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Kudoz Collusion?
Thread poster: John Cutler

John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:55
Spanish to English
+ ...
Mar 1, 2007

Is it my imagination or is it standard policy for some translators to collude with others to earn Kudoz points?
It seems difficult to believe some of the answers that include references, Web page addresses, scholarly dissertations, etc and they're posted after only a few minutes sometimes!!
I suppose it would be easy enough for two translators to agree beforehand on the question, prepare the answer, post it and, as I've mentioned, after a few "prudent" minutes post an answer.
Am I overly suspicious?? As a newcomer to the site, is there something I'm missing? I'm not accusing anyone in particular, but the amount of time in which some of the answers have appeared is hard to believe.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:55
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
I fnid it hard to believe ... Mar 1, 2007

John Cutler wrote:

Is it my imagination or is it standard policy for some translators to collude with others to earn Kudoz points?
It seems difficult to believe some of the answers that include references, Web page addresses, scholarly dissertations, etc and they're posted after only a few minutes sometimes!!
I suppose it would be easy enough for two translators to agree beforehand on the question, prepare the answer, post it and, as I've mentioned, after a few "prudent" minutes post an answer.
Am I overly suspicious?? As a newcomer to the site, is there something I'm missing? I'm not accusing anyone in particular, but the amount of time in which some of the answers have appeared is hard to believe.


You may be right, John, but I find it hard to believe that translators would go to such lengths to collude in the way you suggest merely to gain a few Kudoz points. Aren't most of us too busy, or don't we have better things to do?
But who knows ... the world is a strange place!
Kind regards,
Jenny.


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Kirsti Green  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:55
German to English
Just because you're paranoid... Mar 1, 2007

doesn't mean they're not after you

It is a real stretch of the imagination for me that anybody would spend their (as freelancers) very valuable time going to such lengths.

Still, as we German residents would say, 'Es gibt nichts, was es nicht gibt'.

I do hope you're wrong.

Best regards,

Kirsti


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xxxJon O  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:55
Dutch to English
+ ...
I don't find it that hard to believe.. Mar 1, 2007

That are some ueber-competitive individuals out there....Have you not seen how niggly some of these terminology forums get?

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Florence B  Identity Verified
France
Member (2002)
English to French
+ ...
Call a moderator Mar 1, 2007

Hi John
Anything can happen - and I mean it in both ways, cheating can happen and it can also happen that you're "overly suspiscious" as you say.
In case of doubt, tell a moderator - that's what we're here for (among other things!) - indicating the number of the question.

Attempts at cheating the system do exist, we try to fight against that as much as possible because it can lead to unfair competition.

But obviously, we cannot see everything, we are happy to look into any problem or potential problem that could be brought to our attention.

Florence

[Edited at 2007-03-01 15:19]


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DR Maryam Taghavi  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:55
English to Farsi (Persian)
+ ...
Collusion? I don't think so. Mar 1, 2007

Dear John,

I have only earned 4 Kudzo points so far because I am a new member of Proz. Talking about my own experience, I included references to the question I answered but only because I was really eager to help and learn. And where did I get the information? The modern age technology; Internet.
Any way, Aren't translators supposed to be rather busy? At the end of the day, KudZo points only satisfy one's moral obligations.
So, don't worry!

Kind Regards

Maryam


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:55
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Great minds google alike Mar 1, 2007

I doubt very much whether people really collude.

When I started working in-house, I had two or three absolutely amazing colleagues who could do the equivalent off-line, within the office, if the question touched on one of their areas of expertise. They had often come across the same question several times before anyway.

These colleagues were highly experienced translators, and "in those days" (only seven or eight years ago!!!) the Net was not what it is now. People made the effort to write down their hard-won knowledge systematically, and they exchanged it with friends and colleagues very generously, so everyone benefited.

There are still plenty of people around with that kind of experience, and if they are contributing to the KOGs, we should just thank them.

In all honesty, I owe a lot of my KudoZ points to my former office colleagues, but some are not members of Proz. at all, while others are not very active... and I am an unabashed points grabber!

Don't take the points too seriously. Even in 'small' languages there are often several answerers who deserve them and don't get them for any given question. Grabbing points is just a game.

But giving good, well-thought-out and documented answers far more than a game. It's our bread and butter. Sometimes in KudoZ you even get jam on it
(Sorry, I've been translating food and menus today....)


Happy translating, folks!


[Edited at 2007-03-01 16:54]


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:55
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Ok, things just didn't add up Mar 1, 2007

I can see there are all types of opinions about the question. The truth is I did think it sounded a little paranoid to ask it : )
I guess what didn't add up for me was the rapidity with which some very complex answers appeared: 3 mins, 7 mins. As I said, I won't name anyone, because I'm not the least bit interested in making accusations. (Thanks Oddie, for the reminder about moderators.)

Obviously we're all busy, but I'd just like to think that we're all on equal footing using our valuable time to help others.
I'd just like to say that I'm extremely happy being a proz member and would recommend it to any translator.

I agree with Kirsti - I hope I'm wrong!


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 13:55
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...
How to treat this problem Mar 1, 2007

I have in my 7 years seen no instance of it but if you see one, do as Oddie says: Call a moderator to look into it.

Point grabbing is a matter of dedication, hunger to learn and to help and a lot more.
See: http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/articles/509/

Best

MW


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 14:55
Turkish to English
+ ...
You are right Mar 1, 2007

I think you are right. I have noticed events of this kind before - and consistently involving the same individuals - although I must admit this was several years ago now. Kirsti asks why anyone would spend their valuable time in this way. Well, if somebody thought they were more likely to be chosen for assignments if they had more kudoz points, then they would have a clear incentive to indulge in this kind of collusion.

