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What makes a question on proz PRO?
Thread poster: Buck

Buck
Netherlands
Local time: 16:12
Member (2007)
Dutch to English
Feb 26, 2009

I hope I'm not opening a can of worms with this, but it has been bothering me and I need to get it off my chest. Recently, I have noticed quite a few questions in my language pair, Dutch-English, that have the status PRO, when they obviously are not and could be found in a decent modern dictionary or with a little effort on the Internet. I am not referring to any individual in particular. I sometimes vote non-pro, but often no one else does. Doesn't the fact that simple questions are marked as PRO dilute the value of questions that are actually PRO? I'm also interested in knowing whether this also occurs at a frequency which some might perceive as frequent.

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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:12
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A PRO question requires professional knowledge Feb 26, 2009

As simple as that. Anything you can simply and unmistakenly translate with the help of a regular dictionary is clearly not a PRO question.

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Anne Kjaer Iversen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 16:12
German to Danish
+ ...
Guideline Feb 26, 2009

Deciding between 'PRO' and 'Non-PRO'
When deciding whether to label a question 'Non-PRO' or 'PRO', use the following guideline:

Almost any question asked by a professional translator should be marked 'PRO'. The non-PRO category is intended for term questions that any bilingual person can answer, such as 'I love you' and the like.

If there is any doubt in your mind as to whether a question should be categorized as PRO or non-PRO, go with PRO.

Source: http://www.proz.com/inc/info/info_frame.php?info_mode=info&code=easy_vs_pro&v5=1



[Edited at 2009-02-26 15:12 GMT]


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:12
English to Dutch
+ ...
My humble opinion Feb 26, 2009

...or maybe not so humble

Buck wrote:
Recently, I have noticed quite a few questions in my language pair, Dutch-English, that have the status PRO, when they obviously are not and could be found in a decent modern dictionary or with a little effort on the Internet. I am not referring to any individual in particular.


I think this has been happening for quite some time, actually.

Buck wrote:
I sometimes vote non-pro, but often no one else does.


Some others I know do the same, but it does not seem to make much of an impression.

Buck wrote:
Doesn't the fact that simple questions are marked as PRO dilute the value of questions that are actually PRO?


Yes, I think it does. I usually ignore questions that do not interest me, so it does not really bother me when answering. However, it does bother me when searching the termbase.

Buck wrote:
I'm also interested in knowing whether this also occurs at a frequency which some might perceive as frequent.


Yes, I think so. It also happens the other way around, though. Some people mark questions as Non-Pro whereas I feel they should be Pro-questions.

The problem is, of course, that it can be a rather subjective and sometimes arbitrary decision. 'I love you' (as mentioned in the guideline) is simple enough, but there are dozens of words and phrases out there that are hard to classify.

If there is any doubt in your mind as to whether a question should be categorized as PRO or non-PRO, go with PRO.


This may be happening too much.

My very personal opinion - I'm interested to hear what others have to say.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 08:12
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Almost always PRO Feb 26, 2009

When I ask a question, it is almost always PRO because by that time I have already looked in dictionaries and searched the internet and not found what I was looking for. Or in some cases I need to better understand the source text, which usually also requires someone with expertise in the topic.

As Margreet says, it's very subjective and sometimes people mark a question as PRO when it isn't and vice versa. I don't think it's a big deal - it certainly doesn't bother me.


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Stephen Gobin
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:12
German to English
+ ...
Agree with Margreet and Tina Feb 26, 2009

This kind of reminds me of being in a situation where a PM or client says that s/he's got a text that needs translating and that it's really easy, it won't take you long at all. Who is the judge of "really easy"?

Moreover, it is unusual for any text not to contain industry-specific terminology, even in texts that would be classified as of a "legal nature" for instance. Texts do not restrict themselves to one specific set of terminology from one specific field of activity.

I do feel that it is the professional translator's task to do his/her research (not just here on Proz but elsewhere too) before posting a question. What I do find disconcerting though is that some answerers can on occasion be quite uncharitable to people asking questions that to the answerer probably seem straightforward. People have different strengths and nobody is an expert across an entire field. As we say in English: It takes all sorts.


