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A Proz.com member delivered a machine translated project
Thread poster: flarrazabal

flarrazabal
Japan
Local time: 17:51
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
Feb 13, 2009

We assigned a project to a Proz member with several good WWA entries.

Trusting those customers who were satisfied with that translator's work, we paid through PayPal hardly five minutes after we received the translated file.

When the file was proofread the next day we found it was a simple machine translation and using a low quality software: family names translated, file names capitalized and translated and so on.

We showed the translator the proofread file and she argued it was just a matter of style.

What would you do?



[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-02-13 13:30 GMT]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-02-13 13:30 GMT]


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Paulo Eduardo - Pro Knowledge  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 05:51
Member (2008)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Text test? Feb 13, 2009

Shouldn't a test have required prior to the assignment?

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Oleg Osipov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 11:51
English to Russian
+ ...
It's ... Feb 13, 2009

Bizukeigo wrote:

... it was a simple machine translation and using a low quality software...



It's disgusting, if it's a proven fact.


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Kristina Radziulyte  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 11:51
Member (2006)
English to Lithuanian
+ ...

MODERATOR
That's shocking Feb 13, 2009

If you're 100% sure of the scammery, you should request your money back from the translator or open a Paypal dispute about this transaction. I mean, that's what I'd do in such situation.

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:51
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Exactly Feb 13, 2009

Kristina Radziulyte wrote:
If you're 100% sure of the scammery, you should request your money back from the translator or open a Paypal dispute about this transaction. I mean, that's what I'd do in such situation.


Exactly. This is completely unacceptable.


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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 10:51
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Professional guidelines Feb 13, 2009

Does this Proz member claim to follow Proz Professional Guidelines? If so, I wonder if Proz could refuse to let the member display this claim? Don't know how much further Proz can go, if there are grounds for revoking membership, is such a procedure is possible...

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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:51
French to German
+ ...
There seems to be a contradiction Feb 13, 2009

between this
Bizukeigo wrote:

We assigned a project to a Proz member with several good WWA entries.

Trusting those customers who were satisfied with that translator's work, we paid through PayPal hardly five minutes after we received the translated file.



and that

Bizukeigo wrote:
When the file was proofread the next day we found it was a simple machine translation and using a low quality software: family names translated, file names capitalized and translated and so on.


Therefore my 1st question would be: can you ask the satisfied clients of this colleague about a direct feedback? And, in a second step, about some proof regarding this feedback?

I agree with those who say such translations are not acceptable, but I personally would dig a little bit deeper. And I would have had the job proofread before paying, 24 hours of delay in a payment are really very far from causing any kind of inconvenience to anybody. Trust is OK, solid personal reasons for showing trust are better.

Laurent K.

[Edited at 2009-02-13 09:51 GMT]


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Peter Bouillon  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:51
French to German
+ ...
Excercise caution Feb 13, 2009

Bizukeigo wrote:
We assigned a project to a Proz member with several good WWA entries. Trusting those customers who were satisfied with that translator's work, we paid through PayPal hardly five minutes after we received the translated file.


I'm afraid any and all ProZ.com mechanisms for assessing translator quality need to be treated with some caution. Due to their very nature of being “mechanical”, they can be outwitted with a bit of sly energy.

For instance, bad tongues claim that translators organize themselves into “tribes” to beat the Kudoz system. As soon as one member of a tribe enters an answer to a Kudoz question, all tribe members routinely “agree”, thus bumping the agreement counter suitably.

You don't know the circumstances in which WWA ratings came to be given, or the linguistical competence of the companies (agencies) involved. “Tribe” relationships might have been built up in the same way as with the Kudoz system; accomodation endorsements might be involved.

Companies that may have been very impressed with a translator at the start of the business relationship might have changed their minds later on, at a time where the WWA entry has already been given.

In the end, it all comes down to using the common sense of a human being to assess service providers and vendors, and there is a certain risk involved that can't really be mitigated.

On the other hand, there usually are tell-tale signs for all to see that show whether a provider is concerned about quality or whether they are sloppy, whether they try hard or whether they are lackadaisical, whether they are honest or whether they try to pull the wool over your eyes.

Money is a matter that often factors into all this, too. Not all expensive services are good, too; but on the other hand, most “bargains” are bound to be cheap in more ways than one.

Peter

[Bearbeitet am 2009-02-13 10:04 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:51
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Two comments Feb 13, 2009

Bizukeigo wrote:
When the file was proofread the next day we found it was a simple machine translation and using a low quality software: family names translated, file names capitalized and translated and so on.


There is nothing wrong with using MT as an aid to translation, although my personal opinion is that the translator using it should also be a native speaker of the target language.

We showed the translator the proofread file and she argued it was just a matter of style.


The issue of MT is irrelevant here. The issue is whether the types of errors she made (or her machine made) are matters of style. Is it normal in your text's target language to translate family names and to capitalise file names? Has it been done consistently in the translator's text? Do you know of references or style guides that will help you prove your point?

