Superficial & inconsiderate answers
Thread poster: Elke Fehling

Elke Fehling  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:15
English to German
+ ...
Jul 29, 2007

Again and again I am surprised how many inconsiderate answers I get to some of the questions I ask. My questions often contain very common terms (like for example the English word "order"), but I need it as a technical term in a very special context.

In the majority of cases I get simple translations from leo.org, mostly with a high confidence rating. It usually doesn't have anything to do with my context. In these cases I usually never or very rarely get an answer I can work with and close the question after a week or so with just 1 point - which is still 1 point to many. Sometimes I even close it without rating it.

This really makes me mad. Does the answerer think that I am too stupid to look into a simple dictionary? Why does nobody understand that translating is mostly about contexts and that it is almost never satisfying to randomly choose a word from a dictionary?! I cannot believe that these people really translate and earn their money in this way - or do they?

OK, I know that I don't have the "right" to get a good answer here. But I really wonder why some people bother to give such "wrong" answers. Is it all about collection points?

Ok, thanks for reading. I feel better now

Elke


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:15
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Very true Jul 29, 2007

People answering your questions should be grateful that you give them context to work on, and should make full use of it. Many askers give little or no context and still expect a sensible reply.

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Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 21:15
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
You're not the only one Jul 29, 2007

Hi Elke,

You're not the first person to bring up this point or to wonder why some people think you are incapable of using a dictionary.

You could take a look at the following:

http://www.proz.com/topic/16213?start=0&float=

Cheers,
Andy


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 14:15
German to English
Dictionary look-up service Jul 29, 2007

Yes, Elke, it is very frustrating. A similar complaint was raised several years ago that you might find instructive.

Lia Fail wrote:
Example, I want a translation for 'SEÑAL' in a highly specific context and I get 'sign, indication' as an answer. Now please explain why I bother to post a question to get this kind of answer? I know that already, otherwise I wouldn't be translating now would I?

http://www.proz.com/post/104770


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
I feel better too! Jul 29, 2007

Elke Fehling wrote:

Does the answerer think that I am too stupid to look into a simple dictionary? Why does nobody understand that translating is mostly about contexts and that it is almost never satisfying to randomly choose a word from a dictionary?!

Ok, thanks for reading. I feel better now

Elke
ç

I feel better too Elke! Yes, I sometimes feel "misunderstood" and even "insulted" too. Recently I posted a "string" simply becuase that's what it looked like and I needed insights - somebody who could give me a fresh angle on what the string of words TOGETHER means. However, I got the literal translation that I could have provided myself.

The logic of Q posting is obviously escaping a lot of people: this is a site for TRANSLATORS, translators logically have the TOOLS (dictionaries) and have the core SKILL (knowing a pair of languages) of their trade (and since this IS a translator's site, we must assume this, and give the benefit of the doubt...).

So, if a translator posts what is APPARENTLY an easy Q (like "order" or "vidrio" or whatever), answerers should not assume it is in fact easy ... individual words are easy (Unless they actually don't exist), what complicates them is context.


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Piotr Bienkowski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 21:15
Member (2005)
English to Polish
+ ...
You should close the question without grading Jul 29, 2007

That's what I do sometimes (not very often) with answers that are not usable.

I'm not sure whether it is a good idea to give points for answers given out of context, such answers might mislead other people.

My 0.03 PLN worth.

Piotr


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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 16:15
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
Don't be afraid to provide context Jul 29, 2007

Sometimes, the askers provide a very short context. And that may be the most misguiding thing, when the word asked is "too easy".
So: in any case, if the word might look "suspiciously" easy, provide enough question context, explain exactly your doubt, propose alternatives, etc. That's the best way for potential answerers to see: "OK, this KudoZ question has a very difficult point contained in a very easy word".


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xxxFrancis Lee
Local time: 21:15
German to English
+ ...
Superficial & inconsiderate answerERs Jul 30, 2007

Elke Fehling wrote:
This really makes me mad. Why does nobody understand that translating is mostly about contexts and that it is almost never satisfying to randomly choose a word from a dictionary?!


I'm with you 100% on this one. I know exactly what you mean.

Elke Fehling wrote:
Does the answerer think that I am too stupid to look into a simple dictionary?


No - in such cases they probably haven't even read your name or any of the information/context you provide.

Elke Fehling wrote:
Is it all about collection points?


Sadly - yes.

When I see such answers I often post a Neutral comment, adding words to the effect of a) "How is this of any help to the Asker"? b) "Why LEO and not a conventional (and far more reliable) dictionary/encyclopedia?" c) Why such a high confidence level?
If the answer they give is wrong in the specific context, I make it a Disagree, of course.

Elke Fehling wrote:
I cannot believe that these people really translate and earn their money in this way - or do they?


Amazingly, yes. OK, some of these people are not bad translators; they're just point-hungry. Others, however, are simply poor translators - and I dread to think what kind of work they deliver to their customers.


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Armorel Young  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:15
Member (2004)
German to English
Give "neutrals" and "disagrees" Jul 30, 2007

When I see this happening to other people's questions I tend to respond with a "neutral" or "disagree" to their answer. Perhaps by using "disagree" more often we can all help to discourage over-simplistic answers and thus raise standards on the site.

When it happens to me - in other words when none of the answers I receive takes me any futher than my own thinking had already got me - I have no qualms about closing the question without grading, with a comment such as "no helpful answer". One such instance brought a vituperative e-mail from an answerer, who told me that I would be blacklisted by site members if I didn't award points, but it still seems to me the right thing to do - it is clearly allowed by site rules, and in my view it is dishonest to award points for "helpfulness" when none of the answers was in fact helpful.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:15
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
I agree with you, Armorel Jul 30, 2007

Armorel Young wrote:

When I see this happening to other people's questions I tend to respond with a "neutral" or "disagree" to their answer. Perhaps by using "disagree" more often we can all help to discourage over-simplistic answers and thus raise standards on the site.

When it happens to me - in other words when none of the answers I receive takes me any futher than my own thinking had already got me - I have no qualms about closing the question without grading, with a comment such as "no helpful answer". One such instance brought a vituperative e-mail from an answerer, who told me that I would be blacklisted by site members if I didn't award points, but it still seems to me the right thing to do - it is clearly allowed by site rules, and in my view it is dishonest to award points for "helpfulness" when none of the answers was in fact helpful.


I agree with you, Armorel. I must say that when I've asked Kudoz questions I have always been amazed and gratified at how quick and helpful my answerers have been - but I always provide plenty of context and point out my dilemma as far as possible. And I always thank, of course.
When asking for Kudoz help, one throws oneself on the mercy of whoever may be prepared to answer - no-one is obliged to - and must use one's own intelligence and judgement as to which answer to use, if any, and how many points (or none) to award.
I'm sure I know your name - have we met somewhere? I used to be called Jenny Shipton. I've definitely come across you somewhere before. Did you ever work for the BBC? Or are you a writer?
Kind regards,
Jenny.


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 14:15
English to Russian
+ ...
Make a note in the Explanation body Jul 30, 2007

I have raised the same question among the Russian community. I hate it too.

Today when I ask something that seems to be lying on the surface with a generic meaning found in every dictionary, I'd say "I've seen the options in the dictionaries, thank you!", or "I know the path to Multitran" - a very popular electronic dictionary in En-Ru-En pair. Believe it or not, a couple of times it helped.


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