Mobile menu

Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >
Proposal: introduce not-for-points answers
Thread poster: Kim Metzger

Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 19:27
German to English
Aug 23, 2007

Background: site staff have frequently indicated that they are considering introducing some sort of reliability ratio for KudoZ answerers. We currently have the stats available to establish a K/Q http://www.proz.com/topic/80531 i.e. each person's Pro-level points divided by questions answered.

Many members think a reliability ratio would be a good step towards improving the quality of KudoZ answers because it would help askers decide whether he or she is dealing with an answer provided by a real pro translator or a point grabber who answers anything that moves for the purpose of moving up in the rankings. A reliability ratio used to boost a member's standing in the rankings (leader board) would encourage members to carefully research and document their answers and only answer questions when they are reasonably certain they have something useful to offer.

Problem: Many members like to participate in KudoZ questions just by offering information that can help others find a good translation: good definitions of source and target terms, good references, explanation, etc. These "answers" are often informally referred to as "not-for-points" or "not-for-grading" answers. We are currently prohibited from adding this info in the ask-the-asker box because strictly speaking (enforced in some communities and not in others) it is only there for seeking clarification of the question and will get deleted in some language pairs.

Answerers who now regularly enter "not-for-points" answers will be penalized for this collegial behavior once some sort of reliability ratio is later introduced and may already be withholding helpful information for this reason.

Solution: allow not-for-points answers. When a question has been closed, an answer submitted just to help in the process of finding the best translation should not be used in calculating any future reliability ratio.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
a very good idea! Aug 23, 2007

Kim Metzger wrote:

Answerers who now regularly enter "not-for-points" answers will be penalized for this collegial behavior once some sort of reliability ratio is later introduced and may already be withholding helpful information for this reason.

Solution: allow not-for-points answers. When a question has been closed, an answer submitted just to help in the process of finding the best translation should not be used in calculating any future reliability ratio.



That sounds like a wonderful idea, Kim!

I wish there was more emphasis on sharing information in KudoZ and less emphasis on "being right" (in order to get the points). The "right" answer is not always (dare I say, "is often not"?) the most illuminating one.

Thanks for suggesting this!


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
I like the idea Aug 23, 2007

One gets the impression that those at the top of the points lists are there becuase they answer lots of Qs not necessarily becuase their answers are good. I also personally answer Qs for a variety of reasons, and not one is to win points, although the satisfaction of being chosen is rewarding, especially when I spnd a lot of time helping someone resolve a difficulty.


[Edited at 2007-08-23 18:56]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 20:27
SITE FOUNDER
Would "hints" be a better term than "answers"? Aug 23, 2007

Hi Kim,

Thanks for posting this.

Would 'hints' be a good term for the type of posting you are proposing? Making the proposal, in effect, that in addition to 'answers' (= suggested translations, selectable as most helpful, potentially earning points), there should be an option to post 'hints' (i.e. comments intended to help others arrive at the best translation, not selectable as best, not subject to points)?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
difference between "answering" and sharing information ... Aug 23, 2007

Henry D wrote:

Would 'hints' be a good term for the type of posting you are proposing? Making the proposal, in effect, that in addition to 'answers' (= suggested translations, selectable as most helpful, potentially earning points), there should be an option to post 'hints' (i.e. comments intended to help others arrive at the best translation, not selectable as best, not subject to points)?


For my part, this isn't what I was envisioning. So often, there is no truly "right" answer to any KudoZ posting since so much depends on context, the register that the translator is using, and other factors. A discussion of the range of possibilities would be useful.

Here's an example: One of my colleagues posted a question about especie, a Spanish term that can mean "kind" (as in "a species of"), "spice," or "specie (cash)". Understandably, her first thought was to translate it as "kind" (it seemed to fit).

I recognized that the translation was specie, and I posted an answer: "cash". But I then I thought better of it, and I deleted my answer and reposted "specie".

The "right" answer for her context probably was "cash" -- but it wasn't the INTERESTING answer. I got scolded, deservedly so, for posting an answer that wasn't "modern" since her text was clearly for a present-day business environment.

On the other hand, I still feel that I ought to be able to post any answer I want. However, as things stand, if I do that, I'm doused with a bunch of disagrees, and then feel that I have to explain myself, and I feel "wrong" and bad ... etc. etc.

So, I think it would be advisable to be able to post an answer that isn't intended as a translation of the term but rather as an offering of some piece of knowledge that might be of interest to the asker and the community. If the asker chooses to use the information, great (no need to give points); if not, fine, but the information out there for others to see and to judge its merits.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Ken Cox  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:27
German to English
+ ...
a different perspective on Kudoz Aug 23, 2007

This is a bit of a tangent on Kim's posting that initiated this thread, but it ties in with Patricia's comments. Recently I have been thinking about how to improve the quality of Kudoz, and I came to the conclusion that Kudoz can and should be seen from two perspectives: the perspective of individual questions (and the people who ask them), and the perspective of the community of users.

