Can't mark faulty popular translations any more.

Diotallevi de Germany

When I made a mistake in the translation line, until now I could mark that translation as wrong (set the number of usages of that particular translation to zero), that was the only way of erasing such errors.

Today I noticed I can't do this right now, I can merely look at/use popular translations but I can't edit them any more. What happened?

Btw, in an ideal world, translations I have once written should be editable from my account without creating a new translation every time I see an error in them or want to improve them. Will this be possible one day?

Thanks.

February 07 at 23:32
  • TraceyG us United States

    I am puzzled by your post. I have long found many translations for the Russian lessons to be

    inaccurate (the most common error is that whoever created them doesn't understand the meaning/role of the grammatical cases used so who is doing what to whom is incorrectly translated).

    Whenever I see something that is wrong, I change the translation. I don't know anything about erasing the number of uses, I just insert the correct translation. The correction appears in my review exercises so I am assuming that they remain in the lesson for others to use since I also receive statistics that X number of my translations have been used by others. (Of course someone could change my translation to something else in the future but the translation that appears on my own vocabulary list remains the one I corrected.)

    Thus, in my own experience (I also change incorrect translations of Spanish lessons), it is possible to change an incorrect translation regardless of how many times it has been accepted by prior users. (Why they are accepting the mistakes is mystery to me since often the translation is waaaaay off and doesn't make sense. If one doesn't understand what a phrase or word in a particular context truly means, certainly one cannot use it correctly in the future. By far the most pervasive problems seems to be: (1) users don't understand the grammatical construction of given phrases or sentences;, and (2) users don't understand that words can have different meanings in given contexts and that one should choose the correct one for that context in order to use it correctly in the future. (One can add that a word has a different meaning in a different context but I don't understand using a translation that makes no sense in a given context.) Sometimes these errors even occur in a lesson that specifically addresses the grammatical construction or lexical distinctions that are incorrectly translated!

    Anyway, perhaps I've misunderstood your post, but I have had no problems correcting translations when warranted for either Russian or Spanish lessons.

    February 08 at 16:10
    • aitchemm gb United Kingdom

      One thing I do notice when adding my own translation, and going back to the word to select it, only my translation appears. However, the incorrect translation has not disappeared, and is merely hidden from me. I know this because I have found that when I ignore the word I just 'corrected' - I do this for words that I have corrected but knew the meaning of before correcting - the old incorrect translations re-appear. I also note that when I come across the same word elsewhere e.g. later in the text, the incorrect translations appear. Therefore, I believe that the corrected translation I have made only appears on the specific page that I corrected, and on other pages my correction appears alongside the incorrect translations. I should state that the corrections I have made are on private documents, and as such other members are unable to view them.

      You are correct though about translations being way of. It is clear that non-natives are correcting text without proper knowledge of the English language. I presume this will also be the case for e.g. native Spaniards reading corrected Spanish text. It is also clear that many are taking words and phrases directly from Google Translate without any proper research into the contexts they're used in. Some of the the phrases are complete gobbledegook and some words don't even exist in the language or are grammatically incorrect. See 'uncomplete' being upvoted numerously over the correct 'incomplete'. The upvoting of the incorrect translation also lends credence to it being correct, as 'how could so many people be wrong?'. It is frustrating not to be able to correct mistakes made by people who've no grasp of the grammatical structure of a language nor any mastery of it. Meanwhile, the same mistake will continue to appear later in a document or in other documents, even though I've already 'corrected' it.

      February 10 at 11:19
      • Diotallevi de Germany

        Hi aitchemm :-)

        "is merely hidden from me."

        Please have a look at a LingQ you have created. Under the text field containing the hint you entered you can see two buttons: "all dictionaries" and "popular translations". Click the latter and you will see all the translations that have been used by other LingQ members and yourself.

        " many are taking words and phrases directly from Google Translate"

        Yes, that's what I think, too. As I wrote in my answer to TraceyG's statement, I think in many cases these learners will know the word they are creating a (false) lingQ for quite well but won't care about the hint it contains, thus ignoring the fact that they are polluting the learning environment for others.

        February 11 at 23:15
        • aitchemm gb United Kingdom

          Yes, I know I can do that, but what I meant is when I go back over the text in which I highlighted a word and I click on that word, the popular translations are hidden and it only presents me with the translation I added. As I said, when I go to the same word in another text I haven't covered it will automatically show me a number of translations.

          I agree that many don't care about the hint. This is a massive problem with gamification in language learning. The emphasis is on not breaking your streak and having this 'target' for words 'learned', rather than on making meaningful progress. I detest gamification. It is designed to get you hooked and make you feel guilty for not having achieved these often arbitrary targets. It is one thing I hate about Lingq, not to mention Memrise which is much worse, and all of those other language learning apps. I want to feel as if I'm genuinely learning, and not as if I'm being scolded for not going fast enough and pressurised into going at a rate of noughts just to hit your target for the day, but I guess that's a whole other argument.

          February 13 at 20:56
    • Diotallevi de Germany

      Hi TraceyG, sorry for the late answer.

      You wrote "I change the translation."

