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Is Kudoz good for translation?
Thread poster: agapzn
agapzn
English to Polish
Jul 10, 2007

Following criticism by a colleague, I set about investigating the Kudoz culture. As a long term user, over, I must confess, a relatively short period of time, I followed a particular language pair & specialization. What became unavoidably obvious was that most questions were answered by a small group of, what I would term, professional kudoz [PK’s] translators. I could count them on one hand. This, in itself, is unremarkable where ‘points make prizes’. Points would also suggest subject knowledge. What was slightly disturbing was the consistency with which they [the PK’s] appeared to agree with other PK’s suggestions and disagree with those of non PK’s. It appeared to be a collective protectionism meets online bullying. Perhaps this may all have been coincidental, but what if it wasn’t?


Apart from the obvious unfairness that any such activity creates, my real concern is the effect that such tactics would have on the development of translation. With the portal being a source of development for so many aspiring translators, a large part of a whole generation, maybe, are effectively being mentored by a very small number of, some might say, arrogant, self appointed, sensors whose answer is always right.

Out of my natural curiosity I contributed to several Kudoz questions, and it wasn’t long before I received the attention of a PK. Of course, what could I do but challenge their comment. Their response was swift and biting - but, sadly, inaccurate.

Further analysis pointed to the fact that many of the answered questions were placed by newly created users. This had me thinking - what if user questions were being created in order to obtain points? But, NO - nobody is that pathetic!


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Hilde Granlund  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 13:03
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Is there such a thing as a KudoZ culture? Jul 10, 2007

At least, there must be several of them, in that case.
I am a new member, and have of course only experienced the KudoZ "culture" in my languages and fields.
I agree with you that most questions are answered by relatively few members.
Maybe some of them are internet bullies?
I have not felt bullied so far, though - by people who disagree with me or otherwise.
On the contrary, when I have asked questions, I have received helpful answers, and when I know the answer it is usually appreciated.
Sometimes interesting discussions develop.
I think it is only natural that the same people tend to agree or disagree on things.
Great minds think alike - and fools seldom differ, isn't that so
They just have minds that work the same way.

If there are indeed bullies dominating some language pairs/fields, I think that sould be brought to the moderators' attention.


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 13:03
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Bullies are not tolerated Jul 10, 2007

Hilde Granlund wrote:If there are indeed bullies dominating some language pairs/fields, I think that sould be brought to the moderators' attention.


They are taken care of, I can assure you. Many have even been expelled from the site.

Some reasons for being very active in the KudoZ arena can be deducted from my article http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/articles/509/

It lead to my getting too much work, so nowadays I,m a very passive KudoZer.

Best

Mats Wiman


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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:03
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Confessions of a PK Jul 10, 2007

agapzn wrote:
... most questions were answered by a small group of, what I would term, professional kudoz [PK’s] translators.
I am (I like to think) a PK.

What was slightly disturbing was the consistency with which they [the PK’s] appeared to agree with other PK’s suggestions and disagree with those of non PK’s.

Of course. PK's tend to have a good track record and to offer (most of the time) good helpful answers. In time, and some good answers, you too can become a PK.
It appeared to be a collective protectionism meets online bullying. Perhaps this may all have been coincidental, but what if it wasn’t?

No doubt there are examples of bullying, but in most cases I think it is simply a case of giving an honest opinion. ProZ does not lend itself to conspiracies.
... a very small number of, some might say, arrogant, self appointed, sensors whose answer is always right.

You are overstating your case. PKs are mostly sweet, cuddly fallible human beings, keen to help others, and know how to spell "censors".
If not sweet and cuddly, complain to the Moderator.
Out of my natural curiosity I contributed to several Kudoz questions, and it wasn’t long before I received the attention of a PK. Of course, what could I do but challenge their comment. Their response was swift and biting - but, sadly, inaccurate.

You sound like a PK - claiming that other people's suggestions are inaccurate.
Further analysis pointed to the fact that many of the answered questions were placed by newly created users. This had me thinking - what if user questions were being created in order to obtain points? But, NO - nobody is that pathetic!

See Mats Wiman's exccellent answer.


[Edited at 2007-07-10 09:24]


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:03
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
I'm just thankful Jul 10, 2007

Mats Wiman wrote:

Hilde Granlund wrote:If there are indeed bullies dominating some language pairs/fields, I think that sould be brought to the moderators' attention.


They are taken care of, I can assure you. Many have even been expelled from the site.

Some reasons for being very active in the KudoZ arena can be deducted from my article http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/articles/509/

It lead to my getting too much work, so nowadays I,m a very passive KudoZer.

Best

Mats Wiman


All I can say is that I'm extremely thankful to those Kudoz answerers (be they bullies (??) or not) who take the trouble to help me with problem vocabulary that is outside my normal sphere of action, and for the Kudoz glossaries that often provide useful answers so that I don't need to ask a Kudoz question.
As regards answering, I enjoy trying to help people - it's the schoolmarm in me coming out. If someone disagrees with me (rare!) I soon get over it. Maybe I don't know everything - how annoying! Remember Oliver Cromwell's words "Consider in the bowels of Christ that you could be wrong". Life's too short to get upset about it.
I think Kudoz is a great system - but as with all things made by man, it can be abused, I suppose.
When selecting answers, one has to use one's own judgement and common sense as to which is a good answer and which isn't.
Thank you, you bullies, please don't stop.
Kind regards,
Jenny.


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Hilde Granlund  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 13:03
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Well put, Jenny Jul 10, 2007

I have only recently come back to translation. My previous experience is all from the days of the typewriter and long before the Internet.
KudoZ is a great thing. I do medical translations mostly, but some medical instruments are very technical. So when I got stuck, all the tech./engineering experts were there to help me.
Would have taken a lot longer to figure out the right translation any other way.
So keep it up

[Edited at 2007-07-10 09:10]


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Michał Herman
Poland
Local time: 13:03
Swedish to Polish
+ ...
a limited group... Jul 10, 2007

I tend to think that in case of some languages (I dare to think that Norwegian and Swedish being one of them) it is simple mathematics that shrink the expert group.
Yet it is true one might feel that in case of "large" pairs, where there are numerous members, a smaller group might tend (more or less consciously) build-up a restricted-access KP group...


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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:03
French to English
+ ...
Specialists Jul 10, 2007

I think it's more a case that there are certain people on whose judgment and specialist knowledge you come to know you can depend. Certainly in one of my specialist fields, power generation, there are certain people who I know will come up with a sensible and helpful answer - and usually a very useful explanation as well (you know who you are!). Like Jenny, I'm really grateful to them and for KudoZ as a whole. I'm not technically trained, although I have worked in-house for a technical company, and sometimes the technicalities of it all are beyond me. Hardly surprising that the people who do specialise in particular areas should accumulate more points!

There again, there are other people who seem to make random guesses, but, once again, you tend to get to know who they are and discount them - after due consideration of course!

The ones who really irk me are those who post a question and then actually go as far as to decline suggestions without even a comment or explanation - to me, that's just plain rude and helps nobody. They're often the ones who are least well placed to decide on the "correct" answer too.

On the whole, I think it's a brilliant system and one which has made my life a lot easier (and more fun) since I joined ProZ several years ago.


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:03
Italian to English
+ ...
Also depends on the specialisation Jul 10, 2007

Michał Herman wrote:

I tend to think that in case of some languages (I dare to think that Norwegian and Swedish being one of them) it is simple mathematics that shrink the expert group.
Yet it is true one might feel that in case of "large" pairs, where there are numerous members, a smaller group might tend (more or less consciously) build-up a restricted-access KP group...


I work in Italian - English, which is a pretty common pair, but I concentrate on medical, which is quite specialist. It follows that there are a limited number of Kudoz answerers in this field (I'd say there are about 10 regulars).

While I think that agapzn is overstating the case, it does seem clear that some language pairs have a more aggressive Kudoz culture than others. Certainly, in my experience, the Italian/English bunch are as good, sweet and cuddly as you'd find anywhere.


