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Obvious Kudoz questions from people claiming to be able to translate into English
Thread poster: Tom in London

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:00
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Dec 9, 2008

In Kudoz, in my pair (Italian to English) I frequently find people who advertise their language pair as "Italian to English" asking for the translation of very straightforward terms or phrases that would pose no challenge to any normally competent Italian to English translator.

I'm afraid there are Italians in my pair who *claim* to be able to translate into English, but who don't even possess the basic skills required.

Hence the many appalling translations of Italian websites, and no doubt of other documents too.

This is bad for our profession. I've had a number of complaints from agencies who tell me how difficult it is to find genuine English mother-tongue, genuinely competent, Italian to English translators.

Am I right to be irked about this? Can anything be done about it? I've even seen some people I know to be incompetent, slipping through the special "P" filter and now proudly sporting the "P" symbol (oh, and by the way, sporting sexy photographs that I know are not of themselves).

[Edited at 2008-12-09 17:26 GMT]


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Chiara Santoriello  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:00
Member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
My reply Dec 9, 2008

Tom in London wrote:

In Kudoz, in my pair (Italian to English) I frequently find people who advertise their language pair as "Italian to English" asking for the translation of very straightforward terms or phrases that would pose no challenge to any normally competent Italian to English translator.

I'm afraid there are Italians in my pair who *claim* to be able to translate into English, but who don't even possess the basic skills required.

Hence the many appalling translations of Italian websites, and no doubt of other documents too.

This is bad for our profession. I've had a number of complaints from agencies who tell me how difficult it is to find genuine English mother-tongue, genuinely competent, Italian to English translators.

Am I right to be irked about this? Can anything be done about it? I've even seen some people I know to be incompetent, slipping through the special "P" filter and now proudly sporting the "P" symbol (oh, and by the way, sporting sexy photographs that I know are not of themselves).

[Edited at 2008-12-09 17:26 GMT]


Dear Tom,

Unfortunately this is true also for the English>Italian language combination.
I don't know why translators should not be professionals such as lawyers, doctors, architects...
Everyone can be a translator, but a translator cannot be a lawyer, a doctor or an architect.

Chiara


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:00
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
You're right Dec 9, 2008

Chiara Santoriello wrote:
Unfortunately this is true also for the English>Italian language combination....I don't know why translators should not be professionals such as lawyers, doctors, architects...
Everyone can be a translator, but a translator cannot be a lawyer, a doctor or an architect.

Chiara


indeed. I imagine it happens in all language pairs- but I would hope Proz is able to maintain some standards. Alas, the "p" thing isn't successfully filtering out the cheats.



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Chiara Santoriello  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 05:00
Member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
the problem is... Dec 9, 2008

Tom in London wrote:

Chiara Santoriello wrote:
Unfortunately this is true also for the English>Italian language combination....I don't know why translators should not be professionals such as lawyers, doctors, architects...
Everyone can be a translator, but a translator cannot be a lawyer, a doctor or an architect.

Chiara


indeed. I imagine it happens in all language pairs- but I would hope Proz is able to maintain some standards. Alas, the "p" thing isn't successfully filtering out the cheats.



There isn't any third party (from Proz or from outside) who can certify and verify if your "P" is true, it is a sort of "self-certification" which is worth almost nothing.
Chiara


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xxxKhrystene
Australia
Polish to English
+ ...
Indeed... Dec 9, 2008

Well this, I must say, is also true of the Polish to English group.

Interesting dynamic, where certain 'mates' seem to prop up eachother's translations too... Oh well. Let them enjoy the game I guess.


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Fernando Guimaraes  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 04:00
German to Portuguese
+ ...
It seams Dec 9, 2008

It seams its it not only in English > Italian or Italian > English.

Just take some time looking at the questions from Itatian or English to any other language.


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Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 20:00
English to Russian
+ ...
The problem is self-correcting, I think. Dec 9, 2008

Just as you are able to see the questions posed by those "translators", so are the potential clients.

You can pretend to be able to do what in fact you cannot do, but not for long. I don't believe those "translators" will be very successful, so there is nothing to worry about.


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The Misha
Local time: 23:00
Russian to English
+ ...
How about people claiming they are native speakers of English too ... Dec 9, 2008

... and then offering such laughable KudoZ answers that one has an urge to puke? Don't even start, it's useless. What are you gonna do, shoot them?

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Paul Cohen  Identity Verified
Greenland
Local time: 01:00
German to English
+ ...
KudoZ as a yardstick of people's ability Dec 9, 2008

Hi Tom,

It's interesting to hear your comments about the “cheats”. I’ve also noticed similar dubious characters in my main language combination, German>English.

In general, KudoZ questions and answers can be highly revealing with regard to people's ability to translate, and many members on the site apparently don't seem to realize that their performance on KudoZ is available for the world to see -- presumably forever. I'm sure if more outsiders were familiar with the glossaries, KudoZ could be used by potential clients as an effective tool to separate the wheat from the chaff.

It's much more than a game, with players chasing after points. I see it as a testing ground for people’s translating skill. But let's face it, how many agencies or interested individuals have the time to wade through hundreds of old questions and answers to find suitable translators?

Up until recently, the ranking system in the directory was based exclusively on KudoZ points. Of course now that old system has been superseded to a certain degree by the addition of the “P” symbol as a search feature -- and a number of the new “P” people have absolutely no KudoZ points whatsoever. Such a change to the directory of course implies that the “P” is a seal of quality, and can thus be used as a guideline by potential new clients outside the ProZ world.

Granted, neither KudoZ points nor the “P” symbol can be relied upon 100% as a sign of top-notch quality. But at least an examination of past KudoZ activity in the glossaries can give a good indication of people’s performance, whereas the “P” remains largely a mystery to me. When it comes to looking for a good translator, as always, it's a case of buyer beware!


[Edited at 2008-12-09 20:32 GMT]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:00
English to French
+ ...
Can we quash such questions, please? Dec 9, 2008

Without getting into much detail, can we, users and members of the site, have the right to quash questions that involve terms and phrases that can obviously be found in an elementary school phrasebook? The only way to fix this annoying issue, I am afraid, is to wipe the system clean of any such questions, thereby not allowing people to keep stupidly answering them which would only allow wannabes to survive and keep messing with professional translators' image.

With such usurpers in the system, I don't even wonder why potential clients are unwilling to believe that I am a native speaker of French. Because of such usurpers, I have to constantly keep demonstrating my knowledge of a language I speak and write at the highest degree. Do you ask your plumber to show you papers attesting that he knows the difference between a screwdriver and a hammer? Didn't think so...

[Edited at 2008-12-09 21:17 GMT]


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:00
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
interesting replies Dec 9, 2008

Paul Cohen wrote:

at least an examination of past KudoZ activity in the glossaries can give a good indication of people’s performance, whereas the “P” remains largely a mystery to me.


The "P" implicitly recognises that on this site you are likely to run into every type of translator, from the best to the worst.

It makes the assumption that all of these translators are honest, but there's no way to stop the less scrupulous ones from giving one another points and WWA, and promoting one another, so that they all get through the vetting process.

So as Chiara said, it's "a sort of 'self-certification' which is worth almost nothing".

So my question remains open: should I be irked by incompetent translators getting the "P"?

Maybe the best thing is to leave it up to the agencies to do the work of distinguishing between good translators and bad ones. They will not be helped by the "P". Indeed, it may only annoy them.

It would be interesting to hear the views of some agencies.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:00
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Is Kudoz the key? Dec 9, 2008

Bearing in mind what Viktoria said, maybe it would help if there could be a Kudos warning not to ask obvious questions that any competent translator should be able to handle with a bit of normal work.

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Marina Soldati  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 00:00
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sorry to disappoint you Dec 9, 2008

Tom in London wrote:

Bearing in mind what Viktoria said, maybe it would help if there could be a Kudos warning not to ask obvious questions that any competent translator should be able to handle with a bit of normal work.


Hi Tom!

This issue has been raised many times, but the Staff is not willing to improve the Kudoz system, they seem to like it as it is.

It´s up to us to stop answering ten questions in a row for any "colleague" who has accepted work he/she can´t handle.

Regards,
Marina


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:00
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Not only questions in a row Dec 9, 2008

Marina Soldati wrote:

It´s up to us to stop answering ten questions in a row for any "colleague" who has accepted work he/she can´t handle.

Regards,
Marina


Marina, not only questions in a row, but really obvious single-word questions that with just a little work, any translator should be able to handle.

I'm relatively new to Proz.com and have only recently realised that a lot of the questions seemed to be really easy !

Answering them is a way to accumulate easy Kudoz points. I don't know if I'll be able to resist that temptation. Why should I give these points to someone else?





[Edited at 2008-12-09 21:57 GMT]


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:00
Italian to English
+ ...
Kudoz rules Dec 9, 2008

Tom in London wrote:

Bearing in mind what Viktoria said, maybe it would help if there could be a Kudos warning not to ask obvious questions that any competent translator should be able to handle with a bit of normal work.


There is already:

http://www.proz.com/siterules/kudoz_asking/2.1#2.1

Rule 2.1
KudoZ should be used for requesting terms help only after other resources have been exhausted. Resources available include the KudoZ archives (KudoZ > ProZ.com Term Search from the main menu), dictionaries, search engines, etc. If translations are found elsewhere and the decision to post a KudoZ question is made nevertheless, information found elsewhere should be included, along with an explanation of what further information is sought.



But we're not allowed to point it out, it's against the rules.
See this thread a few months back:

http://www.proz.com/forum/kudoz/109300-enhancement_of_the_kudoz_system_by_discouraging_questions_without_context_a_proposal-page3.html#890287



[Edited at 2008-12-09 22:01 GMT]

[Edited at 2008-12-09 22:02 GMT]


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