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What happens when you see a translation test in internet forums?
Thread poster: Argyro Alykatora

Argyro Alykatora  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 15:28
Member (2009)
Greek to English
+ ...
Feb 10, 2011

So you receive a test from a new client and then you see a million questions on that test in translation forums on the Internet. I thought tests were supposed to prove your competency and specialization on that specific field. Even if you get to pass the test and get the new client, isn't he/she going to understand that you are not competent in that specific field in the future? And even more why is the client addressing translators who are not competent in a specific field? I wonder...Even more, would you inform the client on what has happened or would you let your work speak instead? (quality not being the only significant factor here...)

Thanks for your contributions!


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:28
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
What happens? Feb 10, 2011

As I understand it, you're talking about a situation where both you and at least one other are taking the same test, and the other is demonstrating a lack of competence in the subject by asking questions.

Well, there's one thing I wouldn't do in that situation: I wouldn't help the other person by answering the questions! But I certainly wouldn't tell on them. At school, children learn from their peers that the "tell-tale" is considered the lowest of the low, no matter what marks they get in tests.

I think you are overestimating the visibility of KudoZ and its equivalents, though, if you expect outsourcers to be monitoring them. I'm sure they don't and I'm sure that at this stage of the process they do not know how competent the applicants are - or else why go ahead with a test that takes time. I would have thought that nine times out of ten, if a translator really isn't competent this would come out in the test result, even with help from others on some words.


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Philip Lees  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 15:28
Member (2008)
Greek to English
Not knowing a term does not equal lack of competence Feb 10, 2011

I agree with Sheila's viewpoint. Let me add that needing help with a specific term does not necessarily imply "a lack of competence in the subject". Even in areas where I consider myself highly competent and experienced, I sometimes come across a term I don't know. It may be a new technical term, or just one I've not seen before. So I try the dictionaries, on-line resources, ProZ glossaries and, if none of them turn up a satisfactory answer, I'll seek help from my ProZ colleagues. If I get a satisfactory answer there - and I almost always do - I'll add it to the glossary to assist future enquirers.

For me, this is just one part of the process of professional translation and if I needed it while doing a test translation, I wouldn't feel I was cheating, any more than if I opened a dictionary.

There's a lot more to producing a good translation than simply translating individual terms. Anyone who doesn't realise that (and I have seen some of them on these forums) is not going to turn in a good test translation, no matter how much help (s)he gets.


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 14:28
English to Croatian
+ ...
No need to monitor them Feb 10, 2011

Sheila Wilson wrote:
I think you are overestimating the visibility of KudoZ and its equivalents, though, if you expect outsourcers to be monitoring them..


KudoZ is connected with Google, so if you google a portion of the text ( say accidentally), KudoZ will appear in the Google search results.

I agree though that it's not her job to inform the client about what she's seen. That might be counter-productive, as the client may perceive it not objective from her side, since the conflict of interest is present here and motivations can varied.


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 14:28
English to Croatian
+ ...
How would you sort this out Feb 10, 2011

Philip Lees wrote:

For me, this is just one part of the process of professional translation and if I needed it while doing a test translation, I wouldn't feel I was cheating, any more than if I opened a dictionary.



Say you did the test for an in-house position; they don't allow dictionaries at the testing. How would you sort the problem then?


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Kate Chaffer
Italy
Local time: 14:28
Italian to English
Weren't you looking for help with terms too? Feb 10, 2011

Argyro Alykatora wrote:

I thought tests were supposed to prove your competency and specialization on that specific field. Even if you get to pass the test and get the new client, isn't he/she going to understand that you are not competent in that specific field in the future?


How did you come across the questions on translation forums? Possibly because you weren't sure of the terms and were looking for help/references on the internet? The person asking the question may just have gone one stage further in looking for help.


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Philip Lees  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 15:28
Member (2008)
Greek to English
Blindfold archery Feb 10, 2011

Lingua 5B wrote:

Philip Lees wrote:

For me, this is just one part of the process of professional translation and if I needed it while doing a test translation, I wouldn't feel I was cheating, any more than if I opened a dictionary.



Say you did the test for an in-house position; they don't allow dictionaries at the testing. How would you sort the problem then?


Anyone who imposes such silly restrictions (I left school many years ago) is unlikely to be someone I'd want to work for. However, if I found myself in such a position, of course I'd do my best, while informing them that I worked better when not blindfolded with one hand tied behind my back.

Let me stress that I don't post questions to ProZ all that often, but I certainly don't see anything shameful about it. Nobody can know everything.


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Anna Spanoudaki-Thurm  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:28
Member (2009)
German to Greek
+ ...
in the case of KudoZ... Feb 10, 2011

... the asker has to state clearly that the text is a translation test.
It is dishonest and unfair towards other colleagues not to do so. This is why I would find a short "reminder" to the asker appropriate. He/she should react by changing the settings of the questions.



