Why cant EU users submit stuff for translation?
I read the Terms of Usage for Duolingo, and there is a temporary ban on users from Eu to submit things for translation.
"17. Temporary Restrictions on Users from the European Union
Users within the European Union are not presently allowed to submit materials for translation or translated materials to Duolingo. While these users can continue to use the educational services offered through the Website, they will not be involved in the translation of any documents. If you submit a request for translation or translated materials to Duolingo, you thereby warrant and represent that you are not currently within the European Union, did not translate the document within the European Union, and will not be within the European Union when your translation request has been finalized." - Duo Terms of Usage.
Hi everyone! Currently, we are working on an issue in the EU in regards to what can and can't be uploaded and translated, which is why the terms are the way they are. We are going to communicate about this better in the future. And I'm sorry that we didn't clarify this earlier to all of you.
This is a change that they have no interest in publicising. They want us to keep translating, even if it is against the law, because that's what the whole business model is predicated on. Every other site on the planet is capable of using geolocation to block certain features, so it can't be beyond the technical capabilities of Duolingo's webmasters.
Therefore, if we can still see the "Immersion" section, it's becuase they want us to.
No, legally speaking they are in murky waters. The conditions are not prominent, and they continue to solicit potentially illegal work from their user base.
Geoblocking is easy to circumvent, yes. However, the act of circumvention is a conscious act committed by the user. At this point DuoLingo would be in the clear, because they would have taken reasonable steps (the basic legal definition of reasonable is "what other people in your field do") and they would have submissible evidence that the users in question were deliberately and consciously breaking DuoLingo's policy.
As it stands, DuoLingo is taking no reasonable steps to enforce or even advertise the policy, and that puts them on very shaky ground...
I don't disagree with you. They are not actively preventing this. The terms, however, say:
(17) Temporary Restrictions on Users from the European Union.
Users within the European Union are not presently allowed to submit materials for translation or translated materials to Duolingo. While these users can continue to use the educational services offered through the Website, they will not be involved in the translation of any documents. If you submit a request for translation or translated materials to Duolingo, you thereby warrant and represent that you are not currently within the European Union, did not translate the document within the European Union, and will not be within the European Union when your translation request has been finalized.
@NiallT: You are absolutely right. Most people (including me) haven't read these terms. Terms of agreement are in many cases not read or not read thoroughly (FB, Google, Apple, ...). This applies to many services and companies. Again, I don't disagree.
edit: You are right: DL hasn't informed anyone! Bad communication policy. (And I even upvote your posts!)
@NiallT, Kristine has made a comment in the forums about this matter. Though, it is not stickied anywhere. I'm not law savvy, and not trying to clear anyone, just wanted to clarify that staff has communicated with the userbase, it's just that since then it's just in the Terms.
Or even without any legal action taken: copyright laws and author's rights being (quite) different between the US (where Duo's headquarters are) and the EU. So things that are legal there can be illegal here (and vice-versa).
Then Duo is maybe just protecting itself against potential legal action in EU. Duo has obviously been created with the law of where it comes from (=US) in mind but not with (all the) laws of other places... They are correcting it now (but maybe drastically).
Anyway, we should have been warned about this: e-mail + once a message to accept (with "I accept the terms BLABLA") in order to be able to access to our own account.
I don't want a lawsuit for being part of an illegal process of translation (without having been warned that it was illegal and, at contrary, having been encouraged to participate).
However, is Duo very prudent (by prohibiting any action in the Immersion section for EU resident/travelers in the EU) or participating to the translation of Wikipedia articles through Duo is really illegal?
It will bother us if we reside within the EU because we the user "thereby warrant and represent that you are not currently within the European Union, did not translate the document within the European Union, and will not be within the European Union when your translation request has been finalized."
Now if you lie in giving that warrant and thereby cause Duo to be liable for some prosecution the there could try to sue you for any damages. I am no lawyer but it could cause us some harrasment if nothing else.
. . . I have not been officially informed about any change
Checked their terms and conditions of service (TOC) at section 1 and it's indicated that DL will post notification of the changes seven days from the date of mofification, and TOS was updated on Sept 26, 2014.