      Well, in fact you don't. You create a new one. Whenever you edit a translation someone else wrote and press 'enter', you create a new hint. You can look at the collections of hints available for a specific word or phrase by clicking 'popular translations'.

      Let's say 3 people used translation #1, 1 person #2, 1 person #3.

      Now you come along and add something to translation #1. You will see that a translation #4 appears in the list, used by one person (you) while translation #1 stays untouched.

      Until a few days ago, you had the option to edit these translations. You could mark a false translation as such. LingQ staff were to look after translations that had been marked as wrong twice and remove them. That was THE cleanup mechanism for garbage translations. It has vanished now.

      I never looked for wrong translations. When I needed the function, it was mostly because I had had something to add to a translation I had written or misspelled something.

      Sadly the edit option is gone now, that's what I meant in my original posting.

      I am learning modern Greek here, a language with a wide variety of verb forms, and I use LingQ to acquire these forms. But this consumes much too much time.

      When I am working on a lesson on my phone, I don't have the time to look up these details, I prefer just to write down the translation(s) I find.

      Ideally, the system should allow me to edit my own translation later when I know more about the word.

      To stay in my situation, I think the majority of the Greek learners has chosen Google translate as their preferred translation source (also the default setting). Google translate does two things:

      1) It offers you exactly one translation.

      2) It often offers you erroneous translations when you ask for single words while it is good at translating whole sentences or phrases.

      About 1: Just as you wrote, you often need three or more translations instead of the one that's often presented to you by the system. I think the automatic translation is to blame here. You can help yourself by selecting a more powerful dictionary from the menu, or look at popular translations first. A strength of Google translate on the other hand is that it deals with different forms of verbs/nouns directly, while using standard dictionaries you first have to figure out what the basic form is.

      About 2: I just found a good, representative example of what happens often when I use LingQ on Greek words (system language German):

      word I am looking for:

      " Είδε"

      Correct translation:

      Er/sie/es sah (English: he/she/it saw)

      3 people fortunately used my super precise hint:

      "sehen 3PsAor"

      i.e. my abbreviation for third person singular, aorist of sehen(English: see).

      2 people, probably before I offered my hint, had used this hint:

      "Säge" (English: saw (the tool for cutting wood etc))

      This happens all the time until someone comes up with a valid translation.

      Why do so many learners use false translations? I guess it is because on the one hand they want to collect LingQs (in order to preserve their activity streak), and on the other hand they want to progress. So what would a user with these two objectives in mind do when he/she sees a well known word that is still blue?

      I'd say he/she will create a LingQ for it (standard setting is auto LingQ creation when you click a blue word) whithout controlling if the hint that is automatically added is correct, and voilà, the number of users voting for a completely absurd translation rises.

      February 11 at 23:04
  • El_Tejano_Guero ca Canada

    AND, a pervasive problem throughout the Lingq platform is a TOTAL LACK of administrative cleanup of the program.

    It is sad that you MUST know the proper language (grammar and vocabulary) of your target language. If you don’t know it, you learn junk ...

    Does Lingq have a process for removing the bad vocabulary?

    February 11 at 21:10
    • Lucas43 br Brazil

      "If you don't know it, you learn junk" 😂😂

      February 11 at 21:19
    • Diotallevi de Germany

      Hm, LingQ is the language learning platform where the user is in charge, the platform for grown-up learners.

      That's a *good* thing.

      If qualified users could erase or block incorrect translations, learning would be much easier and more efficient for beginners. IMO, qualified means advanced in that target language. LingQ.com could ask users to volunteer via the forum...

      February 11 at 23:29
  • Diotallevi de Germany

    Any reactions from the team to be expected? The question is 4 days old by now...

    February 11 at 23:40
    • TraceyG us United States

      I confess that I never looked at the function, "popular translations," and thus didn't click on it. However, reading the above posts, I just corrected something new in a lesson and saw that my correction appeared as a new alternative, rather than as correction of an erroneous (and very popular) previous translation. I agree that this is a serious flaw in the system. Those who assume that a popular incorrect translation is correct, will use it and thereby further encourage its inappropriate use.

      I did not start either Russian or Spanish from scratch on LingQ and thus had a grammatical and lexical foundation that enabled me to question many of the translations on LingQ. I then did the extra work to find out what the words did in fact mean in a given context. Still, I have long questioned what those who accept and use popular incorrect translations are in fact learning. If one doesn't understand what a phrase or sentence truly means, there is no way one can use it properly.

      Indeed, incorrect translations undermine the core premise of LingQ's approach which is based on repeated exposure to authentic vocabulary and correct grammar. If the learner is being exposed to incorrect translations, his/her learning is undermined. Even worse, the learner may at some point discover the mistake but then he/she will have to spend a lot of time "un-learning" those incorrect translations.

      In short, LingQ needs to figure out a way not to passively enable faulty grammar and blatantly incorrect translations to gain popularity, thereby infusing them with misplaced authority. Perhaps one step would be to remove the number of times each translation variant is used. Since popularity does not necessarily correlate with accuracy, eliminate it. In this way, the user will have to make a decision which translation to use based upon his/her knowledge of grammar and on research regarding the meaning of the word(s) in a given context. Further, as noted above, one could reinstate the ability to CHANGE incorrect translations.

      February 12 at 19:02
      • El_Tejano_Guero ca Canada

        DITTO!

        February 13 at 00:30
  • El_Tejano_Guero ca Canada

    How do I flag this to get Admin attention?

    Besides the old BUMP function?

    February 13 at 00:32
    • TraceyG us United States

      I just sent a message to the Administrator directly, recommending that they read this entire thread on the forum and then brainstorm how to address the issue.

      February 13 at 01:03
      • Diotallevi de Germany

        Thank you so much :-)

        February 13 at 22:54
      • Diotallevi de Germany

        Still nothing :-(

        Saturday at 20:51
  • Administrator
    mark ca Canada

    Sorry for taking so long to respond here. This is an important issue that we discuss often.

    Just by reading this thread, I can see that the fundamental process is still not necessarily understood. As has been explained here, you are not editing a translation if you edit it in your own LingQ. All you are doing is creating a new one. Basically, all translations have been created by other members and we show the most popular ones in the blue pane when you click on a word. You can see them all in the Popular Translations window.

    Yes, it isn't great that some common words can have incorrect translations showing. Our hope was that users would figure this out and choose the correct translations more, so that incorrect ones would fade away. This doesn't always seem to happen. Partly this is because users don't really understand that the translations are suggestions and that if they're not sure, they should check the dictionaries and create your own.

    The ability to Edit translations and rankings was removed for non-admins recently because it was felt that it could lead to issues with users having their translations corrected unwillingly. At the same time, there are a lot of incorrect translations or translations with typos etc.. that would be nice to fix. We would consider putting it back if users prefer having this ability. The fact is that most users don't use it. The purpose of the editing function isn't to enable users to edit hints the way they like to see them but rather to remove wrong translations and foreign language translations.

    As for the translations themselves, people like different translations. Personally, I try to find as short a translation as possible without any grammatical markings or extraneous information. I just want the translation and, if there are multiple, I separate them with semi colons. Others, as mentioned in this thread, like to add this information. How you like the translations is obviously up to you. The most important thing we are after here is the elimination of incorrect translations.

    Sunday at 00:19
    • musicserver77 ca Canada

      I would rather deal with faulty translations than with an incorrect edit of one of my correct translations. There will always be this problem with crowd-sourced materials. Translation seems a tricky business, very context dependant, google is often wrong and at any rate the objective is to move away from the bad habit of translating into one’s native language.

      Sunday at 04:50
    • RicardoA us United States

      Hi Mark,

      I definitely miss the Edit feature, which I felt allowed Premium members the chance to volunteer to improve the LingQ experience for themselves and others.

      I think a good compromise would be to make these edits only affect the public visibility of hints, not each individual user’s privately viewable LingQ database.  That way if a hint is “deleted” for being incorrect, it’s actually just hidden from being publicly viewable and still appears to those users who already had it selected in their account (but not to anyone who hasn’t LingQed that word yet).

      Before the feature was removed, I used the Edit function frequently to

      1. remove flagrantly incorrect translations
      2. fix typos or mistakes in hints that I created myself
      3. occasionally put translations back to the correct language (moving Lithuanian hints from the English tab to the Lithuanian tab, for example)

      I didn’t use it every session, but I certainly found it to be a very helpful tool.  When I make mistakes in my hints now, it’s frustrating to not be able to fix them for the community, since whenever I fix a hint, a new hint is created and the old hint is unaffected.  Sometimes this is just a typo, but other times the mistake is more substantial.

      The Edit feature came in very handy when I found some really terribly mistranslations, particularly when reading in Spanish on LingQ.  It would be something along the lines of claiming that amigo means “bitter” or tener means “to be."  Often that would be the #1 most popular hint with dozens, or even hundreds, of users choosing it.

      There were other, more plausible translations, that would start off with the correct translation but then add secondary translations that were incorrect but seemed right if you didn’t know any better.  Some of these were pretty sinister in the sense that I thought I was learning a secondary meaning to a word I already knew, but when I double-checked in several dictionaries, I found that the secondary meaning in the LingQ hint was spurious.

      Overall, the LingQ community hints are extremely useful and a big time saver, but a quality control method like I suggested above (where incorrect hints can be hidden from the public but not the users who already selected them) would add a lot of value.

      Sunday at 18:41
      • Administrator
        mark ca Canada

        @RicardoA and everyone here - I think that is the way we are going to go. We will reinstate that feature for our Premium users but those who have already used whichever translation has been edited will not see their saved translations altered. Only future viewers of the translations will see the edited versions. Thanks everyone for your feedback! I will let you know when that goes back live.

        Monday at 21:15
        • RicardoA us United States

          Thanks, Mark!

          Wednesday at 04:37
        • Diotallevi de Germany

          A good solution, thank you very much :-)

          BTW, a good example of the status quo:

          "samtal", a very common Swedish word.

          Most popular German translation according to LingQ: "Google Übesetzung" (Google translation) chosen by 5 users followed by two versions of the correct translation "Gespräch" (talk, chat) chosen by 1/1 users. ;-)

          19 hours, 10 minutes ago