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KudoZ questions posted with insufficient context
Thread poster: liz askew
liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:03
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Apr 12, 2008

The dreaded topic.

No doubt this has been discussed many times.

Yet, STILL translators do not provide sufficient context (meaning at least a paragraph/two to three sentences of the original text) for other translators to offer the best possible translation.

Only today, a person has asked for a translation of an English phrase, without any English context whatsoever.

Why are some of you so unhelpful?

It can be like finding a needle in a b.............haystack. Of course you will all tell me not to bother with these people who don't give context; but I find this a negative and silly attitude.

Liz Askew

[Edited at 2008-04-12 15:46]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2008-04-12 17:27]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:03
English to Spanish
+ ...
Seconded Apr 12, 2008

I think I'll second that! CONTEXT...

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RichardDeegan
Local time: 00:03
Spanish to English
But what is the context ? Apr 12, 2008

Is this regarding Kudoz queries, sample translations requested or the sample translations on profile pages?

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gianfranco  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 02:03
Member (2001)
English to Italian
+ ...
I moved the question Apr 12, 2008

Dear Liz,

I have moved your thread from the Off-Topic forum to the KudoZ forum, one of the several forums dedicated to specific ProZ.com features.

I have edited the title too. A title should try to convey a good idea about the topic discussed (it was "CONTEXT").

Also, please do not overuse uppercase, if not necessary. It appears a bit too screamed

Thank you
Gianfranco



[Edited at 2008-04-12 17:31]


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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:03
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I moved the question Apr 12, 2008

Thank you!

I always have trouble posting my stuff in the right forum

Liz

I take your point too about not over-using upper case. I expect when I wrote this I had just seen yet another query that did not have enough context, hence my frustration, reflected in the capitalisation of "context".

[Edited at 2008-04-12 17:37]


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John Jory  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:03
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
Gut feeling Apr 12, 2008

Hi Liz,

I fully support your views. My impression, without having done any research, is that 'contextless' postings come from newbies or part-time translators with a slightly limited horizon, i.e. they do not realize that many terms can have different meanings in different contexts.
In addition, more context enables us to pinpoint possible typos or even use of the wrong word by the author.

Perhaps site staff can consider rewording the relevant entry field. The word "context" does not appear anywhere, and IMO the suggestions provided:

"As much explanation as possible should be entered for the term. Consider including: type of document/situation, country and dialect, URLs, translations you are considering, etc."

do not highlight the importance of context in any way.

Why not suggest posting the complete sentence (or even better, the preceding and following sentences as well).



[Edited at 2008-04-12 17:51]


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 23:03
German to English
Some hopeless cases Apr 12, 2008

liz askew wrote:

Yet, STILL translators do not provide sufficient context (meaning at least a paragraph/two to three sentences of the original text) for other translators to offer the best possible translation.

Only today, a person has asked for a translation of an English phrase, without any English context whatsoever.

Why are some of you so unhelpful?



It takes some newbies a while to get used to formulating their questions so that there's any hope of getting some useful input. Asking questions properly is hard work. Many newbies respond well to comments in the ask the asker box and become good members of the community.

In other cases, I'd say it's hopeless. I don't know if it's a negative and silly attitude, Liz. I think it's more likely that they just aren't translators. Some folks have been translating for years but aren't yet and probably never will be translators. They typically don't know enough about what they're doing to understand what context is or to be able to explain their problem in the language they're translating into.

Kim


[Edited at 2008-04-12 18:04]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:03
English to Spanish
+ ...
Seconded again... Apr 12, 2008

I'll second what you just said too, Kim.

If I taught translation, which I'll never do, one of the things I would teach is the primary importance of CONTEXT in any translation effort. It is number one, and it includes a very large universe of considerations.


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RichardDeegan
Local time: 00:03
Spanish to English
Just one of the problems in recent months Apr 12, 2008

Dear Liz,
As Kim said, "I think it's more likely that they just aren't translators. Some folks have been translating for years but aren't yet and probably never will be translators. They typically don't know enough about what they're doing to understand what context is or to be able to explain their problem in the language they're translating into."
At least in my pair (Span-Eng) it seems in recent months there has been an explosion in Kudoz questions with the wrong direction (15-20%, "reverse pair" has no affect), simple terms found in any dictionary (15-20%), titles of the documents to be translated (5%), terms from any good field-specific dictionary (especially legal, business and tech) and previous Kudoz questions now in glossaries (around 40%). Many appear to be posting for material in specific fields about which they are clueless not only in the target language, but also in the source language, for which reason they have no idea of the context.


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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:03
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
..."probably never will be translators" Apr 12, 2008

Hello Richard (and Kim and Henry)

Perhaps I should just accept this and just move on and not let it bother me.

I sometimes am so concentrated on my own professionalism (I hope) that I forget we are not all singing from the same hymn sheet.

Your remarks have made me see a different side to the story.

I suppose just about anybody can contribute/ask questions on Proz, so the "hopeless" cases should be part and parcel of this.

I will try to sort out the wheat from the chaff then.

Cheers and thanks for making me smile.

Liz


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bohy  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:03
English to French
+ ...
Even message catalogs have context Apr 12, 2008

I remember having read a post, recently, justifying the absence of ANY context because it was an isolated sentence in a message catalog.
However, even if no other occurrence of the word(s) appear anywhere else in the catalog, the nature of the software this message catalog belongs to IS context.
If translators are reluctant to explain what they are working on, then they should solve this kind of issue with their customer.
Also, I would like to have a kind of flag associated to Kudoz questions, which would be "Ask to customer". A LOT of questions, in my opinion, require feedback from the customer, and it is only after insisting that askers do what they should have done before posting...


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:03
English to German
+ ...
Educate Apr 12, 2008

And help. New colleagues often don't know better. That's why we call ourselves a community instead of an ivory tower. Of course it's tough to get down from a 480' tall horse without a helicopter.

Edited - sorry for the typo.

[Edited at 2008-04-13 00:18]


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RNAtranslator  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:03
English to Spanish
+ ...
Educate by not answering Apr 13, 2008

Nicole Schnell wrote:
Educate

And help. New colleagues often don't know better. That's why we call ourselves a community instead of an ivory tower.



One of the ways to educate is to refuse to answer till the asker explains the context and the surrounding text. One of the problems is that many people try to answer without context, so it's useless to ask them to write the context, they get their answer anyway. It's very easy the answer be wrong, but they don't realize.


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KathyT  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 16:03
Japanese to English
apologies in advance for hijacking the thread... Apr 13, 2008

...but what has happened to our esteemed colleague, Kim Metzger?
Those three little 'x'es in front of his name suggest that he has left the site.
Surely this can't be true? That would be devastating news.
I don't post in the forums that often but am an avid reader, and I'm sure I'm not the only person who has benefited from Kim's wisdom and experience through reading many of his posts over the years. The loss would be even greater for those working in his language pairs. I really hope it's just temporary(?) and he will return, pronto!:-(


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