https://www.duolingo.com/misterhamlin

More exercises from English to target language, please!

Duolingo is among the best language tools I've ever come across. However, I feel that the courses could be FAR more effective with one small change: more translation from L1 (first language) to the target language.

Seeing a word in German, for example, and translating it to English is a passive and inefficient way of learning. On the other hand, if you see an English word and are forced to recall the German word, your brain must actively seek out the word - making it work harder and thus increasing the likelihood of remembering it.

It seems to me that the vast majority of the exercises are target language to L1 translations, which is such a pity. I love Duolingo, but feel that this one small problem lowers my efficiency dramatically!!

June 15, 2015

13 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Rob2042

This comes up regularly and I have posted the same but nothing changes. The tree should be extended with many more courses that offer English to the target language exclusively. Another possibility is to offer bonus courses that do the same. This was also suggested but with the same results. The owl needs to step up to the plate.

June 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/GordonHaz

Very much agreed! It's far too easy now to breeze through lessons, and it seems little is gained from strengthening skills as well. They are so short that I've started making deliberate mistakes just to get more than 7 - 9 simple questions, but there's no real solution at present.
If it continues, it's going to be increasingly easy to complete the trees, but very hard to learn much of the language. Perhaps DL are willing to dumb-down their courses to show apparently better results to their backers, which would be a sad diminution of a terrific site.

June 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Lisa1240

Agreed.

The problem I have with only translating from the target language is it's too easy to guess the meaning without having to know the correct grammar, tense, etc. All it's testing is vocabulary.

PLEASE PLEASE Duolingo, do something about this.

June 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Olbapz

Agreed. I think that this is a real setback in duolingo's progression. In all honesty, duo is great as a resource to scratch the surface in any language. It's spectacular for its accessibility and ease, but I wouldn't use it to progress much farther than a beginner to low intermediate level in any language. If it had an option to give exclusive exercise from the L1 to the target language, then it would be an excellent tool for advancing through intermediate to lower advanced levels in a language. As a learner of many languages, I came to realize real quick before coming to duo that it's best to set my sights early on to be able to read and listen to meaningful content in the target language. I've done this as a beginner in each language without any problem, even if the text was especially difficult. This essentially makes duo's role very inefficient in the long run, because I have no need to translate from the target language to my L1 or L2 or L3 or whatever language I'm learning from, because I can find pleasure in meaningful content, rather than random crap like the king has a red hat. If anything, that sentence is far more effective at the intermediate stage to be prompted in the L1 to target language in order to reinforce output in the respective language.

June 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/HuShifang

Well-put. More opportunities for production in LX would really help learners progress beyond the intermediate level. In a perfect Duo-world, I think this would go beyond regular exercises to involve L1 -> LX "immersion" translations, writing compositions, and -- ideally -- some sort of spoken exercises (maybe "storytelling" sessions?).

June 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/deecas

It has become much more common on Duo for target language to mother tongue translations - I am incredibly frustrated by this. I was under the belief that the reason for this is that Duo is currently performing an A/B test where many of us have been put into an 'easy' group where we now only get 7 or 8 questions and they're 90% target language to mother tongue translations. One thing I have noticed though is that when I do exercises on my computer, I can only do six or seven questions but if I do it on the app on my phone, it's much longer and is more diverse, with more mother tongue to target language exercises. As such, I'm doing most of my exercises on my phone now, rather than my computer.

June 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/CaptainDaisy

I've noticed that the app has longer lessons than the browser and that there is more variety. I really, really hope that this is an A/B test that finishes soon and decides not to dumb down the learning. Considering the number of threads on this or the 7 questions topic it would be lovely if we could get some sort of official response.

June 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Mundgeirr

I'd rather lobby for exercises only in the target language. If you have to recall your first/base language all the time you will never "think" in the language you are learning.

June 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/misterhamlin

While I definitely agree that being immersed within the target language is the best way to learn, Duolingo's entire model is based on translation. Perhaps someday we can hope for some sort of proper "immersion" course, but I'm doubtful. In the meantime, it seems that offering more L1 -> target language exercises would be a very simple and effective change they can make.

June 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/HuShifang

I think they've actually indicated that they're moving away from translation qua revenue source -- I saw statements from Luis in the recent flurry of media coverage around their big investment announcement that keeping translation as the focus would require tighter quality control and unacceptable deviation from the site's educational agenda. It seems they're going to focus more on proficiency certification, etc moving forward.

June 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeanette525

They're going to have a tough time with that if no one is learning enough to become proficient.

June 16, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/misterhamlin

I just wanted to comment again about this issue, in hopes that it can somehow get some traction and reach the people who can make a change... Five months ago I posted this, and this is still a big problem. I just did an exercise on dative pronouns in German, and had ZERO translations of actual dative pronouns from English into German. Sure, I saw the pronouns in the German sentence, but didn't actually pull them out of my memory. It almost felt like a waste of my time to do the exercise at all!

I'm actually quite curious as to why this is something frequently mentioned yet completely ignored. Has Duolingo set it up that way on purpose, to make people feel like they're getting more questions right and achieving more? Are they not aware that this is an issue? Or have they just not gotten around to balancing out the target language questions?

I wish there was some way to get Duolingo's attention on this! Please, Duolingo, you're doing language learners a great disservice here!!

December 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/curiousminds

I'd have to agree regarding the passivity of the learning process when not enough L1-> target language exercises are presented. I find I can almost absent-mindedly breeze through scores and scores of exercises translating into English, and then get completely stumped several sentences later suddenly having to translate into target language. Just goes to show I wasn't taking any of it in, and haven't absorbed any grammar at all which can be plainly seen from the messy contortions I've made in my incorrectly market answer :D If they were dotted a lot more frequently as your crown levels progress you'd get accustomed to it and the proportion of target language to native could increase gradually.

April 1, 2019
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