Translations affected by Google Translate
I noticed on several translations, others were more highly rated because they matched more closely the Google Translate translation, even though the were nonsense English and/or grammar. How can we protect against this source bias, or will this correct itself over time with more input?
Thats why they have a rating system. Don't except the first translation, look for a better one and rate it up. You get points for it. [My apologies snarky comment removed]. As others have pointed out there are many resources out there for language learning and in a connected world many people to try your skills out. Duolingo is a new free and unique offering. It is a great place to start and get motivated.
Oh yes, the only translations scoring well right now are absolute literal nonsense. Looks like some new changes recently made. I had seen some very good sentences in the highest scoring translations up until now. Good English syntax, rearranged word order etc. I might have to quit wasting my time on this for awhile.
I am feeling the same way as DonnaMarie. This "free service" is supposed to provide useful language lessons in exchange for the users providing free contributions towards translations. Unfortunately, the lessons themselves-- as well as the translation evaluation process-- are heavily biased towards literal, word-for-word translations, and against natural translations. In other words, users are being taught to make the same kind of mistakes that machine language translation programs make. The only reason the process works at all is that some people refuse to do what the site rewards most, and most people recognize to some extent that they are being rewarded for the wrong things.
That is my feeling, I want to pay for the service by helping them with the translations. I just don't understand how to make it work when the well worded sentences end up at the bottom and you have to read and score 15 lousy ones first. On the other hand, I do appreciate the new Skills section. I've worked on that all morning. Now it encourages me to just stay there working on the skill units. but I know that is not their goal. Maybe they just want people to improve their skills before feeding into the translations.
Duo is currently trying to do two contradictory things: coerce more people into doing more translations and trying to come up with evidence that a person can learn a language as rapidly and efficiently as taking college classes. The busy work of fussing about with translations of sentences on topics unrelated to lessons does not help me learn efficiently, and certainly does not help my listening skills. Duo said they would teach me Spanish if I translated, but I think they have swung the pendulum much to far in the translation direction. Duo may be free, but they want us to provide a free service to them as well. For strictly reading/writing, which is what Duo's program is boiling down to, there are other free sites that are less frustrating.
To dajproulx, my comment was only geared to helping duolingo to make more accurate translations.
You said "that's why there's a rating system", and that makes my point perfectly. If the same translator is used by many people who may not know the language very well, then there will continue to be a lot of nonsense translations. But I also suspect now that those will be refined over time, and the nonsense stuff happens after the first few passes.
I do appreciate this site and find it fun and addictive for learning basic Spanish. I am taking a class as well, this is just one resource of the many available to us.
To quantaray, logically the autotranslate shouldnt assume anything from the text. It would risk changing the meaning of the original. It can only serve as a reference. A simple example ... Casa de George = George's House but Casa de horror wouldnt be Horror's house in English (obviously a simple and novice's example)