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Yet another question about KudoZ behavior...
Thread poster: Marcelo Silveyra

Marcelo Silveyra
United States
Local time: 20:39
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
Sep 19, 2007

Basically, I just want to see what people have to say about this one and about my own thoughts on it.

A certain "colleague" and very-frequent KudoZ user (I'm not saying in which pair and I'm not giving any clues, BTW) has pretty much literally asked tons of questions about every field I can possibly imagine in the last few months. There's been complex engineering, medical diagnoses, pharmaceutical studies, mechanical engineering, human resource documents, archaeology, sociology, social studies, government/politics, contracts, electronics, business procedures, sports, patents, and a dozen others that I can't recall right now.
Now, first of all, I know there are plenty of people out there who translate in fields in which they shouldn't be translating. And I really wouldn't care if this person excelled at translation in all those fields, which I definitely consider a possibility for some people. Except that the questions are always (well, 95% of the time) stuff that anyone half-proficient in the field in question would know automatically. In other words, this certain person is taking jobs for which they are not qualified and using the KudoZ system to get through the translation (I have no idea whether or not the end result is good. It might be for all I know.).

Now, the more and more I learn about KudoZ, the less and less I care about points and the more and more I worry about the side effects. But KudoZ is not going to go away, it probably won't undergo heavy modifications anytime soon, and the people who, IMO, are ruining it sometimes definitely aren't going to stop, so my question has nothing to do with the aforementioned practice (and KudoZ also has good uses- I myself have gotten very helpful answers from it a couple of times, and sometimes learned a lot when offering my own as well). What I want to know is what you think about the following issues:

A) I don't want someone to use my experience, hard work, and expertise so that, in a few years, they can claim to have done tons of translation work in several fields in their resume without actually having done the hard part (and maybe without having become a good translator in the process). This is a completely selfish thought, both personally and collectively (regarding translation professionals) - I'm not going to offer my help to someone who will later become unqualified competition that can claim to have the appropriate qualifications. Ok, so life's not fair, but I don't have to make it even less so.

B) On the other hand, if I don't answer this person's questions (although I'm sure someone else will), people who could use the glossaries in the future (maybe including myself at some point) won't have access to an answer they could have consulted otherwise.

So far, I've chosen A). While the glossaries can be a good resource, I personally believe that taking care of my own work environment is more important, both for me and for the colleagues whom I respect. I've also applied A) to people who obviously choose wrong answers to their questions because they were too lazy to read explanations and simply chose the first thing they saw (you can usually tell when it happens). Now, my question is: what do you think? A or B? Or perhaps an unforeseen C?


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Martin Wenzel
Germany
Local time: 05:39
English to German
+ ...
The final decision always rests with the translator Sep 19, 2007

Marcelo, I see your point and it is admittedly a sad trend in our profession that everybody and his dog wants to do translation work these days...

Now everbody has to make a living from whatever he/she does, too...If the person you mentioned as an example will be able to survive on the increasingly difficult translation market remains to be seen...After all, the final decision always rests with the translator, so he or she will have to pick from the right/wrong answers provided on the proz.com website (and let's face it some are good and some are downright idiotic and wrong...)

If I were you I would opt for solution A...

What I find more alarming in our trade is that we are now to auction our translations from translation providers (I got an email suggesting this today)...this will be the last thing I'll do I had rather switch carreer...


Martin


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 05:39
English to Dutch
+ ...
Ignore Sep 19, 2007

Hi Marcelo,

this could be a sensitive subject, but I'll take a risk.

I ignore questions from askers like the one you describe.
Not because of competition or anything, but because I think it's just not worthwhile.
If someone has to rely on help from others so heavily, I think they should not be working on these texts. If they are foolish enough to accept such a job anyway, well, that's not my problem, is it? KudoZ is about helping other professionals, and I don't think it's professional behaviour to take on jobs you really can't do.

Having said that, I'm not really in a position to judge other people's circumstances and decisions. I'm just acting on intuition and how I perceive a situation. And I think five, six, seven or more relatively simple questions per day on the same subject/project speak for themselves.

Any similarity to any known person is, of course, accidental and unintended. Or whatever the standard expression is.

BTW, I like the KudoZ system very much, it's challenging and educational to participate in it.

@ Martin: auction? What do you mean?

