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Quality of English in Articles
Thread poster: Tina Colquhoun

Tina Colquhoun  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:16
Danish to English
+ ...
Mar 10, 2007

Maybe this has been discussed before...

But the level of English in a vast number of the articles posted in the Article Knowledgebase is of such poor quality that it is embarrassing. Does no one bother to look through this stuff before it is posted? These people are purporting to be doling out 'expert' knowledge or at the very least they must think have some sort of skill or talent to impart if they are writing and posting articles. It's a great shame that on a site like this that skill or talent is not the English language...

Can nothing be done about this?

Tina


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:16
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Many members of Proz are not native speakers of English Mar 11, 2007

Hi Tina,

A large number of Proz members are not native speakers of English, and do not translate into (or even from) English. A high level of English cannot be assumed or expected in the case of colleagues who already have two or more main languages that are not English (e.g. French and Spanish). This does not detract from the expertise of those colleagues on other topics. Perhaps your writing skills would also not be so good if you wanted to write an article and always had to write in French, for example.

There is absolutely no need for the articles of these colleagues to be edited by native speakers of English.

And, yes, the subject has been discussed before - more than once.

Astrid


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Maria Karra  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:16
Member (2000)
Greek to English
+ ...
articles Mar 11, 2007

Tina Colquhoun wrote:
But the level of English in a vast number of the articles posted in the Article Knowledgebase is of such poor quality that it is embarrassing.
an nothing be done about this?
[/quote]

Hi Tina,
Whenever you see an article that is badly written you can contact a moderator (you can certainly contact me) and we will take a look at it. What we can do is hide the article temporarily and ask the author to have it proofread or rewrite it in one of his/her target languages.
Maria


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Maria Karra  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:16
Member (2000)
Greek to English
+ ...
articles in other languages Mar 11, 2007

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:
A large number of Proz members are not native speakers of English, and do not translate into (or even from) English.
his does not detract from the expertise of those colleagues on other topics. [/quote]

I'd like to clarify that articles don't have to be written in English. We already have many articles in other languages.

When it comes to topics of general interest (CAT tools, marketing, etc.) more people benefit from an article written in English, so in my opinion it's nice of a translator who doesn't speak the language very well to take the time and write an article in English. Astrid, I agree with you, we could be more lenient in such cases. However, when an article is so badly written that it's embarrassing, I don't see any harm in contacting the author. He'd probably appreciate it.

Maria


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Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 05:16
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
Ergo, site/individual image = unimportant Mar 11, 2007

Firstly, I should like to take the opportunity to congratulate the many people I've had the pleasure of reading in these forums over the past few years for whom, as Astrid rightly says, English is not their A, B, or even their "Z" language.

(OK. So I'm envious...

I've spent the past 18 years trying to learn German. But a language with 16 ways of saying "the" simply doesn't strike me as being at all serious.
To my shame, I've never got past page 4.)

Having said that..........

There is absolutely no need for the articles of these colleagues to be edited by native speakers of English.


I fail to understand this.

It does not sound like an opinion; rather, a statement of fact, and not a little dogmatic at that.

If we (in theory) are so professional that we strive to submit texts which are so polished you can see your reflection in them; we painstakingly agonise over every word to get it "just right".......and on many occasions make this entire effort when perhaps only two or three people are going to read the final result....we then publish an article which can potentially be read by thousands of colleagues (!) in flawed English?

Me no understand.
Andy


[Edited at 2007-03-11 02:24]


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Evonymus (Ewa Kazmierczak)  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 05:16
English to Polish
+ ...
? Mar 11, 2007

Andy Watkinson wrote:
I've spent the past 18 years trying to learn German. But a language with 16 ways of saying "the" simply doesn't strike me as being at all serious.


[Edited at 2007-03-11 02:24]


Hello Andy,
Which language you find serious then (besides English of course). And what does it mean a serious language??
I just wonder.
thank you. regards
Ewa
P.s. And of course, I apologize for my low-quality English.


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Tina Colquhoun  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:16
Danish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Ploughing Mar 11, 2007

>Perhaps your writing skills would also not be so good if you wanted to write an article and always had to write in French, for example.<

I am sure they would not, but the whole point is that I would not WANT to post an article in French or Russian or Zulu in a public language forum unless a native speaker had proofread it first. I am not criticising anyone's language skills or their undoubted expertise on the topics selected. I am questioning the judgement of these writers/translators who do not seem to know their own limitations. In my opinion, there is a kind of arrogance floating around here in thinking that no matter how ridiculous your command of the language in which you are writing, readers will still be patient and interested enough to plough through this amateurish presentation of ideas.

>There is absolutely no need for the articles of these colleagues to be edited by native speakers of English.<

I have to disagree with you - strongly. We are not talking about the odd typo or lack of definite article. Some articles become abject nonsense and are exhausting to read because of the poor English. This surely defeats their purpose.

I would not mind if we were talking about a plumbing site or car maintenance for the world. This is a site dedicated to language and translation. Translators are always griping about how the profession is not taken seriously. Displaying this kind of unedited, unproofread and unintelligible knowledgebase can only damage the 'professional image' that we are all contributing to this site in order to build up.

Tina


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Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 05:16
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
Hu Evonymus Mar 11, 2007

Evonymus wrote:

Andy Watkinson wrote:
I've spent the past 18 years trying to learn German. But a language with 16 ways of saying "the" simply doesn't strike me as being at all serious.


[Edited at 2007-03-11 02:24]


Hello Andy,
Which language you find serious then (besides English of course). And what does it mean a serious language??
I just wonder.
thank you. regards
Ewa
P.s. And of course, I apologize for my low-quality English.


It's all explained on the following website:

http://www.whathappened to yoursenseofhumour.com

Andy


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Evonymus (Ewa Kazmierczak)  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 05:16
English to Polish
+ ...
:) Mar 11, 2007

Andy Watkinson wrote:

It's all explained on the following website:

http://www.whathappened to yoursenseofhumour.com

Andy


ok. you're right! apparently just having a bad day; sorry
cheers, Ewa


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María Teresa Taylor Oliver  Identity Verified
Panama
Local time: 23:16
English to Spanish
+ ...
Off-topic Mar 11, 2007

Andy Watkinson wrote:

It's all explained on the following website:

http://www.whathappened to yoursenseofhumour.com

Andy


Hehe... Thanks, Andy, your reply actually led me to a real, existing website: http://www.whathappened.com/

Seems interesting.

BTW, thanks for making me smile


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:16
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Agree with Tina Mar 12, 2007

[This is a site dedicated to language and translation. Translators are always griping about how the profession is not taken seriously. Displaying this kind of unedited, unproofread and unintelligible knowledgebase can only damage the 'professional image' that we are all contributing to this site in order to build up.]


You have said it very well and I agree completely. If the main language of communication on this site is English, then English it should be. Any article in a journal, magazine or newspaper is edited before being published. It should be the same on the ProZ website.


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Oleg Osipov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 07:16
English to Russian
+ ...
Healthy criticism Mar 12, 2007

With two Tinas.

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