Only getting Google Translate definitions on newly created lessons

I just created two new lessons. For all the new words in blue I am only getting a Google Translate definition instead of the usual three options. If I select a known word from the same text to create a link, the normal three options appear. In these new lessons (Spanish), the new words are nothing special. They must have been linked countless times, but somehow the system seems to be treating them as completely novel. What could explain this? The problem isn’t affecting any other lessons as far as I can tell.

This morning I created two new lessons from different sources. In these new lessons everything appears to be normal. Could something be amiss in the source files for the transcripts in the problematic lessons? I can’t see that anything is, but perhaps I am missing something. The files were prepared by a freelancer in the Philippines. I will send them via email and see if you can spot something in them that is causing the problem.

Are you sure that you have added it to the correct language?
The three options only appear if someone else has met this word before and added a hint. If no one has ever created a hint you’ll not see a suggestion. You have to add your own hint. You can use the integrated dictionaries to find a translation.

Veral – Thanks for the suggestion.

I think I’ve got this figured out. When I originally created the lessons, I only uploaded the audio. At the time, I didn’t yet have the transcripts ready. I wanted to listen to the podcasts and have LingQ include that in my activity data. In the form for the text of the lesson I simply put “TK” (an editorial abbreviation for “to come”). Later, when the transcripts were ready, I edited the lessons, and replaced the “TK” with the actual transcript. Somehow I think LingQ set the language based on “TK”. I just recreated one of the lessons from scratch, including the full transcript from the outset, and the problem isn’t affecting this new version.

I hereby suggest an addition to the LingQ “to do” list. Adapt the lesson-creating programming to allow for the use case just described.


When you use the import page on LingQ the lesson is added to the language you have chosen before. If you use the import bookmark the system tries to guess the language as far as I know.

I think I know what is happening here, or at least I have a hypothesis. We discussed on this thread

an issue where the number of ‘new words’ that a lesson is said to have can be wrong. I showed how this error can be reproduced. What appears to happen is that when you first import a lesson, a list of words in the lesson is created. This is then used to calculate things like the number of new words in the lesson when you look at it from the library. If I am right, and I find the videos I posted on that thread are quite convincing, the error comes from the fact that this list is not updated when the lesson is edited.

What I suggest is happening here is a result of this same bug. What it looks like is that when you open a lesson, the hints for the words that are initially new (i.e. the blue ones) are loaded, but this is done based on the list that was created when you first uploaded the lesson. Therefore, if you have added words to the lesson since you first uploaded it, the hints for that word are not loaded and you only get the Google Translate version.

Here is a demonstration

I start with two open tabs on the import lesson page ready to import lessons into my German page. I copy and paste some text from an online German newspaper into the first one and call the lesson ‘testa’, and then save and open the lesson. Then I create another lesson called ‘testb’, but this time I save and open the lesson without the text. After it opens, I go back into the import lesson page and put the text from the newspaper into the lesson, and then save and open it again. I then compare the two lessons. You can see that user hints are available for the lesson ‘testa’, but not for ‘testb’.


Good explanation Colin! The problem exists for month now. I hope they get it fixed now.

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@all - Thanks for the reports. This is a known issue and is something we have on our list. We haven’t yet gotten around to it just yet, but we will hopefully have this one sorted out soon.