Mobile menu

ProZ.com - a site for people who strive to continually improve their own skills
Thread poster: Kim Metzger

Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 06:28
German to English
Jun 3, 2004

Whither ProZ? Who should set the standards?

I decided it would be better to post this new thread rather than adding on to the "abusing the homework/test question option" and Ian's "Who needs the natives" threads - which inspired these thoughts. The thread started with a discussion of the appropriateness of asking for translations of 20 terms taken from a translation test and then shifted to the issue of how to define the KudoZ community.

When I decided to become a translator four years ago, I searched the Internet for sites that would help me in my quest to learn and then discovered ProZ. I was welcomed with open arms by professional translators who didn't care that I didn't have a university degree in translation and barely understood what translation was really about. I asked naive questions in the forums (and still do) and when I attempted to answer KudoZ questions I made a lot of mistakes and was also duly reprimanded when I was way off base. Those first disagrees stung sharply – they felt like electric shocks administered as punishment for unprofessional behavior. I benefited from the kindness and generosity and also from the stern admonishments to stay away from subjects that I knew nothing about.
But what I really appreciated was that as a rank amateur I was permitted to mingle with the pros. What a fine way to learn. As an educator, I understood that setting high standards was the best way to learn and improve. I knew that catering to the lowest common denominator brought the whole class down to the lowest level.

ProZ is a place for everybody: professional translators, students, amateurs, aspiring translators, people just interested in languages, etc. Everybody's welcome to participate in KudoZ. But the question is, what are the standards? Who sets the standards? The language hobbyists? I think the answer is given by ProZ itself:

"ProZ.com is a workplace used by translators, interpreters, translation agencies and their clients to meet and do work."
"KudoZ is a structured network used by translators to collaborate on terms."

Professional Practices for Language Service Providers
Professional companies and individuals:
• accept only assignments that they have the knowledge, resources and time to do well
• strive to continually improve their own skills

It is statements like these and the attitudes of the majority of ProZ/KudoZ participants that attracted me to this site. There have been continuous efforts to improve KudoZ over the years. The confidence bar was introduced to cut down on wild, unsubstantiated guesses by high-confidence tricksters in the game only for the points. The KudoZ Rules were refined to cut down on "I love you" questions and encourage answerers to cite references and avoid answering questions in language pairs and fields in which they are not competent. The peer-grading feature was strengthened and the order of appearance of answers was made random to encourage people to take their time when submitting answers. Many more efforts to improve quality are being discussed by site staff and moderators.

So ProZ/KudoZ is surely for everybody. The more the merrier because pros learn from amateurs too. But I believe the standards must be based on the best practices of professional translators so that it will remain a site for people who "strive to continually improve their own skills."


[Edited at 2004-06-03 18:36]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2004-06-03 19:16]

[Edited at 2004-06-03 19:20]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2004-06-03 19:25]

[Edited at 2004-06-03 19:59]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Vladimir Dubisskiy  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:28
English to Russian
+ ...
reading Kim Jun 3, 2004

Kim,
Just some thoughts after reading your posting:
1/ 'i love you'-type questions are still plentiful, at least, with Russian / Ukrainian ,. English pairs were I lurk. As well as really low-grade, sometimes even stupid answers.
2/ 'the game for the points' exists, but 'so what?', or, 'come on' - ProZ is so much more that this, that those, who limit the ProZ usage with the 'point-grabbing fever', are the true loosers here.
Well, for me, ProZ does not loose anything with it - It's a unique 'habitat' ,(a concept / term shamelessly taken from P.Hamilton's 'Reality Dysfunction' which I am totally sick with), started by a visionary (Henry the Founder).

With "organs" like KudoZ and Forums the site is nearly breathing (I mean it's semi-sentient, alive) - it needs to be (safe-)quarded, protected, defended not standardized.

Many Members through their ProZ involvement have developed a true affinity bond (Hamilton's again, sorry) with compadres from all over the world - how can we standardize this? And why?

It's more like a passion, or love. ProZ IS romantic, and I quess Henry knew about it from the very beginning)

On the sober side, considering the first postulate being correct:
"ProZ.com is a workplace used by translators, interpreters, translation agencies and their clients to meet and do work."
I would slightly change the below:
"KudoZ is a structured network used by translators to collaborate on terms."
taking 'the translators' out, ie
"KudoZ is a structured network used by members (or 'by participants')to collaborate on terms." - because, and it is said in the prev. sentence, everybody, not only 'translators" can ask questions, be with ProZ and zic answer KudoZ questions.

Finally, I totally agree with Kim's:
"ProZ/KudoZ is surely for everybody. The more the merrier because pros learn from amateurs too."