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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 06:55
English to Russian
+ ...
Why? Mar 1, 2007

It seems difficult to believe some of the answers that include references, Web page addresses, scholarly dissertations, etc and they're posted after only a few minutes sometimes!!


In many cases I had no trouble finding proper references in 5-7 min. When I answer in my fields I simply know how to formulate search requests:-)... I go for references to satisfy the requirements even though I believe it's not really my job to do the researh where I need none. That's my good will. What if I only have time to throw in the right term? Should I keep it to myself or let the asker do h/h part - catch it and check how it fits in the context and subject?


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:55
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Precisely! Mar 1, 2007

IreneN wrote:

...

In many cases I had no trouble finding proper references in 5-7 min. When I answer in my fields I simply know how to formulate search requests:-)... I go for references to satisfy the requirements even though I believe it's not really my job to do the researh where I need none. That's my good will. What if I only have time to throw in the right term? Should I keep it to myself or let the asker do h/h part - catch it and check how it fits in the context and subject?


Precisely what my agency colleagues were doing - probably all the time for their own jobs, so they just helped me out along the way (and each other at times).

The only difference was that some of this was hard copy from 'home-made' wordlists or the company's resources as much as googling. After going to the effort of making out old-fashioned teminlogy lists (before Multiterm and all that...) you tend to remember where to find them! And after a few years of translating, it pays off - the same questions often turn up regularly as well as new ones.

But the important thing is that if well-documented terminology gets into the glossaries, then everyone can benefit from it. The points system is not entirely 'fair' - and there are dozens of forum discussions about it. But without making it unreasonably complicated, it is hard to see how to improve it. Often askers just dole out four points when two or three would be fine. Gratitude for help when time is tight tends to inflate the points when I am awarding them too!

People with lots of dictionaries, fast Internet connections and unusual languages like Danish as opposed to Spanish or German... can earn points far faster than in pairs where there is more competition. Life isn't fair, but if you have lemons, make lemonade, and when the wind blows, build windmills! If you can answer a KudoZ question, grab the points

And if you see a good KudoZ answer, add it to your dictionary or some place where you can find it when needed... You'll be glad you did sooner or later!



[Edited at 2007-03-01 17:24]


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 06:55
German to English
It's the glossary, stupid! Mar 1, 2007

John Cutler wrote:

Is it my imagination or is it standard policy for some translators to collude with others to earn Kudoz points?
It seems difficult to believe some of the answers that include references, Web page addresses, scholarly dissertations, etc and they're posted after only a few minutes sometimes!!
I suppose it would be easy enough for two translators to agree beforehand on the question, prepare the answer, post it and, as I've mentioned, after a few "prudent" minutes post an answer.


No, I don't mean you, John, of course. Nor do I mean anyone else in particular. It's another version of a slogan often cited several years ago during a US presidential election campaign: it's the economy, stupid! But more on this subject below.

I don't know if the instances you experienced involved collusion. It's just possible that you detected a wonderful phenomenon that I believe KudoZ helped to create: Google wizards, who can answer translation questions in a flash because they have answered so many questions that they can use Google for translation purposes better than anybody on earth. I've seen KudoZ questions answered in 5 minutes with the kind of documentation that a professional translator needs for reassurance that he's not going to get into hot water with his client. But collusion is a definite possibility, too.

It's the glossary, stupid!
Over the past six years I have also experienced all sorts of fraudsters and point grabbers, whose sole aim is to amass points to stand out from the crowd when it comes to jobs or perhaps to boost their egos. These folks are not interested in building a reliable glossary for future users; they just want as many points as they can grab. You won't find them carefully documenting their answers because that takes too much time and skill. They wouldn't be the first to answer the question and would thus have the odds reduced of having their answers selected.
We've had husband and wife teams working together to ask questions and select their mate as the lucky winner. We've had answerers setting up two profiles so they could ask a question and then answer it using a different profile. That's where the ProZ.com fraud squad enters into the picture. They are adept at detecting fraud and will put a stop to it pronto.
Our best KudoZ participants realize that they have a reputation to maintain. They only answer questions they feel they are qualified to answer, and when they answer they use the honest, conscientious methods of lexicographers to document their answers. They understand that KudoZ is all about building a reliable glossary for fellow professional translators.


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Fernando Tognis  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 08:55
Member (2006)
Spanish to English
+ ...
A tip for quick answer Mar 1, 2007

John,
On few occasions, I have answered kudoz questions in less than 2 minutes. Of course, I had free time (waiting for files or PMs Confirmations). The method is very simple: you log in to MSN, and then configure your dashboard to receive kudoz notifications. When you receive a Kudoz notification, a little MSN window pops up, you click on it and see the email with the link to the last question posted. If you know the answer, just google some references and that's all!
Of course it is easier to suspect of colluding than using common software tools to answer quicker.
Hope you find it useful.
Regards,
Fernando


[Edited at 2007-03-01 19:29]


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Will Matter  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:55
English
+ ...
Sometimes it's just experience Mar 1, 2007

Sometimes people who answer questions are just plain quick (physically or mentally or both). Sometimes they have good research skills or already know a lot about a particular area of human endeavor. Sometimes they have answered similar (or nearly similar) questions before. Needless to say, if you can combine all of these attributes into one package it's easy to see why some questions can answered quickly, thoroughly and well. It's a skill and an acquired one, at that.

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