I don't want to do translations to show I've learned Spanish. I liked the old version better.
Yeah, I would have no problem doing the translations if they were at the same grammatical level we're at, but they're so much harder it's ridiculous. The sentences I make up sound completely stupid and it's simply because I'm not at a high enough level to translate them. Not only that, but wouldn't it make sense to translate the opposite direction more? I think I would learn better if I had to translate things I would normally say (like this post!!) into German or whatever.
Well, like it or not, the obligatory translations are a huge boon to your language learning. I have gone through a myriad of software language courses during my university years and also made some on- and offline (online and offline as in "scientific reasearch", not as is "connected to the internet") studies on the topic and come to the conclusion that what these courses lack is a connection to the real world. I love Duolinguo for providing this connection.
Yeah, what I miss is that before I didn't need to do x number of translations before I mastered a skill, and now translating has become a required part of it. If I am learning Spanish, I don't know all the idiomatic phrases etc. that I would need to know to translate a feature article into English. So I'm a little disappointed in that.
First, translations are only required if you want to master a unit. You can learn a unit and advance without doing any translation. Let's separate the real goal, to learn a language, and the in-game goal, to get all the boxes golden. Duolingo does not hinder you in any way to do all the language lessons, even if you do not make any real-world translation. They just won't give you the golden background anymore.
Overall, I agree with darekm. You do not use this site to its full potential if you only do the lessons.
But I'd like to master a unit. Getting the boxes golden is an incentive for me. And I feel I can do that through the lessons themselves. I think that Duolingo should not make the translations mandatory to master a unit, or at least open them up when you feel confident you can translate everything well, or mix them up a bit. It's quite frustrating if my goal is to master a unit but I can't cause I have to translate a sentence that is above my learning level.
I'm learning German and my level is very basic. Now, if I want to master "food", I have make translations, but the problem is that the proposed translations have nothing to do with food. Moreover, they are way more difficult than the level taught in "food". I say yes to translations to master a lesson, but only according the level and the lesson in question.