https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Luis

Incubator update: starting to invite moderators!

Today we started sending invitation emails to a small number of moderators for the Incubator. As I mentioned before, our plan is to ramp up slowly so that we can make sure we get this just right.

The first wave of courses to be incubated are:

  • Learning English from Mandarin
  • Learning English from Polish
  • Learning English from Japanese
  • Learning English from Russian

Additionally, many of you have noticed progress in other languages. That's because we're also using the Incubator ourselves to create the following two courses:

  • Learning English from German
  • Learning Portuguese from Spanish (made partly by yours truly!)

For each language, we picked 3 moderators based on a number of factors, including how well their applications were written (protip #1: grammatical mistakes in your application do not inspire confidence), and how familiar they were with Duolingo (protip #2: giving us your username is a good idea). Additionally, for a given language combination, we tried to have at least one person who is native in each language.

Thousands of people have applied, including Harvard professors, creators of their own languages, and polyglots who speak more than 7 languages. This means we had a really tough time picking only 3 mods for each language!

If you did not get an invitation today, fear not! Over the next few weeks we will gradually add more languages, moderators and contributors. Additionally, the moderators for each language will be able to add contributors themselves, so don't be surprised if you get tapped for one of the language courses we're already working on.

Thank you for all of your support and patience!

October 22, 2013

104 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/magicfiresnake

Good luck! If this works out well, Duolingo will make history. It is a lifechanger for many of us already. In 5 years "learning a foreign language" will be synonym with "duolinging" same as we use the term "googeling" for "searching the web"

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dessert-Rose

Five years later...when I speak of language learning I think "Duolingo".

January 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Larisa_L

Thank you for reminding me about this discussion :)

January 15, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rkuprov

I'm so excited to help out with Russian I can't even begin to say it!

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Larisa_L

Wow, I'm the second moderator then, I'm really glad. I served as a language coordinator on TED talks and that was an amazing experience, I'm sure it will be the same here. Give us a couple of weeks, guys, and we'll be able to add other contributors, and we will count on you, so stay excited :)

October 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sumake99

Congratulations! I also applied, but didn't hold my hopes up. Writing an essays is not my forte. But I really want that English for Russians course going.

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rkuprov

I'll work my hardest to get it out fast and in the best quality possible!

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dr.Manhattan95

You sir are a good man.

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EvelynK.

I am so looking forward to the result! :) thanks in advance!!

October 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bbrodriges

I have participated to English for Russians as well.

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/oskalingo

Congrats to the chosen moderators of the new courses - two East European and two East Asian, a nice balance. Good luck with your efforts in the coming weeks, months ... and years :)

And congrats too, to the duolingo staff. So much has been achieved already and this now is the start of the next great chapter.

I think it's easy for us, the users, to gloss over all the support work and gritty details that the duolingo staff are dealing with behind the scenes, mostly without hiccoughs. They take on ambitious projects without flinching. Indeed, with just the English for Mandarin speakers course they are taking on some very big new challenges. They will have to greatly increase their computer server resources to deal with the probable very large influx of new users. (There are of course, many people in China who are keen to learn English.) And they will have some headaches in adapting to the various varieties of Android used in the Chinese market, for example the MIUI interface used by China's fifth biggest mobile manufacturer, Xiaomi. Good luck!

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nitram.

Amazing! Go Duolin-go! :)

(i hope Hungarian makes it to one of the next waves...)

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gephura

That would be amazing. I want to learn Hungarian so badly!

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nitram.

Thank you for the support. :) It's a tough language though. But i think many has the desire to learn tough languages here.

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Levi
  • 2073

@Gephura : Do you know any Hungarian yet?

October 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gephura

Some yeah, I took a course while I was on Erasmus in Budapest so I can basically say jó napot and hogy vagy and the like.

October 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gephura

But it would be so useful to know more words and some grammar, as some family of mine lives there.

October 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Krahi

Uf,i can't even imagine how hard it will be to build Hungarian course

October 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lolobanana

me too :)

March 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zach1337

Danke für das Update!:)

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jrikhal

Hi Luis,

I'm curious, did you select this four languages because they have different writing systems (meaning non latin alphabet. Well, three of them: Polish has it but with some extra letters as ą, ć, ę etc.) and Duolingo want to test the way to teach a language that have not a latin alphabet? Or it's pure coincidence?

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pleiadian_

Demand... he stated that was their reasoning for choosing those on an earlier post.

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chilvence

It's not actually surprising that English from Polish is in high demand. I can't speak for the US, but in England, Polish is the second most spoken language after English, with 550,000 speakers.

I have no idea how many English speakers would consider learning Polish though. Unless you are married to a Pole, or have close Polish friends, or just want to get to know the Polish cultural presence in the UK, I think it feels a little bit impractical.

Although for what its worth, I will definitely give it a try, I would love to be able to understand the heated discussions of my colleagues better. They have a word that begins with K and it seems to be a very popular topic of discussion :)

October 27, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jrikhal

On an earlier post in this discussion? I don't see it.

