[Foundation-l] Duolingo, potential way of getting good quality translations?

Amir E. Aharoni amir.aharoni at mail.huji.ac.il
Mon Jan 16 08:44:41 UTC 2012

It is not 280+ languages, but it is more than English to Spanish and
most likely more languages can be added. I already tried using it to
study German, and i was very positively impressed with their nice
exercise system.

My guess is that at a later stage they'll want to employ crowdsourcing
techniques to get people to manually translate sentences as exercises
to build a large corpus of translations, or maybe somehow use the
language courses to correct machine translations. There's nothing
wrong about it and we can try to collaborate there and get their users
to translate some things that would be useful for us. For example,
summaries of important articles from English and French Wikipedias to
smaller languages that don't have them yet, or articles about the
local cultures to larger languages.

They seem to be rather open and friendly to modern technologies and
Free software: When I noticed that they use Flash for audio, i emailed
them about it and said that it's unfortunate that they use this
outdated technology instead of HTML5. They actually replied and said
that they plan to replace it with HTML5 as soon as modern browsers
support the audio features they require. So it's probably possible to
approach them with more ideas for collaboration.

Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
‪“We're living in pieces,
I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬

2012/1/16 Gerard Meijssen <gerard.meijssen at gmail.com>:
> Hoi,
> It is nice but it is from English to Spanish and seriously, we support 280+
> languages so it is interesting but not that relevant.
> Thanks,
>    Gerard
> On 16 January 2012 02:19, Liam Wyatt <liamwyatt at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> I just found this today, from New Scientist: "learn a language, translate
>> the web"
>> http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21328476.200-learn-a-language-translate-the-web.html
>> It's an article about a startup (from the same fellow who did ReCaptcha)
>> that provides language lessons by asking the students to translate
>> sentences from websites - Duolingo http://duolingo.com/ The examples used
>> in their own video and also the New Scientist article are all about
>> translating the English Wikipedia into Spanish. Has anyone had any contact
>> with them before?
>> Whilst this project provides language lessons at no-cost I do NOT expect
>> this system to be "free" in the FOSS sense. Nevertheless, if the
>> translations are valuable, and the project proves to be popular (generating
>> lots of translations), do we think it would be worthwhile to contact the
>> organisation to try and feed their "best" wikipedia translations back into
>> the Wikipedias as suggestions? Perhaps a bot could place it on the talkpage
>> of existing articles by under the heading of "suggested content from en.wp
>> by crowdsourced translations"? Though, I don't know how it would work for
>> articles that don't exist in that language yet...
>> From a legal standpoint I believe translations are derivative works and
>> therefore, because of the Share-Alike principle, the translations are
>> already legally compatible to be re-imported.
>> Just a thought, no idea if it can work in practice though. In any case,
>> Duolingo seems to be an interesting project and time will tell whether it
>> actually is a useful method for people to learn a language (or not)!
>> -Liam
>> Peace, love & metadata
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