But, Kim, how you can implement your: "standards must be based on the best practices of professional translators" if the vast majority of highly diverse and thus fabulous ProZ Community, the citizens of the Habitat ProZ, are in no way "professional translators" but professional engineers, doctors, lawyers,teachers, else. They, actually, have their own professional guidelines, ethics codes, guilds, unions, associations etc. And, I believe everyone agrees that the standards and ethical norms set by those various prof. associations are very similar and, if followed, are quite enough; I mean there is no need to introduce here any standards / norms used strictly by professional translators, simply because, as you mentioned: "ProZ/KudoZ is surely for everybody. The more the merrier.."

Long Live ProZ!
or
ProZ rules!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Anjo Sterringa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:28
Member (2003)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Live and let live Jun 3, 2004

I was just away translating for a few days, just the occasional excursion to Proz and KudoZ, just to do something else - and then I see again that many colleagues are up in arms about KudoZ - mind you, the thread was longer than the one on poor rates (....)
I love KudoZ, I stumble and fall, I don't even look at the questions if it says 'test' and I sometimes add a remark if I think (not know, think) that someone is 'overstepping the mark' - well we have the mods to do something about it, don't we? I do not have the impression that the 'abuse' is very wide spread (at least not in the langpairs I monitor)- it happens occasionally, people are testing the limits, and most often than not, get told off.
ProZ is a community, and it takes all kind of people to form any community. There is allways the ugly niece or the horrible uncle - we need them! Think about that one....
I have received very good answers from colleagues when asking my few and far between questions. I would not like to change anything.
My two pesetas...


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 06:28
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Whither KudoZ? Who should set the standards? Jun 3, 2004

Vladimir Dubisskiy wrote:
I mean there is no need to introduce here any standards / norms used strictly by professional translators, simply because, as you mentioned: "ProZ/KudoZ is surely for everybody. The more the merrier.."



Hi Vladimir, I'm referring to the standards that we already have for KudoZ and to the direction I think ProZ should take for the future.

1. Asking KudoZ questions

1.1 - Use KudoZ to ask for a translation only after you have consulted dictionaries, the Internet and the ProZ.com glossaries (KudoZ >Search Glossaries in the menu). If you have found translations elsewhere but still want to ask, include an explanation of what you have found--and why you are asking anyway--with your question.

3. Answering KudoZ questions

3.1 - Read KudoZ questions carefully before answering. Always choose the confidence level that best reflects yours. Guessing should be avoided.

3.2 If you answer KudoZ questions, be prepared for colleagues to comment both positively and negatively on your terminology. Do not take it personally.

3.4 - Avoid answering in language pairs in which you are not capable, and in fields in which you are not knowledgeable.

3.5 - Whenever possible, cite references using the dedicated input boxes. Note that 'references' are resources to which others may refer, and comments such as 'Lived in Germany for 5 yrs' should be entered in the explanation box rather than the reference boxes.

In the other threads I referred to there were some calls for an "anything goes" approach to KudoZ: any question is OK and any answer is OK. Some appear even to think that peer-grading should be abolished because it "ruins the friendly atmosphere."

I don't think our standards should be based on the lowest common denominator. I believe the future direction of KudoZ should be toward quality and professionalism. I think ProZ should continue to base its standards for asking and answering pro-level KudoZ questions on the standards applied by professionals.



[Edited at 2004-06-03 21:23]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Johanna Timm, PhD  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:28
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
The challenge? Tough & tender Jun 3, 2004

Tough research, tender comments
Strong skills, humble opinions

johanna


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Vladimir Dubisskiy  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:28
English to Russian
+ ...
agree Jun 4, 2004

Kim,
I am agree (and try to follow) KudoZ guidelines... however it (KudoZ at all) can hardly have anything to do with "professional translators' standards" you've mentioned.

What i meant - the vast majority of participants are quite conscious adults with no evil intentions and, to add, are the professionals in many fields (including translations) and, as professionals, they maintain certain standards successfully. I do not think that such a diverse community, a unique habitat (I am again talking Hamilton) like ProZ should squeeze itself into some Procrustean bed of another "professional" standards. There are human standards to add to those professional (or business) normes everybody's living with.

Myself, - I agree with ProZ policies and norms - they are in no way conflict with my ethical and business norms as of a translator (by qualification, I have no other profession, and by passion).
However, there is no need (in my humble opinion) to overload our live community with rules and extra policing (I am saying 'extra' - what we have I like).

Best wishes to all and everywhere,
Be happy!



