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Suggestion: allow users to pick what kind of practice they want to focus on

Hi there,

Duolingo is great. One thing I'd suggest is the ability to allow users to pick what kind of practice to focus on.

Right now, there seems to be six kinds of practice in Spanish:

  1. Translate phrase to Spanish
  2. Translate phrase to English
  3. Listen and write in Spanish
  4. Fill in the blank
  5. Pick the right answers out of the three
  6. Microphone

However, I feel that I need to develop most in the first two: translate phrase to Spanish, and translate phrase to English — especially translate phrase to Spanish.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Duolingo lets you pick which ones you want to practice, so I don't get to practice the first two that often.

It would be nice to be able to pick what kinds of practice you wanted to focus on.

Thanks! Mark

November 10, 2012



I agree Mark. Actually I like the way Duolingo is in practice mode a lot, but I think I need more English to Spanish so a place to choose to work on a specific skill would be very nice. I think it is a bit easier to translate the Spanish to English because many of the words are similar to English words... this means you can figure it out if you didn't actually remember it, and you already know the word order in English... The real challenge is to be able to call up the words, and the word order to go from English to Spanish.

So I don't really think I want to see a change to the current practice mode. It is really necessary to work with the Spanish words a lot while you are learning them. I just think an added feature that allows you to work on a specific skill (when you are ready for that level of work) would be great. For me that would be English to Spanish.


I agree, pangaea. Translating English to Spanish is the main reason I'm learning Spanish—so I can talk in a Spanish situation.

I'm already pretty good at comprehending Spanish, but I'm still slow with conveying my thoughts in Spanish, and the only way to solve that is to practice translating English to Spanish over and over and over. I wish Duolingo let me do that.


Hi guys,

I've been wanting to translate english into spanish more often too, so I've taken to learning english as a spanish speaker. This essentially inverts the learning so that you get more english to spanish questions, rather than vice versa.



I agree. I am mainly using duolingo to learn French and German to read texts, so some of these learning methods are not as useful. However, it is sort of helpful to practice the words in a different way.


I agree with pangaea and markbao about wanting more English - Spanish translations. I made a similar post recently (http://duolingo.com/#/comment/61465) which had a number of up-votes, so hopefully the Duolingo admins will listen up!

Translating English->Spanish is far harder than Spanish->English, it works our brains more efficiently by forcing recall, and it's much closer to what we all want to do: open our mouths and have perfect Spanish (or whatever language) come out!


Actually, it seems like it would be fairly easy for Duolingo to set this up. They already have an option to not have the microphone exercises. If they would just have a similar option for all the other types of questions that would be great! A simple on/off switch for each type!


So just for anyone who is interested in this - I have been trying Chardos' idea and it is great! You can get a lot of practice translating to Spanish by learning english as a spanish speaker. Estoy muy contento :D


Switching languages is a fantastic work around, thanks Chardos. Pity the work around is necessary tho. I hope they provide a fix soon, but until then I'll be doing both in parallel - thank goodness they allow that!


I just tried switching languages to, what a great work around. Gracias!


What an awesome workaround, Chardos. Muchas gracias!


Glad it's working for you guys too!


I agree very much to this as well. I would like much more translating from English -> Spanish. Or the option to choose a more personal practice path. I will try the switching language trick, thanks for that suggestion! Tanaquil


The 'switching language' trick has worked so well that I've changed my strategy for learning Spanish.

  1. Use Learn Spanish (I know English) to go through 5-10 units.
  2. Switch around to Aprender inglés (yo sé español) to go through the corresponding units' lessons.
  3. If practice is needed, only practice on the Aprender inglés side.

I breezed through around 20 units in the Learn Spanish (I know English) route, since it was pretty easy, but I found it was pretty difficult to do the Aprender inglés (yo sé español) side since translating English to Spanish was a lot harder.

Duolingo, if you're listening: we'd love to have a way to focus our learning on English to [language being learned], since, at least for Spanish, translating from English to Spanish is harder than Spanish to English, and it's what I reckon more people will be doing.

Thanks! Mark


I have to say I'm very happy that I have the option to use Duolingo in both directions. There are some spots in the Aprender inglés side that are a little more difficult because they involve phrases that are easy in English, but more advanced in Spanish.... So that actually makes it nice that we can learn Spanish and get the basics down in the Learn Spanish side first. So I definitely think the best course is to stay ahead in the Learn Spanish side, and switch back and forth.


Ok, I'm ready to bite the bullet and do the switching hack. Can someone explain how a little more clearly? It looks like we can only be learning one language at a time, using the pulldown menu at the top right. If I switch to "I want to learn Spanish", I assume I can switch back at any time and my progress will still be saved?

I don't want to make that switch until I'm sure of that....


yes SamFen. I had the same question. You can switch back anytime and your progress will be still be there. Also interestingly enough you collect points for the progress you make in both.

Also your stream is the same except in Spanish. So right now I am responding from the Spanish side but the last post I made was from the English side.


Going to resurrect this. Using the reverse language trick (learn English in Spanish) has proven to be useful up until the point where the translations started making little sense (in prepositions, to be exact.)

This seems to be something people still want.


I'm also going to resurrect this! I think this is a wonderful idea. I am learning Italian, and for me, translating Italian sentences to English is fine, but I wish I could choose to have a few sessions now and then where I could just do the reverse: translate from English to Italian. Obviously, I know different users have different needs, so perhaps different modes of practices could be created, i.e. "english to italian", "listen and write in italian", ... etc and "mixed" for example, where "mixed" would be a little bit of everything, as is the case now. Ans we could have the option to choose the mode right before the practice session starts.

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