|Slogan||With Duolingo you learn a language for free while helping to translate the web|
|Type of site||Online education, Translation, Crowdsourcing|
|Created by||Antonio Navas, Brendan Meeder, Hector Villafuerte, José Fuentes, Luis von Ahn, Marcel Uekermann, Severin Hacker, and Vicki Cheung|
|Launched||30 November 2011|
Duolingo is a free language-learning website and crowdsourced text translation platform. The service is designed so that, as users progress through the lessons, they simultaneously help to translate websites and other documents. As of December 2012[update], the site offers Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, and Italian courses for English speakers, as well as English for Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian speakers. They plan to offer Chinese. Duolingo started its private beta on 30 November 2011, and accumulated a waiting list of more than 300,000 users. Duolingo launched for the general public on 19 June 2012.
Duolingo employs a crowd sourced model, where members of the public are invited to translate content and vote on translations. Documents can be added to Duolingo for translation with an upload account which must be applied for. Duolingo offers extensive language learning lessons and tools with a skill tree which users can progress through and a vocabulary section where learned words can be practised.
Users gain "skill points" as they learn a language, such as when they complete a lesson. The site maintains a translations area where users can translate web content, and are awarded skill points for doing so.
Skills are considered "learned" when users complete all the lessons associated with the skill, and "mastered" after completing a set number of translations somewhat related to the skill. Up to 13 points are awarded per lesson, with one deducted for each mistake. Users start with four "lives" on early lessons, and three on later lessons, a "life" is lost with each mistake. A user must retry the lesson if they make a mistake after all lives have been lost.
Duolingo also includes a timed practice feature, where users are given 30 seconds and twenty questions and awarded a skill point and seven additional seconds for each correct answer.
The project was started by Carnegie Mellon Professor Luis von Ahn (creator of reCAPTCHA) and his graduate student Severin Hacker, and then developed also with Antonio Navas, Vicki Cheung, Marcel Uekermann, Brendan Meeder, Hector Villafuerte, and Jose Fuentes. The project was originally sponsored by Luis von Ahn's MacArthur fellowship and a National Science Foundation grant and is mainly written in the programming language Python. Additional funding was later received in the form of an investment from Union Square Ventures and actor Ashton Kutcher's firm A-Grade Investments.
On November 13, 2012, Duolingo made its iPhone app available to the public through the iTunes App Store. The app can be downloaded for free and is compatible with most iPhone, iPod, and iPad devices.
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