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A poll - Kudoz confidence - can you be a bit pregnant?
Thread poster: Aleksandr Okunev
Aleksandr Okunev
Local time: 07:54
English to Russian
Mar 8, 2005

Dear all,
Yeah, it is another stu&id choice that made me jumpy: I proposed a 100% sure translation (14 years in fashion field), the asker chose another, *wrong* variant, which alters a person's profession in an official document, suggested by a fellow translator who specializes in
Economics, turism, fiction, video&movie-scripts + narrating consulting

I know that Kudoz is just a game. I don't care a bit about the points and I take part in several other lists which do not offer any points. I made one good rule for myself however: I put confidence either 5 (very rarely) or 1 (most often). The "1" I treat as "I don't know for sure but I'm willing to help". I do not understand a confidence level of 2-3-4 (see forum topic). Do you agree with me or am I missing something?
Thank you and
HAPPY TRANSLATING!
Alex


[Edited at 2005-03-08 17:13]


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:54
English to Arabic
+ ...
Of course you can be! Mar 8, 2005

Well, not half pregnant, but half sure. Personally, I usually go for confidence levels 3 or 4, for demonstrable reasons.

"5" should only be used when you are 100% sure of your answer, and you can justify your confidence (e.g. You have a question like "what does UNESCO mean in the context of international organisations?" I know the answer, I'm sure of it, I can provide references).

But how about questions that involve translating part of a sentence, or an advertising slogan, or an obscure expression? I may have a very good idea for an answer, but there may be better ones, so it would be arrogant to put "5". It would also greatly undermine my suggestion if I put "1" (cause usually my answer is not purely based on guessing, and involves some research). Depending on how good I feel about the answer, I select 2, 3 or 4.

As suggested by Kudoz, "1" indicates pure guessing. Of course, guessing isn't encouraged, but sometimes the question is so hard that all the answerers can provide are guesses.

Note: It says "CONFIDENCE level" not "level of CORRECTNESS", so it's a very personal decision.

My two cents...


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Robert Zawadzki  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:54
English to Polish
+ ...
I am not an expert at being pregnant but... Mar 8, 2005

If I were to set confidence to 1, I'd rather skip the question. On the other side, to set it to 5, I have to be sure, that there is no context that would invalidate my answer. I offer (founded) suggestions at level 3 or 4 (almost sure). Anyway it is up to asker to verify it. And if the questions is ex. literary not technical, how can you be sure? Do you know THE right translation of a poem?

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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 07:54
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
is there something like a "right" translation? Mar 8, 2005

Even if your choice is correct, there is bound to be another alternative. Language is not mathematics, and even in math they have fuzzy logic nowadays.
Regards
Heinrich


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Graciela Carlyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
you can't be a bit pregnant ;o) Mar 8, 2005

Hi Alex,

...but you can be not 100% sure that your answer will fit the asker's context.

IMHO many many times there is lack of context in the questions, so when you attempt an answer, you're also trying to imagine the context that the asker didn't give you!

Also true is that there can be many different correct translations for the same thing.

Even if I know the context and I'm pretty sure (in which case I use 5), I don't have the whole text to make a final decision.

I personally use 3-4 when the context given is not clear or when I know there might be more options.

Maybe it's just that you cannot be sure that you're pregnant until you see the actual test ;o)

well not you anyway!!

Cheers,
Grace.


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Aleksandr Okunev
Local time: 07:54
English to Russian
TOPIC STARTER
Well, now it looks like you can... :) Mar 8, 2005

Hi, everyone, thanks a lot for the feedback!
Note: It says "CONFIDENCE level" not "level of CORRECTNESS", so it's a very personal decision. My two cents...

Dear Nesrin, that is a very good point indeed, believe it or not, I somehow managed to miss this!
Do you know THE right translation of a poem?

Well, Robert, I see your point, but I'm talking about purely tech terms.
Even if your choice is correct, there is bound to be another alternative.

Not always, Heinrich, speaking about terms, especially collocations, like 'bead ring wrapper' and things like that.
Language is not mathematics...

Luckily for us!
Once again, thanks a lot to everyone, I will take it positively and even more easy.
Stay well
Alex


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Aleksandr Okunev
Local time: 07:54
English to Russian
TOPIC STARTER
Well, well, OK Mar 8, 2005

Graciela Carlyle wrote: Even if I know the context and I'm pretty sure (in which case I use 5), I don't have the whole text to make a final decision.