Were there updates from them on the changes of TOC?
Well we don't actually sign anything except tick a box to agree to the T & C. But your point could be a defence. Mind you I have never tried to upload anything for translation, perhaps there is something to say that we are not within the EU before we proceed. The clause certainly needs clarifying.
I know that Owlish_Owl posted the comment above a year ago and doesn't seem to be that active anymore (not under the name of Owlish_Owl anyway), but I wanted to bring up a somewhat related point that hasn't been addressed yet. What with all the people out there in this world willing to provide services like this for free (in exchange for learning and experience), at what point, if ever, do the skills gained turn into monetary value?
Those who already do have skills and experience in this area are likely watching their livelihoods eroded with the advent of this worldwide crowdsourcing phenomenon. Since I don't have the skills and experience that a full-fledged professional translator/interpreter has, I am grateful for this opportunity through duolingo and it makes me wish I had been born 10 years ago instead of ... well ... let's not go there.
In today's world, there seems to be an extraordinary, near limitless supply of not just cheap, but free labor. At the same time there appears to be an ever-shrinking supply of employers willing to pay for the type of training that would add value to their organization. Many employers are looking for those who already have solid, well-developed skills. Interest in training someone to do a particular job, especially if it is something that takes years and years to develop, appears to be at an all-time low. In the absence of a paying gig, some are engaging in training of their own volition, absorbing the cost of that training via time spent, cost of devices used (phone, tablet, laptop, desktop), associated charges for security and repairs, fee to an internet service provider, et cetera.
The motto of the day seems to be, "If you can get it done for free, get it done for free." At some point, however, isn't this type of economic system going to come to a screeching halt? For those of you who happen to stumble upon this discussion topic as I have, I appreciate any thoughts/comments you have in response to this.
Ha-ha, talk about trust - check it out yourself: http://blog.duolingo.com/post/64024962586/duolingo-now-translating-buzzfeed-and-cnn This world is a really crazy place.
My (perhaps mistaken) understanding is that those paid-for translations are looked at by a Duolingo staff member once the users are done with it, so perhaps someone with a background in professional translation or at least someone who's taken a translation class or course. When I see Duolingo-translated articles "in the wild" they're usually good. Much better than the average translation on the site itself. Of course, a professional could undoubtedly do it better and faster, but there you go.
The greatest misconception is that holding a degree (or more ) in any profession makes one completely competent in it or even at all. There are many people I know who hold a degree in IT software development and who couldn't design a program to save their lives. Yet a child who learnt software development alone could greatly outdo them.
That applies across the board to every single profession that exists. There are simply people who have the innate ability to learn things without formal training. Although I agree, that some things can be crow-sourced and some can't.
Given enough time (a century, or a millenia) an advanced AI system could be designed to do anything a human can. In fact machines already surpass some abilities of humans (e.g. kasparov vs deep blue).
On topic: The fact that CNN, a major reseller of news trusts Duolingo indicates that it produces something useful and profitable, and this might be what the EU is worried about.
Yeah, the things that Dessamator talks about are exactly what I mean by common misconceptions about translating, this is why the existence of Duolingo is possible - people's ignorance.
Dessamator talks about one technology replacing the other technology - vehicles instead of horses, and smartphones instead of dumbphones or whatever. And from there he goes to technology replacing human - that is just a faulty logic. I guess we'll rather continue this discussion when computer is able to translate Japanese or Chinese at least as adequately as some other languages. I don't see it happening any time soon though.
I'd rather be really careful about underestimating value of highly skilled labor. Otherwise, we may come to crowd-sourced medicine and lawyer services.
ceaer, you may be right. By the way, I even saw Duolingo at ProZ, that's a directory of professional translation services. I'm not sure what exactly they are doing there though... Again - I just don't quite understand how exactly this thing is being financed.
Be really careful about underestimating technology. I'm sure at some point people believe a vehicle could never replace a horse. Here's a nice perspective about Steve Ballmer and smartphones,,.
A translator is merely a bi-linguist who studies the best way to transfer knowledge from one state to another. In the future, with more and more technology, human translators are likely to become obsolete.
