Duolingo: Gaming the Language Barrier

Curator: Scribble Tone
date: November 20, 2012
Categories: Experience Design
Tags: education, games, system design, Translation
Overview video

Duolingo is on our list because of its cleverly designed system for teaching foreign languages: The lessons are presented as a fun and addictive game environment. While building vocabulary, you win points and progress through levels.

What really makes Duolingo a standout among the competition is the live website translation mode. Snippets are given to you based on your skill level. Your answers are then compared with other submissions to create a more accurate translation, smoothing out the bumps of a robot translator. The user gains real world translation skills, while helping real websites.

Vocabulary overview

Vocabulary lesson detail

Translation detail with hover state translation

Duolingo makes its money on the translation service, so users don’t have to worry about subscription fees, advertising or having their private information sold.

This is an inspiring solution that combines technology and communities to address several challenges we are currently facing in translating and dispersing information on the web.
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