My suggestions for Immersion
I felt I learned more by having to translate text into a blank field, then checking my translation against other translations.
I sometimes would spend ten minutes or so studying a sentence, looking up the words, checking the web for similar phrases, and so on, before committing to my translation. I learned much more from that effort than I do from immediately seeing someone else's translation.
If nothing else, could we at least have the option (a check box or a preference setting) to allow us to start with an empty field to enter our translation? Getting it right or wrong after making an effort reinforces the correct answer much more than simply being fed the answers.
After seeing the other translations, I'd love to have a button to add my translation to the other translations, or to discard my translation. I'd feel more comfortable making a stab at a hard translation if I felt I didn't have to submit my attempt at the end.
I'd also like the opportunity of translating a sentence at a time, instead of whole paragraphs.
Getting a point or two for just trying a translation even if you don't submit it would be nice. It might attract more involvement.
I'm a native Eng. speaker, teacher of Eng. as a Second/Foreign Lan. and translator. Believe me there is no way you can do a proper "correction" of a translation without careful reading of and often research on the source material. Correcting in no way deprecates the original translator- who has done the hardest part-it serves to present the translation in a more pertinent form. Having been on both sides of the process I assure you I am more than pleased to have someone improve my work and most translators I know feel the same. And believe me I don't do it for the points; I'm here to learn a language and "correcting" is part of the process giving me access to a much higher level of German than I would encounter in the lessons.
I went to the Immersion section today after a long time not having been there and I've been positively surprised. It works much better than ever before! The concept that you can "only" correct already-translated sentences isn't such a bad one, but I also agree that one learns the most when translating from scratch.
In my opinion, the problem lies with the very low number of unfinished sentences you are given to translate. Even in the "New" tab nearly all documents are already 100% complete, which leaves one only with the less-efficient task of correcting of sentences.
Suggestion: It would be nice if Duolingo could team up with e.g. a newspaper to get their articles promptly into the Immersion section to give the translation-hungry community access to lots of current content.