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Disappearance of "language variant" line from KudoZ answer page
Thread poster: Jack Doughty

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:53
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Aug 19, 2008

I was reading Viktoria Gimbe's thread on her dissatisfaction with how some people react to KudoZ answers, and someone said there ought to be a way to indicate the language variant. I was about to reply that there was such a line, "language variant", but I thought I'd check and found out it was no longer there. It certainly was until very recently.
Admittedly it wasn't altogether satisfactory. It wasn't often used, and when it was, people were likely to misunderstand the sense in which the word "language" was meant, and simply supplied a variant of the language (the wording) in their own answer. It would have been better to say "Language variant (state regional variant and main language)", or something like that.
But to do away with it altogether is throwing out the baby with the bathwater (there's a case in point - is that purely UK English or is it used in US English too? Without looking it up, I don't know).
I think there should still be such a line on the answer page, and also on the question asking page.


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lexical  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:53
Portuguese to English
Gone, and never called me Mother Aug 19, 2008

You're right, Jack, and I hadn't noticed either. It just sneaked away unannounced. Unless this is just a temporary bug, it's a great pity because it was a much needed feature that many people had argued for over quite a long time.

Perhaps the staff can enlighten us...


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:53
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
I noticed its disappearance too Aug 19, 2008

lexical wrote:

You're right, Jack, and I hadn't noticed either. It just sneaked away unannounced. Unless this is just a temporary bug, it's a great pity because it was a much needed feature that many people had argued for over quite a long time.

Perhaps the staff can enlighten us...


Yes, I noticed the disappearance of the "language variant" box too. One of these improvements, I suppose (sarcasm intended).
Jenny.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 03:53
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Language variant line Aug 19, 2008

Me too I noticed it yesterday and I must say that regarding the differences between European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese it is rather annoying for both translators... I am disappointed... Will the language variant line be back? Waiting for some enlightenment...

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lexical  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:53
Portuguese to English
Language variant box for ASKERS too Aug 19, 2008

Meanwhile, somebody in another thread (lost the reference for now) is arguing for a language variant box to be provided to ASKERS. It could be very useful to be able to say that you want the term in US English, or Mexican Spanish, or Brazilian Portuguese. Again, this is something that has been argued for in the past, and more useful in my view than the proliferation of boxes underneath Kudoz questions.

Used wisely (ah, there's the rub), it should reduce some of the fruitless arguments between answerers that arise simply because of different terms in different language variants.

Found it, it was Viktoria Gimbe's post:
"Maybe we should propose a solution to ProZ.com staff. I am thinking that a field for language variants should be introduced in the KudoZ question form, so that the asker can make it clear which country/region they need a term for - and they can leave that field blank if they just want a generally accepted term (international French). This could help people stay a bit more civilized."

http://www.proz.com/forum/kudoz/112987-kudoz_i_give_up-page2.html


[Edited at 2008-08-19 09:22]


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writeaway  Identity Verified

Local time: 04:53
Partial member (2003)
French to English
+ ...
Why not add a context box compelling Askers to provide vital information? Aug 19, 2008

lexical wrote:

Meanwhile, somebody in another thread (lost the reference for now) is arguing for a language variant box to be provided to ASKERS. It could be very useful to be able to say that you want the term in US English, or Mexican Spanish, or Brazilian Portuguese. Again, this is something that has been argued for in the past, and more useful in my view than the proliferation of boxes underneath Kudoz questions.

...

Found it, it was Viktoria Gimbe's post:
"Maybe we should propose a solution to ProZ.com staff. I am thinking that a field for language variants should be introduced in the KudoZ question form, so that the asker can make it clear which country/region they need a term for - and they can leave that field blank if they just want a generally accepted term (international French). This could help people stay a bit more civilized."

http://www.proz.com/forum/kudoz/112987-kudoz_i_give_up-page2.html




All that information could be added in box requesting or compelling the asker to provide context!
There was a very long forum discussion recently about adding a box for the asker to provide sufficient context and making it impossible to post questions unless enough context was provided.
http://www.proz.com/forum/kudoz/109300-enhancement_of_the_kudoz_system_by_discouraging_questions_without_context_a_proposal.html
That forum post was 100% ignored by the powers that be (except for some references to rules, guidelines and cornerstones). In this member-driven site, all calls for a context box have been passed over.
In any case, one would have thought that pro translators wouldn't have to be reminded of the importance of letting colleagues know the language variant of their question and/or the language variant they need as answer. But Kudoz isn't just for pro translators, is it......












[Edited at 2008-08-19 10:05]


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:53
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Curiouser and curiouser Aug 19, 2008

I was about to submit an answer to a question and hit the preview button. The preview came up like this:

penternary symmetry


Language variant:undefined

Explanation:
Penternary seems to be used mainly in the context of encoding, not sure about molecular structures.


Note the line "Language variant: undefined".

But there was no way of defining it.


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Jared Tabor
Local time: 23:53
SITE STAFF
Sorry for the confusion Aug 19, 2008

Hello all,

Sorry for the confusion. The language variant field was removed. It was determined that it may be more useful for the asker to request the optional language variant in their question. My apologies for not having announced this in a timely manner. And thanks Jack for pointing out the "remnant" of the field in the posted answer-- I will ask one of our developers to remove this.

