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Duolingo will translate the internet while teaching languages

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The Duolingo project crowdsources translation by letting users learn a language while translating sentences from the internet. Currently, the service is in closed beta for Spanish and German, but other languages will be added in time.


A new project by one of the creators of the CAPTCHA (that impossible-to-read text that sites use to make you prove you're human) aims to crowdsource translating the internet by letting people learn while they translate. Duolingo, currently in closed beta, assesses a user's language skill, then gives them sentences to turn from either Spanish or German into English (French, Italian, and Chinese are coming later). Depending on their skill level, they'll get anything from complex work to simple phrases like "Where is the library?," with the option to see possible matches if they aren't sure of the meaning of a word. After finishing a translation, users will get help memorizing the words they had trouble with. They can also rate the quality of other translations.

There's not a lot of information available yet, but according to a Fast Company article, over 100,000 people are on Duolingo's waiting list, and the service has translated 10,000 sentences since its inception on November 30th. A sample sentence showed very similar results for a sentence translated both by Duolingo users and a professional translator, giving us hope that the service will prove useful to both students and readers.