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Experiment for next contest: Sharing "likes" and "dislikes" of entry texts
Thread poster: Henry Dotterer

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 20:18
SITE FOUNDER
Apr 19, 2008

A few days ago a post was made regarding a planned change in voting for the next round of the ProZ.com contests. In that post, mention was made of a second planned change. Here is the description of it.

The second thing that is planned as an experiment for next time around is a feature that will allow viewers and voters to exchange views on specific portions of entries, in a structured manner, even as voting is underway.

The goal of experimenting with this feature is two-fold: to provide contestants with feedback, and to help voters make informed decisions. The thinking is that, if properly structured, a feature of this sort could lead not only to an increased assurance that the best entries will win, but also to constructive feedback for contestants, whether or not their pairs go to the finals.

A system with the following characteristics is imagined:

* People viewing entries will have the opportunity to designate portions of the text that they like or dislike, while referencing the portion of the source text to which they believe that portion to correspond. A comment and reference link can be entered to support the position.
* Other viewers, in turn, will be able to agree or disagree on the likes and dislikes entered by others, adding comments and reference links of their own.
* Comments will be restricted in length. By rule (and if necessary, vetting) they may only be linguistic in nature.

[The following were added based on feedback in this thread:]
* It is anticipated that exchanging "likes" and "dislikes" will influence voter choices. It will be possible to change one's ratings, and votes, at will until the close of the rating / voting periods.
* Names would be shown with comments - but only after the contest closes (to reduce the risk that author identities become apparent)

To facilitate this system, and to make rating and voting more convenient, an option will be provided in the page showing entries to display the source and target texts in closer proximity. Efforts will also be made to make the process of selecting portions of texts from source and target (for expressing likes and dislikes) as efficient as possible. We may even give contestants the option of "aligning" their entries (in the translation memory sense) to facilitate this process.

It is planned that this part -- the "likes and dislikes" functionality -- would be tested once before the next round of the contest, to reduce the risk that there would have to be any changes made to it during an actual competition. A publicly available translation and its source will be selected, and those interested will be invited to share their likes and dislikes on the translation. With this experiment, and the feedback from those who participate in the experiment, it should be possible to create a useful new means of exchanging views regarding translations.

What do you all think?


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gianfranco  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:18
Member (2001)
English to Italian
+ ...
Great Apr 19, 2008

I think that, on top or beside the competitive aspect or the fun aspect, the ability to give and receive good and professional feedback can be very useful, for many participants.
Primarily for young translators and students, but not only. From what we have seen so far, not only for them. Everybody needs good honest feedback.

If implemented well, with an easy interface to enter comments and pleasant to browse, or peer-grade, it could become the real jewel of these contests.

bye
Gianfranco



[Edited at 2008-04-19 21:49]


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patyjs  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 18:18
Spanish to English
+ ...
Good plan. Apr 20, 2008

I really like the idea of being able to "discuss" the entries openly with other viewers/voters.

I have a question. Will the identity of those making observations be visible?

I can see being able to read comments by other voters influencing the voting quite a bit. I wonder if it might not be an idea to have a few days just for feedback/comments before the voting begins. Otherwise a comment posted after someone's vote might cause that voter to rethink and want to change the vote. (I hope I'm being clear.)

It's certainly a step in the right direction... IMHO, anyway.



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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 20:18
SITE FOUNDER
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, patyjs Apr 20, 2008

patyjs wrote:
I have a question. Will the identity of those making observations be visible?

(edited) Usually, showing names works out better that allowing anonymity. But what do you (and others) think?

Showing names could give hints at who submitted an entry. Maybe names could become visible next to comments only after the winner is selected.
I can see being able to read comments by other voters influencing the voting quite a bit. I wonder if it might not be an idea to have a few days just for feedback/comments before the voting begins. Otherwise a comment posted after someone's vote might cause that voter to rethink and want to change the vote. (I hope I'm being clear.)

Interesting idea. Another possibility would be to allow people to change their ratings / votes until the rating / voting period closes.
It's certainly a step in the right direction... IMHO, anyway.

Thanks for your feedback!


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Cristiana Coblis  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 02:18
Member (2004)
English to Romanian
+ ...
changing votes until the voting closes - a good idea Apr 20, 2008

Henry D wrote:
Another possibility would be to allow people to change their ratings / votes until the rating / voting period closes.


I would really like it if it were possible to change my vote until voting closes. It rather corresponds to my way of making decisions and I like to have an option to change my mind just in case

Given the number of translations in the final phase, picking the first three is a long process. I usually read the entries several times and make notes to remember likes/dislikes and then I read again some of the entries to make a decision. This process is usually divided and fragmented through the qualifying and voting phases and it would be good to have an option to change my vote at a later stage to better reflect my preferences.

I also like the commenting feature proposed. It will allow discussion and feedback which will benefit both contestants and voters and improve the learning experience.

[Editat la 2008-04-20 10:42]


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mariana24  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 21:18
Spanish
+ ...
Good idea! And question... Apr 21, 2008

Hi Henry and All,

I think this idea of commenting (before voting starts) is quite good. I agree with what's been said. Now, would the author have the possibility of "defending" -say- the part of his/her translation under discussion?

Something worth telling happened in the last contest, in the English>Spanish pair. An extremely interesting discussion took place after the contest was over. Renditions, solutions, research, many, many things were shared. During this stage, someone said that the translation of a particular word was wrong, based on one given dictionary. Other people agreed with this. Then, someone (I) said that the translation of said word was not wrong because this other dictionary said it was right. This particular exchange ended up in a very enlightening discussion on that term in particular (with the participation, via correspondence, between a participant and people responsible of both dictionaries). If I am understanding your proposal well, in this particular case I'm telling you about, the first opinion would have been agreed, without -with your new method- the author being able to argue back, since I gather that if the author enters the discussion he/she would stop being anonymous. Would there be any way for authors to participate in a discussion on their own translation to remain anonymous? Do you see any disadvantages on authors participating in an exchange over their own work?

Thank you in advance, and I think everyone appreciates what you people are doing to improve the wonderful learning and exchange space these contests give us (which I think, it is all what they are about).

Cheers,

Mariana


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:18
Italian to English
+ ...
Dissenting voice Apr 21, 2008

Am I the only one who thinks that these contests are taken far too seriously by (some of) the entrants and, as a consequence, are being made over-complicated for those voting?

They're just a bit of fun, surely? And yet they seem to be creating acrimony and controversy everywhere. Personally I'd leave the structure exactly as it is. Those voting don't actually gain anything by doing so and making the process more long-winded and time-consuming seems counter-productive to me. While my particular pair has so far been relatively trouble-free, the continuing discord and seemingly increasing frequency of the contests are combining to turn me off the whole idea, and if the voting process is also made more complex I'll probably stop participating altogether.

[Edited at 2008-04-21 09:55]


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Jean-Pierre Bergez Saretzki  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:18
English to Spanish
Dissenting voice Apr 21, 2008

[quote]Marie-Hélène Hayles wrote:

Am I the only one who thinks that these contests are taken far too seriously by (some of) the entrants and, as a consequence, are being made over-complicated for those voting?


No, you´re not the only one.

As I said before (in another posting), the change I would make is to vote for one translation only instead of three. That will force voters to really make their mind up, and the winner will know that is not thanks to having more second or third choices.

The voting process is one of public voting, not vetted, no requirements, no criteria... just give your vote to the best of your ability.

Also, it´s not serious because the winning entry may have a couple of translation mistakes, anyway. But, who cares, if it´s just a bit of fun? If you do, then maybe this contest is not for you. Maybe instead of trying to make this one more accountable, the thing to do will be to develop an entire new contest, and leave this one as it is.

Cheers,
Jean-Pierre


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Maurice Devroye
United States
Local time: 20:18
English to French
Exchanging views regarding translations Apr 21, 2008

Hi Henry,

Thanks for your ideas regarding contest rules. I jumped into the 6th contest at the last minute and only during the voting round. You may have seen my 2 posts entitled "Eros de Tim Parks". (You read French, don't you?). Before that I posted a short "Une autre lecture" message offering to the community a spread sheet containing the 11 final entries all aligned.

F.Y.I, I must report that only one member asked me for that document... As for the "Eros by Tim Parks" evaluations, I ended up being the only one to comment on the difficulties of the original EN text and on my own preferred solutions. A far cry from what happened in the EN>SP pair as described above.

Even though adding more rules may not be the best way to do it, I still think the contest could/should be a great opportunity to share, compare and evaluate translations. Therefore I support your suggestion to start with this experiment and see what kind of feedbacks we get even before the next contest.

Cheers,
Maurice


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Hilary Davies Shelby
United States
Local time: 19:18
German to English
Good ideas! Apr 24, 2008

I think this will be really interesting - I'd like the opportunity to exchange (and receive) more feedback!

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IwonaASzymaniak  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:18
Member
English to Polish
+ ...
As you can see you are not the only one Apr 24, 2008

Marie-Hélène Hayles wrote:

Am I the only one who thinks that these contests are taken far too seriously by (some of) the entrants and, as a consequence, are being made over-complicated for those voting?

They're just a bit of fun, surely? And yet they seem to be creating acrimony and controversy everywhere. Personally I'd leave the structure exactly as it is. Those voting don't actually gain anything by doing so and making the process more long-winded and time-consuming seems counter-productive to me. While my particular pair has so far been relatively trouble-free, the continuing discord and seemingly increasing frequency of the contests are combining to turn me off the whole idea, and if the voting process is also made more complex I'll probably stop participating altogether.

[Edited at 2008-04-21 09:55]


I couldn't agree more. I also think the contest and voting should not be changed. In some language pairs, reading all the entries takes a lot of time. If the whole process is more complex who will have enough time to take part in the voting process. Some people just take it out of proportion.
Minor spelling, punctuation and the like mistakes... who cares if the whole translation reads well.
So many people here declare that translation is their passion or how they love translation. For some entrants and voters it seems to have become a nightmare.
Why? What for? I can't understand.

Iwona

[Zmieniono 2008-04-24 18:58]


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Joseph Brazauskas
United States
Member (2006)
Latin to English
+ ...
Some Reflexions on the Contests Apr 24, 2008

I concur whole-heartedly. The disproportionately passionate and indeed acrimonious spirit in which many of the entrants pursue these contests betray that they are less concerned with having a bit of fun than with garnering those proverbial fifteen minutes of fame. Frankly, I do not have the time, even if I had the inclination, to enter or to vote in these contests which are, as Ms. Hayles and others justly point out, overly complicated, fraught with discord, and counterproductive due to the long-winded and time-consuming voting process. I might add that the themes are, to my mind at least, tiresome and not particularly calculated to get my creative juices flowing, but aside from this a greater objection of mine is that poetry has been quite neglected and that it does not appear at all likely that it will ever become a part of these contests. But then, considering the exceedingly mundane nature of the prose texts to be translated, poery, like aesthetic prose, is hardly to be expected.

Marie-Hélène Hayles wrote:

Am I the only one who thinks that these contests are taken far too seriously by (some of) the entrants and, as a consequence, are being made over-complicated for those voting?

They're just a bit of fun, surely? And yet they seem to be creating acrimony and controversy everywhere. Personally I'd leave the structure exactly as it is. Those voting don't actually gain anything by doing so and making the process more long-winded and time-consuming seems counter-productive to me. While my particular pair has so far been relatively trouble-free, the continuing discord and seemingly increasing frequency of the contests are combining to turn me off the whole idea, and if the voting process is also made more complex I'll probably stop participating altogether.

[Edited at 2008-04-21 09:55]


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Pavel Tsvetkov  Identity Verified
Bulgaria
Local time: 02:18
Member (2008)
English to Bulgarian
+ ...
We will never know until we have tried Apr 25, 2008

I side with those who would not like to see a considerable amount of complications regarding the organization of contests - in principle. However, there is nothing wrong with introducing new rules and trying them out - for we will never know if they will work or not until we have tried.
Again, if discussions are permitted in the voting period, no offensive or counter-productive remarks should be allowed. But how can you administer that? And what is the definition of "counter-productive"?
People should get brownies for casting their vote - in the amount that should make them interested in the idea of spending time for voting. Those who have submitted an entry should also be motivated in some way (even if they do not win).
Discussions in Kudoz have proved that people tend to be influenced by the way others vote: if a suggestion for a translation has won two positive votes it's much more likely to get a third one. Also - negative votes/comments by colleagues tend to scare voters away. So, I am afraid that making others' opinions visible in the voting period may corrupt the process. In language pairs like English to Bulgarian some members have spent years participating in Kudoz and have accumulated an enormous amount of points. The opinion of one such member will always be valued (even if he was a translator with a limited specialized knowledge) and new non-members may feel the the urge to vote like him/her.
And since I have mentioned non-members: I do not know if they are allowed to vote in contests, but I believe they shouldn't. If non-members do not vote then the possibilities of registering fake profiles and voting through them would be eliminated.
And finally, allow me to repeat my proposal from a previous post: there should be different contests (maybe going simultaneously) for each of the major spheres: a literary translation, a technical translation, etc. This will, first of all, get everybody's attention, and secondly, allow translators to vote in the sphere of their expertise.


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