https://www.duolingo.com/jenna_swiss

Course Update: What's New from the Incubator?!

jenna_swiss
  • 25
  • 10
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2
  • 2

Hi everyone! Just checking in with some news from the Incubator, duolingo's course design site. Most excitingly, LeeRoccy and AntonnioSpinoza have been getting their feet wet as new contributors to the course, and are already hard at work making the course better!

For my part, I spent the better part of this weekend (okay, all of today... I may have an addiction...) checking and clearing ALL OF THE USER SUGGESTIONS from the first 7 sections of the course... thousands of reports! I was able to accept many suggestions, add notes explaining why some suggestions could not be accepted (major reasons: lots of typos and not double-checking answers, guys...), and made some changes to the structure of the translations themselves so that the "look" of the course (at least on my end) is nice and squeaky clean.


Another big step I took this weekend was to assess how those first 7 sections comply with what we in the Incubator call "The Golden Rule", which is a set of guidelines that help us determine which translations to keep and which ones to throw out. In a nutshell, the Golden Rule tells us a few things:

  1. Exact translations and full synonyms of words/phrases should be accepted. If no single exact translation exists for a specific idea, we accept ALL possible ways of translating that idea. For example: for the word "child" we accept "niño" (boy), "niña" (girl), "chico" (boy), "chica" (girl), "muchacho" (boy), and "muchacha" (girl), among others - none of these are gender neutral like "child", but they do exactly the same job in identifying a person who is not an adult or an infant.

  2. We cannot accept translations that contain nuances that are additional to what is expressed in the original sentence, nor can we accept translations that take away from that idea. For example: "La niña" can't magically become "little girl" - first of all, this translation skips over the word "the" entirely, and while this may be okay with alphabetizations, here the "the" bears meaning - it points out a specific girl. Also, "little" can't become part of the phrase because the idea "little" was never expressed in the original phrase. Examples like these are common in the course.

  3. Some words are ambiguous - if a word fits in one context but not another, it may be accepted in one context but not another. If a word is considered to be slang or not used by a large enough base of speakers, it may not be accepted. Just because you greet your "pop" with a "howdy" every day doesn't mean we are going to teach those to new learners, who already have quite a heap on their plates.


Even if this information seems perplexing, keep using the course the way you have been! The changes are not major, and they have been made in order for us to assess how users interact with the course, and improve the course accordingly! Be sure to keep leaving suggestions, bearing in mind that the course has lots of good advice and information for you along the way, too!

Thanks for being part of an amazing community, and keep working towards your goals!

¡Hasta luego!


Edit: While it's on my mind... Course users, please message me with specific hints you think are wrong this week. I am already tailing a few, but it would be nice to have a nice list to send to my gracious course Mentor so that we can get rid of the especially pesky ones once and for all! Just leave a message on my stream... jenna_swiss

4 years ago

42 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/GeniusJack
GeniusJack
  • 20
  • 16
  • 14
  • 14
  • 13
  • 13
  • 11
  • 10
  • 9
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 2

Thanks for taking the time to do this! :D

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
  • 25
  • 21
  • 19
  • 19
  • 13
  • 12
  • 12

Ooh, thanks for the info, Jenna! Very helpful for when I have questions about reporting things. I assume this applies to all courses (in terms of specifics, does each team have the same guidelines)?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jenna_swiss
jenna_swiss
  • 25
  • 10
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2
  • 2

AlexisLinguist, all courses SHOULD follow the Golden Rule in their translations, if that is what you are referring to. It is clearly laid out in the Incubator for all to see. As for their degrees of "compliance", I unfortunately cannot report.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
  • 25
  • 21
  • 19
  • 19
  • 13
  • 12
  • 12

Yes, that's what I was wondering. Thanks. :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GeniusJack
GeniusJack
  • 20
  • 16
  • 14
  • 14
  • 13
  • 13
  • 11
  • 10
  • 9
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 6
  • 6
  • 2

I certainly do hope that the other courses start following this rule as well! :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Samsta
Samsta
  • 17
  • 16
  • 12

I wish the FR<-ES course moderators would follow it more closely... They refuse to accept synonyms... When I contacted the main moderator about my frustration, I got no response.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jenna_swiss
jenna_swiss
  • 25
  • 10
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2
  • 2

Some synonyms are closer than others... we are a little picky about the ones we accept, but they're there!!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Samsta
Samsta
  • 17
  • 16
  • 12

No, not no synonyms at all, but he tends to assign each word to one or maybe two translations, and that's it. For example, "frecuentemente" and "a menudo" both have different translations.

