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Seeking opinions on the timing of contest phases
Thread poster: Katalin Horváth McClure

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:11
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Apr 16, 2009

Dear Colleagues,

I asked Romina about this issue in a private email, and she suggested to start a forum thread to see what others thought.
As we all know, there are 3 phases in a contest: 1. Submission, 2. Qualification and 3. Final voting.
(Sometimes 2. omitted, and the pair goes directly into 3. Final voting.) Entries are hidden during the submission phase, they became visible during the Qualification and Final voting phases.

During the previous contests, the timing of these three phases was pretty much on a pair-by-pair basis, resulting in a situation where some pairs entered into phase 2 or 3, while others were still in 1, waiting for more submissions.

I think leaving the submission phase open in some languages while others are in the subsequent phases is a mistake.
I think Phase 2 or 3 (where entries are visible) should not start until the submission is closed in all pairs.
The reason is simple: many people speak multiple languages. Seeing a translation of the source text into one of their languages can help them submit their entry in another language.
There is the issue of closely related languages as well, so for example one can check the Serbian translations and perfect his own Croatian text, if that pair is still open for submissions.

Checking out translations submitted into other languages, and also seeing the tags by peers can help contestants realize their mistakes, or get creative ideas, which places them at unfair advantage compared to those that work only in one pair.

(Sidenote - you can skip it: In extreme cases, it may make it possible for people to submit entries in pairs where they don't really master the source language. For example, if I can see a good English translation of the Spanish source text, I could submit an entry for the Spanish-Hungarian contest, and my chances are not too bad, even though I do not speak Spanish at all. Would it be fair for me to enter the contest this way? Would it be ethical? If "my submission" wins, would it be a slap in the face of all genuine Spanish-Hungarian translators? If my translation is bad, would it be fair to waste the time of others that do the evaluation?)

I guess the reason for keeping some languages open for submission while others were already in the next phases was to wait for at least 3 entries, and not to delay the voting in languages where there are plenty of submissions. But I don't think it is a good solution, I think it would be much better to keep the original submission deadlines. You may want to make the overall submission period longer than before, but once the deadline is decided, keep it. If some pairs do not have enough entries, then I would suggest to simply close the contest in that pair with no prizes, perhaps leave the option of peer opinions for the sake of learning. I think this would be more fair, then having a loophole in the system where people can gain unfair advantage. This would also help to prevent the contest being dragged on forever. (How many months did it take from the start of the last contest until all winners were announced? 5 months or so?)

So, here is the question for everyone:
Do you agree that the submission phase should be closed at the same time in ALL language pairs?
I would like to ask everybody to state "Agree" or "Disagree" in the title of their response, for the sake of seeing the opinions clearly.
Thank you
Katalin


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Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:11
Member (2009)
French to English
I agree Apr 16, 2009

I agree with your fundamental point that the submission phase should be closed at the same time in all language pairs, although for a different reason - simplicity. I think it would be far better for ProZ to state that "the contest" is open and "the contest" is closed, rather than having staggered announcements for various languages. There could still be the possibility of offering extensions for some language pairs if the numbers were not sufficient.

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Stéphanie Soudais  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:11
Member (2006)
English to French
Agree Apr 16, 2009

I fully agree with all what you said. Last contest lasted very much long, I stopped being interested after a few weeks.
Stéphanie


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Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:11
Member
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Agree Apr 16, 2009

I fully agree with your points. (I raised quite the same concerns in a private email to Romina back in November.)

Attila


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Annett Hieber  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:11
English to German
Agree Apr 16, 2009

I fully agree for the reasons already mentioned:

1. Fairness
2. Simplicity
3. Duration

Annett


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Laureana Pavon  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 07:11
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Agree Apr 17, 2009

I didn't know that the same source text was used for multiple target languages. Of course, now that you mention it, it makes perfect sense.
I agree that the submission phase should be closed at the same time in ALL language pairs.


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:11
Italian to English
+ ...
Agree Apr 17, 2009

Good analysis, Katalin.

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Anne-Marie Grant  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:11
French to English
+ ...
Agree Apr 17, 2009

It is definitely an unfair advantage to be able to read translations of the same text in different languages before you submit your own.

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Christian Schneider  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:11
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
Agree Apr 17, 2009

nothing more to add to what's already been said ...

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lundy
France
Local time: 11:11
French to English
Agree May 4, 2009

You have made a very good point

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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:11
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It seems we have a consensus here May 4, 2009

Romina,
I think we have a clear consensus here.
Could you please comment?
Thanks
Katalin


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RominaZ
SITE STAFF
Thanks for the feedback May 4, 2009

Hi All,

Thanks Katalin for posting, and to everyone who has posted feedback so far. This will be taken into account for possible implementation in the next contest.

Romina


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Turz  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:11
German to Italian
+ ...
Agree Jul 8, 2009

I agree for all the reasons stated above.

My opinion diverges just for one point: if the deadline is the same for all languages but there is just one entry for some "rare" pairs, I think it's correct and fair to declare that entry as "winner" if it is deemed acceptable by voters.
If just one or two people are expert in a language pair, they deserve even more than if they were just "more expert than others".


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