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KudoZ, free translation
Thread poster: Ullrich Kern
Ullrich Kern
Spain
Local time: 02:59
Member (2006)
Spanish to German
+ ...
Dec 12, 2001

It\'s not surprising that people think that ProZ.com is a free place for translation if you read the following announcement at Datalang.co.uk:



\"Stuck on a word or phrase? Can\'t think of the best way to translate a phrase? We are proud to be associated with ProZ, and invite you to use the form below to ask for help from professional linguists. Most questions are normally answered with a few hours, and by entering your e-mail id, you will be notified as soon as answers to your query are received by ProZ\".



Definition of ProZ is as follows: The ProZ.com KudoZ and job posting systems were designed to allow translators to help and support each other.



So please, how ist it possible that an agency in UK is offering our place as a free translation service.



Ulli



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Egmont
Spain
Local time: 02:59
Afrikaans to Spanish
+ ...
PICARESQUE Dec 12, 2001

Roguish is not only spanish as you think maybe but it is human as you can see everywhere.

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Carole Muller
Denmark
Local time: 02:59
English to French
+ ...
Agree, Agree, Agree.... Dec 12, 2001

...found a similar introduction to proz on a Danish web page. I don\'t have it handy right now, but when I find it, I\'ll post it here.



It was on a much visited page listing \"free resources to help you with your translations\"



I think it deserves to be retitled \" ATTENTION ALL TRANSLATION CLIENTS: Free resources financed by suppliers paying to work for free...\"



I believe the issue is mostly a problem to all those involved in translating to/from a language x and English, because increasingly, domain experts (with an academic degree in some field and no language aptitude whatsoever beyond, at best, the ability to write and read their own mother tongue) are seeing themselves as bilingual, since increasingly the literature you have at university in most scientific domains is simply bought/published in English. The more specialised a domain, the more pronouced the tendency for experts to write and be published in english as it provides the publisher with the critical mass necessary to make the publication commercially viable.



Therefore, increasingly, there\'s a need for free resource in a language pair where English is included.



Take a quick look at proz and Kudoz points. All leaders have English in their language pair, and most questions include English either as the source or target language.
[addsig]


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Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 02:59
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Where's the problem? Dec 12, 2001

Who is hurt here?



We, who are \"stupid\" enough to answer the questions \"for free\" or the one who gets an answer s/he is seeking?



Are you suffering if I answer a question?



Please tell!



Mats Wiman


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 20:59
SITE FOUNDER
To avoid such 'free' questions, unsubscribe from 'easy' section Dec 12, 2001

The two descriptions of the KudoZ system, which may seem disparate, actually refer to the two levels of questions:



the \"free translation of terms\" explanation refers to \"easy\"-level questions, which often come from the the KudoZ affiliate network. This network serves to bring attention, new members, and new clients to ProZ.com.



The \"translators helping each other with tough terms\" description is accurate for the \"pro\"-level questions, which can only be asked by ProZ.com members.



Those who ask questions through affiliate sites can only ask \'easy\' level questions, from which any member may choose to subscribe or unsubscribe.



Participation in either the \"pro\" or \"easy\" sections has benefits for different types of people. Both are good for the community as a whole.


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Ulrike Lieder  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:59
English to German
+ ...
"Easy" questions leave the door open for abuse Dec 12, 2001

Henry, I think there is a larger issue here that should be addressed.



Case in point: Over the past week or two, someone from outside the ProZ community posted countless \"easy\" questions on the German > English and English > German forums, all questions pertaining to his application to a German university. He had the subcommunity translate the entire application form, entry by entry, from German into English, and then posted his answers in English, asking members to translate them into German (which they dutifully scrambled to do).



In essence, he got two translations for free. Personally, I fail to see how that can be good for the community as a whole.


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 20:59
German to English
+ ...
Answering "stupid" questions is fine Dec 12, 2001

[Note: given some previous experience with people who are a bit challenged in the reading comprehension department, let me state that the word \"you\" is a general \"you\" and is not directed at anyone personally.]



Answering \"stupid\" questions is fine, but if you translate a whole bunch of these questions, which make up a whole document, thus providing a free translation, the questions are no longer stupid, but you are! And if you don\'t realize that, well, then the joke\'s on you and all of us!



Anyone who provides a free translation of an entire document through KudoZ sends out a dangerous message to potential clients out there: it\'s OK to cut corners, you don\'t have to pay for the translation because we have a sufficient number of schmucks who\'ll do it for free!



As I said, if that\'s what you want, scrap the job section and post all jobs in the KudoZ section.

[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-12-12 22:10 ]


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Xeniz
Spain
Local time: 02:59
Spanish to English
+ ...
Time wasting Dec 12, 2001

I think it is great that people have the chance on the web to find out how to say a particular phrase or word in another language that cannot be found in the dictionary, however I feel that goes against the whole concept of ProZ.



Who wants to translate \"I love you\" 3-4 times a month!? Someone desperate for points?! And how many times must one say how \"stupid\" we are for translating \"stupid\" questions?



As mentioned in previous threads, there should be a limit to questions per hour/day/week, or some other restrictions which CONTROL the use of the site. How about moderators simply deleting the questions? Or professionals NOT answering the questions (as done by some in the Eng-Spa field regarding a medical translation yesterday, although many still answered the questions whaich came in on average 1 every 2 mins).



I find the answers enlightening, and learn from them....the easy questions should perhaps be on a seperate page and worth many less points.


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 20:59
SITE FOUNDER
Not acceptable: translating complete documents, homework, applications Dec 12, 2001

Ulrike,



You are citing an instance of abuse, and I am not condoning this.



I would recommend that no one translate the following:

- Complete documents (ie. a series of more than 10 words that is contiguous)

- Homework

- Applications

etc.


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 20:59
German to English
+ ...
All good points, Xeniz - and thank you, Henry, for posting your guidelines Dec 13, 2001

Quote:


On 2001-12-12 21:33, Xeniz wrote:

I think it is great that people have the chance on the web to find out how to say a particular phrase or word in another language that cannot be found in the dictionary, however I feel that goes against the whole concept of ProZ.



Who wants to translate \"I love you\" 3-4 times a month!? Someone desperate for points?! And how many times must one say how \"stupid\" we are for translating \"stupid\" questions?



As mentioned in previous threads, there should be a limit to questions per hour/day/week, or some other restrictions which CONTROL the use of the site. How about moderators simply deleting the questions? Or professionals NOT answering the questions (as done by some in the Eng-Spa field regarding a medical translation yesterday, although many still answered the questions whaich came in on average 1 every 2 mins).



I find the answers enlightening, and learn from them....the easy questions should perhaps be on a seperate page and worth many less points.





You are describing the ideal state of ProZ. However, as I explained in another thread, it was actually a moderator who allowed this abuse (=free translation of a whole text) to go on - on top of it, the moderator scored a whole bunch of easy points.



Usually you don\'t know until the third question or so that they all make up a whole, but once you have realized what\'s going on, you should do the right thing and a) stop answering any more questions from that poster and b) squash the questions if you have the power to do so.



I agree with you, Xeniz, professionals would not answer such questions.



I am all for helping others - even if it is a \"stupid\" question like \"I love you\" for the 735th time, but giving away a free translation is unprofessional, unethical, selfish (\"feeding on points\") and fully goes against the spirit of this site (and many ProZ members agree with me on that - see other thread).



We are all members of ProZ, and those of us who support ProZ (because we believe in it) by taking out Premium or Platinum memberships have a stake in the site, and we want to see it thrive. It is, therefore, very discomforting to see a moderator subvert and undermine the site in such a manner.



Thank you, Henry, for posting your guidelines. But you should post them in a more prominent place as well. Also, I think, we should have some kind of penalty system for these things: for example, if someone is found to engage in such abuse, they should be penalized an X amount of BrowniZ (or, even better yet, KudoZ) points. Actually, KudoZ points would be better; after all, such a person would engage in these activities only for one sole purpose: fast and easy KudoZ points. So, I\'d take them away again. Hit them where it really hurts. I suppose that will be the only way to \"convince\" people to play by the rules.

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Anna Beria
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:59
Italian to English
+ ...
Easy way to detect genuine colleagues Dec 13, 2001

Abuse of the system seems to be a regular occurrence on this great site of ours and I have read arguments both in favour and against replying to such postings ad nauseam. Wishy-washy liberal that I am, I remain of the opinion that if it is anyone\'s right to ask questions - silly or otherwise - it is our prerogative whether or not to answer them.



My motto is \"Happy to help\", but I do not like wasting my time helping people who are not qualified or experienced enough to do a decent job, and usually it is fairly easy to tell from the tenor (and the number!) of the requests whether the asker is a bona fide collegue or a time waster. But if I am in any doubt, I check his/her ProZ.com page. Virtually empty pages, devoid of any real information and still claiming that \"this person is a chartered member of the network etc.\" result in the relevant question being sent immediately to my e-rubbish bin! Perhaps I\'ll never make it to the \"Hall of Fame\" -- well, I think I can live with that!


[addsig]


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Carole Muller
Denmark
Local time: 02:59
English to French
+ ...
Something given out for free sometimes is perceived as having no value Dec 13, 2001

Dear All,



I do hope you have me excused for again referring to my professional field, but I find it is relevant in this debate:



WHAT\'S WRONG WITH PROMOTING FREE HELP: (or to take up Mats: why does it hurt you if I answer a question). In the short run (immediate short run: say days to a few weeks)there are no consequences. In the intermidiate run, it promotes the image of translators as being people \"who just love working with words\" to re-use some statements I have seen on the pages, and therefore do not deserve being paid for the years of study they spent specialising in words (since they love it).



Musicians (my secret parallel carrier I tell nobody of on any web forum normally) were once victims of this too. It was until recently \"normal\" (a norm of society) to be pooe when you were a musician (and the more classically trained the poorer) since you were supposed to pay your rent with your love for music.



Do we as a profession want to slowly be pushed into that image? No. Let me tell you about my relatives, relatives of relatives, friends of friends, relatives of neighbours, friends of colleagues who used to come to me -in the old time before I learned to deal with this-telling me they had a few lines to translate and since \"you were born with this talent and LOVE words\"...(read: do it for free, since you enjoy it). Then I would receive an entire manuscript...



I\'m told mathematicians and programmers LOVE mathematics, and yet, try and ask a professional programmer to come over in the weekend and help you repartition your PC and find the reason why blabla does not work consistently...or better yet: to come over at night and help you program a piece of software for tomorrow, because you need it to give a client a solution requiring a little piece of programming too.



Did you EVER see a web site offering FREE PROGRAMMING by LIVE PROGRAMMERS for free? No, you have downloadable free resources (and sometimes a neat little spyware package included reporting on all your surfing habits to marketing central X, who are reselling the info )?



My critic is based on the following:

1. In the intermediate run, the image promoted of translators is cheap

2. In the longer run, the rates will decrease even further, not because the market dwindles, of course it does not,it is actually expanding and expanding and expanding, see the many new agencies popping up in the lucrative intermediary role, but because (direct)customers vanish, feeling agencies are more reliable and deliver quality, because \"cheap\" translators need to be controlled by (more knowledgeable) agencies.

3. Proz is mixing suppliers (translators) belonging to market subsegments that are much, much too different. Some translators have a steady job somewhere and want to \"practice\" on clients, before deciding wheteher to oursue or not. Some translators have some source of income (whatever:social welfare, unemployment, retirement, or are rentiers)and look for the intellectual challenge of doing on/off jobs. Some translators live 100% of the trade and are professionals concerned about the evolution for the last decade. All of these are on Proz. Some are specialists and stick to their specialisation, others are generalists, etc...

4. The Kudoz point system has many defective mechanisms. One, as pointed out by Werner Patels is the obviously unethical practice of having a moderator also be running for points: too many hats on one head, nevermind who the person is. (I don\'t know). Another are the series of potential abuse as pointed out by Telesforo. Another again is that the attribution of points is highly subjective, and many good answers are disregarded. Another again is that those who have English in one of their language pairs and essentially have English another broadly spoken language may gain more point faster on behalf of others, who have less opportunity (there are simply more questions).I mean, how many Kudoz points do you have if you offer PolishTagalog?

5. Least but not last: Proz, in its revolving around Kudoz (which I personally enjoy very much answering, and I did get a lot of points fast, so I am by no way venting any personal frustration)is adding a heavy load in support of this terrible misconception among many translators and among their clients that literal translation is an ideal. It is NOT. It is one of many forms of translation. But it is all I have ever seen on the site and the Kudoz asking context does not leave room for anything else.



Of course not: otherwise it would not be \"free help\" anymore and would certainly be too much of a job.



But then, this is my answer to you Mats: this is what I regard as the biggets harm to the profession: promoting the litral translation as the ONLY translation form. It seems to me many translators are not even aware there are other forms, when they are appropriate and that literal translation has not always been an ideal. It\'s been on/off throughout history.



Cicero was the first to translate Greek philosophy and he was definitely against literal translation he stated: \"When I translate from Greek and I do not find a word that appropriately conveys the entire Greek though as expressed in brievety by a Greek word in the Greek text, I simply redefine this entire passage, because the meaning is what is most important and in a choice between the right word and the right sense, we should choose what is loyal to the sense\".



More and more, the lucrative direct contact between translators and their clients is destroyed, because too many illiterate (not word-illiterate but illiteracy of domain experience)translators have created a belief that translation is about word lists.



Therefore many clients want a agency to check and recheck the job of the translator they cannot trust.



Therefore also many clients believe they can do the job in-house with a terminology list-which they might put together using the Kudoz forum. (Here I\'m speaking of things I have seen take place, not on Kudoz but in similar context)



Therefore clients/agencies end thinking, what the hell, let\'s send it to some unkown fellow bidding 0.020 cts/word (and still going down) and we\'ll have our inhouse X go over the stuff.



And the clients get a not too good job and think: what the hell, let\'s go somewhere else next time.



And a new agency opens shop, and sends invitations to join their database for , 0.019 cts and, and...



The secret of marketing is that packaging is everything and agencies are better at packaging than we are- We are good at contents. And contents is not selling now under the current market mechanism, packaging is.



So adding to the problem by presenting translators as cheap (which surely is not the intention) is really to balance on the razor\'s edge...
[addsig]


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Carole Muller
Denmark
Local time: 02:59
English to French
+ ...
+ little addition Dec 13, 2001

just wanted to add: I wanted to apologise for the many typos, I have a problem with the keyboard on my laptop...



in the passage about Cicero, it was about what he recommended when there was no word in the target language to convey a Greek THOUGHT, not \"though\",



Sorry, I know there are more.
[addsig]


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Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO)
Local time: 20:59
German to English
+ ...
Excellent, Carole Dec 13, 2001

First, let me say that I truly appreciate your elaborate contributions to the forum - because you \"call \'em as you see \'em\".



Indeed, word-for-word translation (or literal translation) IS being promoted by many (actually, most) people who answer KudoZ questions. Most people just copy some entries from a dictionary or website and sell it to the asker (but often it is nothing more than a \"bottle of snake-oil\").



Again and again, whenever somebody provides an \"actual translation\" (ie, not literal), they get shot down by the others (\"disagree, disagree, disagree\").



\"Foreign-to-foreign posters\" are yet another problem: people who post answers in a language pair that does not contain their first language. These people tend to rely on (half-a..) \"dictionary knowledge\" only, and their answers usually take the following form:



>ANSWER



Dictionary ABC says: ....





I spent 30 years in XXX



END OF ANSWER<



As innocuous as answers like this one may seem, they can do a lot of damage (misleading the asker, creating confusion or heated arguments among the answerers, etc.)



The \"golden rule\" of KudoZ (as well as of the translation industry at large) should be: only answer questions in language pairs that include your mother tongue (either source or target). Otherwise, have enough professional courtesy and decency to stay out. \"Foreign to foreign\" always ends in disaster: this is true of translation and of KudoZ.


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Ullrich Kern
Spain
Local time: 02:59
Member (2006)
Spanish to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It's getting worse Dec 13, 2001

Here comes another link to ProZ from www.e-multiweb.com/info/human.htm



\"Intelligent Translation by HUMANS for FREE! FAST answers to your e-mailbox

Members of a worldwide network of professional translators are competing for KudoZ! points. If their translation for you is chosen as the best, they will get points. The more points they have, the more likely they will be chosen for future translation work. They welcome this chance to prove their abilities, so please give them a try!\"



For one year I’m a member of ProZ, more or less a quit one. But everyday I’m accessing this site to see interesting jobs, terms, discussions of people doing the same job. I never posted any question but the few times I had the chance to answer a colleague I did so, without being aware that we are competing for points.

Yesterday there were more than 100 postings for KudoZ questions, I think the largest one had about 750 words (English-Urdu). I don’t mind to answer the “I love you very much” questions, but the day you really got a problem in your translation, and you’re searching for help from your colleagues, you get lost in the amount of “I miss you” questions, and one day this site will have lost it’s sense of being.

Also, as this place is thought to be professional, it should be avoided that we are sold as “animals (humans) in the zoo” competing for points. There’s no image win regarding the possible clients.



Sorry for the style, but writing in English you reach a larger part of this community..



Ulli



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