[Edited at 2004-06-04 03:09]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:28
Member (2004)
English to Italian
you said it, kim... Jun 4, 2004

Kim Metzger wrote:


ProZ is a place for everybody: professional translators, students, amateurs, aspiring translators, people just interested in languages, etc. Everybody's welcome to participate in KudoZ. But the question is, what are the standards? Who sets the standards? The language hobbyists? I think the answer is given by ProZ itself:

"ProZ.com is a workplace used by translators, interpreters, translation agencies and their clients to meet and do work."
"KudoZ is a structured network used by translators to collaborate on terms."



Unfortunately, it seems to me that nowadays ProZ fits more your own description than the one given by ProZ itself: "full of students, amateurs, aspiring translators and people just interested in languages". And quantity seldom translates into quality...

Giovanni

[Edited at 2004-06-04 09:14]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 13:28
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...
Quantity is not quality, it generates quality Jun 4, 2004

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL wrote:
And quantity seldom translates into quality...


To me, you seem to have misunderstood ProZ.com
You seem to expect that it is an elitist club for insiders.
It is not.
It a venue, rich in content and opportunities for those who do not have too many preconceptions.

Each of us has to take care of our own quality. ProZ.com does not and will not either guarantee or propose to guarantee or in other ways suggest that anyone of its members is a good translator.
It is a venue, open to all - and quite genial at that.

Beatiful flowers grow out of a rich humus, not out of ground which only contains the seeds of beatiful flowers.
A vast membership is the humus. And coninuous additions to that membership enriches the humus not the contrary.
Therefore it is important not to scare away debutants by sneering at them or trying to block them. Where will we then be in 5 years?
Try see it that way and you will be less irritaded.

My best piece of advice: Deselect the KudoZ alerts informing you of easy questions! You will then also get less irritated.

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
Schweden/Sweden/Suède/Suecia
Tel:+46-612-54112 Fax:+46-612-54181 Mobile:+46-70-5769797

Disclaimer:
I am a moderator. Please therefore do not assume that my comment is authorized by the site owner or sanctioned by my fellow moderators. I am only commenting as a passionate KudoZ participant.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Ruxi
German to Romanian
+ ...
Kim is right but not totally Jun 4, 2004

Kim is right,he mentioned many of the reasons I like ProZ. The beginning is difficult as everywhere.You have to convince people to accept you, you have to colaborate and to proof what you are and know.Some are severe and don't accept beginners.
I started to translate many years ago (1992).I did it at the beginning in my free time, so I had another job.
Now as I moved in another country and look for work, I came back to my old passion,I searched in Internet and found some sites for translators.
I like ProZ because it is more human, alive. I mean one can also communicate with colleagues.First time I entered the site I read the forums and was impressed of the level, I saw the list with powwows and the list with jobs. I could find everything here.
KudoZ I descovered and understood later.
It is indeed a very good site with one exception. I hate the commercial part of this site, because I see translation as real work and art and don't connect it with handle.
I had some good and some bad (some of them unjustified) suprises with KudoZ,like Kim sais the bad ones hurt and my fault is I take it all to personal.
The problem is there is no natural, normal order of the activity here.
I mean you come here new, start working, participating, find a job and so receive some money and afterwards you can afford "platinum", CAT a.s.o.
Here it works another way arround. You don't have money, you can not work.And it is not entirely the fault of the outsourcers. They have just learned what they found here. They have found platinum and a lot of different CAT, they used them to select bidders. Some other sites are free of such things and jobs are open to anybody.
I understood this site was founded like a company so the financial part is very important, people live of it. I was accustomed to other (German) forums where it is all a matter of volunteerly work to help the others.People who succeded in some problems work to help the others too.
At the beginning I thought "platinum" people are older here and very important, they have some special professional titles and skills.
Wrong! They just bought it! You can buy it from your first day here and you receive rights you don't deserve yet.
I saw ProZ like a market for translation jobs.It is kind of a market but a little unfair for many of us. It depends on what each person is looking for.
Some (like me) want jobs, some others help in translation, some others only communication with fellows.
ProZ I found a little more safer than other sites, it is open but still severly checked so many bad problems are avoided.
I like it, but for me I couldn't find what I need.
You said about standards and level.
A certain standard is given by the people here and by the rules. I mean tone of the postings, respect, politeness, vocabulary used a.s.o.Most of us have a certain level of education and manners.
The professional level is difficult to judge. We don't know each other except of the profile which is more or less complete or true. There seem to be a struggle for perfectionism here which I don't understand entirely and as a result also a struggle between natives and non-natives of some languages.
People seem to forget, or may be it is not known, understood, that translations are not art works by themselves to be perfect, but an art of communication between people and languages.
This is the main purpose of a translation: to facilitate work and communication between people speaking different languages.
Of course they have to be correct and well written and presented. But perfect they will never be, because we are people and not machines (this are also maid by people) and not Gods. Otherwise, and in future may be it will happen, we may put the document into a device and instantly receive it translated, stiled, all perfect.Only literar translators may still survive, because art (literature) means soul too and beauty.
There are a lot of art objects made succesfully by machines already: music (on computer), painting with computer and roboters, broideries and fashion creation. Do you like them?
May be not because they are to mechanically, they don't have soul.
Who ever is entitled to judge and set up perfectionsim in translation?
Who ever can afirm: "I am a perfect translator"? No one, I think.
I don't fight here for bad translations or unprofessional work, but everywhere here and on the sites of the translations agencies I read "We do perfect translations, we provide a high level...".
A little modesty must be. We are human being, knowing languages and do our best to help people to communicate.
That's it about levels.
I could meet here a lot of professional and good translators, some are may be beginners and trying to improve. It is an open site for everybody (may be in future only for paying members, who knows?) and not a restricted club for nobles and so it has to be.

