I have noticed that when people translate pages from the web, they do not keep the original punctuation. Sometimes article titles such as "Pablo Sandoval", that are translated with a period at the end are voted by the users to be the best translation.
Please everybody, start caring about punctuation. We don't want random punctuation insertions in our translated web pages.
P.S. Duobot is ruining Duolingo by mass translating. Can the admins disable it and erase all of its translations?
Don't forget that the capitalization and punctuation rules are actually different in Spanish. For example, many words we would capitalize in English are not capitalized in Spanish (e.g. "viernes" and "inglés"). Also, angle brackets <<like this>> are used in Spanish for quotation marks.
I have also seen definite articles being translated in titles where they are not needed in English. For example, one of the translations was a recipe. The current 'best translation' of the heading "La preparación" was given as "The preparation", even though over 1000 people had translated it. In English it should simply be "Preparation".
@ikeeley It is not Duolingo's job to combine any translations to make them more usable. The entire philosophy around Duolingo is that the users thumb up the right translation to begin with. A good translation always keeps the capitalization and punctuation of the original (but of course will correct typos). Maybe Von Ahn could make Duolingo inform the users of those two responsibilities?
I totally agree with keeping the punctuation, but other people are not even using capitalization. I wonder if Duolingo will be able to combine the translations to the point that it actually makes most sense to a native speaker.
I used to be one of those people myself. Until I read somebody's correction of that yesterday. Maybe Duolingo should emphasize that more in their lessons (maybe display that it is also a valid translation).
@Snowman thank you Snowman, I did not know this. Duolingo should cover these core aspects of language, rather than just building vocabulary and basic grammar. Duolingo is awesome right now, don't get me wrong. Its design is magnificent, but it is nowhere near perfect yet.
P.S. the lessons do not check for punctuation or capitalization. This needs to be fixed.
In his talk "Massive scale online collaboration", Luis von Ahn says "We combine the translations of multiple beginners to get the quality of a single professional translator".
@Snowman In order to go through with this technique of translating the web, a person would have to do the combining, since it would be as expensive to ask someone to combine the elements of each translation of the users for the entire web as getting professional translators to begin with, and this is an expense he wants to avoid. A computer (such as Duob*t) would have to do this, and obviously wouldn't necessarily do a good job. I may be wrong, but it is going to have to be the users' responsibilities to pick the translation and rate up translations that are precise to every punctuation mark and meanwhile correct typos and have correct punctuation. Only the developers can know for sure though.
@mikeydee Of course, it depends what is meant by "combine". It may simply be that they look for the translation with the largest number of identical instances, in which case it is important for us to assess other people's translations and suggest edits, so that the translations start to converge. I have sent a "feedback" suggesting that more guidance is needed on our goals in doing translations. Until now, I have concentrated on my own translations, rather than assessing others, but you have made me rethink this - Thanks!
Hey, it's not a problem at all... We're all doing our part to improve something that has the potential to be tens of times better than Rosetta Stone.
One big problem that I expected would be that people would choose a translation that was the best literal translation, not the best translation. However, often times, I was surprised by the best answer being one that seemed to actually be a really good translation.
Though to make sure, Duolingo should maybe just say somewhere that users should try to consider context and what it should best be translated considering what it should be like in English when translating.