Weekly Incubator Update: Tracking Progress from Jun 14th to Jun 21st

Duolingo turns three!
It is Duoversary as Duolingo turns three. Happy Duoversary! It appears that the contributors have been out celebrating, because you will find that today's WIU is quieter - there are only two team updates, but the average progress remains at 1.00%.

Incubator enhancements
As you know, I recently undertook the building of our Hindi course tree with my team. I couldn't help notice the enhancements that have been made in the recent months. Great amount of flexibility has been provided to the teams to design the tree to their liking. The interface is as intuitive as we have come to expect from the talented Duo developers.

There are a few rules, such as, one cannot expect the learner to know a word before it has been taught previously. So, there is an order in which the words have to be placed inside a language tree. But it is all very intuitive. As you will read in the Hindi update below, we have been testing the tree with a few native English speakers and based on the synthesis of their feedback, we have been able to rapidly and easily move things around!

I realize that as a community, we expect a lot from this small but talented team. Let me take a moment to highlight the awesome work done by the incubator team and express our gratitude. By the time the Incubator will turn two in October, 2015, I can predict that they will have made the incubator even more cool!

Visualized progress as a link
You might have noticed that beginning last week, the chart is now clickable and takes you to its larger version.

Thought for the week
Incubator is way cooler than before!

PHASE 1 Progress: Total 23 courses

Russian for English - 85% | 88% | 90% | 91% (+1)

English for Thai  - 91% | 91% | 91% | 91% (+0)

Hungarian for English - 80% | 80% | 80% | 80% (+0) ^

German for Turkish - 76% | 77% | 78% | 79% (+1)

Spanish for German - 72% | 74% | 75% | 77% (+2)

German for French - 63% | 66% | 68% | 71% (+3)

German for Italian - 70% | 70% | 70% | 70% (+0)

German for Portuguese - 65% | 66% | 68% | 69% (+1)

French for Italian - 65% | 66% | 66% | 66% (+0)

Spanish for Italian - 61% | 61% | 61% | 61% (+0)

Spanish for Russian - 52% | 53% | 56% | 58% (+2)

Spanish for Chinese - 49% | 50% | 51% | 53% (+2)

Swedish for Russian - 41% | 42% | 42% | 43% (+1)

French for Chinese - 39% | 39% | 39% | 39% (+0)

Vietnamese for English - 37% | 38% | 39% | 39% (+0)

Romanian for English - 35% | 37% | 37% | 38% (+1)

Polish for English - 32% | 32% | 33% | 34% (+1)

Greek for English - 29% | 33% | 33% | 33% (+0)

Hebrew for English - 15% | 16% | 17% | 18% (+1)

Hindi for English - (New) 5% | 12% (+7) *^

Catalan for Spanish - 5% | 7% | 9% | 9% (+0)

Klingon for English - 8% | 8% | 8% | 8% (+0)

Yiddish for English - 4% | 5% | 6% | 6% (+0)

Mean - 0.78% | 1.14% | 1.00% | 1.00% (+0)
Median - 0% | 1% | 1% | 1% (+0)

* This week's Leader Extraordinaire!
^ The Hungarian & Hindi teams' progress is as per their own calculation.

Progress Visualized:

Here's what the contributing teams have said during the last week:

luke51991 from Team Norwegian wrote yesterday:

Great News!

Our reports have reached a record low, 4.56 per hundred users.

Additionally, our course has made it to the iOS application!

jitengore from Team Hindi wrote 2 hours ago:

Week 02: 12% complete, beta launch 23-Nov-2015

Our team progressed fairly well this week - 7%. The cumulative progress stands at 12% which helps us advance the expected beta release to 23rd of November.

We have been alpha testing with a few native English speakers and collecting valuable feedback early on to help tune our course. More details to come next week.

TL;DR This week was similar to the previous one. The average progress is again 1.00% with the median 'one'. The incubator has been greatly enhanced during the last several months and now it provides a great deal of flexibility in designing a course tree. Duolingo has turned three and this October, the incubator will turn two. Three cheers for the Incubator team and the entire Duolingo team!

The next update is expected on Sunday, 28th of June, 3:00 pm UTC.

Previous Update 7-Jun to 14-Jun

Last updates from the recent months: 2015: May, Apr, Mar, Feb, Jan.

June 21, 2015


Yeay clickable chart! :-) Yeay the Russian course inching its way towards beta!

June 21, 2015

Team Hindi really hit the ground running! Well done, guys! ^~^

June 21, 2015

Can't wait for Finnish and Arabic to be added into the incubator!

June 21, 2015

I totally agree with you ! but also Mandarin

June 21, 2015

Will they really be though? :(

June 23, 2015

New courses are being steadily added. I don't see any reason why they wouldn't be added.