Askers have a single objective: to obtain the best possible answer to a specific question, regardless of whether that takes the form of a translation, an explanation, or other related information.

However, Kudoz also generates a database of questions, answers, and user comments. In my estimation, this function is more important and more valuable to the community of users (as professional translators) than the function of answering individual questions. This database is a very rich resource. In terms of ‘density’ of information and utility, it far exceeds any dictionary and many glossaries for two key reasons: variety of user input and context information. In my opinion, increasing the variety of user input and the amount of context information should be basic goals that guide any measures intended to increase the quality of Kudoz.

In this connection, I believe that Proz and the community of users should stop regarding Kudoz as a means to obtain 'correct' translations or generate the glossary to end all glossaries, and instead regard it as a means to generate a database of information for professional translators. We all know that the answer chosen by the asker is simply that; it is not necessarily the best translation or even a 'correct' translation -- but that doesn't matter in the long run; what matters is the information -- questions, answers, and comments.

If we start looking at Kudoz this way, it becomes clear that context is vitally important, not only for individual questions but also for the benefit of users who consult the database afterwards. Expanations and substantiation provided with answers are equally essential. Comments of any sort that contribute to an understanding of a term or expression should be welcomed and encouraged.

I would thus welcome measures that foster provision of useful context, explanation and substantiation of answers, and relevant comments.





[Edited at 2007-08-24 06:27]

[Edited at 2007-08-24 06:31]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
completely agree ... Aug 23, 2007

Ken Cox wrote:

In this connection, I believe that Proz and the community of users should stop regarding Kudoz as a means to obtain 'correct' translations or generate the glossary to end all glossaries, and instead regard it as a means to generate a database of information for professional translators. We all know that the answer chosen by the asker is simply that; it is not necessarily the best translation or even a 'correct' translation -- but that doesn't matter in the long run; what matters is the information -- questions, answers, and comments.




Ken,
You said what I wanted to say so much better than I said it! Thanks for posting this.
Patricia


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 19:27
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Discussion Aug 23, 2007

Hi Henry - maybe it could be labelled "discussion". It could be a separate field devoted to discussing the question: it might include online references, explanations, definitions, etc. A specialist in automotive mechanics might not know how best to translate a term but could let everybody know what's going on in a particular situation. And yes, it would be used in the spirit of helping the asker select the best translation.

Perhaps it could even be used to offer professional advice to new askers - people who are new to ProZ and KudoZ and people who are just starting out as translators.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:27
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
KudoZ as a database Aug 23, 2007

I also agree with Patricia.

When I use the KudoZ database, I read all of the answers and comments before making a decision on the best translation for my document regardless of whether or not this answer was the one chosen by the original asker.

What if there were other ways to earn KudoZ points rather than just by answering questions (merging KudoZ and BrowniZ for example).

[Edited at 2007-08-23 22:44]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
a perfect example! Aug 23, 2007

Don't mean to be hogging the forum here, but I just experienced first hand why Kim's suggestion makes sense. Here's the question I posted:

http://www.proz.com/kudoz/2101648#4720097

Three people answered. Two gave partially correct answers, which I was able to ascertain after the third person provided a document with a very apropos discussion.

This third person gave a more accurate answer, but it was long (characters + spaces count has to match in the original and the translation for this job).

With the document in hand, and taking careful consideration of the other answers, I could figure out that it is: not "waxy clay," not "ceramic slip," but "waxy slip ceramic".

The person who provided the document will get the points (she wasn't precisely right, but she was the most HELP), but I also wish I could split them: 1 to each of the others and 2 to the person who found the document.

Bottom line: In a narrow sense, no one gave me the "right" answer, but without the assistance of these kind colleagues, I'd have been really lost. Their willingness to throw out ideas made all the difference!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:27
English to Slovak
+ ...
What a topic!!! Aug 24, 2007


Problem: Many members like to participate in KudoZ questions just by offering information that can help others find a good translation: good definitions of source and target terms, good references, explanation, etc. These "answers" are often informally referred to as "not-for-points" or "not-for-grading" answers. We are currently prohibited from adding this info in the ask-the-asker box because strictly speaking (enforced in some communities and not in others) it is only there for seeking clarification of the question and will get deleted in some language pairs.


