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In lessons, would love to do more English > Spanish translations

In the regular lessons we see (I'd estimate) about four times more [language] > English translations than English > [language] translations.

I'm learning Spanish right now, and I strongly feel that I'm not learning as well as I would be if I were forced to come up with the Spanish sentences myself, instead of just translating into English.

When I see a Spanish sentence I am both reminded of the words I've seen, and I can trivially guess most words because I know other romance languages. Therefore, translating into English is typically very easy for me, and I can do it without thinking about it. I also can completely ignore the spelling and accents -- my brain just chunks the word into something I know, and doesn't worry about the spelling.

But translating into Spanish, however, I actually have to recall the words myself, and remember the spelling and accents and stuff. I know I am working much harder at it.

Writing Spanish, moreover, is much closer to what I would need to do in the real world, which is to take what I want to say and produce a Spanish sentence when I open my mouth.

So, any way we can either bump the amount of time we spend translating into the language we're learning, make it a user setting, or have a testing mode where we do nothing but write in the language?

November 2, 2012



@bf2010: I guess that's an idea. Seems really hacky, though. Since the purpose is to improve my learning of Spanish, it really ought to be a feature of the regular lessons.

Duolingua has the ability to show more English - [language] translations, they just don't do so.

Re your point that "maybe you´ll find, just as I did, that your Spanish is not half as good as I had assumed it to be" -- that's exactly the point: I know my Spanish is not that good, but I can just breeze through all these lessons doing the trivial translations into English, and have quickly gotten up to level 9.

  • 2189

@SamFen; I got around the problem of not doing enough Spanish in a neat way offered by Duolingo; when you go to your settings at present it says: "I want to learn Spanish"; why not choose a second language ie. "quiero aprender ingles"; after saving the changes you have a second stream (this time Spanish-English); ... check it out, and maybe you´ll find, just as I did, that your Spanish is not half as good as I had assumed it to be...:-))

  • 2189

@SamFen; yes, Duolingo could do more with translation, grammar, conversational Spanish, idioms etc.... my wish-list is pretty long, but, at present they don´t !

Personally it helps me to think of the old saying that since you cannot make other people do what you want to have done, find a way around it ie. do it yourself and be happy with the results :-)); just keep it up!


I agree. I've however found my knowledge of the English language improving as well during these Spanish to English translations, (I'm a native Dutch) and I think pretending to be Spanish and to want to learn English on Duolingo is a good alternative. Actually I'm thinking about trying that out myself. :) Also, I think I'm noticing that, the further you progress in the general levels, or maybe the skills, the more English to Spanish translations you get. Maybe Duolingo simply waits untill it thinks you're ready for it? I don't really know..


@Samfen - I think your original post was right on. You shouldn't have to go around switching into another language to fix your problem. It's something that Duolingo could directly deal with, and that's the point of your request.

And as for your suggestion, bf2010, that might be a nice work-around for Spanish learners, but I'm working on German and French. So, that won't work for me or anyone else in that position.

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