Best regards,

Jared


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:53
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
"It was determined..." Aug 19, 2008

Determined by whom? As you can see from this topic, EVERY ONE of those who have contributed wants it back!
Surely the idea was to make it more likely that askers would indicate a language variant preference. Removing the line expressly providing this option will obviously mean that askers who may not even realize that variants of the language they are asking about exist will remain in ignorance of the fact and will continue to think there is only one answer to a term in French, for example, whereas the Québecois French answer might be quite different from the Parisian French one.
So now we shall have even fewer askers than before expressing a language variant preference. I can see no advantage at all, only drawbacks, to expecting askers to specify the language variant within their question!
You can see from this thread what people think of such arbitrary actions being taken with no consultation or even announcement. Negative opinions of what is going on here will only be confirmed by this.


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Jared Tabor
Local time: 23:53
SITE STAFF
KudoZ is there to help the asker Aug 19, 2008

Hello Jack,

The language variant field was, admittedly erroneously, added to the answer form, when it would be more useful for the asker to specify their preference for language variant. The reasoning behind this is that KudoZ is there to help the asker, so it would be more beneficial to allow the asker to define the variant they are seeking.

Best regards,

Jared


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 20:53
German to English
Both options are needed Aug 19, 2008

Jack Doughty wrote:

Surely the idea was to make it more likely that askers would indicate a language variant preference. Removing the line expressly providing this option will obviously mean that askers who may not even realize that variants of the language they are asking about exist will remain in ignorance of the fact and will continue to think there is only one answer to a term in French, for example, whereas the Québecois French answer might be quite different from the Parisian French one.
So now we shall have even fewer askers than before expressing a language variant preference. I can see no advantage at all, only drawbacks, to expecting askers to specify the language variant within their question!


Hi Jack - I think there's been a misunderstanding here. From what I can see, the site has decided to remove the option for ANSWERERS to specify the language variant of the translation they are proposing and REPLACE it with an option for ASKERS to specifiy the language variant they need for their translation.

I think it would make sense to have both options. Most askers will continue to blissfully ignore (or be blissfully ignorant of) the basic requirements for a good translation when preparing their questions, so answerers can protect themselves from onslaughts from peers who favor different language variants by telling everybody from the start that they are proposing "American English", "Austrian German", "Canadian French", "Brazilian Portuguese", "Mexican Spanish" etc.

I once received a "disagree" from a British cousin for failing to include BOTH spellings (BE and AE) of a word in the answer field.


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 20:53
German to English
ANSWERERS are there to help the asker Aug 20, 2008

Jared wrote:

The language variant field was, admittedly erroneously, added to the answer form, when it would be more useful for the asker to specify their preference for language variant. The reasoning behind this is that KudoZ is there to help the asker, so it would be more beneficial to allow the asker to define the variant they are seeking.



Hello Jared - I agree that giving ASKERS the option to specify the language variant is a smart move, just it was a smart move to decide to allow ANSWERERS to submit not-for-points answers (discussion, references) rather than just allowing ASKERS to post not-for-points questions).

But deciding to REMOVE the option for ANSWERERS to specify the language variant that their ANSWERS are given in on the basis that "KudoZ is there to help the asker" doesn't make much sense. ANSWERERS are there to help the asker. If an answerer specifies his language variant, he is helping the asker.

Forgive me for being blunt, but I think someone with extensive practical experience using KudoZ responsibly and professionally for a few years should be addressing this issue.

[Edited at 2008-08-20 00:04]


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:53
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Agree with Kim Aug 20, 2008

The option should be added to the Ask Question page. I checked both pages before my last post, and I've just checked the Ask page again. There is no such option there. As things stand at the moment there is no such option for either asker or answerer. Add it to the Ask page, restore it to the Answer page, and in both cases make it clearer what it means.

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lexical  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:53
Portuguese to English
Agree with Kim and Jack Aug 20, 2008

Both options are needed. We were just beginning to educate users in my language pair about the proper use of the option, and seeing some benefits, when it was whisked away.

Jared, please do as Jack suggested: Add it to the Ask page, restore it to the Answer page, and in both cases make it clearer what it means.


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:53
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
What would be a more clear naming? Aug 21, 2008

make it clearer what it means.


I am curious to know what you think the best label would be for this field IF it was ever restored. (I don't know whether it would be, so this is just a theoretical exercise.)
I think it used to be called "Language variant", and I don't think it was a good label as in many language pairs the answerers used it to enter an alternative translation, a synomym to their proposed term.

Another thing is that for example, if the target language is Hungarian, there is really no need for the "language variant" field, as written translation does not involve any dialects.
My other language is Japanese, and although there are dialects in Japan, I have yet to see any KudoZ question about non-standard Japanese (I have been following Japanese KudoZ for about 8 years).
These are just two examples where the field would not be useful. I know there are many languages where it would be: I often used it to specify US or British English.

So, there is the problem of whether the field is uniformly needed across all languages, and if not, how to resolve that difference, and the next problem is how to call the field so that people would not misunderstand the purpose of it?

To me, "Dialect" would be easier to understand, but as far as I know, this is not a "politically correct" expression and can be controversial.
Would "Target country/region" work?
I am just thinking aloud...

[Edited at 2008-08-21 04:36]


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