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KudoZ and specialization in translation
Thread poster: Cagdas Karatas

Cagdas Karatas  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 14:30
English to Turkish
Oct 4, 2008

I just want to discuss how much someone needs specialization in order to answer term questions (KudoZ is merely a symbolic platform) in the year 2008. I say 2008 because I believe we have incomparable advantages over translators of the decades left behind thanks to technology (Google, public dictionaries, glossaries, sources, etc.). Do you have the strict opinion that only translators specializing in specific fields can provide the best answers to questions in specific areas? I believe it's needless to make certain discriminations based on specialty fields declared, and here's the beginning of the story of Glossary-Building Questions: (Sorry. Half of the discussions are in Turkish but I actually refer to the sections below posted in English.)

http://www.proz.com/forum/turkish/115111-sözlük_oluşturma_soruları:_kudoz_sorularının_yeni_bir_şekli.html


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Dr. Birgitte Eggeling  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:30
German to Danish
Relevant question Oct 4, 2008

This question raised is absolutely relevant in my opinion.
During my education we also learned how to make research and to find the right term as well, although we did not know anything about this field. In this way we were able to translate almost all text i.e. no specialization (but of course could turn out to be one) – but in the beginning you have to spend more time on such a translation.
In fact, it is possible to state as many specialised fields as you like. The answer from the translators, stating having this specialization can also turn out to be the wrong answer, as well as a right answer could be given from a person who has not stated this field as her/his specialization. The responsibility has the one who asked the question and has to chose among two or three answers. Does she or he always chose the answer from the person who has stated this particular field as her/his spcialization?
As to the qualifications to a job, I must say, that if you are a responsible translator you do not take a job, if you do not feel sure to solve the task proberly. This is of course a question of insight as to your own qualifications.
Best regards
Birgitte

[Bearbeitet am 2008-10-04 06:29]

[Bearbeitet am 2008-10-04 06:32]


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:30
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
You never know Oct 4, 2008

You never know what someone may know about a certain topic, even if it is not their declared field of specialization. People may have taken optional courses in university or read books or have specialists in their immediately family, so that they have picked up a fair bit of knowledge on subjects outside their fields. Life experiences, environment, and self-study are very important elements of a translator's education and no-one should be excluded from answering Kudoz questions.

I do think it is reasonable and necessary to have the glossary edited regularly by a team of experts in various fields. Rarely if ever do I find an answer by looking in the Kudoz glossary because, I am sorry to say, it is a mess. You can be looking, for example, for the word 'offense' and you can't find it because it has been entered as 'an offense'. And if the word 'offense' is not in the glossary, you should get results for related words, such as 'offensive', 'offend', etc. Terms are included that have been translated to fit a certain context, but that is not the general or common meaning of the term, etc. etc. A lot more work is required to make the glossary the useful tool it could be.


[Edited at 2008-10-04 16:08]


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RNAtranslator  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:30
English to Spanish
+ ...
You MUST understand the source text Oct 5, 2008

One of the biggest platitudes that can be said about the art of translation, but some translators forget, is that the translator must be able to understand the source text.

Are you able to fully understand an operations manual of a nuclear power plant? what about a text on quantum mechanics? and one about aerospace engineering? and one on freemasonry? and a poem? and one on occultism and necromancy? and a text on islamic theology? what about one on enzyme kinetics?

If the answer to these questions is "yes", congratulations, compared with you, Albert Einstein was a mental disabled person. If you can't fully understand these types of text, you can't translate them; much less answer difficult questions on these subjects. People need years to to learn one of these subjects. Do you think you can fully understand one of these texts just looking-up on dictionaries and Internet?

Of the forementioned subjects, I would be able to fully understand only the one on enzyme kinetics, and only after long research on scientific articles and books. And I am the coauthor of seven articles in international scientific journals as a postdoctoral biochemist.

Sometimes makes me angry and sometimes it is funny to see the surrealist answers of some people when dealing with biomedical questions.

"Cosas veredes, amigo Sancho, que harán hablar a las piedras" (it means more or less: "Sancho, you shall see such things that even the stones will be forced to speak about them". Sorry if it is not perfect, I am not a literary translator)


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James McVay  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:30
Russian to English
+ ...
Google for ProZ answers Oct 5, 2008

I agree with Tina that the ProZ glossaries are a mess. I rarely am able to find a match using the ProZ.com search engine. However, I found by accident that Google will search the ProZ glossaries for me with more flexibility. I just type my search term in Google and add "proz."

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gad
United States
Local time: 07:30
Member
French to English
It depends upon the field, but specializations do count for something Oct 5, 2008

Çağdaş Karataş wrote:

Do you have the strict opinion that only translators specializing in specific fields can provide the best answers to questions in specific areas? I believe it's needless to make certain discriminations based on specialty fields declared...



When I post certain questions I specify that I'd like those specializing in that particular field to answer, because I've already checked my references and need answers from those who have knowledge beyond that. If I open up the question to everyone I may get answers that I've already found in my own research, but without a good indication of why a particular term is correct in that given context.

Not always the case, but many times the above is true. However, I believe that the fact is that anyone still has the right to answer, and sure someone else may just be helpful, too.