Best,
Margreet


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ahmadwadan.com  Identity Verified
Kuwait
Local time: 06:39
English to Arabic
+ ...
Just do good Sep 19, 2007

Hi Marcelo,

I totally understand your point. Maybe you have an inner monologue: “what is this guy good for with such tons of simple questions”.
You have the following options:
1. Abstain from answering his/her simple questions (and other will answer them).
2. Answer them whatsoever they are simple or not and get reward.

In all cases, and sooner or later this person will seem as a naked person standing in a crowded public square (our community) in the eyes of his colleagues first and clients later on.
With the fact that there is no Kudoz rule stating the difficulty level of questions that should be asked I recommend to give a helping hand. Why?
- You will be rewarded anyway by God for helping people (even if they do not deserve).
- Adverse consequences will be against the asker not you and maybe he/she gets up before it is so late.
Maybe my point of view is simple or not that in depth one. Actually it is.

Regards


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Beatriz Galiano
Argentina
Local time: 00:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
Specialities Sep 19, 2007

Another problem, people who translate outside their specialities are not capable of choosing the right answer just because they do not know the subject at hand.

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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:39
Spanish to English
+ ...
Filter them Sep 19, 2007

Hi Marcelo,

Don't know if we're thinking of the same person or not, but I got sick and tired of seeing 15 questions a day from the same person, who, IMO, was probably not the least bit qualified to be doing the kind of translation the questions were about. It became really irritating to see so many questions who was either constantly out of his depth or just too lazy to look the terms up himself.

I set the filters on my Kudoz notifications to not receive any more questions from the person.

Now, to throw a real grenade into the works... I also believe that anyone who answers those types of questions is being disloyal to other translators.


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phd-translator  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:39
English to French
+ ...
There is a KudoZ rule against this behavior... Sep 19, 2007

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.

It's just not being enforced. But how would moderators know that a PRO level question is simple (if not stupid) if it's not in their field of expertise?

The problem is with the point system. People are so eager to get points, some (unprofessional) translators turn it to their advantage. It's certainly much easier to type in their request in KudoZ and get an answer within minutes (while they're probably working on another part of the translation) than to use Google or a dictionary to try to figure out if the translation they found is indeed appropriate. What the heck, if somebody else wants to go through the trouble of solidly referencing their suggestion, that's time the asker didn't have to spend away from his/her work! The asker gets what s/he wants (a quick answer without breaking a sweat), and the answerer gets what s/he wants (easy KudoZ points).

I've seen a couple of instances where the exact term(s) asked could be easily found in KOG, in the exact language pair that was requested. I sent a note to the asker mentioning this (rather than post my own answer to get the easy points), but still other users later answered giving the term that was found in KOG! Obviously to get the points that I'd left on the table.

This was a blatant example where a moderator should have stepped in, verified my statement that the term was indeed in KOG, and reprimanded the asker. But to my knowledge, this never happened. So imagine when the "simple" term is not simply found in KOG.

So who's to blame? The askers for taking advantage of a flaw in the system, or the answerers who care more about KudoZ points than the profession?


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writeaway  Identity Verified

Local time: 05:39
Partial member (2003)
French to English
+ ...
But there is an even bigger rule against stating any objections ... Sep 19, 2007

phd-translator 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.

It's just not being enforced. But how would moderators know that a PRO level question is simple (if not stupid) if it's not in their field of expertise?

The problem is with the point system. People are so eager to get points, some (unprofessional) translators turn it to their advantage. It's certainly much easier to type in their request in KudoZ and get an answer within minutes (while they're probably working on another part of the translation) than to use Google or a dictionary to try to figure out if the translation they found is indeed appropriate. What the heck, if somebody else wants to go through the trouble of solidly referencing their suggestion, that's time the asker didn't have to spend away from his/her work! The asker gets what s/he wants (a quick answer without breaking a sweat), and the answerer gets what s/he wants (easy KudoZ points).

I've seen a couple of instances where the exact term(s) asked could be easily found in KOG, in the exact language pair that was requested. I sent a note to the asker mentioning this (rather than post my own answer to get the easy points), but still other users later answered giving the term that was found in KOG! Obviously to get the points that I'd left on the table.

This was a blatant example where a moderator should have stepped in, verified my statement that the term was indeed in KOG, and reprimanded the asker. But to my knowledge, this never happened. So imagine when the "simple" term is not simply found in KOG.