[Έγινε επεξεργασία στις 2011-02-10 13:31 GMT]


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 19:28
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Activities of the weaker Feb 10, 2011

I find that both translation test and Kudoz question are the world that the weaker tries to evaluate the stronger (answerer/test doer). I participate into it as a game: when I have time and I want to enjoy the processes of silly questions and answers/evaluators.

Soonthon Lupkitaro


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Argyro Alykatora  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 15:28
Member (2009)
Greek to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your contributions! Feb 10, 2011

I certainly agree, nobody could or should know everything and this forum is certainly most helpful to that end. I myself have found it useful on a number of occasions. Here, we are not talking about technical terms but whole sentences that require a certain amount of creativity to flow well when translated in any language. So it's hardly a matter of understanding the meaning of the sentence (or looking for a specific term). I agree with Sheila and Lingua 5B, I would not choose on telling on my colleague as I find that a rather unethical approach on this and a number of other occasions. Kate, as for your comment, I have indeed finished the test a couple of days ago and came across the comments by chance. With regard to Philip's comments on producing a good translation (and thank you for your contribution in the Greek into English kudoz questions that I often find helpful), I couldn't agree more. Thanks Anna for that, I was not aware that there is such a setting.

Thank you all!


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Philip Lees  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 15:28
Member (2008)
Greek to English
Not dishonest Feb 10, 2011

Anna Spanoudaki-Thurm wrote:

... the asker has to state clearly that the text is a translation test.
It is dishonest and unfair towards other colleagues not to do so. This is why I would find a short "reminder" to the asker appropriate. He/she should react by changing the settings of the questions.


I disagree, Anna. At least when it comes to a test translation for a client. (If it's part of an examination for an academic qualification or something like that, it comes more under the "homework" category and is a different situation altogether.)

If a potential client is misguided enough to ask me for a sample translation as a proof of competence, I assume they want to know what I can produce under my normal working conditions. I view it as a small, unpaid job that I'm willing to do in the hope of securing future business. Thus, I see no need to treat it differently from any other kind of job.

Mind you, this scenario has never happened to me, so I'm only talking theoretically here.


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Philip Lees  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 15:28
Member (2008)
Greek to English
Inappropriate for ProZ Feb 10, 2011

Argyro Alykatora wrote:

Here, we are not talking about technical terms but whole sentences that require a certain amount of creativity to flow well when translated in any language.


But Argyro, such questions are not appropriate for ProZ at all. If somebody is seeking that kind of help on ProZ it's unethical, regardless of whether the translation is for a test or not.

I have commented occasionally in our forum when someone has posted a question like that. It is insulting and potentially destructive. Fortunately, it doesn't happen very often (not on EL-EN, anyway).


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Argyro Alykatora  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 15:28
Member (2009)
Greek to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes I agree with Philip Feb 10, 2011

Even more now that some translators will gain a client based on the results of the test, i.e. make money out of it. I don't believe it happens that often in EN-EL either, but I would point it out as well, unless there was a conflict of interest here.

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Nadejda Vega Cespedes  Identity Verified

Local time: 14:28
Spanish to Russian
+ ...
Nothing happens Feb 10, 2011

Come on, Argyro, let's not overrate prosaic stuff like knowledge, or ability to open a dictionary, or owning a dictionary for that matter. Translation has nothing to do with that, it is an elusory kind of skill which you haven't really mastered if you believe it requires familiarity with petty details like, you know, words.

Besides, there are tons of secret terms in every language. They don't exist in any reference materials that you are theoretically required to consult before posting a KudoZ question, so what are you supposed to do when you encounter one in a source text? Only two options are available: you can cry all night over your desperate situation, or you can go to KudoZ and ask carriers of the secret knowledge what "apparel" means, or "merchandise," or "reflect," or "emerging markets agreement," or "online banking details" (no kidding, all of the above are KudoZ questions from today and yesterday). Does this make a translator less competent? Absolutely not, as long as his or her copy/pasting ability has that magic quality to it.

As to clients, they don't want to know, for the same reason why other guys' customers don't want to know that a "cheap FDA-approved pill" sold over the Internet is not really going to triple the size of their "manhood" by tomorrow, or ever. An agency that once hired me instead of their regular proofreader, who was unavailable at the moment, went mad at *me* when I sent back a heavily edited translation. The regular proofreader had never made any major changes, so why the heck was I suddenly rocking the boat? "There are certain disturbing things we simply would rather not realize," wrote Professor Cialdini. This is one of those.


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Anna Spanoudaki-Thurm  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:28
Member (2009)
German to Greek
+ ...
@Philip Feb 10, 2011

I do not mean that seeking help in KudoZ in itself is dishonest. KudoZ is not "cheating". KudoZ is a valuable resource. To keep this resource sustainable, we have to respect it.

I do think that it is not honest to answer "no" to a clear question to which the answer is "yes". There is a reason why the question is there. The person who seeks help from colleagues should allow everyone to decide according to his/her own criteria whether to help or not.

Otherwise, I fully agree with you (and I would probably choose to help).


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