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Suggestion for Kudoz
Thread poster: Nathalie M. Girard, ALHC
Nathalie M. Girard, ALHC  Identity Verified
English to French
+ ...
May 25, 2002

Hello Henry



I\'ve been reading various posts throughout the forums, and many people bring up the topic that Kudoz is not *serious* enough because many questions are being answered by people who do not even possess the appropriate language-pair(s).



Could we enforce that Kudoz must be answered only by translators who have the appropriate language-pair(s)?



Perhaps by simply limiting access to *your own* language pair(s) would help...



Or if someone tried to answer questions not related to their pair(s), they would get a message stating that \"unfortunately, only the persons who have the appropriate language pair(s) in their profile can answer this question.\"



I think it would help bring more credibility to Kudoz.



Kind regards,

Nathalie





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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:22
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Don't altogether agree May 25, 2002

I have myself answered questions not in my own language pairs, and by confining myself strictly to brief questions, usually one word, with no qualifications or further details which I don\'t understand, and provided I have firm backing from a good dictionary, whether paper or on-line, or from some other source such as Google, I don\'t feel I am doing any harm by this. I can see that the ability to do this might be abused by some people, but I don\'t think it would be right to exclude such answers by those who are prepared to go to some trouble to ensure the accuracy of their answers.

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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:22
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
More thoughts on this subject May 26, 2002

I think that in some respects, “Easy” and “Pro” questions should be considered separately.

EASY.

The “easy” questions often include very simple words and phrases like “Hello”, “Good luck”, “Happy Birthday” and so on which will be known to many people in languages in which they are not qualified. And the askers could usually find the answer on the Web if they knew where to look. Here our skills are the ones we have developed in searching the Web for terms, not those related to our degree of qualification in a particular language. Anyone who can find a reliable answer should be free to do so.

PRO.

In an engineering question, who is more likely to give the correct answer: a professional translator who works entirely in the art and literary field, or a qualified engineer with a superficial knowledge of the language? Quite possibly neither, but neither should be prevented from trying.

SAFEGUARDS

There are not and never will be 100% safeguards against wrong answers being accepted, but each question is circulated to many professional translators and usually attracts several replies and peer grades. Obviously wrong answers will attract adverse grades, better ones will attract positive grades, and if askers have any sense they will read them all and should have a fair idea of what to reject, even if the choice of what to accept remains difficult.

This still leaves the problem of the lightning asker who accepts the first reply within minutes. There was recently a question asked at 0809 to which I replied at 0810 and had the points awarded to me at 0813, before anyone else had had a chance to offer any alternative. Askers are advised to wait at least a couple of hours before awarding points, but not all do. If a wrong answer is entered into the glossary in this way, it is certainly a bad thing, though this may not arise very often since an asker who is in that much of a hurry probably won’t bother to award points anyway. But I hope someone trawls through the glossaries occasionally to eliminate obvious nonsense.

Finally, on a personal note, I feel there is a difference between someone like me who has been translating for nearly 50 years and has acquired a good knowledge of how necessary it is to check sources, the pitfalls of “faux amis”, the way the presence or absence of an accent can change a meaning and so on, and someone just out of college and only just starting in the profession. I once spent four months in Sweden, learned some Swedish and acquired some good dictionaries. I did a two-month full-time course in Málaga learning Spanish. I am under no illusion that these experiences qualify me as a Swedish or Spanish translator, but I think I have enough knowledge and dictionary resources to answer simple questions. I would not like to be restricted to answering only Russian-English and German-English questions, and I do not think the site would benefit if I were.



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Nathalie M. Girard, ALHC  Identity Verified
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Lack of context (from the poster) can be misleading May 26, 2002

Dear Jack,



Even in my *own* language pairs, if there is only a small word posted for help, it can be very misleading.



Although I do understand that you are trying to help someone, you can also unknowingly mislead the asker. I have seen this happened with people who translate in the language pairs, let alone trying to help someone in a pair that they do not work in...



If we all ever want to be taken seriously and professionally, Kudoz should work the same way that the *translation* world works: You can translate into your Mother Tongue and *source* language(s) *if* you are extremely knowledgeable of that language(s).



I really don\'t think that you could land a job in any other languages than those, so why should Kudoz be any different?



And if the asker is a serious translator, they should already have a fair amount of dictionaries in their own language pairs.



Often, the questions roam around \"how to put it properly in the target language\" because some of the source text can be very ambiguous or badly written at times (unfortunately), and this, in my mind, requires a lot more than a good dictionary or a good resource.



I speak some Spanish, I understand it fairly well given that some of it is fairly close to French which is my mother tongue, but I would *never* offer any answers or help in the Spanish Kudoz. It\'s just not one of my languages, and I would find myself unethical if I posted any replies related to Spanish (EN SP). I could lead someone astray too easily although meaning well.



Just the differences between European French and Canadian French alone can really make answers vary in Kudoz. Spanish (and other languages) have also many strong variations as well, which means that the margin of error dramatically increases.



Kudoz should behave the same way an agency would hire a professional translator => \"Working languages only\". It\'s the only way that it will be taken seriously as far as I see it.



Best regards,

Nathalie







[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-05-26 11:29 ]


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Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 19:22
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

MODERATOR
I am against any restrictions May 26, 2002

Dear Nathalie, of course, one can encounter strange, incorrect, wild etc answers provided by people, working in other language pairs. But I don\'t think that it should be the reason of limiting access for answerers not registered in the pair in which the question has been posted: nothing can prevent the asker from choosing a wrong answer.



Errare humanum est: everyone, even the most experienced translator can post a wrong answer in his own working language pair.



Moreover, in some language pairs native speakers are rare guests, the polish>english pair is an example.



An example from my own practice: some time ago I noticed a series of biological questions in a pair which wasn\'t mine. I started answering as I knew answers perfectly well and I was sure that my answers were correct. Shouldn\'t I answer?



I have also seen lots of examples when answers provided by people registered with other language pairs were not only correct but even brilliant. And in my opinion this is most valuable.



And the last. Don\'t forget that \"Using KudoZ feels like playing a game\". So let\'s take it easier.





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Nathalie M. Girard, ALHC  Identity Verified
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Good points May 26, 2002

I understand your points (Both Jack and Natalie) and they are valid indeed.



My suggestion came after reading so many posts questioning the *seriousness* and *reliability* of Kudoz. I\'ve been around this and other sites for several years and many people put Kudoz down as not being a serious way of helping people because there are *so many* wrong answers....



It is true that we can all make mistakes (we all do, we\'re humans...and all languages are extremely complex and ever changing by nature).



\"But the results are serious!\"... is what comes right after the sentence you (Natalie) typed about Kudoz feeling like a game.



I was just trying to suggest that if Kudoz worked in the same way as *normal translation jobs* work (i.e. I could not be hired to do a spanish translation), then it could be taken more seriously by more members and we could have more valuable participants joining in?



Not to say that the people answering Kudoz are not valuable already, far from this (I\'m one of them when I have a couple of minutes!!!) - but it just seems that there are a lot of members who put Kudoz down for some reason or another, the main one being that there are so many mistakes and too many answers posted by people who do not work in those language pairs.



Please feel free to try to find other suggestions which would help take away this negativity. I think Kudoz is a great tool. It may not always give you the answer but it certainly helps to bounce ideas off one another



Best regards,

Nathalie





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Rick Henry  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:22
Italian to English
+ ...
But... May 26, 2002

Shouldn\'t they at least have the language listed as an \"interest\" on their profile page?

I realize not everyone maintains their profile page, but... I don\'t know. Personally, I find it very hard to take someone\'s answer seriously if it\'s not even listed as an interest on their page. The answer could be brilliant, but as someone doing research on a term or phrase, I don\'t know that - there\'s no evidence to back it up (and yes, I consider \"interest\",as well as field expertise to be evidence). I think I have to take issue with you saying \"Using kudoZ is like playing a game\" - it\'s hardly a game for the person looking for an appropriate answer to a difficult term or phrase.



Quote:


On 2002-05-26 14:57, Natalie wrote

An example from my own practice: some time ago I noticed a series of biological questions in a pair which wasn\'t mine. I started answering as I knew answers perfectly well and I was sure that my answers were correct. Shouldn\'t I answer?



I have also seen lots of examples when answers provided by people registered with other language pairs were not only correct but even brilliant. And in my opinion this is most valuable.



And the last. Don\'t forget that \"Using KudoZ feels like playing a game\". So let\'s take it easier.







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Nathalie M. Girard, ALHC  Identity Verified
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I agree Rick May 26, 2002

Yes, I agree that they should at least have on their profile that *such and such languages* form part of their interests (as a bare minimum). Or that they lived in such and such countries for x amount of time to give people an idea of their level of knowledge at least.



But even with that... just look up a simple work like \"run\" in the English dictionnary. It can mean a whole array of things.