So who's to blame? The askers for taking advantage of a flaw in the system, or the answerers who care more about KudoZ points than the profession?


rule 3.7 - http://www.proz.com/siterules/kudoz_answ/3.7#3.7 which is much more stringently enforced and which acts to protect all these people and their right to ask as many questions they want to.
If rule 2.1 was enforced with as much zeal as rule 3.7, Kudoz would improve immediately and such forum postings would become a thing of the past.
What would happen if people were banned and blocked for (alleged) abuse of rule 2.1?

[Edited at 2007-09-19 13:34]


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Melzie
Local time: 05:39
French to English
+ ...
I admit Sep 19, 2007

I am sometimes (quite rarely) guilty of answering these people's questions. However, only if the question tickles MY fancy and I definately won't put in loads of reseach on a waster, otherwise I ignore. To date I have only filtered one asker, basically because 'they' were really past even my quite ample tolerance...
I really enjoy answering, not for the points (don't care, don't get my work here anyway) but for the exchange with others in this very isolated job.


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xxxtazdog
Spain
Local time: 05:39
Spanish to English
+ ...
another vote for filtering Sep 19, 2007

John Cutler wrote:

Don't know if we're thinking of the same person or not, but I got sick and tired of seeing 15 questions a day from the same person, who, IMO, was probably not the least bit qualified to be doing the kind of translation the questions were about. It became really irritating to see so many questions who was either constantly out of his depth or just too lazy to look the terms up himself.

I set the filters on my Kudoz notifications to not receive any more questions from the person.

Now, to throw a real grenade into the works... I also believe that anyone who answers those types of questions is being disloyal to other translators.


Oddly enough (or maybe not), I also had one specific person in mind when I saw Marcelo's post. Hmmm...

I have little to add other than to agree with everything John has said. "A" is the option I choose, too, Marcelo.


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Marlene Curtis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:39
English to Portuguese
+ ...
About Kudoz behavior... Sep 19, 2007

The bottom line is, you are doing all the research for them while they expedite their translations...

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Ana Alves
Local time: 03:39
English to Portuguese
It's true Sep 19, 2007

I also opt for option A. I've seen things asked in KudoZ that you can check on any dictionary you like.

Why would I waste MY time when somebody else doesn't want to spend his/hers??

Ana


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
Kudoz does not... Sep 19, 2007

Kudoz does not a good translator make.

People can ask all the questions they want, easy, difficult, in-between and it makes no difference. By looking at the question one can tell the skill of the translator. If their skill is close to zero, asking all the questions in the world will not enable them to produce a good translation. Perhaps all they can produce is a very poor translation with some good terminology choices here and there, or maybe some good terms used in the wrong context and thus worthless.

It's not in knowing the words, it's about how to put them together.

I'm willing to share my knowledge and have little fear of competition from those who are incompetent. Now if those who are competent can learn more, they can lend greater credibility to our profession which is something that helps us all.

It's easy to get upset, but after all, we are on the Internet, folks, and despite all efforts, everything goes. But compared to the Internet in general, I think we have gone a long way in insuring a profitable and civilized sharing of knowledge and ideas.

I get a bit upset when I see some things happening, but such is the price of freedom and I think it is worth it.


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:39
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Have you contacted the moderator of the language pair in question? Sep 19, 2007

phd-translator wrote:

I've seen a couple of instances where the exact term(s) asked could be easily found in KOG, in the exact language pair that was requested. I sent a note to the asker mentioning this (rather than post my own answer to get the easy points), but still other users later answered giving the term that was found in KOG! Obviously to get the points that I'd left on the table.

This was a blatant example where a moderator should have stepped in, verified my statement that the term was indeed in KOG, and reprimanded the asker. But to my knowledge, this never happened. So imagine when the "simple" term is not simply found in KOG.


Have you contacted the moderator of that pair?
(Please note that moderators are not necessarily online 24/7 and may thus have no way of knowing - in due time - what happened without being alerted to the question/inappropriate practice.)

Steffen


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phd-translator  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:39
English to French
+ ...
To Steffen Sep 19, 2007

I did not contact the moderator, but thanks for the suggestion. I agree that moderators cannot monitor KudoZ activity 24/7. I guess the point I was trying to emphasize was that, the way the KudoZ system stands now, there is an incentive for this kind of behavior, both for the asker and the answerer. In my example, KudoZ answerers should have policed themselves so that the asker actually exhaust all other resources. But I guess the easy KudoZ points were just too attractive.

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