June 25, 2015

I'm excited for Russian! Less than 10% away now, almost there :))) Do we know if Russian will have immersion or just a tree?

June 21, 2015

All new courses will not have immersion unless duolingo changes its mind on the matter.

June 21, 2015

I wish they would re-consider that. I understand that the original intention of immersion was both to make money for duolingo and for the educational aspect (giving the users endless learning possibilities once they finished the course). Since the Russian to English course already has immersion, would it be difficult to add it to the new course? (Honest question - I don't know if it would be or not, but it seems like the infrastructure would be there).

I kind of feel bad for the people who are learning the languages that came out later... it'll be a hard path to level 25 if all they can do is just repeat lessons. Maybe it shouldn't matter, but duolingo was designed with levels so it should be considered a selling point that you can level up all the way to 25.

June 22, 2015

I believe the reason isn't difficulty adding it, but difficulty maintaining it. If they were to have a large number of articles being translated on the website, they would have to start hiring people to do quality control to ensure that the articles are being translated well. Even though the Duo community does a good job correcting each other's translations, we can't rely on that to work 100% of the time.

June 23, 2015

Actually, the issue is legal trouble. They did some experiments years ago that determined that Duo's crowdsourced translations were comparable to paid, expert translations. Besides, quality is only an issue for translations that they sell. However, the EU gave them some trouble over Immersion, and currently there is still a "temporary" ban on EU citizens using Immersion in any way. My understanding is that there is some law in the EU against selling the product of unpaid labor.

June 23, 2015

It would be really nice to define "comparable". Looking through immersion, I can say the quality is rather mediocre — simple sentences are mildly robotic while more complicated often have stupid mistakes, owing to the fact that the "translator" doesn't know the language all that well yet.

At times their command of their native language is also questionable—which is forgivable, anyway, because it is easy to slip while editing a long sentence here and there.

June 23, 2015

Really? Interesting. Do you by any chance have a source on that because I'd like to read more on that.

June 23, 2015

You have to consider that for those crowdsourced translations, natives of both languages also weighed in and falsified the outcome heavily.

June 24, 2015

This is the only real source I could find re: legal trouble with the EU:

The specific issue (selling unpaid labor) was something I heard in a discussion thread a few days ago, which is why I tried to phrase it in a way that didn't present certainty, because I couldn't find an actual source and I don't know (or really care, honestly) about the details of EU laws.

As for the quality of the translations, it was something they touted quite a bit during beta. Here is an old article mentioning von Ahn's claims about the quality:

You can probably find more with a little creative googling. Look for stuff from ~2012.

June 23, 2015

I need Russian! I've bought a keyboard for it and everything. It's a language I've wanted to learn for several years but can't stick to it because of lackluster resources. I might take a class at my university next semester in Russian, but Duolingo would be sure to get me started with the language (finally!) I can read the alphabet, so I have no fears!

June 22, 2015

Mia edzino ankaux volas lerni la rusan lingvon. Sxi kredas ke la rusa auxdas tre bela, se mi ne audxas gxin. :- Eble mi acxetos klavarilon por sxi?

June 22, 2015

I was so confused, I thought this was Basque at first and then realized it's Esperanto! I need to get further in my lessons It can be very useful to get a keyboard to get used to key placement, but otherwise Windows has a nice on-screen keyboard! That's what I've used for Ukrainian, and it makes my lessons so much faster.

June 23, 2015

Wouldn't it be cheaper to just buy clear stickers for the keyboard you already own? That's what I plan to do for Russian.

June 23, 2015

Why? You can just use a phonetic layout (already included for Mac, downloadable for Windows)

June 23, 2015

I actually downloaded a phonetic layout, but as the correspondence isn't 1-1, I will have to learn some arbitrary keys anyway. As far as I am concerned, the only obstacle to learning a standard layout is the lack of a reference on my physical keyboard to look at when I forget where a letter is, so if I get stickers (they are very cheap) I shouldn't have any trouble.

This way I will not have to search for a phonetic keyboard whenever I need to type in Russian.

June 23, 2015

The phonetic/phonemic/homophonic layout should be just fine, and it's got to be quicker to learn than the standard layout, although the standard keyboard isn't very hard to learn; it took me a couple of weeks, of easy 5-15 minutes-a-day practice.

. . . lack of a physical reference . . .

Whichever layout you use, you don't need keycaps, although they are definitely nifty. Just print out a page of the rows on the Russian layout, or just save it to a file that you can display in a corner of your screen. For instance, the top and QWERTY rows might look like this, for caps:

<pre>Ё ! " № ; % : ? * ( ) _ + ~ ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) _ + ( . . .) Й Ц У К Е Н Г Ш Щ З Х Ъ / Q W E R T Y U I O P { } | </pre>

Whichever layout you use, the way to go is to learn to touch type.

