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How I will vote in the ProZ contest
Thread poster: GoodWords

GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 17:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sep 20, 2007

The Spanish>English portion of the contest has 27 qualified entries, by far the most of any pair. When I started to read them to prepare my vote, I realized I would find it difficult to vote objectively because there are so many entries and so many factors to keep in mind, not to mention the mental fatigue by the time I have reached the end of the 27.

I decided to start making a table that will help me to prepare to vote. The idea is to prepare a summary of my opinions on the entries in such a way that I can quickly compare across entries how they treated any particular expression, and at the same time, get an overview of my opinion on any given entry. I'm sharing it with you here, in case anyone else may find this technique, or a variation of it, helpful.

To get started, I have opened an Excel worksheet. Across the top, I'm putting the anonymous ID numbers of the entries, so that columns will correspond to entries. In the first column, I'm putting as row headers all the expressions and turns of phrase that I thought offered particular challenges. Then in each row, I fill in the solution which the entrant in the corresponding column gave for that expression.

To make it easy to see my opinion at a glance, I am colouring the cell red if I don't like the solution, and pink if I think it was not quite optimal, but not wrong either. If I think the solution was OK, I am leaving it black in regular font, and if I think it was particularly inspired, I am bolding it.

When I am finished, I will be able to scan the table and see at a glance which entries I thought were the best (no red, not too much pink, and possibly more bold cells).

Edited to add: Now that I've processed a few entries, I found it useful to add one more colour code: blue for "better than OK" but not quite as outstanding as the solutions I put in bold. So, to summarize, I have regular black font for good solutions, blue for better solutions worth noting, and bold for excellent solutions. On the negative side I have red for solutions I don't like at all and pink for those that I think could have been better but aren't out-and-out wrong.

[Edited at 2007-09-20 18:17]


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Maria Diaconu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 02:35
English to Romanian
Good method Sep 20, 2007

Thanks for sharing! I find it really useful.

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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:35
English to Arabic
+ ...
Another method for the lazy person Sep 20, 2007

I'm a bit lazier than you, so I found a quicker method, which may not be as fair as yours..
I picked a few expressions in the source text which I knew may prove tricky for the translators, then quickly went through all the translations to see how the translator handled it. This helped me eliminate most of the entries, then I focused on carefully reading the remaining few.


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 17:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That's what I was going to do, but.... ! Sep 20, 2007

Nesrin wrote:
I'm a bit lazier than you, so I found a quicker method, which may not be as fair as yours..
I picked a few expressions in the source text which I knew may prove tricky for the translators, then quickly went through all the translations to see how the translator handled it. This helped me eliminate most of the entries, then I focused on carefully reading the remaining few.


That's what I had been going to do, but in the particular case of the Spanish>English pair I soon found that it was unworkable because, as it happened, every entry seems to have some "disqualifiying" expressions. I'm about half-way through the 27 entries as I write this, and all the best ones, the well-written ones with with ingenious creative solutions to the tricky expressions also have at least one solution that I'd deem "wrong" or at least "could be greatly improved".

Also, if I could judge in pairs with, say, 6 or fewer entries, all this work would probably be unnecessary; it would be feasible to just spread them out. look at them all at once and compare them directly.

[Edited at 2007-09-20 20:19]


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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 19:35
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
What an organized mind! Sep 20, 2007

I'm in awe, GoodWords.

You're right, the Spanish/English pair has so many entries that voting is a daunting task. In fact, I'm not even voting this time because of a looming deadline.

When I have voted, though, I've done it as you did--but scribbling notes on the back of an envelope, not in a neat table. I customarily work that way, too, and color-code virtually everything; I've just been too lazy to set it up for the ProZ competitions.

Next time, I'll do it your way. It's a great idea, and will end up being far more equitable.

Jane


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xxxPablo Borraz
Argentina
Local time: 20:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
Posible addition to the contest Sep 20, 2007

Would it help if there were a field to enter a private comment, for your own organizational purposes, for each entry?

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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:35
Italian to English
+ ...
Great idea Sep 21, 2007

I voted in the Italian-English pair, which only had 7 qualifiers, and I used the same method as Nesrin. But even there, there were some expressions I preferred from one translator and others from a second or third, so your system would have been useful for me too. Shame I read this thread after voting!

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Rowan Morrell  Identity Verified
New Zealand
Local time: 12:35
Member (2003)
French to English
+ ...
No Time For A Spreadsheet (although I like it) Sep 22, 2007

I like the idea of using a spreadsheet, but unfortunately I haven't really got the time for it. As a entrant, I feel slightly conflicted about voting, but nevertheless, I intend to vote for entries that I feel merit it. In the initial round, my vote was sometimes the decider in qualifying an entry, and also the decider in disqualifying several others! When it came to negative votes, I only voted for entries that I thought were really bad, and as I said, I actually helped one or two of the better entries to qualify. I have endeavoured to play fair, and am still trying to do that.

So far, I have only voted in the Spanish-English pair. In the other -> English pairs, I'm honestly having trouble finding a really stand-out entry. But I thought the Spanish-English pair had several quite solid entries without any major blunders, and voted for three of those (although in hindsight, I'm kind of wishing I'd given four points to the entry I picked as my 3rd choice!).

My method is basically to skim through the text and look for any howlers or significantly poor passages. Some otherwise decent entries had one or two really shocking mistakes that for me, was enough to eliminate them from any further voting consideration. The entries I did eventually vote for had no significant blunders, although there may have been one or two minor boo-boos (like typos) or bits that sounded slightly awkward. But overall, they read well and generally handled the most difficult parts of the text with some aplomb.

I'll feel a bit funny if one of my own entries gets pipped by one I myself voted for, but I guess if that happens, at least it means others agreed with me that the winning translation was a good 'un!

Eventually, I probably will vote in the other pairs, but I'm having real trouble in deciding which way to order my votes, or even which entries to vote for at all! And I would feel just the same if I hadn't submitted any entries myself. Maybe I should use that spreadsheet after all ...


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xxxPablo Borraz
Argentina
Local time: 20:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
New voting feature Sep 24, 2007

Hi all,

A new voting feature has been added to the voting phase. Now you have personal marks (only visible to you) on each entry. You can mark the entries chosen "candidate", "not a candidate", and "not yet sure", and you can also leave a note attached to them. I hope it will be useful.

Thanks to all of you for your great suggestions.

Best regards,
Pablo


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