I don't think that's it. I use contractions all the time, and it's fine. What Duo doesn't like is translating "gustar" sentences literally, in the passive voice. It only accepts "I like" as a translation, the active voice. If you try to say "it pleases me" or "is pleasing to me" it dings you. I tried at the beginning to report it religiously, knowing it would mark me wrong, but after a while, I didn't want to fight that crusade anymore, I just wanted to pass the lessons and move on. I should send an email or something.
At another website the translation for 'the situation does not please me' is given as 'La situación no me gusta'. I think you are splitting hairs here. There are many ways to say something in most languages, I assume, and those ways may be determined by geographic location, social or economic class, casual or academic situation, age of the speaker, etc., etc.
I think it's generally better to keep the order of the words in a translation as close as possible to the original sentence.
If the original sentence were "no me gusta la situación", I would use "like", but as the order is "la situación no me gusta", I prefer using "pleases".
Unfortunately, duolingo has other ideas than me on this issue.
I put "The situation does not please me" (no contraction) and got marked wrong. I think it's a perfectly good translation.
It is most certainly the emphasis, but being a native English speaker, I'm not sure if what my way of understanding the emphasis is the same.
La situacion no me gusta / The situation I do not like. (That makes me think there are multiple situations, but this is the one I do not like.
No me gusta la situacion / I do not like the situation. (This one specifically says to me that I do not like THE situation, being there is only one.)
/my two cents
Word order has a lot to do with which part of the sentence you are emphasizing. In this case, I believe that the sentence is especially stressing that you, in particular, dislike the situation. I think I learned somewhere along the way that the last part of the sentence is where the emphasis lies en Español.
It seems to me that in English we would consider 'I don't like xyz' and 'xyz does not please me' to be exactly the same. I can only assume that the DL team didn't think of this possibility when the sentence was set up - or that it is important that we learn this idiom. If this is reported to DL the team may eventually agree that it should be accepted. They are adjusting and improving the lessons regularly and the volume of reports is probably overwhelming. I understand they are all volunteers so may have limited time available. :-)
I think the quibble would have been with your word order. Was there any reason why you wouldn't have put, "I don't like the situation."? Whereas in Spanish the word order can be changeable, for the most part English speakers put the subject first (I) then the predicate (don't like) and the object (the situation).
I got tired of seeing the first half of the sentence, starting to translate it, then realizing I need to go back and start over. what I wrote probably shouldn't be accepted since it's not correct English, but it gets the idea across, and it has the charm of someone who speaks English as a second language. I imagine an Italian person saying it. "Thees-a situation, I don't-a like"
While it is more common for "la situación" to be put at the end of the sentence, it may also precede the verb.
"While it is more common to place the thing that is liked (noun or verb) after the verb “gustar”, it may also precede the verb.
Me gusta la película. – I like the film.
La película me gusta. – (Literally: The film pleases me.)
Te gustan los dibujos animados. – You like the cartoons.
Los dibujos animados te gustan. – (Literally: The cartoons please you.)
Nos gusta nadar. – We like to swim.
Nadar nos gusta. – (Literally: To swim (swimming) pleases us.)"