I'm puzzled by the translations of the past imperfect. I thought this referred to continuous action in the past, but the translations they want are to describe eg il voulait and il a voulu as meaning the same. Doesn't the first mean : he was wishing, and the second, he wanted? I've lost lots of points over this. Help please!
In Duolingo: PASSÉ COMPOSÉ (ex: "Il a mangé une pomme") is translated into English in the Simple Past ("He ate an apple."), Present Perfect ("He has eaten an apple.") and Present Perfect Progressive for non-stative words ("He has been eating an apple.") is also accepted. IMPARFAIT (ex: "Il mangeait une pomme.") is translated in Past Simple, Past Continuous ("He was eating an apple), and with the idiomatic expression "used to" ("He used to eat an apple."). Thanks for your feedback!
I heard it explained as follows. Actions referred to in Passé composé (il a voulu) are like "dots" in the past, like "suddenly he wanted", while actions referred to in Imparfait are more like "lines" of continuous action or state (j'étais malade) or "dotted lines" of regular actions (j'allais à la plage tous le jours). Passé composé is translated into English in Past Simple or Present Perfect, Imparfait is translated in (again) Past Simple or Past Continuous.
I translated Imparfait mostly with Past Continuous. I also remember some units (maybe not exactly Imparfait) were particularly hard, then I wrote out the sentences with their translations and referred to my notes to check if I'm right. I also sent a lot of feedback some of which was accepted and some of suggestions were added. I'm sure Duolingo translations database should be expanded, so if you feel your translation is correct, send feedback, maybe it will be added.