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When to ask KudoZ questions
Thread poster: gad
gad
United States
Local time: 10:07
Member
French to English
Mar 7, 2005

Here’s another “light” topic for discussion regarding KudoZ questions: when is the best time to post a question, and on average, how soon should one probably receive all responses (for the most part)?

By “best time”, I actually mean two things: 1) time of day, and/or 2) point you have reached in your translation.

The thing is, many times once you reach the point that you have exhausted all other resources, it’s late in the process and so you may miss some or all of the responses you end up receiving. However, on the other hand the correct response could appear just in the nick of time.

I’ve posted questions on Saturday night, figuring that if my translations were due back to the client on Monday morning, that would leave plenty of time for responses. I noticed that most people are not on the site on Saturday night (just us trying to figure out how we’re going to get done by Monday morning).;)

But, those of us in the U.S. have a little bit of an advantage in that if we post a question before going to bed, it’s possible to wake up and get some good responses from our European colleagues. I would imagine it might work like this even more so for those on the West Coast of the U.S., as opposed to the East Coast.

I am sure that many of you will have some good comments and feedback to add to this discussion, from both points of view (the Asker or the potential Answerer), even if just to tell about your experiences with good and/or bad timing of questions.


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Angela Arnone  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:07
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
I doubt there's a good time of day! Mar 7, 2005

proz is a 24/7 outfit, so I doubt there's much that will shift the emphasis one way or other - although weekends and public holidays may be quite risky if you're desperate.
As far as the right point in the translation goes, this may depend on lots of things ... is the word crucial to your understanding of the rest of the sentence/paragraph? How tight is your deadline?
My routine is: dictionaries/proz glossary/eurodic/google and then kudoz.
The first four shouldn't take you more than 15 minutes (and if you're over that, then you should certainly head for the kudoz page).
You shouldn't worry about asking a kudoz if, in all conscience, you have exhausted your resources.
What is unacceptable is a professional translator who doesn't appear to own or can't be bothered to use a dictionary, but finds it easier to send off a kudoz request (often not checking the proz glossary either).
I'm sure I've missed plenty of things, but this is my off-the-cuff response to what you were asking.
Ciao
Angela

gad wrote:
By “best time”, I actually mean two things: 1) time of day, and/or 2) point you have reached in your translation.

The thing is, many times once you reach the point that you have exhausted all other resources, it’s late in the process and so you may miss some or all of the responses you end up receiving. However, on the other hand the correct response could appear just in the nick of time.



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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:07
French to English
to answer point 2) Mar 7, 2005

I really wish people would do a first draft of the whole job they're doing before posting questions. I've lost count of how often Askers respond with "oh, it's all become clear x pages later". You do sometimes get the impression that people are just opening the document and starting translating from the top of page one without even reading it first, and then posting a kudoz question as soon as they get a bit stuck.

As for 1) - not sure when's best but I'm starting to think that Sundays, in general, are not a good time (not in Fr>Eng anyway) since the world and his wife seem to post their questions on a Sunday and there's often been more than a page of Sunday questions lately.


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Sven Petersson  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 16:07
English to Swedish
+ ...
When does a Tuborg taste the best? Mar 7, 2005

Same answer: "Always!"

http://images.tradera.com/400/11462400_1.jpg


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
any time, last resort Mar 8, 2005

Generally I have never felt short of answers, even at (my) night or weekends. Often I'm surprised...:-)

ProZ is my last resort, when I have exhausted all other sources, although sometimes I often end up finding the answer myself becuase the answers posted by the time I'm due to deliver aren't satisfactory. That would indicate that I posted too soon, but then again, often an apparently inadequate answer provides clues or leads, or simply acts like a brainstorm that inspires one.


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gad
United States
Local time: 10:07
Member
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Angela Mar 8, 2005

proz is a 24/7 outfit, so I doubt there's much that will shift the emphasis one way or other - although weekends and public holidays may be quite risky if you're desperate.


Yes, I realize that it's there 24/7, but I'm sure that there may be times when it's better to post than others.

It's funny that you should state "if you're desperate", because since KudoZ is supposed to be used as a last resort, then the person just might be 'desperate' by that time.;)


My routine is: dictionaries/proz glossary/eurodic/google and then kudoz.


Yes, my routine is similar, I check EuroDicAutom, GDT, Proz.com glossary, then paper dictionnaries, then sometimes a Google search (though that doesn't always produce good results), and then KudoZ - HOWEVER, there are times in fact (and it's happened more than once) when I have missed something, usually because I may have queried by the whole phrase instead of parts of it only, etc.

I also think that if someone thinks that a person hasn't done his or her research enough to ask a KudoZ question, then the person who doesn't like that question being there should simply not answer it. I see quite a lot of complaints about KudoZ questions posted, on these forums. I think the negativity could be saved by choosing to ignore those questions...but I digress...anyway...

You shouldn't worry about asking a kudoz if, in all conscience, you have exhausted your resources.


OK, see above.

What is unacceptable is a professional translator who doesn't appear to own or can't be bothered to use a dictionary, but finds it easier to send off a kudoz request (often not checking the proz glossary either).


Again, here's another of those references made to people not doing enough research...does this really occur as often as it is discussed? And even if so, can't these questions just simply be ignored? The end result of a question being answered anyway is that it would come up on a ProZ.com glossary search in the future.

I just saw two cases where the Asker "missed" a question that had previously been posted...or so it appeared. One was where the previous question was for PART of the term, not the whole term, and the other question was for a different target language, so that wouldn't really help much anyway.;) I know that I missed a question which had previously been posted in the OPPOSITE language pair, because I searched in my own language pair, not just any language pair.

I'm sure I've missed plenty of things, but this is my off-the-cuff response to what you were asking.


Thanks, take care.:)


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gad
United States
Local time: 10:07
Member
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Charlie Mar 8, 2005

I really wish people would do a first draft of the whole job they're doing before posting questions. I've lost count of how often Askers respond with "oh, it's all become clear x pages later". You do sometimes get the impression that people are just opening the document and starting translating from the top of page one without even reading it first, and then posting a kudoz question as soon as they get a bit stuck.


See, I guess that's what I see as a bit of a paradox regarding asking questions - if you do exhaust all resources, then will that still leave enough time for you to complete the translation? While it may take "no more than 15 minutes", as Angela stated, that is a length of time spent on each term, which could be towards the end of the process.

As for 1) - not sure when's best but I'm starting to think that Sundays, in general, are not a good time (not in Fr>Eng anyway) since the world and his wife seem to post their questions on a Sunday and there's often been more than a page of Sunday questions lately.


OK, thanks for that - I guess that is because, like me, I would imagine other translators are finishing up on Sundays and so that would naturally be when they are winding things up. I tend to post on Saturday evening/night - or, at least I have a couple times, recently - because I figure that gives me the overnight to sleep and then revisiting the document the next day I can look over the responses. I feel like if I post too late in the day on Sunday then I might not get responses in as timely a manner as I'd like, which is a shame because people are nice enough to respond and they're trying to be helpful.

Anyway, that could be why Sunday doesn't produce those results, so thanks for the input.

Also, I will re-iterate the fact that if a question or series of questions bother(s) someone, then that person who is bothered should simply ignore them, IMHO. JMO.:)


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gad
United States
Local time: 10:07
Member
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Ailiash Mar 8, 2005

Generally I have never felt short of answers, even at (my) night or weekends. Often I'm surprised...:-)



That is great - then the system really works for you.:)

ProZ is my last resort, when I have exhausted all other sources,


Yes, I honestly think most people do this, though I also believe that many people reading questions do not believe this to be so. I think that those who post questions that end up being in GDT, EuroDicAutom, or Termium may not know about those resources. Everyone is coming from different background as far as experience, and not everyone is going to be expert in everything, of course.

I really wish there were a lot more tolerance on this point, honestly. Anyway, moving on...

although sometimes I often end up finding the answer myself becuase the answers posted by the time I'm due to deliver aren't satisfactory. That would indicate that I posted too soon, but then again, often an apparently inadequate answer provides clues or leads, or simply acts like a brainstorm that inspires one.


Interesting points, all.


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writeaway  Identity Verified

Local time: 16:07
Partial member (2003)
French to English
+ ...
YES Mar 8, 2005

"Again, here's another of those references made to people not doing enough research...does this really occur as often as it is discussed? "

It's becoming a major problem. More and more people are relying very heavily on the site to get through jobs and are apparently not bothering to do any research themselves. When one click on Google or a glance in any dictionary provides the exact solution in a matter of seconds, then it's very clear that the Asker never bothered. Some Askers try to say they have no time, but it takes just as much or even more time to post a question. There is no doubt about it-too many people are now using Kudoz as a substitute for doing their own (research)work.

[Edited at 2005-03-08 03:18]


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 17:07
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
It works also for us in Europe Mar 8, 2005

At the end of day one can leave a proofreading job to an American colleague who is just having brakfast and the result is ready in the morning when we wake up. This applies also in KudoZ.
Regards
Heinrich


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Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:07
Partial member (2003)
Spanish to English
Posting questions can take up a lot of time Mar 8, 2005

writeaway wrote:

"Some Askers try to say they have no time, but it takes just as much or even more time to post a question. There is no doubt about it-too many people are now using Kudoz as a substitute for doing their own (research)work.


I agree. Posting a question can very often take up more of your precious translating time than finding the answer yourself or asking the client directly for clarification. I have often refrained from asking a question because I know (in that specific case) I would have to spend a lot of time working out whether the replies received were correct or not and would get distracted from the task in hand.

That said, I often think to myself: bet someone on Proz knows the answer to this... and then I don't ask the question because I really think I shouldn't be lazy and should try to find the term myself

As to when I post. Invariably too late (still hoping I'll find it myself). And in my experience there is no best time to post, but try to avoid doing so when someone else is firing loads of questions, as yours may just get overlooked in the process


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:07
French to English
gad Mar 8, 2005

gad wrote:

I really wish people would do a first draft of the whole job they're doing before posting questions. I've lost count of how often Askers respond with "oh, it's all become clear x pages later". You do sometimes get the impression that people are just opening the document and starting translating from the top of page one without even reading it first, and then posting a kudoz question as soon as they get a bit stuck.


See, I guess that's what I see as a bit of a paradox regarding asking questions - if you do exhaust all resources, then will that still leave enough time for you to complete the translation? While it may take "no more than 15 minutes", as Angela stated, that is a length of time spent on each term, which could be towards the end of the process.

Also, I will re-iterate the fact that if a question or series of questions bother(s) someone, then that person who is bothered should simply ignore them, IMHO. JMO.:)



Your first point is an individual time management issue. We all know that sometimes deadlines are tight, but if they have become so tight that spending 15 minutes looking something up is jeopardising delivery, I would suggest that the person has either bitten off more than they can chew or they need to manage their time better. One suspects that in such cases, checking and proof-reading, for instance, will be minimal, as will the quality of the work...

Your second point is fair enough (and I do ignore Qs that bother me e.g. from "not logged in"); my point is that having, as an "answerer", accepted that a Q looks reasonable and offered help/suggestion(s) as a result, to later read that the Asker has discovered the answer on the next page is somewhat frustrating.


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xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 16:07
French to English
+ ...
all this begs another issue (as usual)..... Mar 8, 2005

OK, I'll come clean, I've just posted a question to help me finish a rush job on time. In truth, I'm am not in top form today by a long shot and the old brain is creaking. The deadline is still there however (and it is a rush two pages I just received an hour ago). I'm not sure I've exhausted all my possibilities but I sure feel exhausted from lack of sleep.
Passing to more serious things, I sometimes feel I should give a course in basic translation. If people read the whole text through before they started to translate, they would perhaps - if they have the native wit - be able to see how thing hang together and avoid the pitfalls they might otherwise land in.
We all have our own techniques but if you get the flavour of a piece, even if it is a rush job and you are in a crashing hurry (festina lente - remember!) (exclamation mark with apologies to Ian W.), it usually pays in spades.
My golden rule is:
1) Read the whole thing through at whatever pace suits you best (mine is quick)
2) As you go through, underline potential problems (on hard copy)
3) Make notes of brilliant ideas that flash through your mind as you go
4) Research problem areas - dictionaries, google, whatever
5) Do your first draft
6) Chase up thorny problems and any new one that emerged during drafting
7) Re-read the whole thing, thinking about the logic behind it all as you do.

I add the last point because I have commissioned translations only to find that the text received contradicts itself from one page to the next. Now if you parse the sentences, you do at times find that the translation given was a possible but PLEASE USE a bit of COMMON SENSE.... In doubt, ask. And, if there is clearly a problem in the original, warn the client.

But in response to the question of when to "proz", I would recommend under 6) above.
You can also "play" time zones, as you suggested

But - try to wait a while if you can: it is often a late reply that gets it right!


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 16:07
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I prefer to find my own answers BUT... Mar 8, 2005

I do believe in reading through the text and making sure I've got the context right, and I often feel my own solutions are best. But everyone gets stuck or pushed for time occasionally, or needs moral support, and that's when to turn to KudoZ.

I sometimes use KudoZ for my 'fringe' languages - French beyond very basic texts, and Dutch when I'm proofreading a text written in English by a friend from Holland. To me it sounds 'German' or 'Danish' and I don't know any Dutch. I probably shouldn't be meddling with Dutch anyway, but English is my native language, so I end up with the proofing job. Looking up 'backwards' in the dictionary has drawn a blank, and I can't read webpages in Dutch. Even if my questions look very elementary, there is always somebody helpful out there, so thanks!

Other times I answer questions myself from 'not logged in' or people I feel simply should not be battling with 'my' languages. When I get tired of them, I stop answering. There is always someone else, and it doesn't bother me. Even really expert translators can be tired, rushed and out on the fringes of their fields, and I know how grateful I am when people answer my questions. When I'm too busy, I adjust the settings in my profile so I don't get KudoZ mails.

I have learnt a lot of things from patient colleagues, and these expressions are NOT in the dictionaries, even though they should be! I often can't repay those who have helped me, but I can help the next generation, and it boosts my ego. Even the 'easy' questions are not always easy when it comes ot the point, and the discussions raised are good for us all. They throw light on nuances and shades of meaning we might have forgotten, and they're good for us all.

KudoZ is an option, not an obligation, so enjoy it or turn it off is my philosophy.


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