article was so obscure, noone else was likely to translate it. But now, It makes you feel like you barely helped at all.

Oh dear, You're Still Using Smiley Faces and Thumbs Ups?

C'mon Duolingo. We're not kindergarteners. We don't need frowny faces and smiley faces to help guide our rating decisions. On top of that, the frowny faces are detrimental to top translation election. When I see a Frowny Face downvote icon, I feel as if I'm going to hurt someone's feelings, and thus give out fewer downvotes, but when I see a simply Down-facing triangle, it gives the impression of weeding out poor translations, and I am more comfortable giving out bad ratings.

Screenshot: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/70286625/sentencerating.png

At Least You Got Rid of the Green Box of Robotic Subordination/Red Box of Shame

On the plus side, you no longer receive positive/negative color cues for agreeing or disagreeing with the Duobot.

Still No Article Polishing? (Madd)

It would probably be a good idea to introduce a section for advanced users where all the sentences are compiled and blatant errors can be corrected.

No More Translation Rating

For some reason, you are no longer allowed to rate translations after you navigate away from a sentence. This makes it difficult to evaluate translators who come after you. The Edit Suggestion system also appears broken.

Is it Just Me, or is the Duobot Getting Better?

Anyone else noticing it getting much more difficult for the Duobot to mark you wrong?

Can't See Point Values for Sentences

Could be a good thing or a bad thing...

September 18, 2012



Hey Kelvin,

Thanks for starting this thread. Hoping this becomes a general feedback thread, I'd like to add to your comments:

The 100% / final translated articles, seem to be put together by taking the highest voted translation of each sentence. I guess this is an improvement on machine-translation, which we all know if often hilarious, but it still yields a result that is not sentence-to-sentence coherent. i.e. not written in the one "voice".

If a sentence, once 100% translated is considered done-and-dusted, there needs to be a "challenge this translation" facility somewhere. Already I can see examples of incorrect translations being accepted as "final".

At the moment, we seem to have lost the ability to accept/reject and comment on edits to our translations. I'm not sure whether this is permanent or not…

Also, you only get one chance (immediately after you translate a sentence) to rate other translations. I'm not sure about this - I often liked to only rate translations after I'd translated the entire article.

I'd still like to see a points 'escrow' system, whereby if you disagree with the dictionary (and therefore don't get the points), you could be awarded the points after a certain number of humans prefer your translation to the dictionary.


I agree with most of the points raised above and I think overall the improvements are just that - improvements. However, I feel that removing the ability to translate text once it has reached 100% detracts from the usefulness of the site. If the translation is 100%, that's great, but give me a chance to try translating the sentence so I can become a better translator. Simply hide the translation and if I want to see the "best" translation, I can click a button or something. If I can't learn to be a better translator than I can't submit better translations for the sentences that aren't 100%. Just because I didn't get to a translation document while it was 'fresh', before people translate it, shouldn't mean I get cut out of learning.


For those who don't like translating in documents that are nearly completed, try visiting the Recent added tab where the documents are fresh and need a lot more work.


I miss having the link to the original web page to see how the article is paragraphed.

I miss being able to hear the sentence by clicking the speaker icon.

I want to be able to edit my translations.

I want to be able to translate complete documents whether or not

Duolingo thinks some sentences have been satisfactorly translated.

I really want Duolingo to fix the Translations pages so it's possible agian to use the subject/category links to see scrollable lists of available articles instead of a measly two or three.


Hey PJ,

Viewing the original article is still possible, the link is right at the bottom on the right hand side, Ctrl-F in your browser and search for "View Original". I agree with you that this is really important, some articles (Spreeblick in particular) often have parts of the text struck through, which makes translation near impossible if you don't see that.

Editing is still good, the blue link comes up at the bottom, LHS of the "English" box. You still can't edit a translation you just submitted without refreshing the page first.

I definitely agree with you point about whole documents - so many times a dubious or double meaning for a sentence is easily resolved by reading the whole article.


Hey where did the new translator go? It's gone now!

It had problems, but I still liked the design and it was a bit better than the old one

El traductor viejo no me gusta....


Main problem I had with the new translator was that you couldn't see how many points you were getting for doing a translation, and where those points were allocated. This becomes a major problem if you are looking for sentences that allot points to a certain lesson, so that you can master the lesson. Without it, it is blind guessing.


Thanks for your feedback guys :) we’re currently gathering all opinions and then we decide what to do. Suggest edits and some other minor bugs should be fixed now.


Agree with pjread's comments, especially this: "I want to be able to translate complete documents whether or not Duolingo thinks some sentences have been satisfactorly translated"

Also hate that every word has its own box. It's so awkward and clunky and disjointed to read. What was wrong with the old system of just hovering the cursor over a word?


Dunno. Maybe it was a limited beta...?


Well, while you're gathering opinions :-), another "mindworm" for a feature that might be useful (though it could be a nightmare, I don't know) is a "Rate your own translation", whereby as you submit a translation you can indicate how confident you are in your translation. Such information could be used (perhaps in conjunction with the "trusted users" concept mentioned on Reddit, to flag idiomatic translations that may differ markedly from duobot (in the early stages perhaps, before many people contribute to an article). It could probably also be useful "behind the scenes" to weight translations. My thanks to the Duolingo team for this resource.

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