Two observations about the Exchange

I have over the past two months made a couple of large recording requests on the exchange. One in Spanish, and one in German. Here are two things that bother me.

  1. Each time that I have made an exchange request, I have received messages from people who do not speak the target language in which I have found apologies for inability to complete the request due to their not speaking the language. I’d feel more comfortable if notifications about exchange requests only went to those who speak my target language as a native language.

  2. Point splitting. This problem has been elaborated upon before on the forum. Within a very short amount of time after my posting of the request yesterday, I received 3 recordings. This is great, only I had to split the points between the three users. I felt bad that each received fewer points, so I gifted them each additional points. I ended up having to use more points than I had initially desired. I don’t feel this is fair. There should be a way for the poster to limit request completion to a specific number of users, per request.

You can do private requests, I guess? (It’s fairer on the tutors too, IMO.)

Well, I could, but does that not defeat the purpose of the exchange? Like that, its no longer really an exchange, but a service, and it is much harder for a new tutor to make themselves known.

I also like the idea of being able to get the input of a variety of native speakers, something that the exchange should be able to facilitate, I think.

The problem is nothing that can be solved easily. If you want to have more answers and make an open request, you have to split points. It is very generous that you have added points, and have spent more than you initially wanted but you don’t need to do it. You can feel bad because each tutor got less points, or you feel bad because you’ve spent more points than you wanted.

Helpful would be if people could see that someone has already started working on the exchange. At the moment you cannot see this. It was discussed on the forum to add a comment when you start, but I think lots of members don’t know this and there was a case where a member wrote it but other members didn’t recognized it.

I figured out these problems very early when the new exchange page was invented. After some bad experiences I decided not to work on open exchanges any longer. Even with the suggested points corrections are payed on a very low rate compared with the time I need for them.

Another problem is that members can adjust the points. I got a private request and got only 20 % of the standard rate offered for a correction.

And recently I saw that the suggested rate for a transcript is too low compared to the time it takes. I’ve done a lot of transcriptions. I guess Mark, Alex and Steve have never made a transcript on their own so they don’t know how much time it takes.

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You are lucky! :wink:
For example, mikebond have waited for some days but his request was not fulfilled. In my native language the requests appear very seldom.

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Mikebond asked for a transcription. And as I wrote above the suggested points for transcriptions are very low. So it is not attractive enough to do them.

In German there are not much requests, but there are a lot of people interested in fulfilling them. And that is why David got so many answers in a short period of time.

Interesting is that the quality of writing corrections differs a lot. In open requests I can see what others have corrected. Sometimes the corrections are fine, other times I saw terrible ones.

What I miss is the option to point out that only answers from natives are requested.

I will try to respond to all these points:
If you are posting an open exchange request I don’t see how we can reserve that request for native speakers only. The point is that it is open, and available to all members who would like to respond. If you want to reserve your request for a specific tutor you can post a closed request. As for point splitting, you certainly shouldn’t feel like you have to add additional points for additional responses. People respond knowing that they may be sharing the points especially if they can already see that others have responded. In fact, in many cases people are happy to respond and are happy to receive however many points they get.

The rates or amount of points offered are adjustable so people are free to reduce or increase the points offered in order to attract more responses. Of course, the supply and demand for different languages is different and depends on the number of people from certain countries or studying certain languages.

In fact, I could work on requests for German and Dutch, but I haven’t done this so far. Important to know for me is that there is a flood of people fulfilling open requests in German. So, if you do respond, you are one of a whole group, so that doesn’t seem worthwhile to me. I would rather be interested in doing corrections for Dutch of shorter texts. The other thing is that I have seen very low amount of points awarded for abundand tasks. In one example there were 75 points awarded for the correction of a long audio-transcript. The work involved would have been in no relation to the task.


@ Fasulye
The same about me. I’m ready to translate from\to Russian, German and English and to record to Russian and German, but I am afraid of this “open e\change” - it means that I spend one hour or more and maybe can receive “zero”.
I don’t want a lot of these points etc, but to take part in the competition where the judge-consumer could be very subjective - it isn’t for me, I appreciate my time!..

