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The source and target languages in the question entry form
Thread poster: Fuad Yahya
Fuad Yahya  Identity Verified
Arabic
+ ...
Feb 29, 2004

A very large number of questions get posted under the wrong laguage pair. The rerouting of questions is possible, but wasteful. I believe this problem can be easily prevented (instead of being corrected in each case) by making a couple of design changes in the drop down menus (currently one menu) of the source and target languages in the question form.

Currently, the default is set to one short menu showing preselected language pairs according the logged member's language pairs stated in the member's profile. One would think that a registered memeber would have no difficulty figuring out what this menu is about, or what the fine print underneath means ("more languages"). Experience shows otherwise. Many questions get posted with the default setting, which in many cases is set to English monolingual, depending on the asker's profile or on whether a profile exists.

Although I like the idea of having provisional shorter menus for logged registered members (which I hope all askers soon will be, if we implement recent suggestions), I would like to suggest two design changes to make the language pair selection nearly fool-proof:

1. Instead of indicating the pair in one row in the question entry table, I would create two clearly designated rows, each having its own drop-down menu, one clearly labeled "Source Language," the other "Target Language." The phrase "Language Pair" and the symbol ">" seem to signify very little for many askers, even regsitered members.

2. I would not have a preselected source language or target language. Although I understand why my source lanaguage menu and my target language menu should each provisionally contain Arabic and English, I cannot think of any reason at all why my default source language is already preselected for me as "Arabic" and my default target language is already preselected for me as "English." I agree that having a shortened provisional menu makes the process user-friendlier, but preselecting a default source language and a default target language makes it less user-friendly and, more relevantly, more prone to error.


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Elvira Stoianov  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
Local time: 14:22
German to Romanian
+ ...
just a collateral answer Feb 29, 2004

Fuad Yahya wrote:
... I cannot think of any reason at all why my default source language is already preselected for me as "Arabic" and my default target language is already preselected for me as "English."


The languages are listed in the same order as you have entered them in your profile page.

As I can see from this posting, your first language is listed as Arabic-English, this is why your default language is selected the same. I hope I have cleared at least one thing.


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Fuad Yahya  Identity Verified
Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That is probably the rationale. The question is whether it is a good rationale. Feb 29, 2004

Elvira Stoianov wrote:

As I can see from this posting, your first language is listed as Arabic-English, this is why your default language is selected the same. I hope I have cleared at least one thing.


Indeed, the language pair listed first in my profile is preselected for me when I ask a question. That is the part that has no good reason. It is not that one cannot find a possible rationale for it. It is rather that this setup has an undesirable down side, which can be eliminated while still maintaining the user-frienliness of a provisional, smartly customized, short menu.

What they should do instead is present me with a short source language menu (containing Arabic and English) and a short target language menu (containing Arabic and English). Each menu should be clearly identified as "Source Language" and "Target Language," and neither having any preselected default language. This way, I will be forced to examine my short menu and select from it. Since the menu is shortened, the selection is not as difficult as going through an exhaustive list of languages. If I happen to be asking about Romanian or Latin, I can select "more languages."

If there is enough computing power that can be tapped, I would also suggest adding any language pair that I had posted questions under or answered questions under to the provisional menus.


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 08:22
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
I'm a bit annoyed too Feb 29, 2004

I know that this has been discussed before being adopted, and I follow and accept the decision of the majority, but I'm a bit annoyed because I have already asked questions in English, German and Italian, either because the original text had been written in those languages or because I need English to communicate. Now I wonder how can I do to ask in case of need.

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Fuad Yahya  Identity Verified
Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
You can still select from the longer list Mar 1, 2004

Claudia Iglesias wrote:

Now I wonder how can I do to ask in case of need.


You can still click on "More languages" to select other languages.

The goal of my suggestion is not so much to enable what is not currently possible, but rather to:

1. Significantly lessen the likelihood of questions being posted under the wrong language pair, which is a constant irritant (this would be accomplished by (A) two separate fields, one for source language, the other for target language, each clearly labeled; and (B) the elimination of preselected default source language and target language); and

2. Make the process user friendlier by adding to the short language menus any languages previously handled by the user in asking or answering questions (if such customization is not too daunting).


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 08:22
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Sorry Mar 1, 2004

I didn't notice the "more languages" option.
Forget my comments.

As for the mistakes when chosing languages, I don't have too many complaints nor errors of languages, I have more repetitions.


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Fuad Yahya  Identity Verified
Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Another important topic Mar 1, 2004

Claudia Iglesias wrote:

I don't have too many complaints nor errors of languages, I have more repetitions.


The question of repetitions is equally important. It is now being addressed in another Forum discussion, where you may want to participate:

http://www.proz.com/topic/18903


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