Now this is where things are getting really amusing. And which profession, do you think, I am a holder of, just out of curiosity? ))))) Ok, I'll save you a trouble: I don't have any linguistic education. Ability to translate is something people are born with (or without). Sheer knowledge of languages does not mean you are able to translate (I've said that already). So your whole argument is kinda irrelevant.
Now, if you enjoy working for free and let other people benefit from your work while you get almost nothing in return* - go ahead, nobody's stopping you.
If CNN trusts Duolingo with translation of their content, that only speaks for CNN's ignorance OR maybe quality is less important there than sheer availability of a content in this or that language (for advertising purposes or whatever) - so they need a really cheap solution with better outcome than machine translation.
*because many times even here people said themselves that Duolingo on its own is not enough to learn a language... not to mention that the tree takes you only as far as B1 - that's a hilariously low level if you plan to translate something. AND not to mention that I really doubt that translating is really an effective method to learn a language.
I don't know - maybe it's because I don't understand how this whole thing is financed. As for businesses - it depends. From my point of view, to trust a Duolingo-submitted translation is raving mad, but it's life. You'd be amazed to know how many misconceptions people have about translation, especially when they don't know the target language and can't really verify the quality, and when they are short on budget.
Heck, I saw people who seriously believed that if you translate a movie from Japanese into English and then translate that English translation into Russian - you'll have an adequate Russian translation of a Japanese movie!
TBH I don't much like to go to immersion section anymore, I saw regularly there really bad translations voted to be fine (bad as in "look from autotranslation the first suggested word for each word of the sentence, put them in a row"...not just shaky knowledge of language but apparent complete lack of understanding of either the original or target language).
And on Facebook people every now and then post some hilariously mangled autotranslated spam messages they receive...or they might be dadaist poetry, sometimes it's hard to tell.
Sometimes it's even some reasonably big corporations who think it is good for their image to have localized content on other languages. Unfortunately it pretty much kills any good intentions to do it just halfway with autotranslations (those pages are not just useless, they are insulting).
The idea of Duolingo is to set up a win-win situation for students and news outlets. Students need to translate in order to practice. News outlets need translations. The challenge is how to assure that the quality is adequate. Well, Duolingo attempts to solve this by an elaborate system of voting. The approach gains plausibility from the well known concept of the wisdom of the crowd. Whether it actually works is an empirical question.
Now, I've read some posts in the recent past that says that says that some translations are of low quality. I don't deny that there could be quality problems. Maybe people try to game the system using multiple accounts in order to earn Lingots and stuff like that. Maybe the system system must be revised. Anyway, the system is not perfect but neither are expert translators.
To me it is obvious that a company like CNN monitor how well the articles are translated in many different ways. If it is not obvious to you then we can forget about that point.
I don't think it is bad taste to do something for yourself that happens to make money for someone else. I don't use Immersion myself as I prefer other means of practice. Neither am I a professional translator.
I don't understand how you think either. Why is that obvious to you? Anyway, even if your words are justified — that's even funnier, don't you get it? This value is being monetized by other person. I'm sorry but to do inferior work for free while other person gets money for said work is just bad taste.
As far as I read, it includes submitting documents to Immersion, but excludes translating stuff that's already in Immersion. Key terms would be "not presently allowed to submit materials for translation or translated materials" and "If you submit a request for translation or translated materials to Duolingo". Both concern submitting (new) materials to Immersion, but not translating things yourself. I might be wrong though.
"If you submit a request for translation or translated materials to Duolingo, you thereby warrant and represent that you are not currently within the European Union, did not translate the document within the European Union, and (...)"
Therefore, if you do not submit a request for translation or translated materials (translating something that's already on Immersion does arguably not fall under this clause, but that's a matter of interpretation), you aren't warranting that you're not in the EU. But there seems to be a staff reply, so let's base ourselves on that.
"you thereby warrant and represent that you are not currently within the European Union, did not translate the document within the European Union".
You warranted that you did not translate whilst within the EU, so, if you contribute to a translation whilst within the EU, you are breaking the warranty.
My thought was that it might have to do with unpaid labor rather than with copyright issues, since (if I’ve understood correctly) Duolingo’s source of income is supposed to come from Immersion translations, and perhaps there are EU directives concerning unpaid labor for commercial ventures.
Also, aren't Wikipedia pages creative commons so regardless, even people who upload and translate these articles are free to do so as the articles are creative commons? I know there are several types of creative commons: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ so it depends on really if the articles uploaded have the right kind of creative common license - if it is to do with copyright?
I'm thinking someone (any user) needs to email firstname.lastname@example.org to get a concrete answer, perhaps linking them to this discussion and asking them to post a clarified response in it's own discussion thread - perhaps making it a stickied post for all users (regardless if they are living in the EU, visiting etc).
Sent an email to support, linking them to this discussion myself, I wrote the following:
"So it has come to quite a few users attention on Duolingo that within the TOS there is a temporary ban on people within the EU regarding submitting materials for translation? There has been a lot of confusion as people are unsure if this means those who are in the EU are not allowed to translate things in immersion or not?
"17. Temporary Restrictions on Users from the European Union Users within the European Union are not presently allowed to submit materials for translation or translated materials to Duolingo. While these users can continue to use the educational services offered through the Website, they will not be involved in the translation of any documents. If you submit a request for translation or translated materials to Duolingo, you thereby warrant and represent that you are not currently within the European Union, did not translate the document within the European Union, and will not be within the European Union when your translation request has been finalized."
Does this mean that we are not permitted to translate or upload documents from even Wikipedia (although as far as I'm aware their articles are creative commons thus allowing people to use them) due to this restriction? Also, users have noted in this discussion regarding it (https://www.duolingo.com/comment/5001967) that Duolingo is meant to UPDATE their users whenever there has been a change to the TOS, the last time the TOS has been updated was September 26 2014 - noting that NO ONE was even notified about the change. It'd be great if someone from Duolingo staff within their communications department could clarify what this part of the TOS actually means with a separate discussion post that is stickied if we, the users within the EU, are not permitted to use immersion temporarily?
This has lead to huge confusion and worrisome responses that people think they might be breaking the law if they're translating and submitting materials within the EU.
Jane (username JaneEmily on Duolingo)"
The bigger problem is that the EU would have to prove that they are coercing people from different continents to provide free labour. Unless Duolingo has some mafia affiliations, I don't see how they could conceivably force someone from UK to do their bidding (at gun point).
In fact some scientists have been able to produce power from human waste (faeces), wouldn't that also qualify as free labour?
Anyway, it seems likely that the bigger issue is likely the free labour argument, as Duolingo could easily block all non-wikipedia articles from being seen/worked on by EU users.
Nope, coercion is not required. Look at unpaid internships: it is illegal for an unpaid intern to be used on any commercial activity, not just in the EU but in the US. The fact that interns are volunteers is irrelevant: it's still unpaid labour. Unpaid labour provides an unfair competitive advantage to one player in the market, so once one company starts, every other company has to start in order to stay price-competitive.
Look at Hollywood: even after labour laws banned free labour, the runners for big budget studios were typically unpaid, being told this was their way in to the film industry.
It goes even beyond Hollywood. A similar topic has been coming up in the debates for presidential candidates in the US. It appears some companies have been hiring foreigners for jobs that US citizens want. According to a story brought up in one of the debates ("Donald Trump to Foreign Workers for Florida Club: You’re Hired," ), 300 US citizens, since 2010, have applied to work at a resort called Mar-a-Lago down in Florida, but only 17 have been hired. Why? Resorts in Florida are opting to hire foreigners through a visa program, on the grounds that the work is "temporary" or "seasonal."
A lot of US citizens are out of work right now and I bet some of them wouldn't mind some temporary or seasonal employment, especially at Mar-a-Lago. So why do US employers overlook their own in this way? I would imagine it is because the foreigners can do the same job for a lower wage and thereby increase the profits for the employer. As NiallT said, once one company gets away with it, all others have to follow suit just to remain competitive.
