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Highest I am sure, etc
Thread poster: Fiona Robson

Fiona Robson
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:55
Member (2005)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Apr 11, 2007

When answering Kudoz questions, we are asked to state how certain we are, using the options "highest - I am sure, high, medium, low, etc". Personally, I would never presume to respond to a question unless I was either sure, or pretty sure. Can anybody think of an example where somebody might offer a useful response which they admit they are entirely unsure about? Wouldn't that be merely a "wild guess" and as such, of little value to anybody. Has anybody ever used this option?

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Clare Barnes  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 10:55
Swedish to English
+ ...
When the source word doesn't exist... Apr 11, 2007

...we've just had a series of questions from a Swedish to English translator (who has my full sympathy). He has a list of words that purport to be kitchen appliances, which are recognisably "Swedish" rather than any other language, but which simply don't exist. I have answered several questions giving confidence levels between 1 and 3, as my answers are nothing other than (hopefully) helpful suggestions about what the source text could mean. I couldn't possibly give a 4 or 5 in this situation!

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Fiona Robson
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:55
Member (2005)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Good point Apr 11, 2007

I see what you mean - when the question is uncertain then the answer must, by definition, be uncertain too. That would be a valid use of the "low" confidence option.

Fiona


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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:55
Spanish to English
+ ...
never a 5 Apr 11, 2007

I recall that a few months (or years?) ago, we had a similar discussion in this forum, and the consensus (if I recall correctly) was the reverse of what you are suggesting: How can anyone ever be 100% certain that the choice is right? After all, only the person posting the questions knows what the entire text is like.

An analysis of the text can determine the register, but then what if the intended audience is different from the intended audience for the source text? Normally, if you translate a constitution, for example, the register would be quite high. But what if you merely wanted people in another country to understand what the constitution is saying? Would you write it to sound like the U.S. Constitution? Probably not. Only the person doing the translation can know ...

Another example is synonyms. There can be many ways of translating one word, and again, only the translator asking the question can know which one fits the flow of the text best.

One last example: I recently posted a question about a label for a type of crime, and one person-- who was being entirely reasonable and whose input I valued--thought that the term ought to be translated as an average person would say it. I then explained that the document was written by a sociologist and that list was going to appear in a presentation to faculty at a major university. And the particular crimes listed were generated from a fromal database (not from the crime report that some individual filed with the police). So, for those reasons, I chose a different answer.

This is why I rarely use "5" when answering...there are just too many unknowns.

[Edited at 2007-04-11 22:00]


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Fiona Robson
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:55
Member (2005)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Too many variables Apr 11, 2007

Patricia

I agree with you entirely. I, too, rarely use the "I am sure" option but generally opt for "high" in recognition of other possibilities. I might make an exception for a technical term, where the context is clearly indicated. As you say, context is all.

Fiona


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
Little possibility of a good answer Apr 11, 2007

Sometimes I see a question that is rather hopeless, with the asker having little possibility of a getting a good answer. Chances are it has also been open for a while and there is not much more in context that could be added.

In that case I'll take a stab at it with low confidence. I start to think: after all if I have an idea, even if it's not the best, I should contribute it and not hold back. Or, if I don't help, maybe no one else will.


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Mónica Algazi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 06:55
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
And there's more. Apr 11, 2007

I recall one day someone was looking for the English translation of a technical term in Spanish. Apparently, this particular term, which is widely used by chemists and chemistry students in this part of the world, was unknown to the rest of the Spanish-speaking world. Even though I did not know the word in English, I simply described the thingamajig in detail so that another colleague could come up with the right word. It was like playing (soccer) football: I passed the ball and someone else scored the goal. How could I have given a 4 to my merely descriptive answer???

