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Need to change definition of "easy"?
Thread poster: Kim Metzger

Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 15:36
German to English
Oct 13, 2004

I've been wondering why so many KudoZ questions are classified "easy" by askers when they are clearly not terms that anybody who happens to speak both languages would be able to translate reliably.

If you want to ask a KudoZ question, you see the following definitions of levels:

Pro - question for professional translators or specialists
Easy - question for language learners

And when you click on "edit question" after a question has been asked, we have the following definitions of level:

Easy: Any bilingual person would know

Pro: This question requires the skills of a specialist

Given the huge number of questions that are being asked under Easy (and which are clearly not questions that any bi-lingual person would know the answer to), I get the impression that when askers see "question for language learners" they aren't necessarily sure whether it applies to them or to the people they're looking for help from. They say to themselves, "well, I'm a language learner" so my question must be easy. Would it be a good idea for the asker to see the second definition of "easy" – "any bilingual person would know" instead of what he sees now?

I think the second set of definitions makes it clearer that the level applies to the answerers rather than the abilities of the asker.


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:36
Spanish to English
+ ...
ProZ is covering a very wide range of language knowledge, perhaps? Oct 14, 2004

Kim Metzger wrote:

Given the huge number of questions that are being asked under Easy (and which are clearly not questions that any bi-lingual person would know the answer to), I get the impression that when askers see "question for language learners" they aren't necessarily sure whether it applies to them or to the people they're looking for help from. They say to themselves, "well, I'm a language learner" so my question must be easy. Would it be a good idea for the asker to see the second definition of "easy" – "any bilingual person would know" instead of what he sees now?




I see your point Kim, but Proz, as far as I can see, is covering two very broad and very distinct fields, language learning and professional translation. So maybe, a much clearer distinction should be made between them...one is 'students', the other is 'workers'. Or is that simplistic? After all, if I claim to be a pro, why would I post an 'easy' question?

I haven't given much thought to the whys and wherefores, but I personally rely on ProZ for contact with professional translators, so all the rest is just water off a duck´s back. I never post an 'easy' question, because ProZ is 'last resort before client' problem solution in 99% of cases (and the other 1% is due to urgency).


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 23:36
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Why serve language learners at all? Oct 14, 2004

If this site is for assisting colleagues in our profession then I do not quite understand, why such easy questions are supported at all. These easy qyestions are an opportunity to collect Kudoz-points en masse, I know, but what for? I see no reason why students of languages should have the opportunity to get prosfessionals help them with there homework. The same stuff could and should be posted in the forums or on mail-lists. Perhaps the Easy-section should be dropped altogether?

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xxxIanW
Local time: 22:36
German to English
+ ...
My thoughts exactly, Heinrich Oct 14, 2004

My thoughts exactly, Heinrich - but I think we're in the minority.

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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:36
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Points for easy questions Oct 14, 2004

I agree with Heinrich and Ian. Many of the language learner questions are of the "first week of class" type. It should not be possible to earns points for the "I am a student" type of answers (in spite of the dozen agrees).

My thoughts,
Michele Fauble


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Cilian O'Tuama
Local time: 22:36
German to English
+ ...
Agree with Heinrich (and Ian) Oct 14, 2004

Heinrich Pesch wrote:
Why serve language learners at all?


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:36
German to English
+ ...
Need to change definition of "easy"? Oct 17, 2004

Ian Winick wrote:

My thoughts exactly, Heinrich - but I think we're in the minority.


Are we?

Marc


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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 23:36
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Easy vs. Pro -- contradiction in terms? Oct 17, 2004

Kim Metzger wrote:
I've been wondering why so many KudoZ questions are classified "easy" by askers when they are clearly not terms that anybody who happens to speak both languages would be able to translate reliably.


As far as I understand, one of the main reason is that non-registered members are not given the option to mark their questions as "pro". All their questions are automatically "easy".

This leads me, personally, to think that "Pro" questions are those which are directly connected to real translation work.
I mean that if a registered member asks a question which is connected to his or her professional work then, basically, it's a "professional" question, isn't it? I just wonder why registered members, who are supposed to be professional translators, often mark their questions as "Easy" ones. If they are "Easy" for them then why to ask in kudoZ ?! The only possible situation which I see is when I meet in the text an occasional word or expression from a `third' language I don't work with (say, like a German or Spanish phrase in an English text).

So, I see a deep contradiction in "Easy" vs. "Pro" division on the level of notions. Are these really opposites? I think there may be "Easy" vs "Difficult" or "Professional" vs. "Non-Professional", but not "Easy" vs. "Pro". This is where the problem of exact definitions is rooted, and all the other issues arise from this. Definitions may differ, but the main definition must be covered by the word itself -- and the terms "Easy" and "Pro" given as opposites are misleading by themselves.

[Edited at 2004-10-17 09:23]


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 22:36
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Learnes should always have the right to be helped Oct 17, 2004

Dear Heinrich, Ian, Michèle and Cilian,

Does none of you remember that you once were learners. Would you have cherished the attitude you are now touting.

Besides showing a lack of generosity it is also a very unwise policy.

1. Every membership organisation can only thrive if newcomers
are welcome and above all feel welcome
2. Lack of generosity always spreads a feeling of unpleasantness
and - lack of generosity
3. Haven't you discovered, that the most simple of questions
often harbours very interesting aspects, which can be
interesting for the most profesional of professionals.
E.g. 'I love you' does not have a given anser in any language.
It might mean 'You are dear to me' or 'I want you' etc.
4. The whole KudoZ system has a very simple basis:
Someone needs help - someone can help - someone helps.
You yourselves use the system. Why should you not help others?
5. Finally: Are you never a learner. Imagine you have the term
'dwell time' (context:peritoneal dialysis) and you were told
"Sorry! You are one of these (despicable) learners (not
worthy of an an answer from us, the professionals).
Would you find that acceptable?

Above all, haven't you yet grasped the KudoZ golden rule:

Answering KudoZ is volontary
Nobody is obliged to answer any question


Mats Wiman


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DGK T-I  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:36
Member (2003)
Georgian to English
+ ...
It would help, with the problem of getting better consistency anyway Oct 17, 2004

Kim Metzger wrote:
Given the huge number of questions that are being asked under Easy (and which are clearly not questions that any bi-lingual person would know the answer to), I get the impression that when askers see "question for language learners" they aren't necessarily sure whether it applies to them or to the people they're looking for help from. They say to themselves, "well, I'm a language learner" so my question must be easy. Would it be a good idea for the asker to see the second definition of "easy" – "any bilingual person would know" instead of what he sees now?

I think the second set of definitions makes it clearer that the level applies to the answerers rather than the abilities of the asker.


I hope the site will change that, too - it would help.

On easy questions in general, whether liked or loathed, perhaps a major cause of irritation with them will be taken away if a way is found that means that answers to genuine Pro questions are "formally" given a higher status than answers to Easy questions, in a meaningful way, and I believe a lot of thought has been put into looking at good ways of achieving that.


[Edited at 2004-10-17 11:57]


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 15:36
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Need to change definition of Oct 17, 2004

Aside from my point about the current definitions being confusing – i.e. that askers aren't sure whether the definitions apply to askers or to the people they're looking for help from – I think we should consider the following points:

1. There are questions that shouldn't be entered in KudoZ at all. If someone wants to know how to translate "dog" into German, he should be politely directed to an online dictionary (Leo, for example). Under the current KudoZ rules, we already do this, but askers continue to ignore it:

"Rule 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."

2. Easy questions are those that can't be found in standard dictionaries but do not require the skills of a translator or specialist. An example, I suppose, would be a phrase as opposed to a single term or a term that is used in a particular context. The person asking is a language learner and the person answering could be just anybody who happens to speak both languages.

3. Pro question:

a. Can't be found in a standard dictionary
b. Requires the skills of a translator or specialist

Premise: ProZ is a community of pros mainly interested in challenging language problems but also generous and willing to help translators who are just starting out, to act as mentors. So ProZ is a community of pros and learners: experienced and professional translators and people learning how to become translators. Everybody is welcomed. I was welcomed here when I first started translating four years ago.


[Edited at 2004-10-17 12:50]


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two2tango  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 18:36
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
External vs. internal questions Oct 17, 2004

Kirill Semenov wrote:

This leads me, personally, to think that "Pro" questions are those which are directly connected to real translation work.
I mean that if a registered member asks a question which is connected to his or her professional work then, basically, it's a "professional" question, isn't it? I just wonder why registered members, who are supposed to be professional translators, often mark their questions as "Easy" ones. If they are "Easy" for them then why to ask in kudoZ ?!


I like this line of reasoning. I would replace "easy" and "pro" with "external" and "internal". All questions from logged members would be "internal", while all questions from non-logged members would be "external". No human decision involved, no possible classification errors.

Internal questions would be assumed to come from professionals and would be expected not to be trivial. External questions should face greater tolerance.

I find the points issue not so central, but somehow answering internal questions should yield a higher reward than responding to the external ones.

Cheers,
Enrique


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 22:36
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Easy vs Pro is intellectually impossible Oct 17, 2004

Since 2001 it has been my view that the distinction is intellectually impossible.
What's easy for one is professional to another and if you define easy as a question coming from an outsider you have built a mess from the start.
The bouncing of easy to pro was alleviated a year ago when we could do batch boundcing, but who's got the time for it?

No:
1. The distinction ought to be abandoned and the implementation of filtering each new question through a glossary search before letting it out into the KudoZ arena should be implemented.

2. Focus should be shifted from 'number of questions asked' to 'number of questions ungraded'(KudoZ cheaters)

3. Combing glossaries should be a special section where suggested entry changes should be posted for peer comment.
If the change is approved by min. 2 peers, the poster gets 10 KudoZ points and best peer comment earns 4 KudoZ points.

4. Site policy would shift from restriction to stressing the voluntary character of KudoZ answering, i.e. everyone is responsible for his/her choice as to whether s/he should answer or not.

Thus all these meaningless KudoZ debates could cease.

Mats


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 15:36
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
BrowniZ! Oct 17, 2004

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

These easy questions are an opportunity to collect Kudoz-points en masse, I know, but what for? I see no reason why students of languages should have the opportunity to get professionals help them with their homework.


Good point, Heinrich. What about BrowniZ, which you can earn by adding a peer comment to another person's answer?

"BrowniZ are points earned by contributing something to the community or the site, such as site translations, introduction of new members, organization or attendance of powwows, etc.

BrowniZ measure of 'helpfulness' or 'activity level', as opposed to KudoZ points, which relate to 'expertise'.

Unlike KudoZ points, BrowniZ points can be spent. Having browniz points means you have done something for the community, and the community "owes you one".

http://www.proz.com/faq/browniz


[Edited at 2004-10-17 14:12]

[Edited at 2004-10-17 15:00]


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Stuart Allsop  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 18:36
Spanish to English
+ ...
"Easy" is ambiguous. Oct 23, 2004

I agree with Kim Metzger that the whole "Easy/Por" issue is confusing, and also with others that "answers do "easy" questions not have the same "value" as those to tougher questions.

So I'd like to suggest a couple of ways to improve this.

Instead of just defining what "easy" and "pro" is, how about changing the statements to questions, with two buttons:

"Do you think that your question can be answered by anyone who speaks both of these langauges? !_! Or do you think that only a profesional translator could answer it? !_!"

Also, to deal with the issue of the "value" of the answer, just limit the maximum number of KudoZ that can be awarded to two points, with the default value set to one point.

Finally, I'd also like to see an additional selection criteria on the "list" page (the one you get by selecting "answer questions") In addition to being able to view only "pro", only "beginner" or "both" types, I'd also LOVE to be able to filter out all the "homework / test" questions, so that I can only see questions from real translation work (neither "easy" nor "homework/test"). (And also I'd like to see the answers to "homework / test" questions limited to just one or two KudoZ points!).


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