I still hope for peace here, for friendship and for jobs.
Ruxi


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:28
Member (2004)
English to Italian
answers... Jun 4, 2004

Mats Wiman wrote:


You seem to expect that it is an elitist club for insiders.


Well, when I first joined ProZ, I thought the site was for ProZfessionals... I was wrong. I'm not elitist... I try and preserve a minimum of decency, because ProZ.com is a mirror of our profession and I don't like what I see. Let's face it: ProZ.com is a site for beginners, which has lost many of its original and experienced contributors. There are no more insiders. They've all left.


My best piece of advice: Deselect the KudoZ alerts informing you of easy questions! You will then also get less irritated.


I did that ages ago! Thanks God for that!

Giovanni


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Johanna Timm, PhD  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:28
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
On standards and striving Jun 4, 2004

Ruxi wrote:
People seem to forget, or may be it is not known, understood, that translations are not art works by themselves to be perfect, but an art of communication between people and languages.


The level of professionalism and standards here at ProZ.com can indeed be raised - just like this:

Focus on the topic
Do your research
Gracefully accept criticism

Share your resources
Play fair
Recognize your own limits.

It’s not that difficult, really. The ‘striving’ is the easy part, the ‘doing ’ bit takes resolve. And yes, it is an "art" as Ruxi said.

[and just in case you were wondering: I try to keep my contributions short simply because that way I can only make so many mistakes!!]

cheers,
johanna


Direct link Reply with quote
 

writeaway  Identity Verified

Local time: 13:28
Partial member (2003)
French to English
+ ...
Wonderful advice Johanna Jun 5, 2004

Johanna Timm, PhD wrote:

The level of professionalism and standards here at ProZ.com can indeed be raised - just like this:

Focus on the topic
Do your research
Gracefully accept criticism

Share your resources
Play fair
Recognize your own limits.




If this every single item (not one can be ignored!!)is followed to the letter, this will definitely have a positive impact on Proz.

[Edited at 2004-06-05 09:50]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:28
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Keeping to the point Jun 5, 2004

Back to Kim's starting point - people who try to improve themselves... we all began somewhere!

It's a long story, but instead of having the 'usual' language training, I was officially a librarian with German as a B-subject, so I was excluded from the Danish Parnassus when I started translating. I really needed professional help to become professional.

An agency took me on and colleagues trained me. I still go to open university courses. Since I am now working alone, ProZ.com is my substitute for those colleagues as company at coffee time and when I need support. Many Kudoz points awarded to me should rightly go to them, but they don't play on Kudoz, and I am happy to pass on what I have been given 'for free'.

It has been very hard to find agency jobs in the last couple of years, so Proz is one of the alternatives. In 'my' languages there are still plenty of serious professionals using the site.

Platinum membership says nothing about professional standards except that these members are prepared to support the site and can afford it. After all, everyone has to eat and pay tax, so if one or two people get paid for the time they spend working on Proz, they deserve it IMHO. I know the mods work for free.

I answer test questions if I can. In these days tests simulate real life, and knowing where to find the right answer is just as important as the answer itself. It is impossible to know everything, and those who can't search the Internet are missing out seriously.

Thanks to all those who bear with us amateurs! Even if half of us are doctors, engineers, librarians or whatever, we all need languages. Linguists need the technical knowledge the others bring too, so long live Proz!

PS I hope I count as a professional translator by now, but nobody's perfect.


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

ProZ.com - a site for people who strive to continually improve their own skills

Advanced search






memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »
Wordfast Pro
Translation Memory Software for Any Platform

Exclusive discount for ProZ.com users! Save over 13% when purchasing Wordfast Pro through ProZ.com. Wordfast is the world's #1 provider of platform-independent Translation Memory software. Consistently ranked the most user-friendly and highest value

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs