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Very, very obvious term queries
Thread poster: Karin Walker
Karin Walker  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:16
German to English
+ ...
Jun 8, 2001

Hi there,

I apologise if this has been queried before but I am relatively new to proz.com.



I am an active reader/contributor to the term query pages (mainly German/English), and have seen a large number of very helpful queries and answers over the last few weeks. However, I can\'t help noticing that some queries are so simple that one wonders why they take the time to post. E.g. \"Good luck\", \"Happy Birthday\", \"Hello\" and so on. Translators who use this site are presumably sufficiently internet-literate to know how to use a decent search engine such as google (an indispensable resource for translators) or Eurodicautom, for instance.



Please don\'t take this the wrong way, my criticism is most definitely not meant in a nasty way. It\'s just that when I came to proz.com for the first time it appeared to me to be a relatively serious and useful site for serious and professional translators. When I see someone posting for a translation of \"Hello\", that impression is rapidly destroyed.



Just a thought. I would be interested to hear what others think of this matter.



K. Gartshore


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Rebekka Groß  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:16
English to German
Jun 11, 2001

I do agree with this comment. I\'ve just found a question in the English-German community where someone asked for the translation of \"What is that?\". Some questions can actually be answered via dictionaries (even though translation professionals will draw on a multitude of resources).



In this context, there is something that bugs me a bit: the asker of a question can remain anonymous. I would like to see a link to their profile.


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 17:16
SITE FOUNDER
Jun 11, 2001

There are two difficulty levels in KudoZ: \"pro\" and \"easy\".



The \"Pro\" level is for translators to ask each other for help on tough terms. As for \"easy\" questions, these may be asked by non-translators to the community here.



If you do not want to be notified of \"easy\" questions (\"I love you\", etc.), use your email filter to turn off forwarding of them specifically.



The idea is that by answering easy questions on a voluntary basis, we will attract more attention and therefore clients.



Thoughts appreciated...


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Matthew Harris
Germany
Local time: 23:16
German to English
Jun 11, 2001

I have this nagging feeling that some questions are just a little bit off the mark in their spirit, as in with little real earnestness. So if someone is a potential client, then they can post a job, but if they\'re a translator they can also ask some of the more simple terms. But the whole air of how some of these terms are being asked is sort of flip or somehow off. Do you follow me? Do you have a way out of this \"cluttering effect?\"



I\'ve sent specific samples in directly to proz, but wanted to air this in the forum also.



Matthew13

[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-06-11 13:45 ]


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Karin Walker  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:16
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Jun 12, 2001

Hi Henry,

and thank you for your reply to my \"flood of e-mails\", by the way, my 429 e-mails this morning were enough of a proverbial kick up the behind to change my preferences!



I didn\'t really mean the e-mails that people are sent to notify them of queries. It\'s more the fact that I am annoyed about posts like \"Shit\" (a current example, by the way!) and \"Hello\" and the like. Whether they are graded as easy or not doesn\'t really matter to me.



OK, I realise that this is my personal soapbox and I shall get off it now, but the responses have shown that I am not alone with this view. To quote Matthew13: \"But the whole air of how some of these terms are being asked is sort of flip or somehow off. Do you follow me? Do you have a way out of this \"cluttering effect?\"



Karin



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Rebekka Groß  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:16
English to German
Jun 12, 2001

I still agree with K Gartshore. Easy questions are fine and I\'m happy to answer them. I do, however, think that some questions put people off and that is, at the end of the day, at the cost of those who post serious, if easy, questions.



Some easy questions don\'t give a context at all so we shouldn\'t even attempt to send answers. To loosely quote one of my lecturers at uni: If somebody asks you \"What is\'xyz\' in German (or any language for that matter), ALWAYS ask in what context the word/expression is used.\" This might be a bit pedantic but in essence it\'s the right approach.



And about answering easy term questions \"voluntarily\", Henry, all our contributions are voluntary. Without them, \"Ask a pro\" wouldn\'t work at all.


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Dave Simons
Local time: 23:16
French to English
Jun 17, 2001

Henry: \"The idea is that by answering easy questions on a voluntary basis, we will attract more attention and therefore clients.\"



I\'d really (really, really...) be surprised if potential clients were impressed with our excellence at translating things like \"bonjour\", \"I luv you\", \"skol\", \"sayonara\".

I\'d not be surprised at all, however, if a potential client came across a page with lots of these and said \"no, that\'s not serious enough for me.\"



Or maybe you\'ve already quantified this and I\'m teaching my granny to suck eggs...



Dave



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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 17:16
SITE FOUNDER
Jun 17, 2001

Quote:


On 2001-06-17 03:19, mrquiz wrote:

Henry: \"The idea is that by answering easy questions on a voluntary basis, we will attract more attention and therefore clients.\"



I\'d really (really, really...) be surprised if potential clients were impressed with our excellence at translating things like \"bonjour\", \"I luv you\", \"skol\", \"sayonara\".





OK, I should have backed up my earlier statement with a little more explanation.



Here\'s the deal: if we want to allow other people to put \"Ask a Pro\" boxes on their websites--and thereby expand the ProZ.com network and brand recognition--we have to accept questions from people who are not registered ProZ.com members.



As we have learned, many of questions coming in from those affiliates will be easy ones.



A person asking how to say \"Welcome to Canada\" might never be a client. But when a business reaches out to a mass market, contact with the \"uninitiated\" comes with the territory. In some cases, the person we\'ve helped will come back with a paid job. In others, the person may tell friends about ProZ--and those friends may need serious translation work done someday.



And as for those people who ask for help on their homework--maybe some will be tomorrow\'s translators. I recently met a college professor who instructs her class to consult KudoZ after all dictionaries have failed. Should we discourage this type of publicity?



Fewe people are impressed with the quality of Altavista/Systran\'s babelfish service. But many are impressed by their brand recognition. Say \"online translation\" to someone outside the industry, and you are likely to hear \"babelfish\" in return.



Everything I see suggests that as our network expands, so does our number of clients.

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xxxeurotransl
German to English
+ ...
Jun 17, 2001

Henry is absolutely right - (fortunately) many people have come to realise that machine translation does not work - translation is a process that involves very intricate brain activities as well as a person\'s emotional level, and these are things that cannot be reproduced by a computer or machine (not until, at least, scientists have fully come to understand what the brain is all about - and even then: how would you program feelings? \"Reading between the lines\"?)



As a result, human translation is here to stay, uncontested. And that\'s what attracts so many people to the \"human interfaced\" KudoZ.



Surely, it can be annoying sometimes to see one person (like those school kids) feed their entire homework into the system, word for word (this is especially bad for those that receive KudoZ questions by e-mail and end up with a flooded inbox - that\'s why I have disabled that), but I guess we\'ll just have to put up with it.



I have put forth some suggestions on how to improve the KudoZ system and access to it, but the more I think about it, the more I am convinced there is no practical solution without limiting legit users too much. Maybe we should just leave it the way it is (somebody else said here - relating to a different topc - \"if it ain\'t broke, don\'t fix it\").



As for potential clients being put off by questions like \"I love you\", etc., I think, we can assume that they are reasonable adults who will conclude what we already know: if you provide a service like KudoZ (for free) you are bound to attract less serious-minded people as well - and that these clients will not hold it against us if we actually answer such questions once in a while.


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Silvio Picinini  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:16
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Jun 18, 2001

\"After dictionaries failed\"...



I have a question and a comment. I would like to know how easy questions are graded in terms of points. It seems to me they are graded with the same points as Pro questions, and this is unfair. I think these questions should be graded with far less points than Pro ones. This was my question.

Now, my comment: the way this is presented at ProZ home page, \"How do I say XXX in YYYY\" works as invitation to Hello/Goodbye questions that should be answered through babelfish or dictionaries. I don\'t like the way this was presented at the home page. As Henry said, \"after dictionaries failed\" should be the slogan for posting even easy questions.


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Didier Fourcot  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:16
Member (2004)
English to French
Jun 18, 2001

ProZ as a superdictionary:

We as professionals do consider ProZ as a resource \"when everything else failed\": with our current knowledge and available material (books, dictionaries, known web sites and search engines, etc), we could not find the translation of a term. This is certainly Pro usage, but all the questions show that tough for one translator is easy for an other one: a chemical name may be undecipherable for a translator and perfectly clear in both languages for an other one

So let\'s transpose the idea to the \"Easy\" part of the questions: if the user is also in the situation where \"everything else failed\": only has Harrap\'s shorter in house and nobody knowing a word of this damned language that you have to understand; this could result in a \"really easy\" question on the forum, but let\'s remain humble: the definition of easy depends on the person, the subject, the language, etc

Perhaps ProZ could have some links to useful dictionaries on the pages used to ask questions, this should be perhaps more efficient to remove \"useless\" postings than a complicated procedure to remove them?


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 17:16
SITE FOUNDER
Jun 19, 2001

Quote:


On 2001-06-18 08:42, silviop wrote:

I have a question and a comment. I would like to know how easy questions are graded in terms of points. It seems to me they are graded with the same points as Pro questions, and this is unfair.




Yes, easy and pro questions are currently graded on the same scale. It has been proposed that this be changed, either by (1) making easy questions worth fewer KudoZ points, (2) making pro questions worth more points, or (3) by awarding BrowniZ points (an indicator of helpfulness/activity level) rather than KudoZ points (an indicator of expertise.)



This dicussion is happening in another thread, titled \"~~~\". PLease weigh in there, as I would like to make a decision on this soon.


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xxxJon Zuber
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jul 7, 2001

I\'d just like to say that the presence of so much crap in the Easy section has led me to stop even glancing at it, or, since I imagine there are others like me, posting to it. I feel bad about posting to Pro questions that really belong in Easy, but working in the language I usually do I can\'t afford to make my pool of potential answerers any smaller than it already is.

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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 17:16
SITE FOUNDER
Jul 7, 2001

Quote:


On 2001-07-07 05:57, Jon Zuber wrote:

I\'d just like to say that the presence of so much crap in the Easy section has led me to stop even glancing at it, or, since I imagine there are others like me, posting to it. I feel bad about posting to Pro questions that really belong in Easy, but working in the language I usually do I can\'t afford to make my pool of potential answerers any smaller than it already is.





This is a valid approach. Remember, \"Pro\" questions are questions that require the services of professional translators. \"Easy\" questions are questions that could be answered by ANY bilingual person. You are not wrong to limit your serious queries to that area. \"Easy\" is really for \"How old are you\", \"Best wishes on your anniversary\" and the like...



Lately, I have tried to make it easier for those who wish to avoid the Easy section to do so altogether.



To those who will say that there should be no such thing as \"Easy\" questions, I would say this: participation in that area is a choice. Many translators want to help people in that way...and the service is not only good for business (it DOES bring in clients), it is really appreciated. Here is a thank you letter from one asker of an Easy KudoZ question:



\"We all thank you for your time & effort in doing this task for the **** family!! It may seem to be just an insignificant task compared to transcribing medical terms & such but to a lonely young man far

away from home...... I\'m most sure that it made his day... no week!!!

Again, Many Thankyous\"

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xxxeurotransl
German to English
+ ...
Jul 7, 2001

Thank you, Henry, for sharing this letter with us. Things like that shed a new light on the whole issue of Easy questions, etc.

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