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Better Translations, and Better Rating of Translations, Needed

I am concerned at the number of poor translations being made by learners and how it appears these same people are then rating other people's translations, not on the basis of what is appropriate English for each scenario, but how close it is to the literal translation. This is potentially dangerous and could result in duolingo not achieving what it set to do. Don't get me wrong, everyone should be encouraged to contribute, but members should know their limits and, in my opinion, not contribute where translating the text is beyond them. Each paragraph or text requiring translation has a difficulty rating (on the right) and this should be enough to guide members as to whether they should attempt the translation or not, and whether they should rate the translations of others. Perhaps in time duolingo could limit translations that members can attempt by the degree of difficulty, using the individual members skill level or points as the determining factor. Thoughts?

May 3, 2012



Just one side-note: I find I very reassuring that even the poorest of the translations done by learners of this site are still better than the robot ;-)


I had assumed the difficulty rating of the translations offered was directly related to the skill points achieved. Whether this is true or not, I agree it still doesn't prevent incorrect ratings of translations.


I agree with ❤❤❤❤'s concern. On the other hand, I have been surprised how few sentences have been rated. I think it is important that those who are more skilled should be quite active in rating others.


My impression is that there are a lot of people learning Spanish here who's first language isn't English. Translation is normally done from the foreign language to your own, and that breaks down when you're a student of English too, and we get bad translations. Instead of limits, perhaps people's knowledge of English should be tested first to ensure they are fluent?


I don't think testing is the answer as this is an educative tool and not many peoples will be fluent, however if they can not get past the basic skills then they should be only able to translate texts of low levels of difficulty. As there Spanish improves i.e. as they pass more skills tests, then the degree of difficulty of the translations they can attempt rises as well. Let's not forget that in many of the texts there are several paragraphs of differing degrees, I do not believe someone should attempt to translate something above their station. It is in the best interests of the the duoling project that the database is not cluttered with unnecessary poor translations.

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