Dangit! Well, it’s fitting (and helpful!) that even on the forum I get language skills corrected! -2xp for me.
You’re probably right about “personal notes” for solving most of this in the most down-and-dirty way. (That would certainly help! One feature I’d like in that case is the ability to, on a per-note basis, choose whether this note should “appear when translations are visible”, or “only appear after answering”, giving me the ability to create notes that were alternate translations, and also notes that were a reminder to myself about something about this sentence but were too much of a hint to see before answering.)
Depending on how you’re storing the “alternate translations” over the top of the Tatoeba data though, it’s sort of an interesting idea to clean up the feature globally.
Bearing in mind that I haven’t put a ton of thought into this AND that I only have experience in a few languages, the way I see it there’s three cases for alternative answers:
- This can be translated in a slightly different way
- This can be translated as multiple things
- This is metaphor and the “translation” isn’t going to be literal. The words simply won’t match.
== Case 1 ==
Alles ist gut.
- It’s all right.
- Everything is OK.
- Everything is fine.
- All is well.
- Everything is all right.
- Everything is alright.
In this case these are all actually the same translation. An “alternative translations” option to show all of these might be nice, but I think it’s more of a drill-down thing. You may not always need to see all of these every time the sentence comes up.
== Case 2 ==
Sie haben Humor.
- You have a sense of humor.
- They have a sense of humor.
There are actually two unique translations of this. In cases like this I think I’d personally prefer to always see both translations. (In German in this case it’s not critical. I’m having trouble coming up with another more serious example in German, and I have no idea if it would be an issue in other languages.)
== Case 3: ==
Das ist Schnee von gestern.
- That’s water under the bridge.
- That’s old hat.
- That’s yesterday’s news.
- That is old news.
Danach kräht kein Hahn.
In these cases none of the “translations” actually translate the words, which is probably preferable as you do want to translate the sense not the words, however it might be nice to have a “show literal translation” hint for when you come across one of these that you don’t understand.
I’ll stop there for now as that’s the basic idea and there’s no point in digging in further if this is a “whew, no, not something we want to do” idea. (In which case, yeah, add personal notes! )