Review of Clozemaster: sentence quality

I’m learning Greek, and have been using Clozemaster for about 3 months now. Like another recent commenter, I went ‘Pro’ after only a few days, despite never bothering for Duolingo. I find the ability to make my own Cloze sentences from more difficult Greek texts extremely useful.

My main concern is with the quality of the Greek sentences, and their translations into English. I can’t entirely trust them, and sometimes spend quite a bit of time tracking down originals on tatoeba. Recently, for example, I encountered ‘Νόμιζα για τα αεροπλάνα’, which I believe is very bad Greek, and which was added to tatoeba by a non-native speaker and later changed.

But of course, as a learner, I’m often not quite sure if it’s a mistake, or simply an idiom I haven’t seen before.

I understand that paying someone to watch out for problems like this - in all those languages! - is economically impossible. But I think you need to consider upping your game in terms of the ease of discussion between users. That is one of the strengths of Duolingo. I know there are other Greek learners out there - I see them on the leaderboard - but the communication interface seems kludgy. And I hope that somehow we can find moderators willing to do a bit of quality control in Greek.

I still basically like the program. Thank you!


Thanks for the feedback and thanks for going Pro! What you’ve described is definitely a known issue and we’re working on ways to help improve communication between users as well as more easily facilitate moderation.

The plan at the moment is to move sentence discussion out of the forum so the forum is dedicated to discussion on broader topics and Clozemaster itself, and sentence discussions are dedicated to just that.

but the communication interface seems kludgy.

I’m curious to hear anything you might have in mind to make it smoother and what parts in particular you like as far as how Duolingo facilitates discussion between users.

sometimes spend quite a bit of time tracking down originals on tatoeba.

I’m also curious to hear from which part of Clozemaster you’re working from when you do this and how we might make that process easier and more transparent as well.

Work in progress! Thanks again!

Hi Mike -

Thank you for your reply. I will give further thought to what might be helpful, but just off the top of my head -

1 Part of the reason sentence discussions work in duolingo might be tradition and availability of moderators. People are used to asking questions and getting answers. On the Greek tree there are at least a couple of (as best I can tell) native speakers who regularly comment, sometimes at length. So the learner feels that they have back-up.

2 Once you have answered on duolingo, you have three big buttons/choices: Report, Discuss, Continue. The ‘Discuss’ button includes number of comments; if I see that a particular sentence has 20 comments, I will look to see what people are talking about.

At first, I wasn’t even aware that Clozemaster had a ‘discuss/comment’ option; it is a small button, not captioned, and grouped in with several other sentence options (ignore, etc.) Those options are great, by the way - but you might want to separate out ‘discuss’, caption it, and emphasize visually.

Ultimately, however, you really need native speakers. Without a native speaker we are the blind leading the blind. What about giving Greeks who are learning another language free access to pro in return for willingness to serve as a moderator?

You asked what part of Clozemaster I was working from when I went off to search tatoeba. Just the regular sentences. If I see a sentence that I find doubtful in terms of word usage I will check first on glosbe for other examples of the use of that word. If glosbe doesn’t help, or I’m still not sure, I will search for the sentence on tatoeba.

My Greek is good enough that I can catch obvious errors. Subtle ones, however, or idiomatic usage . . .

Do you get all sentences from tatoeba? Another suggestions would be to get stuff from a better source, like school books in Greek. There’s a ton of stuff on-line. I’m guessing, however, that the beauty of tatoeba is that you don’t need to worry about copyright, etc.

I hope this helps!


Frequently disappointed with the quality of the Swedish translations from German, I have become a member of Tatoeba and started making my own translations, in the hope that they will one day appear in Clozemaster.

You can find a link to the current sentence in Tatoeba in the “Report Error” dialog. How about making that link a bit more prominent?

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From what I can see, clozemaster draws all its sentences from tatoeba. Sentence improvements in tatoeba, however, are not making their way into clozemaster. For ‘Greek from English’, for example, clozemaster is at least 5 years behind tatoeba.