[Edited at 2009-02-26 19:21 GMT]


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Cristina Heraud-van Tol  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 10:12
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A really difficult one Feb 26, 2009

I believe it's a term or phrase you cannot find in any dictionary at home, neither on the web. You don't have any more resources left, and you can't think of anything that would suit there. I always ask PRO questions, because after doing a thorough research I cannot find the right word.

I guess the non-pro questions should only be asked by people who are not translators or students who are just starting. Translators asking non-pro questions are either:

- Bad translators
- Lacking time to do a search
- Lacking resources or imagination

Of course not everything that people ask as "PRO" is really that, and vice-versa. Perhaps I think my question is PRO, while you don't regard it as such. As the proverb goes: "Every man to his taste".


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Mulyadi Subali  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 22:12
English to Indonesian
+ ...
plain economic Feb 27, 2009

imo, when you mark the question as pro, it will get more answers fast. as we all know, non-pro points are not displayed and pro points affects the search ranking.

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Stéphanie Soudais  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:12
Member (2006)
English to French
subjective Feb 27, 2009

I think it's very subjective and depends on your expertise. Someone very specialized in automotive will find any car engine parts so easy to translate that they will systematically vote non-pro, while the terms might are in fact pro.

When I was studying translation, we had as an exercise to take whatever text in whatever field (written in our native language) and then underline all terms which could be considered as specific to the field or to other fields. In the end, more than half of the text was underlined, because a word like "plug" might have several meanings in different contexts.

As for non-pro questions, I myself ask such questions if an expression is easy to understand to any bilingual person but for which I can't find a flowing wording or if the translation is on the tip of my tongue.

Now I have another question: I agree that any term you can easily found in dictionary should be label "non-pro". What if someone asks a question that is already in the KudoZ glossary - but the asker didn't check it. Should we then vote non-pro ?

Stéphanie


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Aniello Scognamiglio  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:12
English to German
+ ...
A click on the right button :-) Feb 27, 2009

PRO - question for professional translators or specialists
Non-PRO - a question for language learners

Best,
Aniello


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 16:12
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
In the eye of the beholder Feb 27, 2009

I am not allowed to take part in the new GBK KudoZ (yet) because my language pairs and specialisms don't match up.

But I can see that some of these questions are more 'PRO' than others.
To put it differently, because they are posted in many language pairs, they may look PRO in some pairs and NON-PRO in others.

A couple of examples: Brainstorming and Mud-slinging.
These are jargon expressions in English, but they have been adopted more or less in the Scandinavian languages, so anyone who reads the newspaper or listens to current affairs on the radio would regard them as non-pro. They may not be nearly so obvious to speakers of less closely related languages.

Brainstorming is just brainstorming in Danish, and mud-slinging has been 'translated' as mudderkastning. Still recognisable to English speakers!

Some of the GBK questions, on the other hand, are really specialist terms and I would expect them to be pro in any pair.

***
I work in a couple of subsidiary pairs and sometimes need an English expression, maybe for an idiom that is very transparent to native speakers, but not to me... Having tried all the resources available to me, I post my questions as PRO, and I am deeply grateful to the patient souls who help me out!

But others might call them points grabbers going for easy questions.



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writeaway  Identity Verified

Local time: 16:12
Partial member (2003)
French to English
+ ...
That would be lovely Feb 27, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

As simple as that. Anything you can simply and unmistakenly translate with the help of a regular dictionary is clearly not a PRO question.


Unfortunately reality is quite different. For some unknown reason, a majority of "Pro" questions asked , in my pairs at least, are pure dictionary questions and not "pro" at all. In fact a 'real' translator would never ask them.
On old sites that link to Proz, one can still see that a 'non-pro' (easy) question is listed as something any translator would know and "pro" is listed as anything even a pro translator would have to look up.
A far cry from the current situation. Of course KudoZ point hunters must be in 7th heaven nowadays because very few "pro" questions are anywhere near pro. Imo, the site made a huge mistake when they decided that points earned from non-pro questions weren't worth counting. It's made everyone "pro" mad and greatly reduced the value/significance of earning Kudoz points.


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