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Ara Mkrtchyan  Identity Verified
Armenia
Local time: 13:55
English to Armenian
+ ...
Different approaches Apr 11, 2007

Some Kudoz answerers, esp. newcomers who try to impress others, often need a bit of time to grasp the confidence scale. For example, I know an answerer who provides a confidence of 3 and adds "My guess" right below it. I do not think she has failed to read the explanations of defining a level of confidence, according to which guessing is defined as level 1: it's just that these people are overwhelmingly concerned no with the actual purpose of Kudoz - to help other colleagues, but with getting the points and thus proving that they are good (though once you check the acceptance rate of their answers, you easily get the contrary picture, say, one answer in 10 is accepted).

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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 03:55
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Kudoz split Apr 12, 2007

MÓNICA ALGAZI wrote:

... Even though I did not know the word in English, I simply described the thingamajig in detail so that another colleague could come up with the right word. It was like playing (soccer) football: I passed the ball and someone else scored the goal. How could I have given a 4 to my merely descriptive answer???



Exactly. That's why I wish (and others too) the creation of an option which splits Kudoz between 2 or more users, but preferably 2 users.

Sometimes, user A describes the concept or the object because he/she doesn't remember the name. Then, a user B comes and, as he rembers the name, agrees and puts the name.

It's a little unfair to assign 4 points to user A or B. If there's a banana split, why don't we try this Kudoz split? 2 points each.


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Mulyadi Subali  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 16:55
English to Indonesian
+ ...
nature of the game Apr 12, 2007

the problem is there are those who will just hit 5 regardless of his/her real confidence is. as we know it, kudoz is kinda glorified in proz, as it is related to the ranking on the list...

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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 05:55
German to English
Tangential thinking Apr 12, 2007

Sometimes a suggestion with a low confidence level provides a different way of looking at a term, and in many instances, such suggestions have enabled me to understand the term in question in a different light. Sometimes "off the wall" responses point the way to a correct term.

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Terry Richards
France
Local time: 10:55
French to English
+ ...
Specific v. General Apr 12, 2007

It can also happen that you have a good general translation for a term that doesn't really fit the asker's context. It's still useful to add the term as it may help others when they search later but you know it isn't really helpful for the asker's immediate question. In this case, I would use a 2 or 3 confidence level.

There's also the case where you are pretty sure that there is an error in the original text. To a certain extent, you are guessing what the original text should have said. A low(er) confidence is not unreasonable here. In fact, this is the only situation I can think of where I might answer a question with a confidence level of 1.

Terry.


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 10:55
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...
Any answer CAN be useful Apr 12, 2007

During 7 years of KudoZ activity I have seen many, many examples of someone being helped by a 'bad' suggestion.

As Henry just said, if you have a hunch, offer help with the right confidence level. I've seen many Level 1 answers leading the asker to the right answer.

"I did not use your answer, but it lead me to ask the right question to the customer"
"Your answer made me look into the X dictionary/web site, do a Google search and ....."

Answering KudoZ is offering help, not earning academic grades.

MW


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:55
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
"Outside the box" Apr 12, 2007

Kevin Fulton wrote:

Sometimes a suggestion with a low confidence level provides a different way of looking at a term, and in many instances, such suggestions have enabled me to understand the term in question in a different light. Sometimes "off the wall" responses point the way to a correct term.


Exactly, Kevin.
I once made a Kudoz suggestion with a low confidence level, hoping to help the asker to think "laterally" or "outside the box", and gave a "low" confidence level. Incidentally, I was immediately hit with a "disagree" plus sarcastic question from another answerer. Oh well, what the hell, Mehitabel ... does anyone recognise that quotation? Kudoz points for those who can identify it!
Regards,
Jenny.


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georgina singh  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 15:25
Tamil to English
+ ...
Good idea. Apr 12, 2007

I think it was a good suggestion from Yaotl in saying we could have a "Kudos split". It heps the asker not to get carried away just because someone has given there confidence level as "Highest I am sure".
The person suggesting an answer may be right or maybe wrong.
In many cases I have seen that an answer with the "Highest I am sure option" is not very apt for that particular situation or question, but the answerer uses this option to try and make an impression on the the person asking the question.


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