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Use of references when answering queries
Thread poster: liz askew
liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:01
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Sep 25, 2006

I think it necessary that anyone making a contribution/suggestion when answering a query, should provide web references, no matter what his/her level of experience may be.

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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:01
German to English
Serious? Sep 25, 2006

scruff wrote:
I think it necessary that anyone making a contribution/suggestion when answering a query, should provide web references, no matter what his/her level of experience may be.


I hope you're not seriously suggesting that:

a) everything is available on the Web
b) everything available on the Web is correct
c) references are available for everything

because a) isn't true, b) isn't true, and - certainly where translation is concerned - c) isn't true.


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Alison Schwitzgebel
France
Local time: 03:01
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
References yes, but the Web isn't all-knowing... Sep 25, 2006

If you are suggesting that references should be mandatory when answering Kudoz, then yes, I agree with you. However, as Robin has pointed out, the Web is utterly fallible.

The ideal combination for a Kudoz answerer is, in my personal opinion, a combination of the relevant professional experience in the given field and references to either suitable Web sites or literature in the respective field.

Of course, if the question is complicated, then the ability to explain the answer in easy-to-understand terms is an added bonus.

FWIW

Alison


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:01
German to English
Tell me how! Sep 25, 2006

Alison Riddell-Kachur wrote:
Of course, if the question is complicated, then the ability to explain the answer in easy-to-understand terms is an added bonus.


Alison, please tell me in words of one syllable how to do this. I've been racking my brains....

[Edited at 2006-09-25 20:51]


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 20:01
German to English
References for KudoZ answers Sep 25, 2006

scruff wrote:

I think it necessary that anyone making a contribution/suggestion when answering a query, should provide web references, no matter what his/her level of experience may be.


A web reference can be very helpful, but it's not the only way to justify an answer. In most cases a pro-level answer needs to be documented and justified. I like to assume that the person asking a pro-level question is a professional translator working in her specialty area who has done her homework, knows how to Google, has a good set of specialist dictionaries, etc. but now needs some solid help from fellow professionals.

I like to assume that this professional will have his/her translation proofread by an editor and will need to be able to explain how he came up with a particular translation. This is where good justifications, references, etc. are essential.

Too many times, colleagues answer questions as though the asker is an incompetent novice who just needs a dictionary look-up service and insulting the asker's intelligence. We also have a lot of pure guessing followed by a smiley or "my take" or "have a nice weekend".

We used to have some guidance on documenting answers, but it has vanished. I hope one day we'll provide potential answerers with some guidelines on how to justify their answers.


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Alison Schwitzgebel
France
Local time: 03:01
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
LOL Sep 25, 2006

RobinB wrote:

Alison, please tell me in words of one syllable how to do this. I've been racking my brains....


**LOL**

no

make that

**ROFL**

ahhhhh, well......

of course a certain amount of background knowledge on the part of the asker is a bit of a prerequiste, but sometimes you just gotta start from the lowest common denominator

I admit that it's difficult. let's say, to try to explain accruals to somebody who can't tell the difference between a balance sheet and an income statement. And of course time (and money) being of the essence, you can't start each answer with a basic course in accounting (in this particular case).

However, there are some answerers who dive right in over the top of the asker's head in terms of the complexity of their answers. That's more what I was getting at here.

Best,

Alison


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:01
English to Spanish
+ ...
References Sep 26, 2006

Scruff said:

I think it necessary that anyone making a contribution/suggestion when answering a query, should provide web references, no matter what his/her level of experience may be.

I say:

It is the asker's responsibility to do his/her own research. We who answer do so for free, so perhaps it could be said that our answers are worth what we charge for them. But once you have a variety of answers then you can research them further yourself and determine which (if any) is most appropriate.

Many times I will answer a question right off the top of my head with no references. That does not mean it is a bad answer, it means I have to move on because I have my own work to do. But I'll take a moment to help someone out.

Now if people wish, I and others who use that practice can merely cease helping out, or in the alternative request the asker's billing information because doing research for others takes time, and I have yet to buy as much as a cup of coffee with all those Kudoz points.

So don't take any wooden nickels and don't look a gift horse in the mouth.


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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:01
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
Well said Sep 26, 2006

[quote]Henry Hinds wrote:


I say:

It is the asker's responsibility to do his/her own research. We who answer do so for free, so perhaps it could be said that our answers are worth what we charge for them.
-----------------

Certainly, my motivation is in helping others but I agree with Henry, once an asker has several suggestions, it is their responsibility to roll up their sleeves and dig some references. I try to give references whenever I can but my work, my family, and my life are more important so I do not always have the time to do so. If it becomes a requisite, I would rather stop participating all together.


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 21:01
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Future searches of the KOG Sep 26, 2006

When I include references in my answer, I'm also thinking of the person researching the term later on. Reading past KudoZ questions counts as online research of a term, right? So I find it is helpful to include the reference as a link.

I'm not advocating spending a lot of time here, I'm really referring to links you happen to know from your own work. There are cases where the references are there for the googling, as some posters have mentioned.

