Translation Dutch to English?
Thank you for creating duolingo, which allows me to learn Spanish.
Now I have been wondering, is there a way I can help to make translations from Dutch to English so that (dutch) people can learn English from their native language?
I would love to see Dutch to English and English to Dutch as options in the future as I have always wanted to learn Dutch.
I'd love to see Dutch as an option on Duolingo, but with only 22 million native speakers it doesn't seem to be the most relevant language to learn. I love the Dutch language, but I guess Chinese, Arabic and Russian are more useful...
Learning languages is not only for relevance or size of the group of users. Just for fun is a good reason too. Besides, in Germany there are about 1 million persons who learn/have learned Dutch. For practical reasons it should be the other way around.
The other way around? Well, all regular high schools in the Netherlands teach German to all students.
I totally agree with you. However, Duolingo has another agenda besides teaching us languages for free, and that's the part where smaller languages don't really fit in.
Relevance aside, Dutch would be a lot easier to add than Chinese, Arabic, and Russian which will all need new programming. For Dutch they would just need to switch out words or however they build new language courses (that don't require whole new alphabets.)
I assume it is a bit more complicated than that. Dutch and German may seem similar, but unfortunately for all those Dutch children learning German there are very many insidious differences, lots of "false friends" and of course the case system, which Dutch does not have.
Don't forget the about 7 million native speakers of Afrikaans. In Indonesia, there are a lot of people (i.e. several millions) who speak it as their second language and since duolingo already has German working, it should be fairly easy to implement. I guess it's more of an economical question for duolingo: is it worth it to hire somebody who speaks Dutch as his/her native language?
There are several other websites available to learn other languages out of Dutch. E.g. if you want to learn Spanish in Dutch, you could use:
-Course on http://www.kerknetputten.nl/kpbasis/spaans.php?msgid=40&groep=spaans&menusel= -Word learning tool on http://www.spaansewoordjes.nl/
There is a very interesting electronic translation engine offered to the public at no charge by Google (translate.google.com). I have found it very useful as a translation/editing tool, and I am very grateful that Google makes it available to the public at no cost!
This resource is based on statistical methods that generate translation algorithms by comparing large numbers of bilingual texts. The more texts it compares, the better it gets. It is now pretty good for going between English and the Romance and Scandinavian languages.
It is less useful for German and Dutch because the subordinate clauses of these languages deviate from the general SVO (subject, verb, object) structure of the principal clauses of these languages. This makes it very hard for Google's system to translate both these languages accurately.
(It does better with the other languages I have mentioned, which generally preserve the SVO order even in their subordinate clauses.)
I am confident that Google's system will continue to improve as it digests more bilingual texts. Beyond a certain point, however, it will be very difficult to produce really good translations using strictly statistical methods. Good translations have to make use of a large body of general cultural knowledge on the part of the people making them, and such knowledge is very difficult to build into electronic translation engines given the current state of the art.
I believe that future research into artificial intelligence will address these deficiencies more fully. But it will be very hard indeed to develop machine-translation systems that are comparable to the kind of work that can be done by really accomplished human translators.