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More ranting about use of other languages when answering kudoz questions
Thread poster: Tim Drayton

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 10:38
Turkish to English
+ ...
May 15, 2007

I recently started a thread in which I voiced a complaint about the use of languages other than the source or target language in discussing kudoz questions. It appears from the ensuing discussion that a lot of people do not share my concern. If this is the consensus view, I am prepared to bow to it.
However, I have just seen that somebody has posted an expression in Dutch as the glossary entry for the English (?) translation of a Turkish term, which was posted as a Turkish into English (!) kudoz question. Sorry, but this jsut makes me see red.
Am I the only one who finds this objectionable? If so, I will accept that this is a private obsession of mine and never again raise this point.


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Deschant
Local time: 08:38
Reply May 15, 2007

I found your objection just logical but to be honest I never thought that the obligation to write in either the source of the target language should be reinforced - after all, if you answer a question from language A to language B it is assumed that you can express yourself to a reasonable degree of fluency in either A or B.

What annoys me a little is that some people seem to take for granted that all translators speak English, and thus I have found (only very rarely) explanations in English posted in pairs not including English. I recall one particular case (I can't remember the pair anymore, should be something with Spanish and Italian or French) in which the person who had written the comment in English was objected by somebody else and still he argued that, if he wrote in English, his answer could be read by more translators (as if a, say, Chinese to English translator was going to read the Italian to Spanish KudoZ!). I'm not saying that this attitude is common among English native speakers, to be honest I've seen it more frequently among speakers of other languages.

However, if in the non-English forums we are constantly reminded that English (or other language other than that in the forum title) is not allowed, I don't see why shouldn't the same thing be reinforced in KudoZ.


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Alfredo Tutino  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:38
English to Italian
+ ...
You're right May 15, 2007

I think we should accept the occasional use of a third language, when it is a genuine, if possibly misguided, attempt to help the asker - help may come, albeit rarely, from unexpected quarters.

Making a glossary entry, however, is a different matter; a helpful answer is not always a correct one, and a professional should be able to tell the difference.

This is not limited to "wrong language" entries: in my language pairs I've seen several glossary entries that shouldn't ever have been entered at all - even for simply spotting a typo, or for a very particular phrase that only fits a very particular contest.

Making a glossary entry after picking an answer, in my opinion, should always entail some reflection about its effetive usefulness.

Sometimes, at any rate, peers can find a way to point errors to askers even after the question is closed, and have glossary entries corrected, maybe with the help of moderators; I have done so, a couple of times, with good results, with people I have a good relation with (explain to the asker why the chosen answer was wrong, suggest a better one, having him/her emend the glossary entry; I told them not to bother, however, about the points... ). It should also be possible to say something like "I do not want to discuss your choice, but I think that making this glossary entry was rather unwarranted (for such and such reasons)".


Having said that, however, I also think that there might be some very rare cases when the use of a third language in glossaries might be justified - think of Latin phrases in legalese: due to different traditions, for instance, sometimes a Latin expression may be the best option to translate an English term into Italian - and I'd have no objection to seeing it in the glossaries.

I can even offer an example where a "fourth" language might be involved:

in many Italian journalistic texts, you may find the Spanish word "golpe" used instead of the Italian equivalent, "colpo di stato"; and someone translating it into English might do worse than translating it with the French "coup d'état". Thus, there might be a case for entering "Golpe ==> Coup d'état" in a IT>EN glossary...

Of course, such cases are very unusual, and in no way detract from your argument.

[Edited at 2007-05-15 14:56]

And many thanks to Jane for kindly correcting a mistake in my post...

[Edited at 2007-05-15 15:40]


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:38
English to Dutch
+ ...
Three is a crowd May 15, 2007

Hi,

I think Kudoz should be answered in either source or target language, not a third.
And I also feel we should pay close attention to what is entered into the glossaries, if we are serious about their usefulness.
So don't give up the ranting, you are not alone.


Best,
Margreet


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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 03:38
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I agree, too. Keep reminding (gently, please). May 15, 2007

Alfredo Tutino wrote:

I think we should accept the occasional use of a third language, when it is a genuine, if possibly misguided, attempt to help the asker.


Sometimes we forget which forum we're in. For instance, I sometimes answer in Spanish when I'm in the English>English forum, merely because I didn't notice the heading and/or got so caught up in my interest in the question that I forgot. When I do that, I appreciate a kindly worded reminder.

Alfredo wrote:

Making a glossary entry, however, is a different matter; a helpful answer is not always a correct one, and a professional should be able to tell the difference. [Emphasis added.]

This is not limited to "wrong language" entries: I've seen glossary entries that shouldn't ever [have] been entered at all - even for simply spotting a typo, or for a very particular phrase that only fits a very particular context.


Absolutely. As answerer or as asker, I've often refrained from making a glossary entry in those "very particular context" situations, only to have the other party go ahead and clog up the KOG with a totally useless entry.


Alfredo wrote:

In many Italian journalistic texts, you may find the Spanish word "golpe" used instead of the Italian equivalent, "colpo di stato"; and someone translating it into English might do worse than translating it with the French "coup d'état". Thus, there might be a case for entering "Golpe ==> Coup d'état" in a IT>EN glossary...


I'll go farther than you did and say that "coup d'état" is the correct way to translate "golpe de estado" or "colpo di stato" into English.

Cheers!
Jane


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:38
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Taking care of our glossaries May 15, 2007

Margreet Logmans wrote:

Hi,

I think Kudoz should be answered in either source or target language, not a third.
And I also feel we should pay close attention to what is entered into the glossaries, if we are serious about their usefulness.
So don't give up the ranting, you are not alone.


Best,
Margreet


Well said Margreet. To me it is simply logical to make glossary entries in either the source or the target language.

I also agree with your second point. I think that a) we as translators should be careful about what we enter, and b) the glossaries should be edited regularly. Each language combination should have a designated glossary editor, just as we have moderators for the forums and Kudoz questions.


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:38
Member
English to Turkish
Life is full of surprises May 15, 2007

Hi Tim,

You should have seen my note to the asker on that page. Actually, I was going to correct the glossary entry right after that, but the door rang. So, I left my desk planning to come back in a minute, and I came back in two hours OK, *my* life is full of surprises. Anyway, the glossary entry has been corrected now, and the next time, please do drop me a note - because by the time I came back to my desk, I had long forgotten that glossary entry (now, seven hours or something should have passed).


I am not implying that you don't need to start a forum discussion for this. On the contrary. However, people who don't have the minimum respect for the glossary, site functions, translators here in Kudoz and elsewhere, or for our profession at large, usually do not follow or participate in the forums, either. They eat, shoot, and leave Therefore, those who do, should stay and keep on participating. And with this last sentence, I'm sure you'll know that I have read your other thread, too.


Regards,
Özden


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:38
Member (2004)
Italian to English
Glossary entries May 16, 2007

Just wanted to add that, IMHO, if a translation is valid only in a specific context, it is still a valid glossary entry.
The big advantage of KudoZ is that it allows searchers to see a range of replies and to make their own assessment of which is most useful to them, not just the one selected by the original asker.
Anyone who uses the basic glossary entry without further evaluation is just not a serious translator.


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