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:30
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Improving KudoZ - OUR DUTY! Oct 5, 2008

Let's improve Kudoz:
1. Let's only answer the questions we DON'T have to research (answer only if we know the answer from experience).

2. Let's ignore askers who never answer any questions.

3. Let's ignore askers who don't explain their doubts, post long sentences as the question and don't react to our requests for information.

4. Let's use the "disagree" when we don't agree! The I-don't-want-trouble approach won't do guys! A kind, reasoned disagree is the way to go and can't disturb anyone.

5. Let's be brief in the forums about KudoZ improvement! Please!


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Stéphanie Soudais  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:30
Member (2006)
English to French
In short Oct 5, 2008

Tomás Cano Binder wrote:


Let's be brief in the forums about KudoZ improvement! Please!


Agree. Problem: we (almost) never get answers to our queries/critics/comments/ complaints...Each other week a new thread is opened about the KudoZ system and each other week a KudoZ thread "dies" with no conclusion/solution obtained...


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:30
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Why should WE worry? Oct 5, 2008

Stéphanie Soudais wrote:
Agree. Problem: we (almost) never get answers to our queries/critics/comments/ complaints...Each other week a new thread is opened about the KudoZ system and each other week a KudoZ thread "dies" with no conclusion/solution obtained...


Well, if askers don't care enough about their own work... why should we worry? THEY are the ones to worry in the long run, as they will certainly run in trouble with their customers.


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Cagdas Karatas  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 14:30
English to Turkish
TOPIC STARTER
My comments on your arguments Oct 5, 2008

Tomás Cano Binder wrote:

Let's improve Kudoz:
1. Let's only answer the questions we DON'T have to research (answer only if we know the answer from experience).

2. Let's ignore askers who never answer any questions.

3. Let's ignore askers who don't explain their doubts, post long sentences as the question and don't react to our requests for information.

4. Let's use the "disagree" when we don't agree! The I-don't-want-trouble approach won't do guys! A kind, reasoned disagree is the way to go and can't disturb anyone.

5. Let's be brief in the forums about KudoZ improvement! Please!


1. I can't agree. Any question and answer system would not work or dry up eventually if our approach is "know or shut up." I like making research and learning new things. It's true that KudoZ is basically a platform for helping translator colleagues and earning points by providing quick answers but the paths that KudoZ sends you are also very important for self-improvement IMHO. Hence, your argument is too restrictive according to me.

2. If I got it correctly, you mean that only the people answering questions should be allowed to ask on KudoZ, and there should not be any external askers. But why? Why should I refrain from helping people who do not want to act as an answerer? They naturally have the right to choose between being an asker and being an answerer. Perhaps a group of people don't have as much time as I have to spare for answering questions, and they only need quick answers to their questions.

3. I agree with this one. I believe askers are responsible for helping answerers, or in other words, providing answerers with as much context as they have. This is something they should do not just for the sake of answerers but also to get optimum assistance. However, some terms or questions won't allow askers to be very specific as a matter of fact. All we need is copperativeness about this item.

4. I agree. Reasonable and valid disagrees are an essential part of the KudoZ system. A neutral is absolutely not a disagree.

5. Not sure about this one. People should have the freedom of writing whatever they like. Only reiteration might be annoying in some cases and then you, as the reader, are free to skim it all.

[Edited at 2008-10-05 18:08]


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:30
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I'd like to know other people's opinions! Oct 5, 2008

Çağdaş Karataş wrote:
Tomás Cano Binder wrote:
5. Let's be brief in the forums about KudoZ improvement! Please!

5. Not sure about this one. People should have the freedom of writing whatever they like. Only reiteration might be annoying in some cases and then you, as the reader, are free to skim it all.


Yes, but I don't see the need to use 200, 300 or 400 words to make a point... The only way we help to make our opinions read and known is to try to be brief. That's what I am saying. We are translators. Surely we can express things in a few words?


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:30
Member
English to Turkish
Very well put, RNAtranslator Nov 17, 2008

Thank you. In fact, most of the time you'd need subject field knowledge to be able to make research and even conduct a dictionary lookup, as well.

Sadly, the current record of Kudoz is a living example of how source text understanding is overlooked by many translators. I, too, am sick and tired of people rushing to google without even understanding what the asker needs. And speaking of what the asker needs, another thing widely overlooked: Kudoz is not about outsmarting other answerers, it's about helping the asker. And refraining from answering in what you're clueless about cannot be as tough a choice as the one between watching a wounded person die or speeding up the process applying the wrongest possible first aid.




[Edited at 2008-11-17 10:23 GMT]


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Dr. Birgitte Eggeling  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:30
German to Danish
of course Nov 17, 2008

Of course you have to understand the source text if you are going to supply a good translation. That is the precondition. No doubt about it! I have never meant anything else, but you are able to build up a knowlegde in a certain area if you work for it. You have to start somewhere.
Preliminery terms could also be interests.

As to the Kudoz, I have seen - technical (general ;.) questions - that the asker is not supplying enough information so that we are able to give the proper answer. And some questions are closed without reason and no comments from the asker, or a couple of times questions are beeing closed with a wrong answer..

Have a nice day unless you have other plans.

Best regards
Birgitte


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