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Articles being retranslated back into the original language

A couple of times I've been given articles that are being translated into English from Spanish where the Spanish version was already a translation from the original English.

I just got one now.


From seeing the Duolingo founder's TED talk, I thought the underlying purpose of Duolingo was to "translate the internet". That's one of the things I like about it - I feel like I'm accomplishing something when I work on a translation.

The earlier time I found out I'd just retranslated something back into English (some wikipedia article about bears), I felt a bit as though I'd been doing a job where you dig a hole and then refill it just to keep you busy.

So ... is there a way to report articles like that?

August 17, 2013

1 Comment


There are two ways to look at this. From the point of view of the student learning the language, perhaps it doesn't matter where the text came from. It's good for practice. From the point of view of getting useful work done, it's a little different. I have seen people translate Pinocchio or Dante from Italian into English, when obviously this has been done many times by experts and nobody needs our efforts. A slightly different problem is people translating a translation, as I once saw people translate from Italian into English something already translated from Spanish into Italian. People got into disputes about the fine points of what a certain phrase means when they had no idea of what the original translator did with that phrase. I don't see any solution except for people who upload stuff to learn all they can about it first.

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