I could give you the basic straight forward usage in Spanish but it does not mean that it would be appropriate, not even for the easy Kudoz question. (some of those are not so easy!)



Context, context, context... interpretation, understanding of the nuances in both source and target language, etc... all this shapes the end product.



I proofread work done by other translators sometimes where the excellent French Canadian native translators have totally missed the point made in source (English) text, simply because although they understand English fairly well, they just do not know it *quite well enough* to grasp all the nuances or expressions.



So if some excellent translators sometimes miss the boat in their own working language pairs, how often do people think they\'d miss the boat in other languages?



Kudoz is not a game (indeed)...



Nathalie


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Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 19:22
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

MODERATOR
OK, BUT... May 27, 2002

Portuguese>English or French>English aren\'t my \"pairs of interest\", I would never try to translate a text from Portuguese (or French, or German) into English. But if I see that somebody asks how to render in English something like \"9 fluoro 9 ylidene diphenylamine\" I think that I MUST answer as I know the correct answer (BTW, incorrect answers, even by native speakers, concerning chemistry, physics, biology are quite often: people invent non-existing chemical substances and guess about animal or plant nomenclature). I don\'t think that working language is crucial, quite often knowledge of the subject is much more important.

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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:22
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Just for pure interest, Rick... May 27, 2002

but how do I enter languages/language pairs as \"interest\"? I never came across any such feature on the \"Edit Languages\" form. Have I just overlooked something?



Any response greatly appreciated.

Steffen


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 12:22
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No point to restrictions May 27, 2002

Restricting answers would not eliminate the clueless answers, as these do not come only from people outside the question\'s language pair.



I operate in the (SPEN) pair. Some of the most useless answers come from people who apparently do work in the language combination in question. Restricting wouldn\'t help a bit.



On the other hand, sometimes I am stuck because the Spanish source text is badly written, and only a native Spanish speaker can untangle it for me. Their answer is helpful even when they don\'t know how to say it correctly in English.


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Nathalie M. Girard, ALHC  Identity Verified
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Ok then, maybe remove the points? May 27, 2002

Hi everyone,



I really appreciate your feedback, this is terrific. I also can appreciate that all of you would only answer in instances where *you feel very certain* of your answers.



So should we think about removing the *points* system then? I mean, do you think that there are a lot of answers of questionable quality because people are trying to gain points at any cost?



I believe that most of the members participate on Kudoz because they truly want to help someone who has stumbled upon a tricky expression, it\'s not about points.



But there are always some people who might see it more as a game than anything else.



I\'m just trying to figure out a solution, since I have read so many complaints about Kudoz... maybe there\'s a better way to go about it?



Do you have any ideas to improve on it?



I enjoy this site and the community. By discussing like this, we can make things even better for all of us



Kind regards,

Nathalie



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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 14:22
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Another point of view May 28, 2002

I would rather not impose my rudimentary knowledge of English upon anyone,

and I have therefore asked Nathalie if she could kindly translate my

comments so that I could participate in this forum.





First, let me start by my own observations. I have also read many negative

messages in regards to the quality of the answers posted on Kudoz. I

disagree. It\'s true that sometimes we find some bad answers, but in general,

the reaction by others is such (sometimes merciless) that the asker cannot

ignore it. And sometimes, these mistakes come from newcomers who do not

quite understand how the site works, and after awhile they figure out the

requirements (I would not like to be misunderstood, this is not an

observation against newcomers), or basically, they figure out what is

\"acceptable\" and what \"isn\'t\". We can see it as a game and this does not

take away the serious and professional side of Kudoz.



I appreciate the open-mindedness in which we are conducting this discussion.



Claudia

(Thanks again, Nathalie)



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Rick Henry  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:22
Italian to English
+ ...
Steffen, under "Edit your Languages"... May 28, 2002

scroll down to \"add a new language pair\". When you add the pair, don\'t select any of the \"services you offer for this pair\". Once you\'ve added the language pair, choose \"No\" for \"show in Profile\".

That should do it.



HTH



R.

==

Quote:


On 2002-05-27 14:54, Steffen Walter wrote:

but how do I enter languages/language pairs as \"interest\"? I never came across any such feature on the \"Edit Languages\" form. Have I just overlooked something?



Any response greatly appreciated.

Steffen



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Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 19:22
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

MODERATOR
removing points May 28, 2002

Good idea, Nathalie! But who will be the judge? A review system will be needed. Or should the moderator do it?



You know, there\'s a similar discussion concerning Kudoz in a Polish forum. I\'ll invite Jacek Krankowski to join us here.


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