"Would want to" doesn't mean the same as "would like to", and I've always seen "voudrait" translated as "would like". If you "would like" something, you currently want it. If you "would want" something, you don't necessarily want it right now, but (based on whatever condition is being expressed), you might want it in certain circumstances. So if it's something you definitely want already, "would want" is a bad translation.
Argh. I have been told that "aller" must have a destination, so that if you wanted to say "My friends would like to go", you could not say "Mes amis voudraient aller" but would have to include "y" - "Mes amis voudraient y aller."
THEREFORE, I translated "Mes amis voudraient y aller." as "My friends would like to go" and got docked a heart.
Y aller means "go" but pragmatically (contextually) can mean leave as in English. For example: "I have to go".
The more appropriate word for leave; would be s'en aller as already stated. However, in some contexts y aller is better suited: "Il faut que j'y aille" (
Il faut que je m'en aille)
First, -aient is third person plural while -ait is third person singular. More importantly, the basic verbs are different: voudrait, voudraient is from vouloir (want), and aimerait, aimeraient is from aimer (love, like). Is it so surprising that in French, just like in English, you can use different verbs to say basically the same thing?
I think aimerait is slightly weaker than voudrait, just like would love to is slightly weaker than would want to. But both are weak enough that often would like to is the best English translation.
I'm surprised it's not accepted already. In some versions of Duolingo you can propose it as a correct variant using the form provided right after you are told it's wrong. In other Duolingo versions there is no way to give this kind of feedback. Posting it in a discussion forum usually has no effect.
There is a French verb corresponding to the verb like in the English translation: vouloir (want). It's in the conditional aspect: ils voudraient = they would want.
English verb endings have been reduced over time to the point that there is no longer a 'proper' conditional and nowadays a circumlocution with would is required.
There is NO French verb voudrer or voudroir or anything like that! The conditional of vouloir just happens to look like an indicative of such a hypothetical verb.
By the way, although you can think of would and voudrais/voudrais/voudrait/voudrions/voudriez/voudraient as false friends, they are actually related. In fact, when English still had proper conditionals and will still had the meaning want rather than being used only for future tense circumlocutions, would was the conditional of will. The following translations should make this clear:
- French - Middle English - Modern English
- Ils veulent aller. - They will go. - They want to go.
- Ils voudraient aller. - They would go. - They'd like to go. [Literal translation: They'd want to go.]
(We can see via German that the verb forms vouloir/veulent and will are really etymologically related: vouloir = wollen = will and veulent = will = will.)
Regarding your second question: No. You just have to learn to always translate the conditional of vouloir by would like to or something equivalent. Plain would is wrong because it's not equivalent, and it's als not a literal translation. A literal translation of the conditional is would want, with want translating vouloir and would translating the conditional. (Which is weird and confusing because of the etymological relation between vouloir and would.)