@Evgueny @ open requests and non-native speakers

“I’m ready to translate from\to Russian, German and English and to record to Russian and German…”

Your German is really really really good, you are one of the best non-native German speakers I´ve seen on LingQ, but IMHO you´re not as good as an eloquent native speaker. It´s not that what you´re writing and saying is grammatically wrong, it´s just that some things don´t “fit” or don´t sound 100% natural. If I would need a translation from German into Russian, I´d ask you, I´m sure you could that, but I´d ask somebody else for a translation from Russian into English or German. Recording yourself in German might be interesting for someone who wants to speak with an authentic Russian accent.

I´m sure that the same thing applies to Fasulye´s Dutch (I can´t tell, I don´t even speak Dutch), my English and the vast majority of other language learners . A lot of people seem to overestimate their abilities. I´ve seen people on iTalki who claim to be “a C1 in German” even though, in reality, they make mistakes in every sentence they write or read and can hardly understand what I´m saying. This is why I think that non-native speakers should not be allowed to fulfill open requests.

I´m not trying to say that you guys are unqualified and I´m not saying that I could do better. That´s just my opinion, nothing more and nothing less.


Paule, are you qualified to judge my level and abilities of Dutch? What’s your own level of Dutch then?


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I wrote “…Fasulye´s Dutch (I can´t tell, I don´t even speak Dutch)”. I´ve edited that in after posting that.

Three Things

  1. I have made three private requests so far. I offered the suggested amount of points. Two of the requests were fulfilled excellently. The third was not acknowledged (not a problem, but I wonder if the member received the request). I stay away from open requests.

  2. @djvlbass “it is much harder for a new tutor to make themselves known.” To find a (relatively) new tutor, I sorted the tutors by Recently Active*, went to the bottom of the list, chose a tutor, and wrote a message on the tutor’s wall asking if they were interested. When I received a positive response, I knew that the member was (a) not dead and (b) active enough to look at the wall from time to time.

*I suppose you could also sort by Roses and go to the bottom of that list.

  1. To all the tutors: if I make a request and offer the suggested amount of points, I will not be offended if you ask for more points. I may not increase the number of points I offer, but on the other hand maybe I will agree. I don’t see why you shouldn’t try to negotiate.

I know of a lot of people who speak English at near native levels. I would NEVER reccomend someone to use recordings of them to practice pronunciation.


I find it ridiculous that a language level of one of my foreign languages is rated by a person, who doesn’t even speak the language! If I make corrections of Dutch texts, how can such a person as Paule estimate their quality?


I don’t think Paule was judging your Dutch. He was talking about non-native speakers of a language and their ability to fulfill exchange requests. No one is denying that your Dutch is assuredly incredible.



I´ve never said that I can judge your level of Dutch, please re-read my post.

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Paul, it’s not about my ‘native’ or ‘not-native’ pronuciatian.
You can notice maybe that I prefer in my interview-podcasts less to speak in German or English (less that 25%), only setting the questions, giving the full freedom to my native-speaker partners; and in my German and English mono-podcasts I write the lessons myself, but then ask the native speakers like Fasulye, Reinhard, Franz in German or Nerelle, Tim, Rick in English to correct my writings and to record them. I make compleately myself only the Russian lessons and podcasts.
But I’m not ready even in Russian to participate in the “Open exchange” because it is waisting time for me for nothing.
I see how (especially in English) 5-7 or more people translate or record the same text, and especially if the text is rather long -they spend a lot of time, and only one or two would be “winners”, and the others have just lost their time.
Maybe it’s interesting for very young people, but I have so much things where I can spend my time more useful.
That’s why I’m not adored with this new function “Open exchange”.

@Paule89 - We don’t have any plans to restrict exchange corrections to native speakers. Aside from the fact that there is no way to actually ensure that someone is a native speaker of a language, the exchange also includes activities such as translation that may be better done by non-native speakers.


It seems like you understand what I´m trying to say. :slight_smile:
I get the impression that Fasulye is (at least a little) offended and I was afraid that you´d feel the same way…

Your procedure for English and German content sounds pretty good. ^^


According to Benny Lewis (I know he´s controversial, but at least he made a living from translating to English) “legitimate translators” only translate to their native language.

But hey, it´s just my opinion and I´m neither an employee nor the owner of LingQ, so in the end it´s you guys who have to decide :slight_smile: