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Why are we doing free translations?
Thread poster: Jennifer Baker

Jennifer Baker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:49
Member (2004)
Italian to English
Mar 17, 2004

Today in the Easy KudoZ section in my language pair a non-member entered about 25 questions one after the other, all of them so simple they could be found in any dictionary(even a pocket dictionary!). I could almost piece the entire text together just by looking at the questions!
So my question is- Why are we answering all these questions? And is it fair to award loads of Kudoz points for the solutions? Personally, I would love to see the points system scrapped altogether, so that members answering (and asking) questions could do so without the idea of a reward as the end result.
In closing I would like to add a "thank you" to members who have been extremely helpful to me when I have posed a KudoZ question. I guess it just irks me to see such a useful tool jerked around! J.

[Edited at 2004-03-17 19:26]


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 06:49
SITE FOUNDER
We have worked out a limit policy - to be announced soon Mar 17, 2004

A limit policy has been worked out and will be implemented soon. A low percentage of the community will be affected, but abuse will be curtailed.

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Aquila Aurata
Local time: 12:49
Hungarian to English
+ ...
KudoZ needs rehauling? Mar 17, 2004

From time to time, I see this happening in my language pair, also. The asker enters complete sentences and gets top-notch translations within minutes. This is surely not what the system was intended for.

I wonder if the point system could be scrapped as J. suggests. Would there be sufficient motivation? Would we help each other just for the sake of helping? I wonder.

But wouldn't it be nice to share our knowledge for the benefit of all, instead of fighting for points and trying to beat each other to the punch? How about a collaboration tool that would allow for continuously improving the answers? I'm sure we'd have lots of wonderful ideas in the spirit of cooperation.


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 12:49
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
By answering questions - we learn, help and improve Mar 18, 2004

jajd wrote:
Today in the Easy KudoZ section in my language pair a non-member entered about 25 questions one after the other, all of them so simple they could be found in any dictionary(even a pocket dictionary!). I could almost piece the entire text together just by looking at the questions!
Suppose you're on the beach or with relatives without your dictionaries.
Would you like to be criticized for asking questions?

So my question is- Why are we answering all these questions?
The reasons for answering questions are manifold:

* Many of us are simply challenged by how a question can be answered.
* For many, they see a question with its answers as a way to learn, to improve their linguistic ability.
* For many, 'having a go at the KudoZ' is a way of relaxing, making a pause, doing something different than translating "this boring contract"
* By participating 'in the KudoZ' you can measure your linguistic skill compared to that of others.
* By participating 'in the KudoZ' you can size up colleagues in your language pair(s). That is maybe the best known way to get a feel for how peaople really are - as translators and persons. Most of us have made friends and alliances in the KudoZ arena.
* If you're experienced and like what you are doing, you are willing to help the less experienced or less skilled.
* If you see an inferior product - in our case an inferior translation - I think most of us have the urge to offer something better. Thus we offer a better translation suggestion.

If you find that someone is asking too many questions or if you find a question without merit, trivial or otherwise uninteresting, you have a very distinct option open to you:
DO NOT ANSWER, SKIP THAT QUESTION (and keep your calm).

And is it fair to award loads of Kudoz points for the solutions? Personally, I would love to see the points system scrapped altogether, so that members answering (and asking) questions could do so without the idea of a reward as the end result.
In closing I would like to add a "thank you" to members who have been extremely helpful to me when I have posed a KudoZ question.
The whole idea with KudoZ points is to say 'Thank you' and 'Bravo!' . Scrapping the points would most certainly diminish the efficiency of or even jeopardize the system.
One additional reason for answering questions is to be able to somehow prove (in a measurable way) that you know your trade by supplying a best answer to a linguistic question.
A single answer might not tell much, but the aggregate of a member's answers can tell quite a lot.
Many of us can testify that KudoZ helped us emerge from anonymity and uncertainty into becoming acknowledged and better paid.

I guess it just irks me to see such a useful tool jerked around!
Well, most colleagues and outsourcers do not see it that way.
Every answerer and answer can be backtracked and scrutinized as to whether the KudoZ constitute an asset or not. "This translator seems to know his/her specialty but also show a general linguistic ability as well as being helpful to his/her fellow translators or even less experienced. Seems competent and likeable."

I have tried to summarize it all in a posting called "Confessions of a 'pointgrabber'" http://www.proz.com/?sp=bb/viewtopic&topic_id=7722&forum_id=48

In very few cases (as with all systems), abuse is possible. To avert that, some limit rules will be rolled out.
In most cases, I believe my above comments might be of interest.

