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Lawyers, please come back (as KudoZ answerers)!
Thread poster: Claire Titchmarsh
Claire Titchmarsh  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:18
Italian to English
+ ...
Oct 27, 2006

I'm posting this after the umpteenth example of a farcical kudoz question in my pair in which the answerer had absolutely no grasp of the subject, hadn't bothered to do a term search first, and consequently chose an answer that will lead to enormous confusion if included in the translation.
I know that a lot of expert answerers (I am talking about law in particular) have completely deserted proZ, probably because it's of no use to them because the quality of answers is, on the whole, poor. The kudoz glossary will be full of errors if we carry on at this rate, which means that kudoz is a total waste of time instead of the helpful, useful, productive and interesting tool that it was designed to be.

This is a plea on two levels:

1. Will the people who really do know their writs from their affidavits please come back?? Use the disagree function, make all the comments you like, let's just get the system back on track.

2. Please abide by the kudoz rules. If you can't back up your answer with specific experience in that field, intelligent web references or similar, and more importantly if you can't construct a sentence in coherent English, then please don't answer a question. Stick to your own fields and languages, otherwise you're just wasting your own time and that of the askers, as well as the people who may rely on your answer in the future.

Are there are any ex-kudoz experts who would care to comment on why they no longer participate? And would they participate if the quality was higher? I'd be interested to know.

Thanks for your time.

Claire.






[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2006-10-27 16:26]


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Ford Prefect  Identity Verified
Burkina Faso
Local time: 02:18
German to English
+ ...
... Oct 27, 2006

Our learned friends may be here in reduced numbers because that infamous mega-discussion of some weeks ago led to a new rule, namely that discussion of legal interpretations on proz was forbidden. It was implied that this prohibition included kudoz. Allegedly.

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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:18
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Rule n. 3 Oct 27, 2006

Give the asker a brain transplant...


Giovanni


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Ivana UK  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:18
Member (2005)
Italian to English
Hi Ford, Oct 27, 2006

... what discussion? I'd be interested in reading this - can you provide the link?

[Edited at 2006-10-27 12:46]

(Sorry for posting a blank message before - have no idea what happened - when I tried to edit post my message was there but when I read the post only the original quote appeared. After removing the quote my message is now visible ..!)

[Edited at 2006-10-27 12:53]


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lexical  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:18
Portuguese to English
abolish Kudoz points Oct 27, 2006

This is a topic that has been aired frequently in various Forums, with many contributors blaming the Kudoz points system. The problem appears to be largely related to Prozzers who are chasing points and trying to answer as many questions as possible to accrue maximum points, whether they actually know the subject or not.

The askers, who cannot be blamed for their difficulty in discriminating between answers, are therefore faced with an array of answers of varying quality. When, out of understandable ignorance, they select a 'wrong' answer, as Claire says, it makes the more knowledgeable answerers despair and drives them away.

I think the system would be improved by abolishing the awarding of points. After all, there are no points awarded in the Forums but people are very willing to offer advice out of a spirit of helpfulness and solidarity. Why should this not work equally well with Kudos?


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gianfranco  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 23:18
Member (2001)
English to Italian
+ ...
Getting it right Oct 27, 2006

Ford Prefect wrote:

Our learned friends may be here in reduced numbers because that infamous mega-discussion of some weeks ago led to a new rule, namely that discussion of legal interpretations on proz was forbidden. It was implied that this prohibition included kudoz. Allegedly.



Getting it right 1

Dear Ford Prefect,

Actually, it was very clear that it was only related to the forums.
Henry wrote:

I have been advised that if someone makes a false statement in our forums and we don't correct it, and it stands unchallenged on our site, that statement might be used to strengthen a legal argument against us. (I was given this advice by an attorney several years ago.)


For the complete explanation see http://www.proz.com/post/380472#380472
KudoZ questions and answers are never mentioned.




