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Should or shouldn\'t we accept extra-expertise jobs ?
Thread poster: Nicholas Konidis

Nicholas Konidis
Local time: 10:17
English to Greek
+ ...
Jul 9, 2001

Guys. I have noticed that the same people have been asking successive questions on specialised issues. I believe that, when a translator accepts a translation project without having the appropriate knowledge background for it, this is the worst thing that could happen in our industry. If, for example, I do not have an adequate medical background, I am not supposed to accept medical translation projects, further because they deal with the health of human beings. There are competent medical translators out there who know how to translate or where to look up certain medical terms. Please, DO NOT accept projects that exceed your capabilities, since you jeopardise quality and accuracy of your work. Better say NO. This indicates a professional.



I would like your views on this subject. Also, please commend whether such questions should somehow be banned from ProZ, and/or appropriate censures be sent to the asker(s).



Please note that I only refer to SUCCESSIVE questions raised by THE SAME PERSON in the SAME knowledge field within a SHORT time period, and not to individual questions raised by people who simply cannot find a suitable answer elsewhere (which is quite acceptable; that\'s one of the reasons why ProZ does a hell of a job !).


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:17
French to English
Jul 9, 2001

Sometimes judging by some of the long series of \"basic field knowledge\" questions which are posted up, I too have had the distinct and uneasy feeling that someone is way ouy of their depth on a job and should probably not be doing the text they are working on.



1 - This is nothing to do with whether a question is \"easy\" or \"pro\". If don\'t know what you\'re writing about, you shouldn\'t be translating it. I agree.



2 - However, within the context of one job, you may come across a section which is outside your field. What should you do then?



- Let your client know



- Seek competent assistance



and/or



- Pass that section onto a fellow translator who does have the approriate skills



- State that the section is beyond your wherewithall and refuse to translate that part



3 - What if you find yourself mid-job and realise that really you ought not to have even started it?



Ideally, you should see at least a \"representative\" extract before accepting to take a job on. You may find a text difficult, but that could be for any one of a host of reasons and might not necessairly mean that you are out of your depth.



If you have not seen an extract and it is beyond your depth when you do receive it, refuse. One bad job can do you a lot of damage is a short amount of time, not to mention the damage you could do where reliance is placed upon it. It takes time to build up a client base. It is always better to have a list of satisfied clients than one loud-mouthed one you did a bad job for.



In short, don\'t.





[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-07-10 03:58 ]


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xxxeurotransl
German to English
+ ...
Jul 9, 2001

I have noted this too. However, there is no way to restrict access - any such restriction would also hit \"innocent victims\".



As for those accepting jobs despite a serious lack of qualifications, well, I did comment on that in the past, and it did not go over well



But you are right: it happens again and again: you see a job posted on this site, and then, some time later, you see one and the same ProZ member post 10 or more term question in rapid succession - and lo and behold, they are all related to that job you saw advertised earlier. Of course, it makes you wonder: why did this person get job if he or she is not even up to it????



Here is my answer: if that happens, just blame the outsourcer. If an outsourcer, after being able to vet all those translators\' profiles and qualifications (and references, perhaps), still goes with a person who is clearly out of his or her league on that particular job, then it shows that the outsourcer does not know the first thing about translation and professional translators, and that outsourcer is the kind of client I personally would not want to work for anyway.


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Telesforo Fernandez
Local time: 13:47
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jul 9, 2001

i agree with all of you. But no one can remedy the situation.It is not so easy to weed out the malaise. As Werner said, it is the outdourcer to blame. Why only medical, I have seen this happening in many technical translations also.Term questions have appeared in sucession on the term question page.No one can help it. Translators always feel that they are competent enough to translate.

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Nicholas Konidis
Local time: 10:17
English to Greek
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Jul 9, 2001

OK. Then, let\'s talk about the outsourcers.

These people get tons of replies on their postings. Anybody can claim that he/she can translate anything; people can supply information on previous jobs, so-called \"ISO-900x\" certificates, etc. Yet, a thorough look into their work will reveal their ignorance! I bet you have come across other people\'s translations (TV manuals, film subtitles etc.) and laughed for hours! These people applied for the job, were qualified among us, took the job and... literally executed it, while the outsourcer was merely checking the rates and, perhaps, some nominal qualifications.

So, OK, outsourcers have their part of responsibility. After all, it\'s their piece of work, they may as well do whatever they want with it. But, how can we protect ourselves from such \"competitors\" ?

I believe that, at least within ProZ, people should not be allowed to ask more that a certain number of questions - say \"3\" - on the same subject. Thus, each one of us should be asked to name the field the question is in, and if the same person sends more than \"3\" questions successively on the same field, then the system should ignore the question. The system could even assign special \"black list\" marks for those guys/gals !

In any case, if we \"innocent\" people ever find ourselves in a hard situation, we should turn to some specialist in the particular field, or even let the client know that he/she should find somebody else for that particular part of the job.

At least, that\'s what I do. Besides, you can never be sure for an answer through ProZ; the suggestion may come from an incompetent person! One always have to check all proposals with an expert to decide upon the right one.


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xxxeurotransl
German to English
+ ...
Jul 9, 2001

I fully agree with you. I have made many different suggestions regarding the bidding section as well as the required qualifications of translators. As I said before, it did not go over well



The Internet, despite all the wonderful things it can do for us translators, has brought this situation on: nowadays, anyone can set up shop as a \"virtual\" translator - and get away with \"murder\".