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:03
Spanish to English
+ ...
Something doesn't add up... Jul 10, 2007

Jenny Forbes wrote:

When selecting answers, one has to use one's own judgement and common sense as to which is a good answer and which isn't.


This to me is the major flaw in the sytem. The same person who didn't know the answer in the first place suddenly becomes the judge of what the right answer is! It's sort of like handing a child a loaded gun then bringing a group of experts in to give him all sorts of good advice and then hoping against hope that he makes the right decision....


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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:03
French to English
+ ...
Peer agrees Jul 10, 2007

John Cutler wrote:

[This to me is the major flaw in the sytem. The same person who didn't know the answer in the first place suddenly becomes the judge of what the right answer is! It's sort of like handing a child a loaded gun then bringing a group of experts in to give him all sorts of good advice and then hoping against hope that he makes the right decision....


I suppose that's where the peer agree/disagree system comes in. At least if you're looking for a term subsequently and you can see that the asker has chosen one term, even though a different answer may have considerably more agrees, you can judge for yourself which is more likely. Context plays a huge part as well, of course, and often askers don't provide anywhere near enough to allow a sensible answer.....


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Hilde Granlund  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 13:03
English to Norwegian
+ ...
not as bad as that, surely... Jul 10, 2007

John Cutler wrote:

This to me is the major flaw in the sytem. The same person who didn't know the answer in the first place suddenly becomes the judge of what the right answer is! It's sort of like handing a child a loaded gun then bringing a group of experts in to give him all sorts of good advice and then hoping against hope that he makes the right decision....


Hopefully we are not quite as clueless as that. Even if I cannot come up with the right term myself to begin with, I am perfectly able to look up the suggested answers in dictionaries, on the web or other reference material. At least, when I have a suggestion, I know what term to look up.


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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 16:33
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
Kudoz is very useful tool Jul 10, 2007

and I like it a lot.

I use it quite often when I'm stuck (kudoz glossary) and am thankful to all those who've made it possible (of course, the PKs)

Unfortunately, I do not answer a lot of questions because I'm busy or because someone else has already proposed what I wanted to propose. So I agree with the person. Of course, I don't have too many kudoz points but it's ok. I'm happy with what I do.

After all Kudoz is to help others and we can also help others by helping them choose what is correct answer i.e. by agreeing to the answer that seems correct to us. Of course, it may or may not be correct in the context but then that's up to the asker to decide as (s)he has the complete original document.

OK. I'm not a PK but I'm one of those who "agree". But I agree only when I really agree with someone.

And the real treasure is the end-result... the great kudoz glossary

Thank you all PKs and keep on the good work.


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Anne Smith Campbell
Spain
Local time: 13:03
English to Spanish
+ ...
I find it useful to learn... Jul 11, 2007

I've not been long around here, and I try to help others in Kudoz in translation when they are stuck... That is, if I'm pretty confident about the answer. I don't bother to answer if I haven't a clue, or not sure enough, but it gets me moving, looking up possible answers, so that way I learn just the same even if I don't answer.
My language pair is very varied in terms, English-Spanish or viceversa, so I learn a whole lot of new/used terms in diferent countries, which is very useful.
Sometimes I notice that the translation chosen is not quite what I would choose, but usually it is for a spanish speaking country where they differ in the way of speaking, even though it is the same language, (i.e. Spanish Spain, Spanish Argentine, Spanish Peru, etc), and I also find quite a lot of variety in English whether it is British or northamerican or Canadien, etc.
In any case, it is helping me to learn new concepts within the language pairs.


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Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 08:03
SITE STAFF
Help and reference Jul 11, 2007

John Cutler wrote:

This to me is the major flaw in the sytem. The same person who didn't know the answer in the first place suddenly becomes the judge of what the right answer is!


Hi John,

KudoZ questions are about help. Askers are requested to select the answers they find most useful, not the right ones.

The glossary is for reference. When you use it you have access to all the answers and the peer comments, and you make your own judgement.

Cheers,
Enrique


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