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ProZ.com should implement some kind of average for points earned
Thread poster: Tomás Rosa Bueno

Tomás Rosa Bueno  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 10:23
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Dec 29, 2002

I don\'t know about other language pairs, but in my pair (EN>Br-PT), many \"KudoZ leaders\" seem to do nothing all day long but reply to nearly *every* question. Most of the time, their answers are just literal translations, and sometimes no translation at all (the \"this-is-not-translated\" type of answer).



This is compounded by a host of \"agrees\" from other KudoZ leaders who are in the game. The one who is faster to post the first reply, however absurd, gets the \"agrees\" from the others. And life goes on.



The other possible explanation is that this is not a scam, and they\'re only *very bad* translators.



+++



I think ProZ could implement some kind of average for points earned. For example, if someone answers 672 tech questions and earns 811 KudoZ points, he has an average of 1.2 points per answer given. If another translator has anwered 31 tech questions to earn 52 points, he has an average of 1.67 points per answer and is obviously a much safer bet as a good tech translator, even if he is way behind in KudoZ points. (The numbers were taken from existing profiles.)



This shouldn\'t be too hard to implement, from a technical point of view. It would inhibit certain less-than-honest practices and be a good at-a-glance meter for recruiters.



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Nikita Kobrin  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 15:23
Member (2010)
English to Russian
+ ...
some kind of average for points earned Dec 29, 2002

Great idea! I\'m totally pro.



This average may be shown alongside the points earned in each category and the total.



You\'re a smart guy, Tomas!



Regards,

Nikita Kobrin


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lcmolinari  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 08:23
Member
French to English
+ ...
I wouldn't worry about it Dec 29, 2002

Your proposal sounds too confusing and just creating more work for Proz staff.



I think most recruiters and potential clients are smart enough to recognize someone who has abused the Kudoz system. For example, I just looked today at someone\'s profile who has about 30 combinations listed as working languages and has Kudoz points in every possible language combination and field. Obviously, this person is scamming for points, and I think that is obvious to everyone.



Kudoz are helpful but I\'m sure are taken with a grain of salt.



Cheers
[addsig]


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José Antonio Azevedo  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 11:23
Member (2002)
English to Portuguese
Strongly disagree Dec 29, 2002

I didn\'t intend to take part in this thread, but since Tomas has specifically mentioned the En>Br-PT language pair, and since I am one of the KudoZ leaders that he criticizes (in general), I decided to give my point of view.



I\'ve been answering to the KudoZ questions for more than an year, and in my opinion that is an excellent, fast way of helping colleagues that are fighting against deadlines and need an urgent answer to their postings. I really enjoy helping them, and the research I do in order to answer such questions also helps me to improve my own expertise.



Tomas starts criticizing KudoZ leaders who \"seem to do nothing all day long but reply to nearly *every* question\", according to his own words. What\'s wrong with that? If they have the time and willingness to answer to other people\'s questions, is that a crime? According to his words, it looks like.



Then he complains about the \"agrees\" from other KudoZ leaders that are in the game. Again, what is wrong with that? If an answer given by member \"A\" is correct, it is obvious that members \"B\", \"C\", \"D\", etc. will agree with that. And he writes that \"most of the time\" wrong answers are given and agreed by the peers, and that is definitely not true. It can happen sometimes, and I have already seen answers choosen by the majority of colleagues that in my opinion were not right, but that is an EXCEPTION, not the rule. We\'re not perfect, after all.



And to complete his weird proposition of changing KudoZ rules, he points out that the KudoZ leaders are *very bad* translators. I\'ve already taken a look at the profiles of all top KudoZ leaders, and they all look quite competent and with a solid background, and in my opinion they deserve the points earned so far.



It seems to me that Tomas wants to \"change the rules in the middle of the game\" so he can improve his scoring, instead of trying to \"play\" according to the rules, and I don\'t agree with that. He mentions all the time the scoring, the leaders, but he forgets the most important thing about KudoZ: it was designed to help our colleagues. I haven\'t seen any complaints from the most interested people at all, i.e., our peers that post such questions.



I also want to mention that Laura Molinari\'s comments were brilliant: Tomas is concerned about showing a good scoring to potential clients, but they are \"smart enough to recognize someone who has abused the Kudoz system\". She is absolutely right about how to choose the most competent translator. Who do you think that a potential client will select: someone has only ONE or TWO language combinations listed (and therefore is focused on his/her real \"core business\") or another one who claims to be fluent in SEVEN or EIGHT language combinations listed? I bet you all know what the answer is...



So I think that Tomas\' concerns are needless, because in the end clients will select the most competent professional.


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Tomás Rosa Bueno  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 10:23
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It's not a question of many language pairs Dec 29, 2002

I was talking about a specific language pair, EN>PTBr, where some of the \"KudoZ leaders\" have ratios of answers given/accepted as low as 0.27 -- not to mention the quality of answers accepted, but this is simply unmeasurable.



At first glance, this individual is an excellent translator -- lots of KudoZ points in one language pair. But...



As for more work for ProZ staff, this should be an automated procedure.



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Tomás Rosa Bueno  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 10:23
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
To José Azevedo Dec 30, 2002

As usual, I let my tongue (or my fingers) loose. But it didn\'t go as far as saying that KudoZ leaders are bad translators. To start with, I had just three or four in mind, not all of them. I said \"some\". And I did not say that \"most of the answers\" given by KudoZ leaders were wrong and received the \"agree\" of the others. I said that some ridiculously and obviously wrong answers were given and supported by them, in a clear \"esprit-de-corps\" attitude.



And that I consider this practice less than honest. I stand by what I said, but I won\'t waste my time and yours talking about what I did not say.



But this is not the point. Of course the KudoZ system is an excellent way of beating dedlines, and of helping our colleagues to beat them. Of course I try to answer as many questions as my time and my expertise allow. But I DO NOT post answers to very two questions that appear on the board, I DO NOT \"guesslate\" (or, when I do, 1. it is an educated guess, and 2. I make it clear). And, above all, when I make a mistake, or when someone gives a better answer, I recognize it and point it out to the asker, no matter how many agrees I\'ve had. Many of my answers were given AFTER the grading, to try and correct a wrong answer selected by the asker. Many times, I write private messages to the askers to explain what was wrong in the answer they selected. One has only to peruse my answers to see it.



I\'ve just taken over two hours researching for a single answer on \"pick and place\".



And, above all, I am NOT after \"improving my score\". I have my clients, I have a very good contract with one of them that leaves me a lot of free time, and when I bid on a ProZ job it is because it sounds interesting -- but in any case most job offers found on ProZ are way below my minimum rate.



As proven by the answers they give sometimes, a good background does not a good translator make. What makes a good technical translator is not an engineer\'s degree, but a sound knowledge of both languages, good research capabilities and lots of common sense. If anyone is interested in seeing how the haste to be the first to answer ruins the best backgrounds, and how the point-grabbing greed makes even otherwise reasonable persons argue rabidly in defense of blatant mistakes, go take a look at the answers for \"open-heart surgery\" (http://www.proz.com/?sp=h&id=326806) and \"alexia-protension\" (http://www.proz.com/?sp=h&id=313515), just to give two easy examples. In both cases, my answers were given after the grading, just in case someone argues that I was trying to grab the points for myself.



I\'ve been working as a professional translator since 1972. I never did anything else seriously. Translating was my first job (after four brief months as a typesetter in a Chilean newspaper) and it\'s likely to be the last. I am fully bilingual in Portuguese and Spanish, I have two half-books and dozens of articles written in French and published in France, I write most of my professional reports in English and speak Italian with a Roman accent. My only language pairs are from these languages into Brazilian Portuguese (I do not translate to European Portuguese even though I lived in Portugal for a total of four years, and I do not translate to Spanish although I have native fluency in this language, because I haven\'t been in direct contact with the daily speech for a number of years and thus I cannot be sure of anything. I do not translate back to any of the languages from which I translate). In the last four-five years I have been working almost exclusively on quality assurance, and it saddens me greatly to see how quality in our field of work is decreasing instead of increasing. And the \"less-than-honest\" practices seen on ProZ are part of this decline.



An improved reliability ratio (NOT based on peer grading, please!) would be a good way to curb these practices.



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João Carlos Pijnappel  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:23
Dutch to Portuguese
+ ...
:-))) Dec 30, 2002

Hahaha, that formula of yours was just great! Luckily, Tomas, I learned soon enough not to take you seriously. You are really a great humorist, that I grant you, and if your talents are underestimated, it is certainly in the comedy area. Thank you for making my day, I\'m laughing until now.

Have a Happy New Year, you deserve it.



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Tomás Rosa Bueno  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 10:23
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
What a shame! Dec 30, 2002

This early in the morning, already?



Quote:


On 2002-12-30 11:47, Jonappel wrote:

Hahaha, that formula of yours was just great! Luckily, Tomas, I learned soon enough not to take you seriously. You are really a great humorist, that I grant you, and if your talents are underestimated, it is certainly in the comedy area. Thank you for making my day, I\'m laughing until now.

Have a Happy New Year, you deserve it.



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Clauwolf
Local time: 10:23
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I agree with Laura Molinari, José Azevedo and João Pijnappel Dec 30, 2002

Happy New Year!

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João Carlos Pijnappel  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:23
Dutch to Portuguese
+ ...
Shame and dawn Dec 30, 2002

Hmmm, I see, does this mean you were talking serious this time? I was afraid of that. Ok, than I\'ll give you a fair answer.



The KudoZ rating system is described as a game by the site owners on the \'What is KudoZ\' page, and that\'s how I take it. In fact, it couldn\'t be otherwise. First, the answers are chosen and rated by the asker, who is often - if not almost always - less qualified than the answerer, or a beginner. Just have a look at the background of the average asker and you\'ll see it. The answerers (the \'leaders\') almost never place questions. Therefore, the answerer\'s rating rely on peers of less knowledge, which is completely the inverse of, for example, the education system, where you are rated by a teacher who is supposedly more experienced and has more knowledge than you. But this is just the start. I do a lot of areas of expertise, but, as you know, I translate mainly journalistic, juridical and literary texts, rather than technical ones. These texts demand a lot of context and are much more style-oriented than the \'nuts-and-bolts\' (no offense intentioned) average texts. Well then, the KudoZ questions never contain much context, sometimes none at all, which is less than even a technical text requires, and therefore there is a lot of guessing going on, both from the part of the answerer, which does not know for sure what the context is, and from the part of the asker, who chooses the answer without being sure. I personally find it rather schizophrenic to answer a lot of questions daily, in different languages, almost without context. Therefore, this can\'t be considered a serious reliable system. As I said before, I take is as an educational game. I find it relaxing, for example, to make a research and suggest answers for language pairs other than my main ones, because that expands my knowledge of those languages. And I don\'t agree that people who have a lot of language pairs and a lot of KudoZ points in many different language pairs are scamming for points, as it was recently said. They are researching and making suggestions, and a degree of confidence has to be defined. The KudoZ moderator who answered favorably to your message, for example, has more than 20 working language pairs and points on more than 60. Finally, I don\'t see how your formula could make any difference on the liability of the system, since the latter has this inherent fallibility described above. It just won\'t make any difference at all. I suggest you enjoy the possibility the system offers to meet your peers, confront different answers, try to help beginners and, last but not least, learn something and have fun. And leave the work of finding a good translator to the client, who should have better ways to find what he or she wants.



And don\'t put the blame on your peers anymore because that is what I call a shame.



[quote]

On 2002-12-30 12:07, basileos wrote:

This early in the morning, already?





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Clauwolf
Local time: 10:23
English to Portuguese
+ ...
You are completely right Dec 30, 2002

I also use Proz site to \"relax\" (and learn something, have fun, as you said), because in 90 % of my answers I interrupt a big work to answer.

Please continue to have fun in Proz, your help is very important.

Happy New Year!


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João Carlos Pijnappel  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:23
Dutch to Portuguese
+ ...
Happy New Year Dec 30, 2002

HappY NeW YeaR To AlL KudoZ PeerS



Live long and prosper



PS Obrigado Clauwolf, o mesmo para você


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Roberto Cavalcanti  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 11:23
Member (2003)
English to Portuguese
Hard Work Dec 30, 2002

After José Azevedo and João Pijnappel have said there\'s not much room left for me to say.

I\'d like to add that being a Kudoz leader is not that easy and takes time and effort. Those who have not a solid background are not able to keep that position.

You are too young on that game Tomás, later you´ll see that the weak guys won\'t last.

Kudoz leaders deserv respect, they help other people in many ways.

Sometimes you\'ll see some people earning a lot of Kudoz points but that doesn\'t mean they are leaders, you have to watch for some monthes.

And something you must learn is to respect your colleagues, because you\'ll see many of them improving and becoming very good translators.

Have success and peace and help your peers.

Robcav

[ This Message was edited by:on2002-12-30 22:56]


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Tomás Rosa Bueno  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 10:23
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Having fun - To João Dec 30, 2002

You may be right, João, specially if the KudoZ system is to be taken as a game. In fact, some of the answers given make you laugh and are a lot of fun to read, while others may remind you of a day in the circus, with fierce transgladiators trying to cut your heart open.



On the other hand, it seems to me that the more experienced translators, as you say, should be a lot more careful when answering. Lack of context is not an excuse, for example, to propose a literal translation for expressions such as \"the hamster died\", or \"pick-and-place head\", or \"spoon-shaped oar blade\". What could be the reason (besides haste to be the first to answer or to give a different answer and maybe have a chance at the points) for translating \"high lying tank\" as \"tanque alto deitado\" or even \"tanque situado no alto\" (respectively, \"lying tall tank\" and \"highly placed tank\", for the Portuguese-challenged) when the asker clearly indicated that it was a vehicle\'s tank?



You see, João, you may be having fun. But to the askers it may seem that sometimes you\'re making fun of them. It is true that KudoZ may be seen as a game, but it has to be a serious game, because many beginners (and not only them) depend on it to finish their jobs. I wish I had had an instrument like this when I started translating, more than thirty years ago.



And I want to make it as good as possible for those who are beginning now, instead of a playing field for old horses.


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João Carlos Pijnappel  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:23
Dutch to Portuguese
+ ...
????? Dec 31, 2002

I don\'t think your pernostic homework and your distorted/evasive insinuations deserve an answer, I don\'t have patience for that.





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