June 24, 2015

Ah; ni havas MacBooks, kaj la klavarilo estas malbona. Kvankam, dankon!

June 23, 2015

I wonder what new language will be added next.

June 21, 2015

Here are my guesses:

  • Reverse courses of the ones Duolingo (including the incubator) already has. DL already has staff and/or volunteers, and sample sentences, for these pairs of languages. Building them would not take as much time as adding new languages to Duolingo would. :)
  • Courses for speakers of languages other than English. We English speakers already have 23 Duolingo courses (including the ones still in the incubator). Spanish speakers get only 6. French, Italian, Portuguese, and Russian speakers each get only 4. German and Chinese speakers each get only 3. Turkish speakers get only 2. The rest each get only 1 or 0. :/
  • Courses in the remaining combinations of Duolingo's first 6 languages. These would be especially easy for Duolingo to implement, right? :)

These courses would meet all 3 of those above criteria:

  • Italian for German speakers
  • Portuguese for French speakers
  • Portuguese for German speakers

These would meet only the 2nd and 3rd of those:

  • Italian for Portuguese speakers
  • Portuguese for Italian speakers

These would meet only the 1st and 2nd of those:

  • Chinese for French speakers (whichever version of Chinese the French for Chinese speakers course already uses)
  • Chinese for Spanish speakers (whichever version of Chinese the Spanish for Chinese speakers course already uses)
  • Russian for German speakers
  • Russian for Spanish speakers
  • Turkish for German speakers

These would meet only the 1st of those:

  • Arabic for English speakers (whichever version of Arabic the English for Arabic speakers course already uses)
  • Chinese for English speakers (whichever version of Chinese the English for Chinese speakers course already uses)
  • Czech for English speakers
  • Indonesian for English speakers
  • Japanese for English speakers
  • Korean for English speakers
  • Thai for English speakers

Once Duolingo is ready to add more interface languages again, this would meet the 1st and 2nd criteria:

  • Russian for Swedish speakers
June 21, 2015

I'd like to add a fourth group: Courses that are unlikely to get a reverse tree due to high level of English/Spanish/etc. among the speakers. Some of the most popular ones that might be included in this group are:

  • Welsh for English speakers
  • Finnish for English speakers
  • Icelandic for English speakers
  • Afrikaans for English speakers
  • Maltese for English speakers
  • Basque for Spanish speakers
June 21, 2015
  • Māori for English speakers. ;)
June 21, 2015

Others I've seen mentioned on the forums include:

June 21, 2015

Euskara for Spanish or French speakers would be awesome.

June 22, 2015

+1, upvote and have a lingot.

June 22, 2015

Yes, any of these could also be one of the next ones! :) All of them use the Latin alphabet too, right?

I didn't include these in my post because I was thinking more of which seem likely to me.

These seemed less likely to me, because Duolingo doesn't already have any courses (including in the incubator) either teaching any of these or for speakers of any of these.

June 21, 2015

However, there is a considerable amount of SA citizens and residents (especially among the poor) who have difficulty speaking English or cannot even speak a lick of it. And... well... I am not sure about Finland, but I heard that it is one of the places you will least likely hear English in Europe... Don't remember, but that is what I remember.

June 22, 2015

Yeah, I titled it "might be included" because I wasn't sure what the exact situation in SA, Iceland and Malta was. And as a Finn, I'm not surprised if we really are at the bottom. But that's because we're very homogeneous and not a popular tourist destination, not because the level of English isn't high. Here's one chart showing that.

June 22, 2015

Good points about how not every native speaker of Afrikaans is also fluent in English and how some of the poor in South Africa have Afrikaans for a native language instead of another South African language like Xhosa or Zulu.

Speaking of people who can't afford extensive English or French classes but can afford smartphone or internet access, have you seen and ?

Maybe once Duolingo is ready to add interface languages again, it can go for the African market the way it has already gone for the Latin American market?

June 23, 2015

I doubt there would be much call for English for Swedish speakers, either :)

June 25, 2015

Very nice research!

I would think, though, that one could safely take off Chinese for French or Spanish speakers from the list, until there is a course in Chinese for English speakers. If/since there are issues with non-alphabet languages, I'm assuming they'd want to do the English one first and iron out any problems with it, before starting other courses with the same or similar issues.

June 21, 2015

That's exactly what I was thinking. A Thai course for English speakers is also unlikely, because from what I understand, the writing system is totally wacky. Obviously Chinese and Japanese will still have to wait for English speakers as well.