October 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pleiadian_

No.

October 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aelfwyne

How long do you believe it would be before we see the reverse courses? That is, things for speakers of English to learn?

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dnovinc

"At first, you'll be able to build courses to learn English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Portuguese from any other language in the world. And before the end of the year, it will be possible to create courses in all combinations of languages." this is from when the Incubator was announced http://www.duolingo.com/comment/931353

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/michisjourdi

Before the end of the year, that's wonderful!

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/unPlatypus

With such a competition, no wonder I didn't get in :P

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dessamator

Harvard Professors?? I would have expected them to be added accepted almost immediately.

Just out of curiosity, are you setting a maximum number of contributors, or you can have more than 1000 contributors for a language?

I ask because if few people take for example, 640 hours to make up the current languages. 10000 people would make short work of that, leaving the moderators to act as proofreaders rather than translators themselves.

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zach1337

I don't see why being a Harvard professor would automatically make you a mod. Even if they are really good at a language, they need to have lots of time to dedicate to Duolingo. Many don't, I assume.

As for contributors, I hope there is no limit, but let's be realistic here. 3 mods could not manage 10,000 people. The course would end up as a disaster.

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dessamator

Guess you're right about the time constraint, although it may also be a boon. If I was an educator of some sort, I would just make an assignment to my students to collect text and proof-read dozens of texts. The students having access to good resources, and good training, would in turn probably produce good translations. Similar to what Professor Tanaka did (http://www.edrdg.org/wiki/index.php/Tanaka_Corpus), which resulted in a good database of sentences (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tatoeba).

In the IT/CS world, its always better to have more data rather than less. The open-source movement relies on many contributors and few moderators, and it is not a disaster, as you call it. It all depends on the moderators "management style" and ability.

Also, being a Professor in linguistics, probably exposes you to a lot of learners with different difficulties, and you will inevitably learn the right combination of words and cues to help a learner study. Besides, they can just review their HUGE catalog of previous test scripts to produce a lot of content.

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dnovinc

Here is something from Google hangout: "The first version of a course takes 3 months to be developed by a single person. It is best suited for 5-8 persons."

http://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/comments/1o8lbo/google_hangout_with_luis_founder_of_duolingo/ccpsab6

sorry, I know it doesn't answer your question...

In my opinion 3 mods could handle 3-8 contributors each. So I presume teams working on a course are not going to be bigger than 25 users.

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dessamator

Then it should take very little time. If it is:

  • 8 people = 90 /8 ~= 11.1 days + 10* ~= 21 days
  • 25 people = 90 /25 ~= 3.6 days + 10* ~= 14 days

*Extra days caused by conflicts and such

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/eliranh

It doesn't really work that way. Nine women can't deliver a baby in one month.

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/pont

OskaLingo beat me to it... required reading for all software engineers and managers, and still astonishingly relevant given that it was written in the age of the dinosaurs :)

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dessamator

Indeed, almost forgot about it. Although all theories can theoretically be discredited given enough time. Think of: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schrödinger's_cat

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dessamator

I just came across this thread again, and its funny how my estimation wasn't too far off. The fastest Duolingo course took exactly 27 days , and the following one 31 days (with less than 8 contributors if I recall correctly). It might have actually taken less time internally before Duolingo took care of their bugs at the time.

The fastest new language course took around 82 days, and that was close to Duolingo's own estimate of 3 months.

Unofficial Source.

June 3, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Usagiboy7

That's our Dessamator! ^_^

June 4, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dnovinc

I think 14 days is unrealistic since this is something that hasn't been done before. I hope they will take things slowly and check the course several times before promoting it to the second phase. Also we must take in account that moderators need to choose course contributors. So that as well is going to take some time.

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dessamator

I came across this thread. It is interesting how close my estimates were at the time. The courses generally have 3-4 people. 90/4 = 22.5 + 10 = 32 days, and the fastest course developers took 27 days, the second fastest 31 days, and most groups take 2 months or so.

June 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/iustitia

Only 3 mods for each languages? Oh yes, that's why it was so hard to get in. Congratulations and good luck, new moderators! I hope I can help someday with course anyway :)

But I am happy anyway that Polish was chosen as one of the languages in this wave.

Will it be possible to see who became mod? Just curious :)

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jrikhal

You'll see it soon here: http://incubator.duolingo.com.

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Goran12

Polish mods will be visible here (they're not there yet, will appear there soon): http://incubator.duolingo.com/courses/en/pl/status

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hamadstra

is it still possible to apply for new language combo's? [i.e. Dutch from English]

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Luis

Yes!

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ShawGib

I can't wait for new languages! This is an exciting time.

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MegaTeck

I applied for English ---> Arabic Speakers and I got this message for reply , I think that I am the only one who applied for arabic :P http://i.imgur.com/dpwhODe.png

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rkuprov

That's just the acknowledgment. The actual invitation looks a bit different.