Hi, Grace, of course. I will think it over for a just a bit longer, to saturate, because I lied to you all: although I admit you are right, I still cannot visualize 3 point confidence, like, say 'nearly fresh fish'. Have to sleep on it, I assume...

Cheers!
Alex


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 06:54
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Well, you can be 'very pregnant'... Mar 8, 2005

Strictly and clinically, of course, one is either pregnant or not pregnant.

But there is a stage where a mum-to-be barely knows it, and nobody else knows it if she doesn't tell them. Then there's all the transition through to the no mistaking it, could give birth at any moment stage and then... Suddenly she's not pregnant any more.

For those who have experienced it, I'd say it was definitely something that starts gradually and builds up. Besides, who says language is always logical?

Just my way of seeing it.


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:54
Dutch to English
+ ...
Kudoz confidence Mar 8, 2005

There is another way to view the Kudoz confidence level. I often use levels 3 and 4 not because of doubting myself, but because the question was unclear usually due to lack of context. How can anybody supply a translation for say 'love' when we do not know in which context it is being used. In 80% of cases it will be what we assume it is: an intense feeling of deep affection. However, the context may also be tennis. Putting a confidence level of 5 is ridiculous since my answer will be fine in 80% of cases but not 100%. The 3 or 4, therefore, is the level of confidence I place on the question.

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Aleksandr Okunev
Local time: 07:54
English to Russian
TOPIC STARTER
My doubts - I guess you can't after all. Mar 9, 2005

Good morning everyone,
Christine and Marijke, thanks for the feedback!
Please regard my discourses merely as an attempt to come to a conclusion with your kind help, I do not insist on anything and hope that my points would be of interest to you.
Here's my attempt to clarify my point of view on pregnancy in less obscure terms.
Kudoz is essentially a *terminology* assistance system, and it is all about terms, even if the word occurs in Beowulf, it is a term. I hope you are not going to deny that.
Now here's how I go about terminology while doing a job. If I have doubts concerning a term (a word or a collocation), I put in the Wordfast glossary (for easier spotting in batch Quality Check) and in a separate file, not to forget it, mark the segment as provisional and follow the procedure we all do: dig glossaries, go Googling, ask fellow translators, send an e-mail to the client, etc. Until I have conclusive evidence about meaning of the term in Russian, the entry is in glossary for the sake of post-translation Quality Check only, subject to revision. When I am sure I have a correct translation, I make appropriate changes in the glossary (or don't make them) , remove provisional marks from the segments and remove the doubtful term pair from the list of watched terms. Naturally, I never submit a translation with a single non 100% confidence term translation, and everyone here does the same. Thus, although I do not posses extraordinary brain powers, I am capable of distinguishing between terms that go into the final translation and those which don't.
The next thing is that I approach Kudoz with the same level of responsibility: I can either be sure or not. My understanding of not being sure is equivalent to guessing, which I honestly show in my confidence level. The other levels look absolutely the same to me (see thread topic). However, with Kudoz I do not normally follow the research routine: if I'm not sure, I think of a probable version, find evidence to support it and make my *guess*. I do not normally ask the asker to provide more context, which is partly my fault, partly the asker's. To sum it up - quite often I give Kudoz answers based on incomplete context, which is not acceptable in my and the asker's business practice, therefore, in my humble opinion, such an answer should be regarded as a guess.
Now, we all know about the types of answerers on Kudoz, more or less responsible folks and cut-throat point hunters. Very often the latter do not even want the points, but want to prove themselves, etc. When I had had a few 100% correct answers rejected in favor of really bad ones, I contemplated suicide, then I calmed myself down thinking that the system was still great because Henry the Great had managed to make vanity and selfishness do good to fellow translators. Alas, not always so, quite on the contrary. Since the system of point count is, say, blind, and shows only 'recent' activity, without due account of the entire span of "Kudoz career", accepted/rejected answers ratio, number of questions in a particular language pair (take Tagalog - Belarusian for instance) etc., the asker is most often misled by the seemingly high reputation of an active answerer, reflected by her/his high Kudoz score. No need to repeat stuff about blind 'agrees' with friends etc., it has been discussed countless times.
Well, now how do I feel and look with a rejected 5 confidence answer? Giving level 5 means quite a bit of research and I feel quite stupid, but that's emotional. How do I *look* with rejected 5 confidence Kudoz answer *in my specialty field* proudly declared here on Proz? Yes, like an idiot, a fool pretending to be wise. And my own efforts to help someone turn against me. I can't say I thoroughly enjoy it.
I am answering much less Kudoz now and I guess will soon stop doing it altogether. I know quite a few nice folks, including Proz moderators, who dropped Kudoz because they didn't like the system. As I said before, I take part in some other terminology assistance lists, no points, much noise, and, believe it or not, I enjoy it, I have no intentions to leave them and I even have had good clients via those lists! I'm afraid the present Kudoz system is a bit stale, more quantity than quality oriented and needs quite a bit of improvement, introduction of a simpler "sure/guess" confidence level system among the rest (see my reasoning above). In its present state it is better than nothing, though.


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:54
Dutch to English
+ ...
To answer or not to answer that is the question Mar 9, 2005

Aleksandr Okunev wrote:

Well, now how do I feel and look with a rejected 5 confidence answer? Giving level 5 means quite a bit of research and I feel quite stupid, but that's emotional. How do I *look* with rejected 5 confidence Kudoz answer *in my specialty field* proudly declared here on Proz? Yes, like an idiot, a fool pretending to be wise. And my own efforts to help someone turn against me. I can't say I thoroughly enjoy it.
I am answering much less Kudoz now and I guess will soon stop doing it altogether. I know quite a few nice folks, including Proz moderators, who dropped Kudoz because they didn't like the system. As I said before, I take part in some other terminology assistance lists, no points, much noise, and, believe it or not, I enjoy it, I have no intentions to leave them and I even have had good clients via those lists!


Exactly my experience too (I am also a member of several other terminology groups where points are not awarded). I always check who the asker is on ProZ and if it is one of those askers who goes for the translator with the most points (or his mates) and/or answer without any proof but quaint little expressions like 'exp.' and such, I just do not bother to answer. Waste of time.


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 06:54
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Push in the right direction... Mar 9, 2005

Let's have in mind that the translator asking the question often needs a clue, a "push" in the right direction. It would be best if all questions were answered by renowned specialists in the field, but it is not going to happen any time soon. Anyway, it is the translator's responsibility to make _sure_ that the term provided is correct.

If everyone adopted Aleksandr's system, the asker might be faced with five different answers with "1" confidence (if nobody was sure enough to put the 5). Which would effectively mean that the asker would have to re-research each of the proposed term.

On the other hand, if everyone used the system as intended, the different confidence levels might indicate which answers are worth looking into detail. For example, someone seeing that there are no other answers, proposes an answer with a 2, because she seems to remember the term, but cannot find any references. The asker has at least something to work with, but if there comes another answer where the answerer is much more positive of the answer, then the first one might be disregarded or used as a secondary option.

Of course, in reality it does not always work so well. But in many cases it does.

I personally take into account also the credibility of the references I have found. For example, if the term seems to fit, but the only references I have found do not match that particular context, I'd better indicate that in the confidence level.


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gad
United States
Local time: 00:54
Member
French to English
I understand confidence levels 2-3-4 Mar 10, 2005

I usually choose "medium", unless on the rare occasions that it is really easy so I would choose 5, or once in awhile I'm taking a stab - but still, would a 1 be appropriate in that case? I wouldn't take a stab without doing a little bit of research first anyway, so it wouldn't be based on just a pure guess.

But that's just me. Interesting topic for a thread, though.


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gad
United States
Local time: 00:54
Member
French to English
Good point Mar 10, 2005

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

Even if your choice is correct, there is bound to be another alternative. Language is not mathematics, and even in math they have fuzzy logic nowadays.
Regards
Heinrich


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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 07:54
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
I don't see any point in `confidence level' at all Mar 10, 2005

I stated my position about the `confidence' before. For me, it's totally subejctive. Almost always I put my confidence at 3. Never 4 or 5. I would not state I can translate "I love you" 100% sure. Even a simplest phrase depends on the context. It is not a 100% match you get from your TM. Being a literary translator, first of all, I realize the fact in a especially sensitive way.

I see no point in using this "confidence level" at all. Rather, the necessity to select it is annoying (I often forget about the field and get this annoying kudoZ reminder).

The idea to add this entirely subjective evaluation (self-confidence) to the number of peer comments (somewhat objective evaluation) is yet more ridicolous. Can we add up things of an utterly different nature? Can we evaluate our "confidence" in whole numbers?

Mind you, people, I'm mathematician by my background and education, but even mathematicians do not gauge everything in numbers.

[Edited at 2005-03-11 07:56]


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