However more complex expressions in more specialised texts should be referenced for relevance, applicability and completeness.

Nancy


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:01
English to Spanish
+ ...
Bad References Sep 26, 2006

To second what Robin has said, I have seen some references for answers that are really off-the-wall. Others will Google for something and all the references they get are bad translations from non-native sites, which they then use in support of a poor answer. Still others will cite a spate of references that are in the wrong context.

So the fact remains that it is up to the asker to do the research to confirm the answer. None of us here have a claim on divine truth or infallibility; we only help as best we can. And of course we always need more CONTEXT!


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 03:01
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
No Sep 26, 2006

scruff wrote:
I think it necessary that anyone making a contribution/suggestion when answering a query, should provide web references, no matter what his/her level of experience may be.


You are suggesting that web references are better than paper references that a skilled translator may have on his desk. This may be true for English (or not even) but not for smaller languages for which little authoritative stuff exists on the web.

I have seen people giving web references in Kudoz answers that are incorrect, but sometimes those people live in other countries and have lost touch with the language.


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xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 03:01
French to English
+ ...
and knowledge and experience please? Sep 26, 2006

Others have said it in other words but this insistence on quoting references drives me up the wall. There has been a (negative) trend lately on this site of people (users) to treat it like a free dictionary service, making it unnecessary for them to make even the slightest effort themselves. Do they honestly think there are people out there with nothing better to do all day than to spend their precious time on doing free research for them? The mind boggles. The sheer and unadulterated cheek!
I know that somewhere in those pages of ProZ.com rules and instructions it does say something about providing references but there are many occasions when this is bound to be totally impossible:
1) expressions
2) complex turns of phrase
3) anything literary
4) slogans and marketing terminology, etc.
In addition, what about professional knowledge and experience? I have worked for 30 years in transport, primarily railways, and I find it insulting to be expected to justify my suggestions - for example with phrases and quotations plucked randomly from the great god google.... Sometimes I have done so to keep everybody happy but it sticks in my gullet. I have entered all forms of transport as a speciality: that should suffice. And people can always email me in the event that they should require more information.....
I am speechless also when I see some of the "references" quoted in support of wrong answers. Often it all looks so professional that poor old innoncent asker is led into the trap by peers who vote en masse for this seemingly valid rubbish.
There are cases when you can offer a reference, for example to Eurodicautom in support of "Eurospeak", but all that glitters is NOT gold and askers should be grateful for any help they get, either answers from peers or comments added by other peers. It is then THEIR RESPONSIBILITY to use the basic material they are given to do their own research. It is only thus that they will learn. Or do they intend to spend their whole professional lives "living off" other b******s' efforts? Sorry but if that's the name of the game, then I shall stop spoonfeeding the lazy as of now.
Chris (in anger at the barefaced cheek of some people - not necessarily the person who started this thread, to be fair, but the general principle at issue)


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:01
German to English
Lazy slobs Sep 26, 2006

CMJ_Trans wrote: Do they honestly think there are people out there with nothing better to do all day than to spend their precious time on doing free research for them?


Yup, looks like it.

Often it all looks so professional that poor old innoncent asker is led into the trap by peers who vote en masse for this seemingly valid rubbish.


Herding. A vastly popular mass phenomenon in KudoZ.

not necessarily the person who started this thread, to be fair


Speaking of which, it would be nice to hear from the person who started this thread, wouldn't it. I'm still not sure whether the original question was serious or ironic.


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RobinB  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:01
German to English
Here's a heretical thought or two Sep 26, 2006

What if there are no references for a particular term translation, anywhere? Or what if the only reference is a work in progress, or your own translation work? Or what if the SL term is consistently mistranslated online/in the literature, and you've worked out what the correct translation or equivalent should be, but the only source is your own translation, which in turn may be unpublished?

Apart from saying "Believe me or die, you fool", what sort of strategy should we adopt vis-à-vis the "invalid without a reference" school of terminological bigotry. And what will future generations (pace Nancy) make of all this?

Of course this drives a cart and horse through the conventional theory of "terminography" (in particular the Wüster school and its disciples), but I think that reality started outstripping terminology-related theory some time ago.

[Edited at 2006-09-26 08:22]


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:01
French to English
Fairly sure it was serious Sep 26, 2006

RobinB wrote:
Speaking of which, it would be nice to hear from the person who started this thread, wouldn't it. I'm still not sure whether the original question was serious or ironic.


I had a quick look at the Qs that 'scruffy' has answered, in order to try to determine his or her viewpoint. I am inclined, therefore, to think he/she was being serious.

However, while I am happy to accept that the random examples I looked at may not be fully representative, it appears that the "references" this individual tends to supply simply take the form of lists of hits which show that the target term is used. The key weaknesses of this approach are, of course, as has been discussed in the past:
a) just cos a term is used, that don't necessarily make it "right"
b) a lack of any concrete evidence that the proposed target term in any way relates to (i.e. "translates", or could be considered to be a translation for) the source term.


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