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Do people really want the best translation when they ask a Kudoz question?
Thread poster: liz askew
liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:00
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Dec 11, 2007

Seriously, folks, time and time again there are translators out there who provide one or two words of context to be translated, i.e. the very one/two words in the source language. I could quote several examples. Do they want us to waste our time or do they want a proper translation. Why don't they give more context??

Liz Askew

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2007-12-11 13:18]


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Cetacea  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 07:00
English to German
+ ...
Why answer such questions? Dec 11, 2007

That is an ever recurring KudoZ issue, Liz, and I couldn't agree with you more. What I don't understand, however, is that such askers always find answerers--sometimes several of them--willing to rack their brains to find a suitable answer.

Why not simply ignore such questions? Possibly type a gentle reminder into the "Ask Asker" field, especially if it's a newbie, but leave it at that until more context is provided. I think that's the only measure that might eradicate the problem eventually. There simply isn't any reason to invest any time and effort into answering a question when the asker isn't willing to spend any time pasting (or even typing!) some context or an explanation in.


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:00
English to Arabic
+ ...
Repeat offenders Dec 11, 2007

I'm not really annoyed by newcomers, who often provide context as soon as they are asked to.

What I can't understand is why and how there are still so many repeat offenders out there. No matter how many times you remind them, they will come back with questions consisting only of the terms in question, full stop.

One such asker once posted a series of context-less questions in a row, upon which I sent him a note asking him to provide more context for such and such reasons, only to get a reply from him along the lines of "lighten up", and he went on to post more questions without context!! Unfortunately, there are always enough kind souls around willing to try and help anyway, so that person, and many more, don't see a reason for changing their ways.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
CONTEXT Dec 11, 2007

I say it often and sometimes there is a response, sometimes not and some askers will not provide CONTEXT no matter what.

So I really do not know what they want. It would seem that the latter are lacking professionalism, because they do not understand the importance of CONTEXT, which is one of the keys to translation.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:00
English to German
+ ...
How about a warning message Dec 11, 2007

A pop-up window that appears before the question can be sent:

"Your explanation contains less than 100 characters. Please verify that sufficient context is provided."

Or so.


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Constance Mannshardt  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:00
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I don't understand... Dec 11, 2007

do you really think they don't give more context because they don't want to?
If you feel bad because of askers who don't give enough context, just don't answer.
When I ask for help at Proz I give as much context as possible, which sometimes really is nothing! And that has a meaning, too - at least in my opinion.
People ask for help at Proz when they don't know any other way out (of course, there are exceptions), I don't think that there is a need to implement some "educational" or warning pop-ups.
Just ignore those questions, you're not obliged to answer.


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 07:00
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Nobody must answer questions Dec 11, 2007

If a question is uninteresting, silly or otherwise unattractive, there is always a very simple solution: Do not answer it.

Nobody is under obligation to answer any question.


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:00
English to Arabic
+ ...
A warning would make a lot of sense Dec 11, 2007

Constance Mannshardt wrote:

do you really think they don't give more context because they don't want to?
If you feel bad because of askers who don't give enough context, just don't answer.
When I ask for help at Proz I give as much context as possible, which sometimes really is nothing! And that has a meaning, too - at least in my opinion.
People ask for help at Proz when they don't know any other way out (of course, there are exceptions), I don't think that there is a need to implement some "educational" or warning pop-ups.
Just ignore those questions, you're not obliged to answer.


I can't agree with you there Constance.
I think a warning to provide context makes a lot of sense, because (as I mentioned above) of the fact that there are always tons of people there helping non-context providers. I find that annoying, because it encourages this behaviour again and again and again.

Why not find a way of making people improve their question-asking skills, instead of ignoring them time and time again?

And yes, I think most people who don't provide context do so because they're simply too lazy to do so, or they IMAGINE they have no context.

Last week I was working on the translation of a very long list of terms, and got stuck on two terms, which I had to post in Kudoz. I could easily have said "I don't have any context", but I ended up writing more context than I usually would. I spoke of the background of the project, my own understanding of the term, results of searches I made on the internet etc. I'm not just being considerate there. I'm also being very sensible because this is the best I can do to ensure I get relevant results to my question. It only makes sense!!


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Marina Soldati  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 02:00
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I completely agree Dec 11, 2007

Nesrin wrote:

Last week I was working on the translation of a very long list of terms, and got stuck on two terms, which I had to post in Kudoz. I could easily have said "I don't have any context", but I ended up writing more context than I usually would. I spoke of the background of the project, my own understanding of the term, results of searches I made on the internet etc. I'm not just being considerate there. I'm also being very sensible because this is the best I can do to ensure I get relevant results to my question. It only makes sense!!


