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Ramifications of inability: a poor medical translator
Thread poster: Steffen Pollex
Steffen Pollex  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:27
English to German
+ ...
Apr 15, 2002

Dear colleagues!



Today a person not registered with \"Proz\" and calling him/herself (laughable enough)\"Linguist\", has put the following two translation requests on the site:

http://www.proz.com/glossary/182696

http://www.proz.com/glossary/182824.



Probably some more of this kind are to come up, given the incapability of this so-called \"translator\", illustrated by the questions themselves.



I am quite sure that the requests relate to a job posted yesterday on the site: small texts, medical content.



Be it not medical issues and, thus, human lifes, involved and, possibly jeopardised by being dependent (whereby, not being aware of it), I would leave it alone. But, once this is the case, I cannot keep quite about it. I tried to contact the Proz fellow translator who posted the job (she told me she posted it on behalf of an agency which was looking for \"cheapest offers\" and then would choose) to make her warning the agency that they should dispatch the job otherwise.



To the questions of \"Linguist\" I considered my due to publicly reply with the following quote that I would like to share with all of you to explore whether or not you agree with me.



Furthermore, I would appreciate a discussion bringing up suggestions how to tighten control on \"wild\" translators, at least, in cases where human lifes are put to risk by lacking competence of translators. First of all: Shouldn\'t it be a rule that only persons who are ready to properly register with the site (and, thus, to undergo, at least, some monitoring by moderators and other members) should be allowed to put questions here? Initially, it was designed as a marketplace for translators only, right? Let\'s go back to this, ensuring a certain quality: translations should be done by translators (not necessarily certified ones), and the latter should be ready and, if necessary, enforced, to subscribe to certain standards and monitoring procedures, be it by just providing an e-mail address. Otherwise - \"Access denied!\". In such standards are not established and applied, we (I mean the \"Proz\" community as a whole) are highly exposed to the risk of creating ourselves a bad reputation to just one single possible case where the lacking competence of the translator led to death,health injury or other big damage with a lot of noise afterwards, let alone court cases etc. I can well imagine something similar to what happened to ARTHUR ANDERSEN after the ENRON default. Let\'s avoid it in advance!



Here now is my quote, grateful for any reply:



\"Dear \"Linguist\" (the name itself is, obviously, a lousy joke given your proposed version of the sentence shown above. Let alone that quite often you ask rather primitive questions and provide answers to others that totally miss the point, one fine day, be it a medical translation like this one, your \"capacity\" might cost a man\'s life. I would recommend you not to do (and potential outsourcers not to provide you with) jobs exposing human beings or animals to the risk of being jeopardised by the level of your command of languages, unless you will significantly improve it. Show common sense and responsibility, return the job, you are incapable to do it! I would not speak out this way in public, be it a technical or financial issue. But here the risk of losing peoples\' lives is involved. This I can not leave unattended. Furthermore, I would neither like the colleague who recommended you to the outsourcer, nor the outsourcer himself, being held liable for your lacking competence to deal with the job.



This example shows what comes out when you choose the \"cheapest\" offer. Here we have one that turned out to be \"cheap\" in both senses - by price and quality at once. But it might turn out very expensive in the future.\"


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 04:27
German to English
+ ...
I agree, Steffen Apr 15, 2002

\"Linguist\" is a well-known offender and abuser (formerly known as \"anglist\").



It is this person\'s modus operandi to post entire sentences and paragraphs. In each case, it is clear that he/she has no clue.


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Steffen Pollex  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:27
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Now everything is clear, thanks, Werner! Apr 15, 2002

[So \"Linguist\" is \"anglist\". Then I do not have any questions anymore. I guess, once or twice I got hateful mails from him/her claiming that I wouldn\'t have a clue. I am happy that the opposite is the case and grateful for your support. I just wonder how you know that they are the same. Did this guy provide the same e-mail address as before?]