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/e-nawar

You are not the only one. There are others including me applied for English from Arabic. Hope it will be available in the 2nd wave.

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MegaTeck

You are a native? ohh boy it will be hard :P

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/e-nawar

Yes, are you?

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MegaTeck

No lol but I used to live in an Arabic speaking country , but now I back to homeland (USA) .I learned MSA only.

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WitchofTime

As someone who wants to learn Arabic (MSA, then Egyptian) really badly this post just makes me really excited :)

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ASBusinessMagnet

Me too. Thankfully. (I applied for Lithuanian)

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FMCervantez

Lithuanian? Ah yes! Always wanted to learn some of the language

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ASBusinessMagnet

I suppose I could teach you some of it right now.

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TheGandalf

Got the same thing, though I applied for English for Italian speakers (not to be a moderator though) and my response was in Italian.

I guess no Duolingo staff know Arabic?

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TTANTAWY

No, you're not the only one! :P

October 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/alexandernext

Is Mandarin in this post Traditional or Simplified?

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kbrimington

It is simplified; that is, the Chinese of mainland China.

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Darkflemy

Polyglots of the world unite! Ahah! Thanks for the update Luis. ^^

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Puddleglum

I'm so excited about this. Does anyone know how soon the mods will be appearing?

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sommerlied

Awesome news, thank you so much! :D

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hamzath00

i hope tamil, hindi or arabic will be included in the next wave

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aaditsingh8

HINDI!! I'll surely be a contributor! I'm a native Hindi speaker!!

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hamzath00

i want to learn Hindi too

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aaditsingh8

Yup! i'm sure many native people would make a course for Hindi through English or any other languages

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CFJWilliamson

Why can't I see that contributors have been added from the Incubator?

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jrikhal

Because they have been invited, not added...

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CFJWilliamson

Thanks!

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rkuprov

I don't think they've started that process yet.

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CFJWilliamson

Thank you! I will no doubt be taking the Russian for English speakers course when that wave begins (I know that it will not be for a while yet)

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Puddleglum

They have now!

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/rkuprov

Yep! Just took the tutorial!

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Puddleglum

I'm ecstatic! I wish you luck and I can't wait to at least play with the courses, though I speak nothing buy English fluently.

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CFJWilliamson

Some pictures of the Incubator would be great :)

October 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Larisa_L

http://imgur.com/a/RzrO5 - only a small part and with a bug which has been fixed.

October 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CFJWilliamson

Thank you! There is also another picture here: http://imgur.com/L6z3S9I

October 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TTANTAWY

I'm so freaking happy right now! You guys couldn't pick better languages for the first wave; 3 of these 4 I'd like to learn eventually. I want to thank everyone who has been/will be involved in advance. Thank you so much for what you're doing and what you continue to do.

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Grinchforest

I have a question. There were 7 incubators and 1 dissapeared. Which one and what has happened?

October 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PuntoH

Great ! , I've been waiting for this update.

Thank you Duolingo !!

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kbrimington

Luis, will the beta phase be comprised of language experts as well, or will you invite novices (like myself) to participate in that early phase?

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jean-Droid

I applied for French for Dutch speaking, anyone else did id?

October 22, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SDL_1987

Dutch for French speaking here ;)

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/darioitoni

I wod want to learn russian

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Goran12

Wait, courses to learn other languages from English should appear at the beginning of 2014 (end of this year to start contributing to them + some time to make the courses).

But if you have some basics from elsewhere, you can try the "English for Russians" course too; it should be among the first to get to beta.

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/igor_voltaic

Well, hope my help will be accepted. Really want to help with English from Russian.

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vedun

When will be the second wave of language courses? I can't find this information anywhere.

October 23, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Red_Rat_Writer

Any news about Esperanto?

October 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ernestd

The application form of the incubator lets you add new languages you speak but not in the drop down of languages to teach. Any reason why?

October 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoachimSch

Great, thanks for the Update and all your work!

May I ask when "Learning French from German" will be available?

October 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbraxunsIllusion

May I be of use?

October 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbraxunsIllusion

You could do Serbian

October 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/linguafiqari

Why did you reply to yourself...?

October 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbraxunsIllusion

I WAS ADDING ON TO IT I meant to say I could do Serbian

October 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbraxunsIllusion

-.-

October 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbraxunsIllusion

:/

October 31, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dasands

This is awesome news. Can't wait for Hindi modules. ಠ_ಠ

October 24, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/umlaut.astronaut

Whenever you guys include Hebrew I'd be happy to hop in :)

October 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Larisa_L

I'll be happy to learn it. I used to live in Israel and speak Hebrew, but since I moved to the U.S. I have almost no practice. I would love to practice here. It would work great for me.

October 25, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nighteyes

I've applied for Hebrew->English. I really hope that I could be included in the building of the course, I've been waiting for it since they anounced the Incubator.

October 26, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/musah2000

how do you ivite a friend to duolingo

February 18, 2019
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