As for duolingo, I love it and would never accuse it of having connections with the mafia or engaging in coercive activities, so I'm speaking in general terms here when I say you don't need to put a gun to someone's head to get them to do what you want. To resort to brute force is an act of clumsiness and desperation. Real coercion occurs when your victims don't even realize they're being manipulated. I'm sure the art and science of it all has developed into a myriad of variations throughout the years. Nevertheless, I found Dessamator's comments rather amusing and I mean that in a respectful way.
There are loads of free software programmers who donate their effort to various projects, which then get bundled up into commercial offerings. It may be that you are right (and it's the suggestion I like best so far) but it sounds like there's more too it than even that.
The difference there is that programmers work for free to make software that is free to EVERYONE, not just to a single commercial client. The free labour that Duolingo is using is generating material only for Duolingo. There are terms in the site conditions that say that individual submitters retain copyright over their work, but it's pretty hard to take that work out of Duolingo and make any practical use of it elsewhere.
Interesting comment scilling made about EU directives concerning unpaid labor for commercial ventures. I was wondering about that myself. It is an issue that comes up in the US with regard to volunteer work. I've never bothered to study any of those laws, but I have volunteered here and there and if memory serves me correctly, the laws revolve around the issue of whether or not the volunteer work is something that an organization/employer could reasonably pay someone to do.
I don't know exactly how organizations work around it, but I've done everything from serve as a parking lot attendant to managing a pizza joint at a baseball park. Other volunteer activities haven't been quite as demanding, but how some organizations work around that issue is a mystery to me. If you've got a full-time job, I suppose you volunteer merely out of the goodness of your own heart, but for those who are volunteering to avoid an "employment gap" or to gain some experience, there are others issues to consider.
Just imagine if all employers were able to simply fill their need for labor via "volunteers." Why would they have any incentive to hire anyone? I realize that's a picture of the world taken to extremes, but when we live in a world where supposedly slavery is at the highest it has ever been in history due to human trafficking, it does make you wonder about where this new world order is headed.
I had forgotten I was following this discussion until several comments appeared today in my inbox. [March 11, 2016]
I don't believe the central issue is volunteer vs. paid work. It does involve international intellectual property law/copyright issues that are extremely complicated. Until Duolingo can untangle their role in the morass, I believe they have chosen to take the path of least resistance and avoid any potential fray.
Have any EU users tried to upload a document for translation, and been denied entry? The only notice I ever saw was a request from Duolingo management that EU users refrain from trying to do so.
I don't know what might be driving all of this, but in some ways, it reminds me of the fight between taxi drivers and companies like Uber. As far as I know, it is an on-going battle in some areas, but Uber keeps driving on. (And yes, that pun was intended.) If duolingo is facing similar problems and Uber is any bellwether, I think duolingo has a bright future ahead.
Latest reports suggests that the EC is coming down on the side of sharing economy businesses like Uber.
But I think the issue is different. The French law banned Uber on grounds of "unlicensed" i.e. unqualified practitioners. It is an issue of standards - licensing is a certification of safety.
The translation issue is the concept of the minimum wage, as far as I can see.
i assume it's all legalities due to some random copyright infringement or unpaid labour laws - or something silly like that.
I assume it's there for legal reasons, but they haven't said anything because they don't agree with it - and think it should be ignored. (just my opinion/guess which could be wrong)
Are you certain that these restrictions effectively cover anything more than (1) uploading a text to immersion and (2) downloading completed translations?
If in fact "materials" is so broad that it contains the educational practice in which a user practices translating or proofreading materials in the immersion tab, then:
(A) DL should have an alert on the immersion tab for all users Attention Users Residing in or Traveling to the EU, please read this!
(B) DL might want to block the Immersion tab from any ISP designated within the EU.
(C) DL could just AB all the users who registered from the EU into a no-Immersion version of the site.
So, finally, a good reason not to live in the EU. Imagine that!
A) I totally agree that the warning should be more visible
B) They appear to be doing just this; I live in the EU and I have no immersion tab
I can, however, see immersion materials if I follow links of discussions them by other (non-EU) users - that is why I feel the warning should be more visible.