Was in a similar situation a few weeks back. There was a rather complicated question posted in my language pair. I didn't have the answer but had an idea for the part of it hoping it will help others to come up with the solution. Not having 20pts to "ask askerer" and trying to help, I posted my "answer/idea" using "answer" with confidence level 1 (just guessing). Got some nasty comments back for using this option but in the end got KudoZ points as nobody else proposed anything better.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 02:27
French to English
+ ...
some thoughts on a rainy day Aug 24, 2007

Kim has once again raised a very interesting question, though I'm not sure the solution he proposes will provide the answer. I think the point he has made once again begs the whole issue (sorry) of the very nature and purpose of the points system as such. The trouble is that, as soon as you find a solution to one problem, the knock-on effect is to create another.
Anyone who has ever read anything I have written on this subject before will probably switch out right now. To be brief: I have always questioned the whole purpose of the points system but I know I'm on a loser and it ain't going to change now.
The "problem", if it may be called that, with this site is that it is not a charitable venture. Why should it be? That comment was therefore meant as a statement of fact and not a value judgement. If you accept that, then obviously one can see why points or something had to be. Sadly the result is that we end up in a competitive environment when we should be helping each other. Our goals and the site's goals are at times at variance. Admittedly freelancing is also a competitive world but the way people react to the whole question and answer issue depends largely on their motivations.

If people are to be "sanctioned" for their replies to questions when they are only trying to be helpful, and if they "lose" points and their overall "ratio" (if this is introduced) suffers as a result, the sort of exchange that Patricia Rosas mentioned, where people throw in their three cents to move things along, will be discouraged. Many questions have no "right" answers (turns of phrase, stylistic issues). Maybe the solution adopted is a mix n'match of several answers. Often questions are for catch phrases and there the choice of answer is a matter of taste. Also I have always been highly sceptical of a system where the points are given by askers who often wouldn't know a right answer if it sat up and bit them.

The bottom line of this hotchpotch of ideas ( it would take pages to make a proper case but I have neither the time nor the inclination) is that there ought to be a way of asking and answering questions outside the strict points system, so that we can contribute partial solutions. For example, I reply a lot into French though it is not my mother tongue. Sorry to those who may not like this but a) I have lived in France for aeons; b) I often find that it is people like me who understand the problem, even if someone else may have a snappier turn of phrase. The combination of someone who masters the nuances in his or her own language and a native speaker of the target language with good style is usually the winner. But the points system does not reflect this.

If this community is to work and if it is to be a pleasant place to be, then, as Kim implies, points and points chasing should be ostracised and we should be allowed to contribute "pour la beauté de l'art".

Enough of my ramblings - let's rethink the whole points system. And this time, rather than just saying it, let's DO IT.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:27
Partial member (2003)
Spanish to English
Information Aug 24, 2007

Kim Metzger wrote:

Hi Henry - maybe it could be labelled "discussion". It could be a separate field devoted to discussing the question: it might include online references, explanations, definitions, etc.


Perhaps it could be called information. The term "discussion" might put people off if all they want to provide is a link to a website that might be useful for the asker, but feel they don't actually have any (or enough) knowledge to join in a disucssion.

P.S. forgot to add that this is, of course, a good idea, Kim, if it helps the "reliability ratio" idea to progress

[Edited at 2007-08-24 11:11]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Ken Cox  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:27
German to English
+ ...
I couldn't agree more Aug 24, 2007

CMJTrans said:

"If people are to be "sanctioned" for their replies to questions when they are only trying to be helpful, and if they "lose" points and their overall "ratio" (if this is introduced) suffers as a result, the sort of exchange that Patricia Rosas mentioned, where people throw in their three cents to move things along, will be discouraged. Many questions have no "right" answers (turns of phrase, stylistic issues)."

I agree wholeheartedly. The points system should be seen for what it is -- an incentive to promote participation -- and not as an indication of merit. Furthermore, discouraging useful comments is a sure way to alienate potential contributers and degrade the quality and utility of Kudoz.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:27
Partial member (2003)
Spanish to English
What is Kudoz really about anyway Aug 24, 2007

Ken Cox wrote:

The points system should be seen for what it is -- an incentive to promote participation -- and not as an indication of merit. Furthermore, discouraging useful comments is a sure way to alienate potential contributers and degrade the quality and utility of Kudoz.


But the whole problem is that the points system is not merely a nice little reward for people playing a game (as Kudoz has so often -and, IMHO, erroneously- been referred to), it helps to put "professionals" into a certain order so that when outsourcers look for a provider, those with the most points are top of the list.

I agree with CMJ that the whole thing needs to be rethought (and sooner rather than later), but perhaps we need to clarify what Kudoz is first. Is it a game? If it is, then what's it doing on a professional translation website? Is it just for terminology help for altruistic professionals? Then scrap the points and their link to the listing of providers. Does it help to show a translator's skills and capabilities? Then think up a fairer system for showing this (i.e. reliability ratio), especially if it is linked to where translators appear in a list of providers.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Proposal: introduce not-for-points answers

Advanced search






Déjà Vu X3
Try it, Love it

Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market. See the brand new features in action: *Completely redesigned user interface *Live Preview *Inline spell checking *Inline

More info »
memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs