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Questions from translation tests posted in KudoZ
Thread poster: Balasubramaniam L.

Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 16:31
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
May 14, 2005

Is it ethical to ask a translation exercise given in a job posting on this site as a kudoz question?


Job posting:
http://www.proz.com/job/77906

Kudoz question:
http://www.proz.com/kudoz/1030475



[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2005-05-14 14:35]

[Edited at 2005-05-14 16:14]

[Edited at 2005-05-14 16:30]


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Maria Karra  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:01
Member (2000)
Greek to English
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allowed but must be specified that it's a test May 14, 2005

Balasubramaniam wrote:

Is it ethical to ask a translation exercise given in a job posting as a kudoz question?


I won't say whether it's ethical or not, since this is rather a subjective matter. Trying to stick to the facts: we do allow questions from translation tests on KudoZ. However, askers who post such questions must specify that they're taken from a translation test.
KudoZ rule 2.5 - If a question is taken from a translation test, or if its content may be perceived as offensive by others, this must be made clear using the checkboxes provided in the question posting form.

Not specifying that the question is from a test would be a violation of this rule.

Maria

[Edited at 2005-05-14 17:21]


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 16:31
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
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But is it ethical? May 14, 2005

Maria Karra wrote:
I won't say whether it's ethical or not, since this is rather a subjective matter...


Even if it is posted with the qualification mentioned by you, Maria, is it ethical? I mean, you take the help of your own fellow-translators to win a job for which probably they themselves have bid. Isn't it similar to getting your work done by someone else and then palming it of as yours, or in simple English, plagiarisation?

In my view, if one can't bid and win a project on one's own steam, and uses the skills of fellow-bidders for this, he is short-changing his fellow-bidders, cheating on them.


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Heike Behl, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:01
Member (2003)
English to German
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Depends May 14, 2005

I'd say it depends on the type of questions asked.

If they are of that kind that betray the asker's lack of qualification for a specific job, then it's not even ethical that this person applies for this job. Asking a question under these circumstances just makes this violation more obvious - and could even used by the outsourcer to disqualify the asker.

If it's a "genuine" question, i.e. a difficult term by all standards, then why not use the help of your fellow translators as one usually would when doing the actual translation? It is also a valuable skill to make best use of all available resources when doing a translation, and ProZ questions are just one of the many resources out there.

If one were to take this question to the extreme, one could also argue that any use of the internet, dictionaries, etc. would be unethical since the person in question doesn't know the term offhand, but nobody has ever raised this issue yet...


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Fernando Toledo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:01
Member (2005)
German to Spanish
Why not? May 14, 2005

A translator is not bad or good if he has or not the right glossar or dictionary.
You may "have" all the terms necessary for a job, but this do not means you can translate.

I hope in this kind of test they want to know if you can do it, work with different formats, organization, etc. not if you knows a word or not.

You may cook very well at home but to work as a cook you will need more than this

Rgds

Toledo

[Edited at 2005-05-14 19:56]


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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 13:01
Member (2004)
English to Russian
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My opinion: not ethical May 14, 2005

Balasubramaniam wrote:
In my view, if one can't bid and win a project on one's own steam, and uses the skills of fellow-bidders for this, he is short-changing his fellow-bidders, cheating on them.


Yes, dear Balasubramaniam, I also think this is not ethical at all. A translator has to do a test without others' help. If he needs help from others, (s)he has not passed it already.

[Edited at 2005-05-14 19:38]


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Robert Zawadzki  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:01
English to Polish
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Well, the test environment should be as close to reality as possible May 14, 2005

In reality you can ask a KudoZ question, so why not do it in a test?

If I wanted to stay 100% ethical I'd not only state it in a question, but also add appropriate comment for a customer (so she/he can say: well, it this guy does not know it, he's not the right one). I do not do it, I believe I can tell when I can translate a real text, and I am ethical enough (and not too greedy) not to touch anything I can't do well.


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Graciela Guzman  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 08:01
English to Spanish
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Bidding? May 14, 2005

Hi, everyone,

I believed that the questions (test/homework) were posed by students, not by colleagues.

Have a nice weekend!


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Sonja Tomaskovic  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:01
English to German
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Is is ethical to ask any questions at all? May 14, 2005

Hi,

I have had my own problems with questions taken from test translations. In fact, I was very annoyed when I once found out that all the questions from my sample text had been posted to the KudoZ section before.

But where's the logic when we start questioning the ethics behind KudoZ questions taken from test translation?

I believe that it is our job as translators to deliver the highest possible quality to our clients. From my perspective, a test is no more different than a real job: you have to do your job right to achieve the best possible result. A test can be a door opener but that's about all the difference I see compared to a real job.

So while we acknowledge KudoZ questions from anyone who has trouble with a certain sentence or phrase, who cannot understand the source text or simply needs help in brainstorming we are suddenly making a fuss of questions taken from a test.

Is it right to deny help to those who work for a (free) sample while at the same time we help others who are working for real money? Isn't that hypocrisy?

I agree that we have to draw a line somewhere, but I firmly believe that this line should not be drawn on test translations. It is more important to look at the asker and the questions themselves. That is the clue.

Sonja


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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 13:01
Member (2004)
English to Russian
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The problem here... May 14, 2005

Sonja Tomaskovic wrote:
I believe that it is our job as translators to deliver the highest possible quality to our clients. From my perspective, a test is no more different than a real job


Dear Sonja, I've seen people asking kudoZ questions to do their tests. First of all, they frankly marked their questions as "test/homework", so it was perfectly OK: seeing the note everyone was to decide to help or not. And everyone did what they considered OK for their situation at the market.

The other point is that the question considered is too simple. I mean that if a translator seeks for help in such a simple case, she or he is not a right choice for the job. In this case (which is one of my specialization field) I see it clearly. The test and the paragraph is incredibly simple for anyone who is experienced in the field. The kudoZ question itself shows that the asker is not experienced.

Too many unethical things here, I'm afraid. I don't mean `in general', but `this case in particular'.

[Edited at 2005-05-14 20:57]


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Sonja Tomaskovic  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:01
English to German
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.. May 14, 2005

Kirill Semenov wrote:
The other point is that the question considered is too simple. I mean that if a translator seeks for help in such a simple case, she or he is not a right choice for the job. In this case (which is one of my specialization field) I see it clearly. The test and the paragraph is incredibly simple for anyone who is experienced in the field. The kudoZ question itself shows that the asker is not experienced.


Kirill,

I wholeheartedly agree with you here. But still that is not an argument to call such questions unethical. In fact, it only shows that translators with little or no background in a particular field should not be given further help, especially if they pretended to have certain skills that they don't. That is true for test translations, but even more true for real, paid jobs.

Again, if we don't see it as a crime to ask questions in general, we shouldn't question the legitimacy of questions from test translations. If the asker has good reasons to ask a questions s/he should receive an answer. If s/he is not qualified for the kind of job s/he should not expect any help from fellow translators.

Sonja

[Edited at 2005-05-14 21:38]


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 16:31
Member (2006)
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Test and job are not the same thing May 15, 2005

Sonja Tomaskovic wrote:

From my perspective, a test is no more different than a real job


I beg to differ there, Sonja, a test is not the same as a job. A test is meant to assess your ability to do a particular job. If you cheat on the test, you are making a false presentation of your abilities to the job poster, and if you get the job on these false pretensions, you are cheating him also.

[Edited at 2005-05-15 04:45]


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 16:31
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
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TOPIC STARTER
That is not the issue here May 15, 2005

Heike Behl, Ph.D. wrote:

If one were to take this question to the extreme, one could also argue that any use of the internet, dictionaries, etc. would be unethical since the person in question doesn't know the term offhand, but nobody has ever raised this issue yet...


That is not the issue here. The issue is taking the help of other bidders for the same job.

To take a school examination imagery, it is like looking over the shoulders of the one in front of you in an examination hall and copying from his answers (if you do this without declaring that this is a test question), or asking for his help (if otherwise).

[Edited at 2005-05-15 09:12]


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Sonja Tomaskovic  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:01
English to German
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.. May 15, 2005

Balasubramaniam wrote:
I beg to differ there, Sonja, a test is not the same as a job. A test is meant to assess your ability to do a particular job. If you cheat on the test, you are making a false presentation of your abilities to the job poster, and if you get the job on these false pretensions, you are cheating him also.

[Edited at 2005-05-15 04:45]


I see this differently. My clients expect me to deliver high quality and it is my duty to do so. It is not important if it is a test or not; the output is what counts. As I pointed out earlier, a test may open some doors - though most tests will usually not bring you any jobs at all - but in the end, it is no more than a translation job - and one you are usually not being paid for.

In my opinion it is far more serious to pretend to have certain skills, receive the job (i.e., secure the profit) and then ask others for help.

And then I strongly believe that asking questions is not unethical. The worst translators are those that do not ask questions. It is the question itself that reveals whether someone is worth the time and effort or not.

Sonja


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lien
Netherlands
Local time: 12:01
English to French
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not a clue about the subject May 15, 2005

Kirill Semenov wrote:
The other point is that the question considered is too simple. I mean that if a translator seeks for help in such a simple case, she or he is not a right choice for the job.

In this case (which is one of my specialization field) I see it clearly. The test and the paragraph is incredibly simple for anyone who is experienced in the field. The kudoZ question itself shows that the asker is not experienced.



yeah, that's what I thought too when I saw it. The guy has clearly no clue what's all about as can see anyone familiar with this kind of texts.

In this case you will find later a shower of questions everyday on Proz, like 20/30 a day. And the usual opportunists answering them.

Sometimes I put a comment in the notes, like I did for the questions about heart surgery. I did it to wake up everyone to what was really going on, that was not purely an intellectual exercise, but surgeons will rely on the text. I just couldn't see what was going on and do nothing. The guy posted 37 questions in two days (and more in the week, but this one did it) and I do not know about heart surgery but you could see the guy didn't either. And he had the nerve to answer he felt offended. That was his mistake, as I could state my case. He didn't post after that.


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