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Peer-comments by members not speaking the language
Thread poster: Ioanna Orfanoudaki

Ioanna Orfanoudaki  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 23:21
Member (2007)
French to Greek
+ ...
Feb 22, 2008

I really hope I'm imagining things and that this is not really happening, but the fact that I've recently spotted people entering peer comments (agree/disagree) on Kudoz questions in languages which are not part of their profile is somewhat scary. Does that mean that anybody can just click on agree/disagree, just to get the hot steaming Browniz?
I would've thought that, the same way as with answering Kudoz questions, you have to have the right language combinations to be able to enter your agree/disagree contribution. Can any of the moderators tell me what the rules in place are?
If the above restrictions do not apply, can we make sure they do? Peer comments to a Kudoz question are almost as important as the answer itself, and if they come from unreliable sources, they can be misleading for the translator in search for the right term.

Thanks!
Ioanna


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:21
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Shouldn't be a hard-and-fast rule. Feb 22, 2008

Generally speaking, you're right, but there can be occasions when such comments can be useful. English into French is not one of my pairs, but I remember once when the question was about the French for "10 o'clock high". Two answers had been entered and neither answerer had realized that this is a system used in air traffic in pointing out the altitude and relative position of objects in the sky. I entered a note to this effect, and later an answer referring to it was entered by someone who had been a pilot in the French Air Force and knew all about it.
There might be a case for preventing answers being entered by someone for whom neither language is native or entered as a language of interest, but even then I can envisage occasions when such entries might be useful due to the specialized knowledge of the answerer.


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:21
Italian to English
+ ...
Agree with Jack Feb 22, 2008

Especially in related languages such as Italian, Spanish etc. where some of the specialist terminology is so similar that a speaker of one may well be able to give an insight into a question asked WRT the other.

Having said that, it might be an idea to contact the relevant moderator if you suspect that a particular user/member is abusing the system just to get Browniz.

[Edited at 2008-02-22 11:59]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:21
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No way to know they don't speak the language Feb 22, 2008

Take me for an example.

My working languages are PT + EN. Nevertheless, I speak with reasonable fluency IT, FR, and ES, and some very basic, for-survival-only PL. Okay, forget this last one. I chose not to translate from the three aforementioned languages just because it would take me considerable additional studies to translate into them to my satisfaction. Nevertheless, I do DTP for translations in any pair among the five, PT-EN-IT-FR-ES.

Some decades ago, I worked for a Swedish company. Original parts lists came in 4 languages: Swedish, English, French, and German. However part specifications there, such as size, thread, etc., only appeared on the Swedish text, which made me look at it every time. So it didn't take long for me to learn the names of all parts in Swedish. Can I speak Swedish? Not a word! But I still remember that hylsa is a hose, inforingsenhet is the cable entry assembly, and so on.

I understand that some people are ready to kill for Kudoz/Browniz, but maybe not all of them.


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Jared Tabor
Local time: 19:21
SITE STAFF
If you feel there is abuse, contact moderators or site staff Feb 22, 2008

Hello Ioanna,

If you feel there is abuse involved, remember you can always contact the moderator(s) for that particular language pair, or contact site staff via support request. When doing so, be sure to include specific page urls and details. Thanks Jack, Marie-Hélène and José for your answers.

Best regards,

Jared


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writeaway  Identity Verified

Local time: 23:21
Partial member (2003)
French to English
+ ...
Proposed solution: revive some of the 'old' Kudoz rules now dead and buried Feb 22, 2008

For instance:

5.5 - Avoid entering peer comments in language pairs in which you are not capable, and in fields in which you are not knowledgeable.

That's just one of the old rules/guidelines that seems to have been removed. Pity. They were all very useful for Kudoz newbies and explained how Kudoz works. Avoided a LOT of the misunderstandings that now occur all the time.

Rules like these:
5.6 - Be prepared to receive both positive and negative feedback from peers.
4.1 - Answerers should read KudoZ questions carefully before answering. When answering, choose the confidence level that best reflects yours. Guessing should be avoided.
4.2 If you answer KudoZ questions, be prepared for colleagues to comment both positively and negatively on your terminology. Do not take it personally.
4.5 - Avoid answering in language pairs in which you are not capable, and in fields in which you are not knowledgeable.


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PB Trans

Local time: 22:21
French to English
+ ...
There can be exceptions Feb 22, 2008

In my case, I am fluent in 5 languages. However, my profile indicates my "working languages" as French and English. I had to remove the other languages as I have a very full workload with just French to English and no longer advertise translation services in those other languages. However, given the fact that I have years of translation experience in those languages, I am still very much qualified to answer Kudoz and provide comments. It's not a black and white issue... there can be shades of grey.

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ivo abdman
Indonesia
Local time: 05:21
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Description on what happen Feb 22, 2008

The consultant give smart suggestions no more than client's smartness

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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 16:21
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
One more Feb 22, 2008

writeaway wrote:

For instance:

5.5 - Avoid entering peer comments in language pairs in which you are not capable, and in fields in which you are not knowledgeable.

That's just one of the old rules/guidelines that seems to have been removed. Pity. They were all very useful for Kudoz newbies and explained how Kudoz works. Avoided a LOT of the misunderstandings that now occur all the time.