Hi!

There´s always context.
And about "being considerate", I think that many askers believe they are dealing with search engines or dictionaries instead of human beings, who at least deserve a "hello" and "thank you".

My 2 cents

Marina


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:00
English to German
+ ...
That's the point. Dec 11, 2007

Nesrin wrote:

Why not find a way of making people improve their question-asking skills, instead of ignoring them time and time again?



Thanks, Nesrin!


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xxxFrancis Lee
Local time: 07:00
German to English
+ ...
Trash translators indeed - but this is preaching to the converted Dec 11, 2007

Henry Hinds sums it up well:

It would seem that the latter are lacking professionalism, because they do not understand the importance of CONTEXT, which is one of the keys to translation.


Let's imagine that somebody asks for a translation into X language of "cats and dogs" wth zero context.
Is the text in question referring to a) animal species b) the weather at Wimbledon c) the name of a Hollywood movie or d) a long-lost Frank Zappa/Barbara Streisand song collaboration? So there would be at least four different "solutions".

I think it's important that the offenders start seeing Kudoz in terms of mutual assistance instead of a free translation tool.

I like Nicole's suggestion and would expand on it to require all Askers to provide express their own thoughts in 100 characters or more. As we all know, that's just two norm lines, which means a couple of minutes of their time.

Another annoying phenomenon is Askers posting a series of questions and after the first one simply saying "the same report" etc.
I'll give beginners the benefit of the doubt, i.e. it simply hasn't occured to them that it would be a) more efficient and b) fairer of them to include all context with every question rather than up to a dozen colleagues having to click on a link (if even provided!) to the initial question.

But there are certain Askers who clearly can't be bothered to make an effort - because they know that there will always be someone who does their homework for them.
These are often people who clearly have no real understanding of the field they're working in and ultimately don't care about delivering a quality translation - the disastrous results are there for all to see on the web.


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:00
English to Dutch
+ ...
There is NOT always context Dec 11, 2007

Or it is hard to find.
When it's software you're translating, for example, the words and sentences are often spread out and disconnected, hidden inside lines and lines of tags and code. I've had numerous projects like that, and in most cases it's not possible to find the exact location of words, in the context they will appear in on the user's screen.

I don't mind a warning (wouldn't 50 words be enough?), but it's not ALWAYS possible to give context. I agree, context is the key to translation, which is why I sometimes feel translating software is an impossible task.... and sometimes the results are very funny


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OlafK
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:00
English to German
+ ...
strings Dec 11, 2007

Sometimes I get sent lists of strings, often just containing single English words and I don't even know if they're nouns or verbs. I keep telling my clients that I need context, go back, ask them lots of questions. I know they find that awkward and don't understand why. But they do eventually provide context. Next time it's the same again: lot's of words, no context. But I rarely post these in a kudoz question, I prefer bothering the client.

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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:00
English to Arabic
+ ...
Describing the situation you're in is still some kind of context Dec 11, 2007

Olaf Knechten wrote:

Sometimes I get sent lists of strings, often just containing single English words and I don't even know if they're nouns or verbs. I keep telling my clients that I need context, go back, ask them lots of questions. I know they find that awkward and don't understand why. But they do eventually provide context. Next time it's the same again: lot's of words, no context. But I rarely post these in a kudoz question, I prefer bothering the client.


Hi Margreet and Olaf,

I hate translating software strings, but that's exactly the type of stuff I was doing last week (as described in my post above). I agree that it sometimes seems like the term has come out of nowhere, you don't know if it's a verb or a noun, or (an example that I actually encountered), if the word "term" standing alone is used in the sense of "word", "condition" or "period"!!
But even describing this whole situation to your Kudoz-peers would be accepted by them as a "context". Plus you could indicate that it's for a website that's business-related, for example. Nobody could possibly blame you for not providing "proper" context after that.
Ideally of course it's the client who should help you out in such situations.

[Edited at 2007-12-11 16:44]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:00
English to German
+ ...
Having to translate text fragments and providing context Dec 11, 2007

Here we encounter a common misinterpretation of the word "context". Context does not necessarily mean the surrounding text, but what the stuff is all about. To provide at least a rough summary thereof means providing context.

Typical asker note: "No context. I'm translating bullet points." (This line already contains 42 characters, BTW) A required minimum of words would encourage the asker to outline the kind of product he / she is writing about.


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