= = = = = = = = = =

Getting it right 2

Claire is touching a very sore point. Translators who attempt KudoZ answers (and translations) even if they are clueless, leaving behind a trail of polluted glossaries (and unhappy customers) as the eternal reminder of their incompetence.


bye
Gianfranco




[Edited at 2006-10-27 10:40]


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Ivana UK  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:18
Member (2005)
Italian to English
Interesting point Claire - my thoughts exactly. Oct 27, 2006

Claire Titchmarsh wrote:

I'm posting this after the umpteenth example of a farcical kudoz question in my pair in which the answerer had absolutely no grasp of the subject, hadn't bothered to do a term search first, and consequently chose an answer that will lead to enormous confusion if included in the translation.



You're absolutely right but sadly this doesn't only apply to the legal field ... it seems to be be happening throughout kudoz.

The kudoz glossary will be full of errors if we carry on at this rate, which means that kudoz is a total waste of time instead of the helpful, useful, productive and interesting tool that it was designed to be.


And the bad news is that the glossary is already full of errors and has been for some time ...

Use the disagree function, make all the comments you like, let's just get the system back on track


Again, you're right. Within the kudoz community people are almost fearful of using the dreaded disagree function, but it's there to be used. There have been a lot of forum discussions on this and the general majority would rather do nothing than disagree for fear of comeback. I don't use it often, but I do use it when needed.

I sincerely hope that your posting goes some way to improving the situation,

Ivana


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:18
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Kudoz... Oct 27, 2006

or not Kudoz... as said in another thread, the only way to discourage these clowns is to apply disagrees in a ferocious manner. They will leave, eventually...

Giovanni


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Jennifer Baker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:18
Partial member (2004)
Italian to English
Lawyers aren't the only ones who have left... Oct 27, 2006

I hear you, Claire. The Kudoz glossary in our language pair is also a mess in the technical and financial fields. Many questions are answered by people who don't list either the source or target languages in their profile...
What on earth is the point?

Jennifer


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xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 03:18
French to English
+ ...
points.... Oct 27, 2006

As one who has actually taken the time to write down my arguments for scrapping the points system (unpublished as yet), I can only agree with those who think this could resolve a lot of ProZ.com's problems.
As to the "disagree" function, the other day I had the temerity to give one to somone whose answer may have been correct grammatically but was something that no mother tonguer speaker would ever write or say (plus a "5" for confidence). Result: the person concerned then trawled the site and bunged "disagree" on virtually everything I had contributed, at the same time giving 'agrees' to everybody else to hammer the message home, the "disagrees" being accompanied by specious arguments to which it was not worth replying.
Frankly I don't give a damn, in the words of the writer, but it is surely no help to the asker who gets caught up in this sort of thing. It won't stop me giving "disagrees "when they're justified but it is a bit of a double-edged sword....
And it is this sort of childishness and unpleasantness that drives people off the site. I am much less enthusiastic than I used to be and soon I will be totally disenchanted if this goes on - so yet another reason for kissing the points system goodbye


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 04:18
Turkish to English
+ ...
95% of the time Kudoz is a waste of time, but ... Oct 27, 2006

Most of the time the answers that I have received when I have posted a query at Kudoz have been of poor quality and of little actual assistance, so I agree with the consensus view in this thread. On the other hand, the 5% of the time when I have obtained serious, useful responses more than compensates for this. On a few occassions I have really been helped out of a tight spot by this feature.

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Patricia Crotty  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:18
Italian to English
I fully agree Oct 27, 2006

and know what you are talking about this mornng Claire. In this case however it was the asker rather than the answerer who was at fault since 2 perfectly ok answers were suggested and even cast doubt on the 3rd answer - so why was the 3rd wrong answer chosen? And how can you correct for that?

I would like the experts back too. Personally as I've only been translating full time for a couple of years now, I still use the kudoz glossaries a lot for reference. I've learned how to apply the 2005 rule though which means if the answer was posted before 2005 it has a far higher chance of being right (and informative) than if posted after 2005 (in which case the proposed translation needs to be checked very carefully!).

How do you get the experts back? Upping the standard is good (using the disagrees, yes, hard to do though, especially if you're not completely sure of your disagree and spend as much time researching the reasons why the answer is wrong as you would to provide the perfect answer).

However, I'm sure the problem is not confined to It-Eng and since Kudoz is a basic feature of the whole ProZ site, couldn't more fundamental structural changes be introduced? One thing that comes to mind (forgive me if the topic has been exhausted before but I don't look at the forums that much) would be to appoint subject specific moderators (or groups of moderators) to somehow vet questions in their subject. They could be rewarded by perhaps free points/trips/months membership?

Patricia


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writeaway  Identity Verified

Local time: 03:18
Partial member (2003)
French to English
+ ...
Seems everyone now does legal, so what better way to advertise than by answering Kudoz questions Oct 27, 2006

Seems that anyone and everyone now accepts legal translations, including those who used to claim they never touch them. So these legalese aces also don't see why they can't pull answers out of the hat just as well as the next person. They think it's a free for all and they can word things as they wish, drop and/or add to the text etc. However so many lousy, erroneous answers are accepted by Askers who don't have the skills required to do the field that it's discouraging to those who do know what they are doing. I know many truly fine, qualified legal translators who now give answering Kudoz questions a big miss. And those who are well and truly clueless are actuallly getting points for their laughable answers. Look at the glossaries. It's so sad, but it's the way the current tidal wave is going.

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Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:18
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
Answers only from mother-tongue pros? Oct 27, 2006

One of the reason I stopped answering kudos for a few months is because I got sick of non-mother-tongue askers picking poor answers from non-mother-tongue answerers. I think there might be some sort of feel-good together thing in this. It’s something that’s happened in the past too as you can see from old entries.

Now if both sides are out of their league and the asker can’t tell the difference between right and wrong because they haven’t a clue, maybe we should remove one end of the equation, so it’s only possible for mother-tongue pros to answer in their language pair.

This should still give people access to help in language pairs or fields they’re not expert in, but also do a lot to improve the quality of the Kudos entries because you’ll only get answers from mother-tongue pros and have to pick one of them.

If there are no mother-tongue pros answering in a language pair this could be left open to all and sundry as it is now because perhaps some answers are better than none. Then again, in some cases you’re probably better off with no answer at all rather than a presumably informed and totally wrong one and/or literal translation. If you have no answer you’ll keep looking for the right one.

Disagrees don’t work, a lot of people don’t use it because it’s seen as a “fock you” button instead of an “I think your answer is wrong” button. A lot of people just can’t admit they could be wrong and take offence all too easily. Also in pairs where there’s a lot of questions, after you get one answer you might not get many more people looking at the question because it’s already been answered. So the scenario is – one bad answer – no disagrees – goes into glossary.

Point – no points I don’t care, but I don’t think it’ll make much difference.

Having only answers from people in their mother-tongue I’m sure would make a world of difference though, much less competition - much more accurate feedback to build up a great glossary.


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Ford Prefect  Identity Verified
Burkina Faso
Local time: 02:18
German to English
+ ...
Getting it right and the appearance of getting it right Oct 27, 2006

gianfranco wrote:

Ford Prefect wrote:

Our learned friends may be here in reduced numbers because that infamous mega-discussion of some weeks ago led to a new rule, namely that discussion of legal interpretations on proz was forbidden. It was implied that this prohibition included kudoz. Allegedly.



Getting it right 1

Dear Ford Prefect,

Actually, it was very clear that it was only related to the forums.
Henry wrote:

I have been advised that if someone makes a false statement in our forums and we don't correct it, and it stands unchallenged on our site, that statement might be used to strengthen a legal argument against us. (I was given this advice by an attorney several years ago.)


For the complete explanation see http://www.proz.com/post/380472#380472
KudoZ questions and answers are never mentioned.


By the time that damage-limitation post was made, the damage had been done. Whatever the fact of the matter is as regards the actual appliccability of the rule, many people had become convinced over the several previous days, not just through the forum but through personal correspondence with individuals who were dealt with for breaching the rule before the rule was even made known, that legal interpretations were no longer permitted anywhere on the site. Several inviduals have since withdrawn or scaled back their participation for a wide range of reasons which you are quite familiar with.


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