On 2002-04-15 12:49, AbacusTrans wrote:

\"Linguist\" is a well-known offender and abuser (formerly known as \"anglist\").



It is this person\'s modus operandi to post entire sentences and paragraphs. In each case, it is clear that he/she has no clue.

[/quote]


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 04:27
German to English
+ ...
Reply to Steffen Apr 15, 2002

Yes, the clues can be found in the e-mail

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Egmont
Spain
Local time: 10:27
Afrikaans to Spanish
+ ...
Linguist = Anglist Apr 15, 2002

Be careful!
[addsig]


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Silvina Beatriz Codina  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 05:27
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
The main culprit here is the outsourcer Apr 15, 2002

The outsourcer should know better than sending a highly technical/specialized medical text to a \"cheapest offer.\" Even if they don\'t care about the possibility of somebody dying or suffering severe harm as a result of a bad translation, they should take into account that if such thing happens, they would be legally liable for it.





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Ulrike Lieder  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:27
English to German
+ ...
Maybe he just needs help with his homework? Apr 15, 2002

While I agree with what you\'re saying, Steffen, let me raise one other, more benign possibility: maybe \"Linguist\" (aka anglist, aka a number of other handles) is a student, and this is an assignment on which he\'s seeking help? One would at least hope that that\'s the case (and that this is not a paid job!), especially after looking at some of the other questions he posted, all of which are quite obviously taken from the same text.



Anyway, I agree wholeheartedly with the point you make, and I commend you for taking a stand.


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 04:27
German to English
+ ...
Sorry, Ulrike Apr 15, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-04-15 19:02, uel wrote:

While I agree with what you\'re saying, Steffen, let me raise one other, more benign possibility: maybe \"Linguist\" (aka anglist, aka a number of other handles) is a student, and this is an assignment on which he\'s seeking help? One would at least hope that that\'s the case (and that this is not a paid job!), especially after looking at some of the other questions he posted, all of which are quite obviously taken from the same text.



Anyway, I agree wholeheartedly with the point you make, and I commend you for taking a stand.





... but \"Linguist\", etc. has admitted to several people, by way of private e-mail, that his/her questions do, in fact, refer to actual and paid translation assignments.



Why anyone would hire such a clueless person is beyond me!

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Ulrike Lieder  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:27
English to German
+ ...
Sad state of affairs... Apr 15, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-04-15 19:17, AbacusTrans wrote:



... but \"Linguist\", etc. has admitted to several people, by way of private e-mail, that his/her questions do, in fact, refer to actual and paid translation assignments.



Why anyone would hire such a clueless person is beyond me!





Beyond you and me both. It does seem rather obvious that he might be better suited for some other endeavor.



And maybe it\'s time for our SC to show some solidarity and simply refuse to answer \"Linguist\'s\" questions. I know that won\'t keep him from changing his moniker once again, but his posts are fairly easily identifiable.

I also know that this is a somewhat idealistic suggestion as there will always be people falling all over themselves trying to answer, correctly or not. But, and even though I know it won\'t do any good, I\'ll make a start and simply say that I won\'t be answering any of Linguist\'s questions any more.

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Klaus Herrmann  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:27
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Wholeheartedly agree... Apr 15, 2002

Steffen, you are absolutely right, these \"translations\" might actually cause harm. I was tempted to agree to your comments in the Kudoz section, but as I got a reminder about the KudoZ rules not too long ago, I was somewhat hesitant. I considered posting in the German forum, but now I found this thread. Thanks for speaking up.



However, I think we shouldn\'t blame \"Linguist\" (and it\'s demanding on my self-discipline to refrain from comments that would incur another reprimand) as much as the agency. What do they expect if they advertise a job as \"low price counts, don\'t care about quality/correct translation\"? This is ruthless and shows a complete lack of ethics. I wish we had a way of bringing this job posting to the attention of the agency\'s client.