His user name is jrikhal; he's the only active contributor, and the one who has done most of the work on the course (that's why I say "main moderator").

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Samsta
Samsta
  • 17
  • 16
  • 12

I suppose I should... But maybe it's just me and I'm being picky with the course? I don't want to start a conflict over nothing.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jenna_swiss
jenna_swiss
  • 25
  • 10
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2
  • 2

Sorry, I edited my comment at the same time as you were leaving yours. I know jrikhal but I might drop Remy a line, as well, if I were you!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Eey91
Eey91Plus
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 22
  • 19
  • 9
  • 2
  • 115

I've reported a lot missing translations and "many" suggestions of mine had been accepted. I moderate that forum btw and I can tell that many times people argue about regional and colloquial uses. I'm not saying this does not happen though.

As a student, after completing the tree I can say I did not find myself in such situations very often. But a second opinion does not hurt anyone hehe

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/_pinkodoug_
_pinkodoug_
  • 25
  • 11
  • 11
  • 7
  • 6

Excellent information, Jenna. This is exactly the sort of thing I had in mind in our conversation a month or two ago. Thanks for all you've done and continue to do!

cGlua29kb3Vn

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/writchie4
writchie4
  • 25
  • 20
  • 16
  • 15
  • 1862

Just because you greet your "pop" with a "howdy" every day

What you got against southerners? :P

Seriously though, thanks for all your effort. I've gotten several "your suggestion has been accepted" notices recently. It's great to hear (and see) that the course is constantly improving. You (and LeeRoccy and AntonnioSpinoza) are doing great work. It must be tough, especially when you consider that some questions likely have hundreds of possible valid answers. Keep it up :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jenna_swiss
jenna_swiss
  • 25
  • 10
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2
  • 2

I am pleased to report that "y'all" IS an accepted translation in cases where a plural form of "you" is used! And yes, especially later on in the course, there are TONS of possible translations for sentences!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Naylor1993
Naylor1993
  • 23
  • 17
  • 17
  • 15
  • 13
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

I find that vosotros and its conjugations are accepted inconsistently throughout the course which I think is no less important than 'y'all'.

Also words like 'ordenador' and 'chic@' have been marked as wrong a few times too.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jenna_swiss
jenna_swiss
  • 25
  • 10
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2
  • 2

Make sure you are reporting these errors within the course! If you enter chic@ it won't be accepted - pick chico or chica.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Naylor1993
Naylor1993
  • 23
  • 17
  • 17
  • 15
  • 13
  • 12
  • 11
  • 11
  • 11
  • 10
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 4
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

Just to clarify I don't actually write chic@ :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jenna_swiss
jenna_swiss
  • 25
  • 10
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2
  • 2

I didn't think so, but you never can be too sure!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/writchie4
writchie4
  • 25
  • 20
  • 16
  • 15
  • 1862

Is "chic@" actually a common way to say "chico o chica"? It makes sense to me, but I've never seen it used on another site, and google was surprisingly void of information about it when I looked it up.

Edit: Thanks, folks. I had no idea that it was used for any gendered noun. One of those increasingly rare times when Google is unhelpful. :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jenna_swiss
jenna_swiss
  • 25
  • 10
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2
  • 2

using the @ symbol at the end of any noun or adjective that normally ends in either o or a is just a fun way to make it gender-neutral. It's not used in speech or formal writing, but it's out there. I use it to make everybody feel included! :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Eey91
Eey91Plus
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 22
  • 19
  • 9
  • 2
  • 115

As a native Spanish speaker I would say that it is not really "common", but you can use it and your intention will always be understood. I guess it would not fit in formal scenarios though.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
Mod
  • 25
  • 19
  • 18
  • 14
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 5

I use it >.>

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/matthewfbyrnes

I see chic@ a lot in zines from Mexico. I think it might be somewhat of a politically loaded term: I've only seen it used by far-left/radical folks. I asked someone how to say it, and they told me it was only a written term, not spoken.

Maybe it's an emerging term that will eventually become the mainstream way to say chica/chico. Like how "you" as singular came to overpower "thee" in English because people didn't want to have to distinguish between royalty and non-royalty with their singular-second-person-pronouns.

By the way, thanks so much for all the work on the course!!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/fsouthern
fsouthern
  • 25
  • 21
  • 17
  • 16

I don't think that you/thou had anything to do with royalty. It was more or less similar to Spanish usted/tu, French vous/tu, German Sie/du, Persian shomaa/to, etc. common to Indo-European languages.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LilPeterPan

I still don't get the point of y'all.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
Mod
  • 25
  • 19
  • 18
  • 14
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 5

Y'all is a gender-inclusive way of directly addressing a group of people. But, it doesn't sound as clunky or accusative to me as "you all". So, I basically love it to pieces and bake cookies in it's honor. :D

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LilPeterPan

O.O

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jenna_swiss
jenna_swiss
  • 25
  • 10
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2
  • 2

Patience, young grasshopper. This, too, will come to you.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LilPeterPan

Yes, sensei xD

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
Mod
  • 25
  • 19
  • 18
  • 14
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 5

Woo hooo!!!! (fluent y'all user here)!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/corpsy

"For example: "La niña" can't magically become "little girl" - first of all, this translation skips over the word "the" entirely, and while this may be okay with alphabetizations, here the "the" bears meaning - it points out a specific girl. Also, "little" can't become part of the phrase because the idea "little" was never expressed in the original phrase. Examples like these are common in the course."

In the french > spanish course, "la niña" is translated "petite fille", which means "little girl".

So I have to flag this has a mistake?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jenna_swiss
jenna_swiss
  • 25
  • 10
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2
  • 2

This would be entirely up to you; moderators have their own opinions about what should and should not be part of the course. My personal preference is to make sure that the base image communicated in each translation remains intact while using the language as accurately as possible to convey it.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
Mod
  • 25
  • 19
  • 18
  • 14
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 5

Thank you so much jenna_swiss! It was really great to get another peek into the mind of the Incubator!!! And wow, so five lingots is totally paltry reward for doing so much work today. But, hopefully it's enough for a cup of virtual coffee (or tea!) for the morning. And if the other two show up here I'll get them a cup as well. :)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jenna_swiss
jenna_swiss
  • 25
  • 10
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2
  • 2

I'll take it! Thanks, friend!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
Usagiboy7
Mod
  • 25
  • 19
  • 18
  • 14
  • 7
  • 5
  • 5
  • 4
  • 4
  • 5

You are very welcome! ^_^

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/HelenCarlsson
HelenCarlsson
  • 23
  • 18
  • 18
  • 18
  • 15
  • 15
  • 12

Thanks a lot for explaining this! It was interesting to know about the golden rule and I think it makes perfectly sense.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/heqamaat
heqamaat
  • 22
  • 10
  • 10
  • 9
  • 4

It's especially great to see updates for stable courses like Spanish and know that even now the course is improving and evolving. Thanks so much for your work and taking the time to let us know about it.

PS: I'm also gonna add you so I know who to find if I see any of those hints you talked about too

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jenna_swiss
jenna_swiss
  • 25
  • 10
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 2
  • 2

Great! Thanks for your feedback.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/coldasice26
coldasice26
  • 22
  • 21
  • 10
  • 10
  • 7

Thank you for the effort you are putting in, it is a pleasure to receive emails like: We have accepted your translation :D

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ConfusedGirlBoy

cool thx

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ty_wank

Thanks for the update, Jenna!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/cesarc780
cesarc780
  • 13
  • 11
  • 11
  • 3

why don´t you make an app for windows phone?

4 years ago
Learn Spanish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.