Agencies abusing Kudoz to get free translations
Thread poster: Jan Sundström

Jan Sundström  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 01:06
English to Swedish
+ ...
Apr 27, 2007

Hi all,

Recently, I've noticed agency representatives posting the same sentence into many different languages.
Obviously, they didn't even bother to assign the work to a proper paid translator first, but are banking that someone should work for free and do the job at no cost.

This is a breach against the Kudoz rules.

2.1 KudoZ should be used for requesting terms help only after other resources have been exhausted. Resources available include the KudoZ archives (KudoZ > ProZ.com Term Search from the main menu), dictionaries, search engines, etc.

What can we/Proz staff do to stem this abuse?

Best,

Jan


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Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 20:06
SITE STAFF
I see no abuse here Apr 27, 2007

Jan Sundström wrote:

Recently, I've noticed agency representatives posting the same sentence into many different languages.
Obviously, they didn't even bother to assign the work to a proper paid translator first, but are banking that someone should work for free and do the job at no cost.

This is a breach against the Kudoz rules.

2.1 KudoZ should be used for requesting terms help only after other resources have been exhausted. Resources available include the KudoZ archives (KudoZ > ProZ.com Term Search from the main menu), dictionaries, search engines, etc.

What can we/Proz staff do to stem this abuse?



Hi Jan,

I see no abuse here, the same could be said of any KudoZ question, in one language or in different ones.

Regarding rule 2.1 the question is how do you know that the asker did not exhausted the other resources?

Regards,
Enrique


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 02:06
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
We should simple ignore such questions Apr 27, 2007

@Henrique: If someone posts a complete sentence in Kudoz, it is obvious that they do not know the language and want a free translation, especially if they post in different languages. No translator would do that, for obvious reasons.
I for my part never answer whole sentences (unless I'm paid).
Whole sentences are acceptable in monolingual Kudoz, if you do not understand what it means, so someone can explain (but not translate, of course)

Cheers
Heinrich

[Bearbeitet am 2007-04-28 01:36]


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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 04:36
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
Agree with Heinrich Apr 27, 2007

But then, of course, it's a matter of personal choice.

Also, there's at least one rule that can be used, if the said sentence is long (unless proz decides to change the rule) http://www.proz.com/siterules/kudoz_asking/2.2#2.2

Recently, someone posted a poem in Punjabi as a Kudoz question. This question was quashed on the basis of this rule.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:06
English to French
+ ...
And we still wonder... Apr 27, 2007

We still wonder why many knowledgeable people never answer questions. Here is one very good and valid reason!

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Anne Patteet  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:06
English to French
+ ...
Agree with Jan, Heinrich, Apr 27, 2007

Ritu and Viktoria.

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Marsha Way  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 18:06
Spanish to English
+ ...
I am glad to see this topic come up Apr 28, 2007

because I am relatively new to Proz. Just last week I saw that someone must have been doing a legal translation and just did not have a legal dictionary handy. Words were coming up like "regalías", "otorgar" and "nombramiento", which are a very basic part of legalese and easily located in a legal bilingual dictionary and which really do not have more than 1, maybe 2 definitions to choose from. Regalías is royalties, period. That's it. So why ask these on Kudoz?

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 01:06
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Occasionally, basic questions are justified Apr 28, 2007

Ritu Bhanot wrote:

...

Also, there's at least one rule that can be used, if the said sentence is long (unless proz decides to change the rule) http://www.proz.com/siterules/kudoz_asking/2.2#2.2



Moderators and some members can squash questions, or you can call a moderator to the question if you are in doubt.

It is worth remembering, though, that once in a while anyone can need help with a question that is right on the edge of their field, but quite central in someone else's.

I proof-read English for a Dutch client, for instance, and occasionally need help with quite basic questions, if an English sentence does not make sense, or I need Dutch reference explained. (The client edits a magazine with contributions from all over Europe, often written by non-native speakers.)

I answer similar questions in Danish if they are asked by ProZ.com members from other language groups. That is one of the best things about KudoZ - it's a system of 'give and take'.


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Jan Sundström  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 01:06
English to Swedish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
"how do you know that the asker did not...?" Apr 28, 2007

Enrique wrote:

Jan Sundström wrote:
2.1 KudoZ should be used for requesting terms help only after other resources have been exhausted. Resources available include the KudoZ archives (KudoZ > ProZ.com Term Search from the main menu), dictionaries, search engines, etc.


I see no abuse here, the same could be said of any KudoZ question, in one language or in different ones.

Regarding rule 2.1 the question is how do you know that the asker did not exhausted the other resources?

Regards,
Enrique


Come on Enrique, get real!

Do you seriously think that somebody posting the term "product color" into five different languages (real-life example) did lift a single finger to bother to find out the answer somewhere else first?! These words are so basic, he could have gotten good results using bloody Babelfish...

And even having the cheek to write: "please translate this for me" in his posting. Obviously, he's not a translator himself, and neither did he send this term to a paid translator in the first place.

If you've ever worked at a translation agency, you know what it's like: juggling strings around, at last minute you realize one sentence on the front of the multilingual manual is missing. Been there, done that. So some agencies choose the easy (and free!) way out : posting the missing lines on Kudoz, completely effortless, without having five translators charging you minimum fee.

If agencies have assignments for translation that they can't handle themselves, they should post it as a paid job, not a kudoz question.

I get very concerned when Proz site staff don't defend the rules that they themselves have put up, but rather undermine them by twisting them around.

"How do you know that the asker did not exhausted the other resources?"