It is, therefore, more crucial than ever to educate clients, agencies, etc. How? Well, it is quite simple (but it does work only slowly and gradually): most of us have websites; so, include a section on \"tips for clients\", etc. where you \"educate\" users of translation services. Tell them, in point form, what they have to look out for and who to stay away from.



In this day and age, with the Internet and globalization, the responsibility of \"policing\" our industry falls upon each and every one of us - there is no other way. We cannot expect Henry and ProZ to do this work for us; that would be too much to ask. But we are all adults, and most of us are, in fact, professional translators.



However, it would be nice to see some kind of penalty for those that act unprofessionally through this site. For example: someone who bids on a job posted on this site and then posts KudoZ questions to help him or her complete the required sample translation - just to name one example.

Plus: ProZ should definitely ban outsourcers from this site if they receive complaints from ProZ translators (e.g., doesn\'t pay, is unprofessional, etc.).


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:17
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Aug 25, 2001

We\'re not the only ones who determine \"extra-expertise\". Some outsources say, for instance, that their jobs are \"pure marketing\" and you end up with a telecom or medical text totally over your head too late to protest. It\'s not just on Proz, either.

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Nicholas Konidis
Local time: 10:17
English to Greek
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Aug 26, 2001

That\'s why I always ask for a sample. Even though this is not 100% safe either, it\'s better than nothing !

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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:17
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Aug 28, 2001

Someone in this thread asked how we can protect ourselves from this type of competition - I have a couple of suggestions:

1. Price yourself out of their league - go for clients that don\'t consider price to be the sole criterion for choosing translators.

2. Aim for \"boutique\" agencies and translation companies - they are specialists in just a few fields and languages, so if you choose companies that match your own strengths, this issue will not even come up (i.e. because they don\'t even do medical, just legal or whatever.)

3. I know that some people don\'t like test translations, but I personally always do them if they are for reputable prospective customers. I chalk it up to the cost of doing business. I find that it does convince them that my abilities really do reflect what is in my resume and gets our relationship off to a solid start. Also, it gives them an opportunity to point out preferences right away (British v. US English, etc.) Not to mention, it gives me a chance to see a text representative of what they might be giving me as work allowing me to avoid the problem that is the topic of this thread!

I agree that the outsourcers are largely to blame; if I were one, I would always request a short test (I don\'t intend to start another thread on the pros and cons of that, by the way! ) And it is depressing that people who take on a lot of stuff outside of their expertise really hurt the professional image of translators, but I don\'t think that policing KudoZ is going to be the answer.

Daina


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:17
French to English
Aug 29, 2001

If you know what you\'re doing, then it\'s easier to justify a high rate than a low one!

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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:17
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Aug 31, 2001

Hi,



Quote:


On 2001-08-29 11:17, nikscot wrote:

If you know what you\'re doing, then it\'s easier to justify a high rate than a low one!





That\'s a very good point! (Some) people start to wonder if your rate is too low, don\'t they.

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Karin Walker  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:17
German to English
+ ...
Another abuser of the system - letting off steam!! Oct 12, 2001

Sorry if this is just one more in a long thread of messages basically all saying the same. I logged on to the proz site this morning only to see that on the German/English query pair, someone, whose profile suggests he is a financial translation expert, has posted some 10 questions seemingly from an annual report or similar, one after the other. I feel the need to let off some steam here! Am I the only one who gets majorly annoyed at seeing these questions being posted? In my humble opinion, it is eminently unfair to be asking fellow users to do the dirty work for you. I am no financial expert, but some of these terms I immediately recognised - so that someone who claims to have finance as their specialism is bending the truth a little here. Also, these are all terms that can be found in any good finance dictionary.



I am not necessarily pointing the finger at this person alone - this happens almost every day on proz and my question is, shall we be putting up with it?


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Sharon Sarah Schmitz  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:17
English to German
Homework Oct 12, 2001

Noticed it, too.



We\'re all familiar with and accustomed to kids dropping in, obviously asking for their homework to be done. Usually, answers are accompanied by \"Next time, do your homework on your own\". Nothing wrong with that.



Why is it different if a fellow translator puts questions on basic terminology? Why do some seem to expect a zillion links and long-winded explanations? Ain\'t that homework, too? Why should the person dishing out the right term be responsible to verify it? Have term, will travel. It\'s the asker\'s duty to make sure the answer fits the context and to do research on answers provided. I didn\'t notice anybody giving wrong answers on purpose, anyway.



We all get stuck sometimes. We all need help every now and then even with the most basic terminology, cause our higher brain functions suffer from a system crash or we just experience a bad hair day. But it\'s annoying to see couch potatoes gulp down a family-size bag of chips, at times w/o even saying \"Thanks\".


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 03:17
German to English
+ ...
Bravo Sharon - and thank you Oct 12, 2001

Wonderfully put! This, by all means, is the best and most succinct take on the whole KudoZ system ever posted. Thank you.

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Sharon Sarah Schmitz  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:17
English to German
He's riding again Oct 13, 2001

Slowly, but surely, I\'m really starting to wonder.



The same person is riding again, asking term after term from his field of expertise, generously distributing 2-point awards, if at all. Hmm, if these terms are worth no more than 2 points, why is the expert asking so relentlessly? They must be really simple then. This has nothing at all to do with a translator stuck with a paragraph or a sentence. This clearly is abusing the system.



Yes, you may view this as an official complaint. And as an entry in my personal blacklist.


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