If you were to post some examples of this, would it be a KudoZ question or should it be posted on the forum, so that native speakers of that language can say if they are aware of style guides that say so?


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Peter Bouillon  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:51
French to German
+ ...
Don't change filenames, not even their capitalization! Feb 13, 2009

Samuel Murray wrote:
Is it normal in your text's target language to … capitalise file names?


Well, depending on the operating system concerned, and independent of language, the result might be even plainly wrong. All Unix type operating systems, for example, have case sensitive file names. Change case and the hyperlink to the file won't work.

Like most technical people, I feel very strongly that technical names and technical messages are sacrosanct: They must not be changed in any way in the slightest, or they will probably hamper the personnel that needs to work with them. (Nothing is more aggravating than people claiming: “Well I don't remember that message exactly, but I think the screen said in general…”)

Peter


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:51
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
OT: Other causes for capitalising file names Feb 13, 2009

Peter Bouillon wrote:
Well, depending on the operating system concerned, and independent of language, the result might be even plainly wrong. All Unix type operating systems, for example, have case sensitive file names. Change case and the hyperlink to the file won't work.


True. On some e-mail systems, the "user" part of the e-mail address is case sensitive too (a little hint for people who like to change mail addresses to all lowercase). And not respecting case in file names is a classic rookie error for Windows web designers uploading their pages to Apache-flavoured hosts.

I find that some translators trust the machine so much that all common sense goes out the window. If the machine capitalises a word, the user just accepts it. Then you get work back in Excel where every cell's contents is capitalised even though the source text wasn't... "No, the program does it automatically" or worse... "Hmm, I didn't notice that".


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Annett Hieber  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:51
English to German
Code of Honour Feb 13, 2009

[quote]Peter Bouillon wrote:

Bizukeigo wrote:
For instance, bad tongues claim that translators organize themselves into “tribes” to beat the Kudoz system. As soon as one member of a tribe enters an answer to a Kudoz question, all tribe members routinely “agree”, thus bumping the agreement counter suitably.

Peter

[Bearbeitet am 2009-02-13 10:04 GMT]


If this is true, I will contemplate whether to participate in Kudoz in future. Isn't there something like a "Code of Honour" for translators (with regard to the thread on hand - if it is true) and Kudozians? Our work as well as participating in Kudoz is so much fun!

Annett


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Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 14:21
German to English
+ ...
Why? Feb 13, 2009

Bizukeigo wrote:

Trusting those customers who were satisfied with that translator's work, we paid through PayPal hardly five minutes after we received the translated file.



Why? And why in five minutes?

Isn't that a failure of due diligence on your part? Even if you trusted those customers, were you not responsible for reviewing the file if at least cursorily (which I don't think would have been possible in five minutes. Correction: that should have been well possible in five minutes).

I'm afraid the responsibility for what happened falls entirely on your shoulders, in my view.

[Edited at 2009-02-13 10:44 GMT]


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Peter Bouillon  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:51
French to German
+ ...
Don't stop participating in Kudoz... Feb 13, 2009

Peter Bouillon wrote:
For instance, bad tongues claim that translators organize themselves into “tribes” to beat the Kudoz system.


Annett Hieber wrote:
If this is true, I will contemplate whether to participate in Kudoz in future.


Well, this is what bad tongues seem to be saying, and I am not going to venture a personal opinion of my own on this one.

But I'd like to point out that real hard money is involved in the Kudoz game: Higher Kudos counts translate into higher placements in translator lists, which in turn translates into higher probabilities to be retained. Thus there is a monetary incentive to devise strategies for getting high Kudoz counts, ethic strategies and other ones.

This does not mean that the Kudoz system should be shunned, especially when participating is fun. But I do suggest using a certain caution and common sense when selecting translators based on Kudoz counts; Kudoz counts should not be relied on in a purely mechanical way. The same goes for WWA entries, and the same will hold for any other system - on ProZ or elsewhere - for assessing translator quality.

When it comes down to brass tacks, you always have to make up your own mind on your own about who you want to retain for services, and this is going to involve work. There is no easy effortless way for this. There are so many aspects of human endeaver that just can't be mechanically quantified…

Peter


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:51
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Complete nonsense Feb 13, 2009

Peter Bouillon wrote:
For instance, bad tongues claim that translators organize themselves into “tribes” to beat the Kudoz system. As soon as one member of a tribe enters an answer to a Kudoz question, all tribe members routinely “agree”, thus bumping the agreement counter suitably.


I have been personally accused of being "friends" with people who have the same opinion all the time; another approach is claiming that I intentionally disagree with a person for personal reasons. Utterly and completely absurd claims, and simply unfair. If a person cannot stand Disagrees in Kudoz, he/she should not answer randomly and should think twice and document the answer. Two disagrees to the same person in a span of a week (even mixed with agrees to other proposals when they are correct) is enough to be mistreated and accused of the funniest things!!

In the case of Kudoz into Spanish, anybody can easily see that people who often agree also often express disagreements in a professional and friendly manner.


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