The language variant: getting it backwards, once again
Thread poster: Kim Metzger

Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 20:55
German to English
Apr 18, 2008

When members asked for the ability to enter answers to KudoZ questions that would not be for points – not-for-points answers - the site gave us not-for-points questions. For many years, members have also been asking the site to provide a feature to encourage askers to stipulate the language variant they are translating into, and now the site has given us a feature to allow answerers to stipulate the language version they are offering.

Allowing askers to provide "answers" that won't be included in the points race would be a healthy step forward toward improving the quality of the glossary entries. Members can provide background information, definitions of terms, etc. that can help the asker and colleagues find the best translation. But any such answers are not intended to earn points and when they're not selected, the helpful colleague is penalized in his/her reliability ratio.

The point of stipulating the language variant is to further refine what the asker is looking for. A French Canadian, a Brazilian, an Australian, a Mexican may be translating into his regional variant of French, Portuguese, English or Spanish, for example. Giving answerers this option and not askers is getting it backwards.


[Edited at 2008-04-18 20:24]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 00:55
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I'm not so sure Apr 18, 2008

As it is, the question is "general", answers are regional.


Case 1: You asked a question, how does one say "X" in Spanish. You'll get answers about how to say it in the Spanish spoken in Argentina, Paraguay, Spain, Cuba, Uruguay, whatever, maybe including even Portuñol in Miami and/or Foz de Iguazu, and eventually... Mexico!

Great! You will have been served, sir. But if another translator later wants the same "X" in the Spanish variant spoken elsewhere, there will be many options to be searched and found there, in the very same place.

Also, if nobody gives you the answer for Mexican Spanish, you might get lucky and discover they use the same Mexican word, say, in Venezuela.


Case 2: You ask about "X" in Mexican Spanish. None of your "hermanos de língua" in any other country will bother to give it a try. You'll get only Mexican answers.

If a colleague from, say, Colombia, has the same question some weeks, months, or years later, s/he will have to search separately to screen out, e.g. Peru, Ecuador, Chile, and so on.


I guess this is the rationale: when you search the Kudoz database, you'll find all the answers on one page. If the word used in the Dominican Republic suits you, you'll find it quickly.


If I failed to mention any Spanish-speaking country, it's just because I didn't need any more examples.


The only problem I see is that one must write the region/country name. So should I write "Brasil" (PT-ES) or "Brazil" (EN)? Even worse: Brasilien (DE), Brazylia (PL) and so on.


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Marta Fernandez-Suarez  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:55
English to Spanish
Kim, thanks for bringing up this topic Apr 19, 2008

Hi

Kim, I agree with you wholeheartedly.

José, with all due respect, I would rather have case 2 and hence a more certain chance of getting the answer I need, than case 1 and cross fingers. But I do see you have a point.

The ideal case scenario could be case 2 with an automatic link created connecting the term to other variant answers for the same word, but in such a huge database and without some sort of parameters on the way questions need to be formulated (sometimes we need translations for isolated terms, sometimes for whole sentences, etc.) it sounds quite far fetched.

Regards,

Marta


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Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:55
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
You can always use "ask asker" function Apr 19, 2008

I do not know what is the practice in your language pair(s) but in English-Polish we very often use ask asker function to give a helpful hint or to suggest something, I think that it is quite sufficient.

Best
Stanislaw


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Marta Fernandez-Suarez  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:55
English to Spanish
filters on searches + asker rarely inserting language variant (at least in Spanish) Apr 20, 2008

Hi

The problem is that at the moment there is no way you can filter your target language results so that one gets only answers into a particular language variant, because there is no language variant field for the asker. The matches on general non-specialised terms can be too many because of it.

Additionally, as there is no such field, people forget or do not bother to insert the desired language variant and then -after many people from different countries answer- it turns out to be a key parameter to award KudoZ points.

Regards,

Marta


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moken  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
Filters all round Apr 25, 2008

Hi Kim,

While I agree that work still has to be done, I believe it's a step in the right direction.

Previously I found myself answering a relatively large number of comments from peers pointing out that so and so was not said that way in their country; eventually developed the practice of specifying the target dialect in most of my answers. Now I just type in the language variant. It saves me an awful lot of time.

I still agree that it should be compulsory for answers to specify such issues - even if one of the options is something as unappealing as "International or Neutral Spanish".

Stanislaw Czech wrote:

I do not know what is the practice in your language pair(s) but in English-Polish we very often use ask asker function to give a helpful hint or to suggest something, I think that it is quite sufficient.

Stanislaw


Hi Stanislaw, while it does seem quite sufficient, it is incredibly tedious to have to enter these notes time and time again. I know that each language pair is different, but in my pairs there are hundreds of questions every day. Unfortunately a very high number of them do not state their target preferences.

This leads to more time-wasting for asker and answerer alike. Very often, by the time an asker provides the context, the question will have dropped from view and less people will view the question - resulting in a lower probability of finding adequate answers.

Furthermore, it is not only askers that are busy. Very often people who put in the odd answer to help someone out are also working on their own assignments. In my particular case, when I'm busy I just don't bother to ask. I skip the question, full stop.

Frustratedly,

Álvaro


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