Best regards

Mats J C Wiman
Übersetzer/Translator/Traducteur/Traductor > swe
http://www.MatsWiman.com
http://www.Deutsch-Schwedisch.com
http://www.proz.com/pro/1749
(Proz.com moderator, deu>swe, Swedish)
Träsk 201
SE-872 97 Skog
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Tel:+46-612-54112 Fax:+46-612-54181 Mobile:+46-70-5769797

[Edited at 2004-03-18 04:22]


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Giuliana Buscaglione  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 12:49
Member (2001)
German to Italian
+ ...
Please contact your moderator Mar 18, 2004

Dear jajd,

Why didn't you contact your moderator? Each time I read a complaint in the forums, my first question is why members do not contact moderators. We are here even for these cases. A SC moderator might have his/her reasons for not intervening or not have noted a possible "abuse" (BTW, moderators are volunteers and are not supposed to be online 24h/day).

Apart from this, the Easy section is per definition open to all, member and non. If you don't know a language, anything is complicated. For ex. I might be curious about the translation of a word into let's-say Tagalog. Am I supposed to have a dictionary?! I believe you agree with me that I ought not to.

Giuliana


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 05:49
German to English
Improving KudoZ Mar 18, 2004

jajd: So my question is - Why are we answering all these questions? And is it fair to award loads of KudoZ points for the solutions? Personally, I would love to see the points system scrapped altogether, so that members answering (and asking) questions could do so without the idea of a reward as the end result.... I guess it just irks me to see such a useful tool jerked around!

Aquila Aurata: But wouldn't it be nice to share our knowledge for the benefit of all, instead of fighting for points and trying to beat each other to the punch? How about a collaboration tool that would allow for continuously improving the answers? I'm sure we'd have lots of wonderful ideas in the spirit of cooperation.

I have to agree with Mats that there is much to celebrate about KudoZ. I love the daily mental exercise and interacting with and learning from fine colleagues. I think the great majority of members who contribute answers have one thing uppermost in mind: to see the best translation entered in the glossary.

But jajd and Aquila have just raised some concerns. Henry has informed us that "abuse will be curtailed" with the new limit policy for asking questions. But jajd and Aquila are also concerned about "members answering ... questions ... without the idea of a reward" and "fighting for points and trying to beat each other to the punch." I think this is a good time to explore their concerns. They are expressing what many colleagues feel. I think they are saying that there are also members who do not necessarily want to see the best translation entered in the glossary but whose primary interest is to be selected as the "winner." So why not take this opportunity to listen to them and see if together we can find ways to make KudoZ even better?

Kim


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 06:49
SITE FOUNDER
We will try 'no points' option Mar 18, 2004

jajd wrote:
Personally, I would love to see the points system scrapped altogether...

This has been brought up and we are going to give askers the option of denoting their questions "no points". So we'll see how it works out!


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Valentín Hernández Lima  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:49
Member (2002)
German to Spanish
+ ...
If the asker was wrong in asking so many questions... Mar 18, 2004

If the asker was wrong in asking so many questions and the answerers were wrong in answering them, why do you want to punish everybody else for those mistakes?

The moderators and the authorities of this site could set an example in this and other similar cases, for instance by preventing the asker or such askers from using the system or by erasing the points earned in such an easy way.

Please have the courage of your convictions, kudos in this case are just a symbol of an achievement, of a moment of generosity and linguistic talent, and we were invited to take part in your endeavor in that spirit.

The system lets people in who hardly are in a position to judge the merits of the answers proposed to them or just want to get a free translation or obviously do not have any intention of ever giving something in return, not even a 'thank you' at the end of their queries. That is not any colleagues' fault. That does not prove that all the questions of that day were posted by mean people and all the answers were given by fools.

Respect is always the basis of positive relations between people as well as self-respect is the key to getting respect from others. Please respect us.



[Edited at 2004-03-18 09:32]


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Jesús Marín Mateos  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:49
English to Spanish
+ ...
Translation into your second language Mar 18, 2004

I don't know if it is the same case but I ask very few questions when I am translating into my mother tongue, on the contrary I ask a lot of questions when I translate into my second language (which I shouldn't do but sometimes happens...) and I have felt that people don't like you asking many questions and I think we should all be aware that sometimes we need more help....
Thank you.


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lien
Netherlands
Local time: 12:49
English to French
+ ...
It couldn't have been put better Mar 21, 2004

Mats wrote :

* Many of us are simply challenged by how a question can be answered.
* For many, they see a question with its answers as a way to learn, to improve their linguistic ability.
* For many, 'having a go at the KudoZ' is a way of relaxing, making a pause, doing something different than translating "this boring contract"
* By participating 'in the KudoZ' you can measure your linguistic skill compared to that of others.
* By participating 'in the KudoZ' you can size up colleagues in your language pair(s). That is maybe the best known way to get a feel for how peaople really are - as translators and persons. Most of us have made friends and alliances in the KudoZ arena.
* If you're experienced and like what you are doing, you are willing to help the less experienced or less skilled.
* If you see an inferior product - in our case an inferior translation - I think most of us have the urge to offer something better. Thus we offer a better translation suggestion.