Rules like these:
5.6 - Be prepared to receive both positive and negative feedback from peers.
4.1 - Answerers should read KudoZ questions carefully before answering. When answering, choose the confidence level that best reflects yours. Guessing should be avoided.
4.2 If you answer KudoZ questions, be prepared for colleagues to comment both positively and negatively on your terminology. Do not take it personally.
4.5 - Avoid answering in language pairs in which you are not capable, and in fields in which you are not knowledgeable.



And I would like to add one more: don't disagree with an answer unless it is definitely wrong and you enter a better answer.


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:21
Italian to English
+ ...
Off topic response to Tina Feb 22, 2008

Tina Vonhof wrote:

And I would like to add one more: don't disagree with an answer unless it is definitely wrong and you enter a better answer.



Disagree - it's something which has been debated before, and there are two seemingly irreconcilable camps on this one. Personally, if I have provided an answer of my own I never disagree with someone else's - unless it really is totally incorrect - as I consider it bad manners.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:21
English to Spanish
+ ...
Buyer Beware Feb 22, 2008

Well, not actually "buyer", they pay nothing, but askers should also double check and verify all answers provided regardless of agrees or who they come from, and then come to their own conclusion. No answer sould be accepted on "face value" alone.

In my own case I have high credibility but I still advise people the same. I could always be wrong, plus so often I have to answer with inadequate CONTEXT, which increases the possibility of error.

Always check it out before deciding, that is the burden of the asker.


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 16:21
German to English
Answering questions with inadequate context. Feb 22, 2008

Henry Hinds wrote:

I could always be wrong, plus so often I have to answer with inadequate CONTEXT, which increases the possibility of error.



But you don't HAVE TO answer questions with inadequate context, Henry. In fact, I wish more people would refuse to answer such questions.


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 23:21
Member
French to English
+ ...
Yes, the old set of KudoZ rules / guidelines were very constructive, and sorely missed Feb 22, 2008

I totally agree with writeaway that it would be a jolly good idea to re-instate some of the now-deleted KudoZ rules, which seem to have been over-zealously swept away.

Back in the 'good old days', we all had a good frame of reference, and newcomers (at least if they bothered to read the rules thoroughly!) had a much better idea of what to expect, and how KudoZ works.

It is clear that since certain key rules have been summarily swept aside, the quality (perhaps not the quantity!) of traffic on KudoZ has plummetted.

I hold up my hands and freely admit that sometimes I do comment, or even occasionally answer, outside my working languages. I think this is reasonable, where I may have some input to offer in terms of, for example, the understanding of EN as the source language, if I have sufficient understanding of the target language to know that something is being mistranslated.

If I make a peer comment in a field that I do not specialize in, then I often use 'neutral', just to say that I believe something is likely or a good contender, but that I don't feel I'm qualified to actually give an agree; I feel such cautiously qualified remarks ought, on balance, to be more helpful than not — particularly in situations where there may be several highly implausible answers and one plausible one (for example).

'Disagreeing' is another thorny one; I try to avoid using 'disagree' unless an answer couldn't possibly be right; but sometimes, an answer that might be right in another context is simply not applicable in the specific context of the Asker's question. In such circumstances, I feel justified in disagreeing, explaining why it is a matter of context.

And I don't think one can be dogmatic about "don't disgaree unless you can come up with something better" — in many of the technical fields in which I work, for example, I am perfectly qualified to know that such-and-such a term is completely wrong, even though I may not have the right term at my fingertips. The same applies, for example, if I give a 'disagree' in my reverse language pair (i.e. EN > FR) — it is sometimes patently obvious that an answerer has failed to understand the source language (i.e. my native language, EN) correctly, and I feel justified in 'disagreeing' with that — even though as a non-native in the target language I may not unfortunately have the correct term to offer.

I think we just all need to keep firmly in the forefront of our minds that all these agrees / disagrees / neutrals / peer comments etc. are there for one purpose: to help Asker decide; any other use, for points scoring or whatever, is in my book abuse

[Edited at 2008-02-22 20:24]


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 16:21
German to English
Quality is on the "to-do list" Feb 22, 2008

Tony M wrote:

I totally agree with writeaway that it would be a jolly good idea to re-instate some of the now-deleted KudoZ rules, which seem to have been over-zealously swept away.

Back in the 'good old days', we all had a good frame of reference, and newcomers (at least if they bothered to read the rules thoroughly!) had a much better idea of what to expect, and how KudoZ works.

It is clear that since certain key rules have been summarily swept aside, the quality (perhaps not the quantity!) of traffic on KudoZ has plummetted.



Don't hold your breath, Tony. As Charlie Bavington wrote almost two years ago, it doesn't seem like we're in for quality improvements any time soon:

"But, probably for financial reasons, the site largely aims for quantity not quality ...

You could be right, if so, keep trying. Personally, I think we're in a minority (if quite a large one) and we're wasting our breath."

http://www.proz.com/post/392636#392636

I'd dearly love to see an expert translator join the staff, someone who's had years of experience in translation quality control and is equipped to synthesize all the excellent suggestions for improvement members and moderators have made over the years.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 16:21
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
The same Feb 22, 2008

Marie-Hélène Hayles wrote:

Tina Vonhof wrote:

And I would like to add one more: don't disagree with an answer unless it is definitely wrong and you enter a better answer.



Disagree - it's something which has been debated before, and there are two seemingly irreconcilable camps on this one. Personally, if I have provided an answer of my own I never disagree with someone else's - unless it really is totally incorrect - as I consider it bad manners.


Sounds exactly the same as what I'm saying but you're wording it a little differently.


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