Yeah, how do I know??? Maybe this string monkey at the agency has a hundred dictionaries at his office, but mysteriously those two basic words are not in there? And maybe he typed in the words "product colour" both in google, babelfish and systran, but mysteriously came up with nothing. Really, how could I prove that?

By applying this reversed logic, there's no way to prove that any poster ever on Kudoz has exhausted their resources. So all questions, no matter how evident they are, will pass through this loophole.

That makes the entire paragraph §2.1 totally pointless, and you might just delete it alltogether.

Sorry to get opinionated, but I get very upset when Proz staff protect abusers who flaunt the rules, at the expense of translators providing their bona fide answers for free.

Heinrich wrote:
We should simple ignore such questions


If all Proz members were loyal and uniform, it would work out. But some translators still keep giving away the answers, either in good faith (not reflecting that the asker is an agency), or simply because they are points chasers.
So those honest translators who abstain from answering will lose out to those who do, and they'll get bypassed on the Kudoz points ladder.

Since the system is flawed, just ignoring those questions isn't good enough: the rules should be enforced or changed.

/Jan

[Edited at 2007-04-28 22:58]


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Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 20:06
SITE STAFF
Agree, this should be a guideline Apr 29, 2007

Jan Sundström wrote:

By applying this reversed logic, there's no way to prove that any poster ever on Kudoz has exhausted their resources. So all questions, no matter how evident they are, will pass through this loophole.

That makes the entire paragraph §2.1 totally pointless, and you might just delete it alltogether.



Hi Jan,

I agree that this rule should be changed into a guideline, there will be a new KudoZ plan in the near future.

Do you object to these questions because they are easy? Or because they are too many?

Regards,
Enrique


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Jan Sundström  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 01:06
English to Swedish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Arguments to enforce the rule Apr 29, 2007

Enrique wrote:

Hi Jan,

I agree that this rule should be changed into a guideline, there will be a new KudoZ plan in the near future.

Do you object to these questions because they are easy? Or because they are too many?

Regards,
Enrique


Hi Enrique, thanks for keeping the dialogue open.

I've got nothing against questions that are easy.
I've got nothing against members posting many questions.

But the proper usage of Kudoz is for translators to post term that they need assistance with translating, or need a second opinion on (normally in the same language pair that they work in themselves, or otherwise in a pair where they have a professional interest in).

Kudoz should not be a way for agencies to get free translations. Why?

1. Because there is another area on Proz, it's called "Job posting form". I thought the entire business idea of Proz was to promote that venue instead???

2. Because, as I described it above, ethical translators abstain from giving away their work for free to agencies, hence the ones who don't abstain get an unfair advantage and Kudoz points on the cheap.

3. Kudoz points should reflect your ability to solve terms that are too tough for the asker, not terms that the asker is too lazy too look up on Babelfish or in a standard dictionary.

4. If not enforced, it leads to Kudoz inflation, and a general distrust among serious outsourcers, if you can earn Kudoz points easily just because other discerning members refuse to sell out.

Compare the situation with the heated debate we had here earlier, where two partners in cohorts post dummy questions and closing them 2 minutes later, just to boost each others Kudoz.

5. From an outsources point of view it's undesirable because they'd lose the instrument to separate skilled translators from points chasers. And from a translators point of view it's undesirable, because if the monkey questions get too many, chances are that they get fed up, and stop logging in to Kudoz alltogether.

For goodness sake, I work for an outsourcer myself, and the last thing I want to see is the entire Kudoz system to collapse if agencies start to mass post hundreds of monkey strings just because you Proz staff start to allow it!

I think these arguments are more than enough...

best,

Jan

[Edited at 2007-04-29 10:02]


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Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 20:06
SITE STAFF
More comments Apr 30, 2007

Jan Sundström wrote:

I've got nothing against questions that are easy.
I've got nothing against members posting many questions.

But the proper usage of Kudoz is for translators to post term that they need assistance with translating, or need a second opinion on (normally in the same language pair that they work in themselves, or otherwise in a pair where they have a professional interest in).



Hi Jan,

An asker is defined in the KudoZ FAQs as "A person in need of translation assistance". This may cover a freelance or in-house translator, someone working in an agency or just a non-logged person who needs help with the translation of a term.

KudoZ provides term help, not free translations in the sense that translation projects will be done free of charge.

In the real-life example you quoted before, this would mean creating 5 jobs to get the words "product color" translated in five different languages.

All users (members or not) have daily and weekly limits on how many questions they can ask, so the chances of an individual user collapsing the entire Kudoz system with their questions is unlikely.

Even if several such users post many questions, the system would have the same "inflation" if the questions came from agencies or from translators.

Interesting discussion!

Cheers,
Enrique


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Jan Sundström  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 01:06
English to Swedish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Let's see what the new guidelines contain... May 2, 2007

Hi Enrique and all,

I can understand your point of view, but I'm still not convinced.

Under the current rules, I find it very very unlikely that an agency posting the same string to five or more languages pairs has "exhausted all other resources".

As long as the moderators won't discourage questions where it's obvious that:
1. the asker didn't lift a finger to find out the answer on his own (or commission the assignment to a paid translator), and
2. where it's obvious that the asker has a commercial interest for the "job" to be done,
...most Proz users will shun the question, enter phoney/sub-standard answers, or otherwise obstruct the asker.

This might mean that phoney/sub-standard answers will be entered into the KOG, polluting the database.

Did the Proz staff reflect on these consequences?!

It will be very interesting to see in what way the new guidelines will facilitate proper usage...

/Jan


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