Should be the standard answer for all the usual arguing.

[Edited at 2004-04-01 12:32]


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xxxsarahl
Local time: 03:49
English to French
+ ...
Best option ever! Mar 22, 2004

Mats Wiman wrote:
DO NOT ANSWER, SKIP THAT QUESTION (and keep your calm).


This is the best possible answer: just ignore the questions you do not like. Much better than a gazillion new rules. We as professionals retain the option to decline a jobs, and to ignore any question we want.


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Richard Benham  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:49
German to English
+ ...
There are limits... Sep 15, 2004

I have recently observed a case of someone (a member) posting about a dozen questions from the same one-paragraph article (soomeone actually tracked down the article online).

The questions all had inadequate context, and both the selection of context and the choice of "terms" showed an extremely poor grasp of the SL grammar. (For illustration, imagine a US_english source text had "The new regulations come into effect on May 1" and the question were "effect on May".)

It has been suggested that one should merely refrain from answering these questions. It is not so simple. It is not immediately apparent from the KudoZ list that questions are from the same asker or from the same source, nor necessarily that the "term" being asked about is actually an unrelated sequence of words which just happen to occur together in one sentence.

One of the purposes of KudoZ, I suppose, is for novice translators to get friendly collegial help from their more experienced colleagues. So one is inclined to forgive minor lapses and try to offer gentle correction. But often, as in the case just mentioned, the asker is not a novice, but just an incompetent translator working between two non-native languages.

These people, of course, often undercut qualified and experienced professionals to get jobs they are incapable of doing, and then get all the hard work done for them by those same professionals whose livelihood they are undermining.


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xxxdf49f
France
Local time: 12:49
freebies... Sep 18, 2004

Richard Benham wrote:
I have recently observed a case of someone (a member) posting about a dozen questions from the same one-paragraph article ...
It has been suggested that one should merely refrain from answering these questions. It is not so simple.

One of the purposes of KudoZ, I suppose, is for novice translators to get friendly collegial help from their more experienced colleagues. So one is inclined to forgive minor lapses and try to offer gentle correction. But often, as in the case just mentioned, the asker is not a novice, but just an incompetent translator working between two non-native languages.

These people, of course, often undercut qualified and experienced professionals to get jobs they are incapable of doing, and then get all the hard work done for them by those same professionals whose livelihood they are undermining.


I fully agree with Richard: what is troubling is not the occasional student trying to decypher a letter from last summer's girlfriend, nor the beginners intelligent enough to know their limits and look for help, but rather the "supposed professionals" who proceed as described by Richard. And there are also the native speakers who don't understand their source language or know nothing about the subject of a job they've nevertheless accepted, that's always a bit irritating of course.
Much more unacceptable yet(at least for me), some Agencies do the same (I've only checked twice on this type of askers, and twice ended up with an Agency profile), and perhaps this is one thing we should report to Moderators systematically?
My own response is (after grumbling to my screen!!) simply not to offer any help.
As for the poll on points/no points: I would gladly answer for free whenever I can be of help - points are not my motivation.
df


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 12:49
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
By answering questions - we learn, help and improve Sep 19, 2004

Dear Richard and df49f,

As you do not seem to have read the earlier postings in this thread I repeat two:

Valentin's:
If the asker was wrong in asking so many questions and the answerers were wrong in answering them, why do you want to punish everybody else for those mistakes?

and mine:
The reasons for answering questions are manifold:

* Many of us are simply challenged by how a question can be answered.
* For many, they see a question with its answers as a way to learn, to improve their linguistic ability.
* For many, 'having a go at the KudoZ' is a way of relaxing, making a pause, doing something different than translating "this boring contract"
* By participating 'in the KudoZ' you can measure your linguistic skill compared to that of others.
* By participating 'in the KudoZ' you can size up colleagues in your language pair(s). That is maybe the best known way to get a feel for how peaople really are - as translators and persons. Most of us have made friends and alliances in the KudoZ arena.
* If you're experienced and like what you are doing, you are willing to help the less experienced or less skilled.
* If you see an inferior product - in our case an inferior translation - I think most of us have the urge to offer something better. Thus we offer a better translation suggestion.

If you find that someone is asking too many questions or if you find a question without merit, trivial or otherwise uninteresting, you have a very distinct option open to you:
DO NOT ANSWER, SKIP THAT QUESTION (and keep your calm).


All opposition to 'too many questions' normally die out when the above thoughts are accepted
or
when the critics realise that they themselves might profit from the 'too many questions', which normally happens after some time.

Mats


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