June 21, 2015

To anyone else who is curious, has a lot of information on written Thai. :)

June 21, 2015

Thank you! :)

You're right about the issues with languages that don't use alphabets. Portuguese for French speakers does seem more likely to be the next course than Chinese for French speakers does.

June 21, 2015

I keep hearing rumors for Finnish for English Speakers and Indonesian for English Speakers coming. I know they'll probably be added sometime this year, just not sure when. Japanese for English speakers isn't coming any time soon. The contributors are working hard, but the way Duolingo is set up, isn't really ideal for learning the language.

June 21, 2015

I want to be hearing those rumors! B-)

10 lingots for mentioning Finnish!

June 21, 2015

> Russian for Swedish speakers

Just an aside: Swedish for Russian speakers would be awesome.

Oh, and Way to go! for the Russian for English team! And for all the other Russian-related teams w/ courses in the works.

June 22, 2015

Thanks! That's great! I'd seen a note or two about the possibility a while ago but did not realize it was in the incubator. That would be a perfect way to try to improve Russian and begin to learn Swedish.

June 22, 2015

You know, one of the prolific figures behind the SV→EN course, Arnauti, is a Swede who happens to know Russian and English. So... :)

June 23, 2015

Thanks, Shady_arc. I'm not ready to begin on another new language yet, much as I would like to. (We must avoid temptation!) I have enough languages just half learned, as it is. In 2-3 months, maybe I can begin. From his "Лента" he seems like a really great guy.

June 24, 2015

You're welcome! :)

June 22, 2015
  • Courses for speakers of languages other than English. We English speakers already have 22 Duolingo courses (including the ones still in the incubator). German speakers and Spanish speakers each get only 7. French, Italian, Portuguese, and Russian speakers each get only 4. Chinese speakers get only 3. Turkish speakers get only 2. The rest each get only 1 or 0. :/

I think you might need to double check those numbers. Including those in the incubator I find English has 23 rather than 22, German has 3 rather than 7, and Spanish has 6 rather than 7. I think some of the numbers you have are for the number of courses teaching that language rather than the number of courses taught to that language (this error would also change some of your course predictions later on).

June 21, 2015

Thanks for catching that mistake! :)

June 21, 2015

I would love for there to be more courses for speakers of German. It would give me a chance to both learn and practice.

June 21, 2015

+7 ? Nobody likes a show-off, Team Hindi ;)

But seriously, I'm sure the developers will be pleased to read your positive feedback on the improvements they have made to the incubator software and processes. It's important work that most of us don't see.

I continue to be happy to see the progress that non-English language pairs are making. Helping to widen the net of duolingo's language coverage.

June 22, 2015

Russian for English - 85% | 88% | 90% | 91% (+1)


June 22, 2015

Just 2% more, and then the Hebrew team will be recruiting a bunch more contributors... hopefully meaning a speedy summer!

June 21, 2015

I kept hitting refresh all day, finally the update is here!

I am a bit dismayed by the slow progress of the Hungarian and Thai teams, I am anxiously waiting for both of these languages.

June 21, 2015

Had you "followed" the last week's WIU, you would have noticed this comment:$comment_id=9213489

June 21, 2015

Yeah..Hungarian going 1% every two months...

June 23, 2015

The Hindi team's motivation is impressive. I'm guessing it will be the biggest beta group yet ! 5 months and 2 days to go.

हिन्दी टीम की प्रेरणा प्रभावशाली है। मैं यह अभी तक की सबसे बड़ी बीटा समूह हो जाएगा लग रहा है ! 5 महीने और 2 दिन जाने के लिए।

It's gonna be amazing (and a challenge) !

June 22, 2015

Still waiting for Suomi..

June 22, 2015
June 23, 2015

Great work, Team Hindi. So happy to see how productive you guys are.

June 22, 2015

[deactivated user]

    I am looking forward to Russian.

    June 23, 2015

    This week Incubator update was not long. But it was good. Since, you guys are making lessons for writing system, then you can take advantage of more words in creating beginning lessons. : ) .

    June 22, 2015

    Thanks jitengore, looking forward to Hindi! :D

    June 23, 2015

    Why Catalan doesn't go on growing up ?

    June 22, 2015

    Holidays :) Bona revetlla de Sant Joan!

    June 23, 2015

    Okey !! Espero que et posin un reforç perquè de ben segur que és molta feina.

    Gràcies per l'esforç i el temps que hauràs d'estar invertint.

    Espero que treguis alguna cosa positiva de tot plegat.

    Ànims !!! I a seguir pujant aquest percentatge com toca !!

    June 23, 2015

    Tant de bo, que sol és molt feixuc! Gràcies pels ànims!

    June 24, 2015
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