Seeing the kind of questions posted by \"Linguist\" - and there have been quite a few in the recent weeks - I decided not to answer those questions. Most of the questions should have gone in a sub-easy category, anyway. As Ulrike said - time to show some solidarity. From other threads (in the Italian or Spanish SC) I gather it\'s feasable.





[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-04-19 12:11 ]


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 04:27
German to English
+ ...
Thank you, Ulrike Apr 15, 2002

That\'s the kind of solidarity we need in the face of such repeated abuse of this site.





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Steffen Pollex  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:27
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Short reply Apr 16, 2002

[Sorry, Ulrike, I positively know that this is a paid job: 1)I requested the text \"Linguist\" is not capabable to handle from S. Zlatar (Proz member) for assessment; 2) srhe reacted now to my mail and promised to warn the agency about \"Linguist\" and the quality of his \"work\". Hopely, nobody will be hurt or killed as a result of his effoerts.



]

On 2002-04-15 19:02, uel wrote:

While I agree with what you\'re saying, Steffen, let me raise one other, more benign possibility: maybe \"Linguist\" (aka anglist, aka a number of other handles) is a student, and this is an assignment on which he\'s seeking help? One would at least hope that that\'s the case (and that this is not a paid job!), especially after looking at some of the other questions he posted, all of which are quite obviously taken from the same text.



Anyway, I agree wholeheartedly with the point you make, and I commend you for taking a stand.

[/quote]


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Steffen Pollex  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:27
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Absolutely agree Apr 16, 2002

[with all of your statements.]

On 2002-04-15 23:45, Klaus Herrmann wrote:

Steffen, you are absolutely right, these \"translations\" might actually cause harm. I was tempted to agree to your comments in the Kudoz section, but as I got a reminder about the KudoZ rules not too long ago, I was somewhat hesitant. I considered posting in the German forum, but now I found this thread. Thanks for speaking up.



However, I think we shouldn\'t blame \"Linguist\" (and it\'s demanding on my self-discipline to refrain from comments that would incur another reprimand) as much as the agency. What do they expect if they advertise a job as \"low price counts, don\'t care about quality/correct translation\"? This is ruthless and shows a complete lack of ethics. I wish we had a way of bringing this job posting to the attention of the agencies client.



Seeing the kind of questions posted by \"Linguist\" - and there have been quite a few in the recent weeks - I decided not to answer those questions. Most of the questions should have gone in a sub-easy category, anyway. As Ulrike said - time to show some solidarity. From other threads (in the Italian or Spanish SC) I gather it\'s feasable.





[/quote]


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John Kinory
Local time: 09:27
English to Hebrew
+ ...
The parable of the mote and the beam Apr 16, 2002

One of the contributors to this thread claims to work into a language that they are completely clueless in - and then they complain about Anglist/Linguist! Quite beyond me, as they say in various countries.



_________________



Below, Steffen is claiming



(a) that it\'s about him, and that he expected it.

Hmmmm ... how did he know it was about him? And why did he expect it? Is it because he thought that he should be expecting it?



(b) that he\'s blocked my emails, and why have I not replied to him.

Yeeees ... perhaps I should contact him by telepathy.

Of course, I\'ve sent him all the explanations necessary, but I\'m not sure why he\'s blocked them if he\'s so keen to receive them.



[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-04-18 01:58 ]


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Steffen Pollex  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:27
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hi John! Apr 17, 2002

How are things going? Seems, once I have locked my e-mail account for you, now you are spreading your pointless remarks this way. Peers, this is about me, for sure. I expected this to happen. Well done, really! I am still awaiting your very much admired explanation, BTW. Be constructive, not destructive, please, in case you do not lack the ability to do so!



Ñàó áîë!

Sau bol! (especially for you).



On 2002-04-16 14:40, Yoni wrote:

One of the contributors to this thread claims to work into a language that they are completely clueless in - and then they complain about Anglist/Linguist! Quite beyond me, as they say in various countries.



[/quote]

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-04-17 04:34 ]


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