While tatoeba improves, clozemaster lags behind. What to do?

Several discussions about this topic on reddit:

I’m wondering how often the Clozemaster version is updated? Or is it frozen in place once you start a course?

What happens when I report a sentence? Does the tatoeba db get improved? I often use the report button on sentences. What happens with those sentences? Does anybody read and improve them? Do the changes get fed back into tatoeba?

Basically, how long does it take new sentences to get added to clozemaster from tatoeba?


Do you have any stats on how many need review?

Sorry, I have no stats. Furthermore, whether a sentence needs review or not is a matter of judgment.

My impression is that the direct translations are most often OK, whereas the indirect translations are often a bit off, mixing up genders and polite vs. informal address, etc. Sometimes the Cloze word has even gone missing from the translation.

‘Greek from English’ uses sentences from early 2010s latest, every 20th sentence having some issue.

@AmyJean thanks for all the feedback! That’s definitely helpful. Good point about the discuss button being more prominent. Getting moderators and native speakers a challenge we’re working on. All the sentences are indeed from Tatoeba at the moment for the reason you mentioned. Long term I’d like to incorporate sentences from other sources as well, though that’s still to be determined.

@morbrorper thanks for the reports for German from Swedish. Good point on making the Tatoeba link more prominent, will see what we can do. We’d added indirect translations from Tatoeba at some point like you mentioned, but they seem to be more problematic and we’ll likely work on removing them in the near future.

@WhatTheBlank most sentences are indeed from Tatoeba. How are you determining how far Clozemaster is behind Tatoeba? Clozemaster has only been around since 2016. :slight_smile: There were a few updates imported since then, and then a few more but only for some languages. We are indeed overdue for an update from Tatoeba and are working on building a system to automate the updates regularly.

What do you all think of being able to edit translations and possibly even the sentences on Clozemaster? I’m not yet sure how we might then make those changes available to other users, but it would at least help with quality issues on a per-user basis. Curious to hear what you think. Thanks for all the feedback!

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I randomly picked a sentence and looked at the timestamps on tatoeba: clozemaster uses v2013 instead of v2016.

I prefer to play/learn on clozemaster and work/contribute on tatoeba.

Make sentence quality an upstream problem and work more closely with tatoeba; maintained lists, corpus maintainers, active contributors, etc. (not a tatoeba expert myself).


I randomly picked a sentence and looked at the timestamps on tatoeba: clozemaster uses v2013 instead of v2016.

Tatoeba doesn’t have timestamps corresponding to versions. Each sentence has a history that can be seen via the sentence’s log (which you can see on the sentence’s page). If you randomly picked a sentence and looked at its log, all you would know would be the history of that sentence. Now, if you saw that a particular sentence had been modified on, say, January 1, 2018, but that the modification hadn’t made it into Clozemaster, you could guess that Clozemaster had imported the sentence no later than 2017. But even then, it’s possible that there was a later import that only included new sentences, not new versions of old sentences. You’d really have to ask someone at Clozemaster to find out the import history.

2013 Το παιδί σας ούρησε στην πάνα του.
2016 Το παιδί σας κατούρησε την πάνα του.

2011 I wonder what country will censor Tatoeban first.
2018 I wonder what country will censor Tatoeba first.

2011 added
2016 deleted

Clozemaster uses 2013 (Greek from English) and 2011 (Danish from English).

I’m playing sentences from early 2010s.

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The way I see it, quality needs to be improved upstream, i.e., in Tatoeba. That can only be achieved if more knowledgeable people start contributing.

And there has to be more frequent updates from Tatoeba into Clozemaster.

By the way, I am now going through the Spanish-Swedish material, and I can report that the translations of translations are causing a lot of confusion there as well. But if only direct translations were used, there would not be many sentences left, which would be worse.