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Nitpicking on the first sentence of unfinished articles

I'm thinking of articles like this one: http://www.duolingo.com/translation/5cca906ae6ec547714004a1802cd9aaa. The translation is unfinished, but there are 9 versions of the first sentence, several of which are perfectly cromulent. Whywhywhywhywhywhywhy?

October 15, 2013



The phenomenon of akrasia, that's why. Everybody knows that it is better to translate the untranslated parts but starts from the beginning nevertheless. It has riddled philosophers for centuries and there is an interesting article in the German wikipedia about it. :)


The beginning of any lengthy written material always has more readers, whether it is a newspaper article, or a web page, or a book. It helps you to know what the rest is about and decide whether you are interested in more. It can be a mistake to start translating something in the middle if you don't know how it starts. If you read the beginning of the translation and find something wrong, you are naturally inclined to correct it. I don't see any weakness of will here. If anything, it's sensible information processing.


If people were all translating as well as you generally do, it wouldn't bother me so much, and as I indicated in the original statement, I'm not upset about anyone correcting something that is incorrect. Obviously, that's a good thing for everyone involved. I think it's fine to read the article, but I don't think it's necessary to really engage in really subtle wordsmithing on an already decent translation when a good chunk of the article is going untranslated.


I did think about that, yes.


Somewhere in the last paragraphs of the article it is explained very lucidly. It all becomes clear.


there's a recursion joke in here somewhere.


I just checked if you uploaded the article. You did not. Otherwise I would have called you a genius in preparing recursion jokes.


I am rarely using immersion but here is my suggestion. Perhaps Duolingo could set up a system of language specific immersion moderators that would have final say in choosing the sentence among the best ones.

Article in unfinished state for a certain amount of time + lots of different versions of the same sentence = the system notifies the immersion moderator/s :) What do you think ?


That might be good. sometimes it feels like an old fashioned edit war on wikipedia. And yes, I have occasionally cared enough to edit a mostly okay sentence myself, usually for something like less vs. fewer, which some people might rightly call nitpicking..


That is a great idea! It would also solve the problem of people reverting back to a translation that is literally correct but doesn't work in English at all.


I think that would be great. Obviously they would prioritise the sponsored articles if this happens. I would add -either lots of versions of the same sentence or lots of edits (back and forth, back and forth!)


Guilty sheepish grin


I don't understand what you mean.


What I mean is, when you see an article that still needs a lot of translating, why worry about a subtle word choice in the first sentence that has been changed 8 times already instead of going to an untranslated sentence and working on that?

I want to know if anyone else finds this frustrating.


Just as there are many people using internet discussion boards whose CAPS LOCK key is stuck in the activated position, there are, doubtlessly, many without working scroll wheel or arrow keys.

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