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Outraged by the use of the KudoZ system by some people
Thread poster: Ángel Domínguez

Ángel Domínguez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:16
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jun 13, 2008

Hi everyone,

I'm writing this to blow some steam, so please bear with me. I am currently looking for work as a translator; I have previous experience, although I lack academic credentials. But, nevertheless, I have worked as a translator before, so I guess it just depends on how professional and proficient you are.

However, I would like to stress that I'm turning to translation as a means of getting an extra income to get through a rough patch, so my amazement at what some people ask in the Kudoz system outrages me; and those translators are supposedly getting paid for that work...

I have seen an increasing number of questions that a good translator would never ask, or at least a translator with a minimum knowledge of a particular subject. What's more, in some cases a single asker posts a series of questions, minutes apart, from a specific text he/she is translating, which goes to show that the asker is getting us to do the work. Sometimes the questions are so easy they're hard to believe.

I can't help wondering how a supposedly professional translator dares to charge for a service he/she should be skilled and resourceful enough to solve for the most part without asking obvious stuff, yet asks some things that would be considered basic.
On the other hand, I've seen more and more comments mentioning the KudoZ rule 2.1 (http://www.proz.com/siterules/kudoz_asking/2.1#2.1), I guess it's an attempt to curb the unfair use of the KudoZ system.

Phew, that feels better now...

Regards O:-) Ángel



[Edited at 2008-06-13 08:34]


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
outraged is the word Jun 13, 2008

Angel Dominguez wrote:

.... my amazement at what some people ask in the Kudoz system outrages me; and those translators are supposedly getting paid for that work...

I have seen an increasing number of questions that a good translator would never ask, or at least a translator with a minimum knowledge of a particular subject. What's more, in some cases a single asker posts a series of questions, minutes apart, from a specific text he/she is translating, which goes to show that the asker is getting us to do the work. Sometimes the questions are so easy they're hard to believe.

Phew, that feels better now...



[Edited at 2008-06-13 08:34]


I understand your outrage perfectly. I'm also irritated these days by someone posting Qs who a) couldn't be bothered to use an online dictionary for terms, b) couldn't be bothered to research a bit, and to cap it all, is hugely economical in explanations and context. The people who answer irritate nearly as much, as they are effectively, as you point out, doing the work of someone who's supplanting them.


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:16
English to Arabic
+ ...
>Sigh< Jun 13, 2008

I'm glad you feel better now
I agree with everything you say of course, and I don't know how many times I've mentioned the Kudoz rules - particularly the one-term-per-question rule - over the past months. I've even been rebuked for openly calling for boycotts of specific askers, so I'm slowly resigning to the fact that there will always be askers who don't bother checking the rules (or choose to ignore them), and even more answerers who don't mind helping, no matter how many such questions are asked.


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:16
English to Dutch
+ ...
Ignore them Jun 13, 2008

Lia Fail wrote:

I'm also irritated these days by someone posting Qs who a) couldn't be bothered to use an online dictionary for terms, b) couldn't be bothered to research a bit, and to cap it all, is hugely economical in explanations and context. The people who answer irritate nearly as much, as they are effectively, as you point out, doing the work of someone who's supplanting them.



Which is exactly the reason why I hardly ever bother to answer these kind of questions anymore.


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Ángel Domínguez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:16
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Oh yes... Jun 13, 2008

Thanks for your comments! I forgot to mention what Nesrin points out about people not giving any context, just a word and that's all. I can't stand that...

In the only 2 KudoZ questions I made I always provided some background and/or an explanation of the intended style. But I'd say that shows in all aspects of your work; for example, when I send an e-mail to a client I always take the time to write all the information that is needed; same thing with providers we've worked with: I always write exhaustive specifications (which some of them don't even bother to read).

In the end it looks like the beast feeds itself. People make questions that shouldn't be answered but there's plenty of people more than willing to earn KudoZ points. And, alas, I have been in that place too...

Regards,

Ángel.



[Edited at 2008-06-13 09:41]


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xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 17:16
French to English
+ ...
you may feel better but it won't change much Jun 13, 2008

Dear Angel,
I'm sure letting off steam has been good for you. I'm also sure that having others agree has made you feel less alone.

In truth, the old site hands will tell you that your comments have been made by others before you and all sorts of suggestions made - including doing away with points - to make things better.

Sadly, you have to accept that we don't call the tune and nothing is going to change. The daft things is that, once you collect all these hundreds and thousands of points (my case), what on earth are you supposed to do with them ? (rhetorical question). I wish I could transform them into money that I could then give to charity or the like..... Perhaps I should start a sale.....

Seriously, if it is any consolation, I work in several language pairs and the phenomenon you mention is very pronounced there, too, especially in one particular pair that shall be nameless. In that pair, there are several people who clearly take on work in a wide variety of fields - judging by their many and various questions (I'd love to know who gives it to them and what they charge.....), ranging from medical to legal, from financial to technical - areas they cannot possibly cover in full, especially in the case of the younger ones (time factor). I have ONE speciality, albeit broad and, even at my advanced age, still come across things I don't know....... Yet they take on these jobs - because they know they can "find salvation" from their peers on this and other sites. When they stick together the bits & pieces they glean here and there, I'd LOVE to see the end result. Must be fun (except for the client who may not be laughing - assuming he/she understands enough to realise what is going on).

The only solution is to avoid such people and to let the blind lead the blind. Sooner or later it should come out in the wash. Here's praying
Chris


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Buck
Netherlands
Local time: 17:16
Dutch to English
I feel the same Jun 13, 2008

Obviously, when someone is new to translating, they will have more questions, but what I personally find strange is when someone asks several questions that appear to come from the same text. The person has clearly taken on a text, the subject of which he is not competent in. I tend to ignore these, because, like you said, we are doing the work for them. There is a wealth of dictionaries and resources on the Internet and should, imo, be exhausted before asking a question.

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Gianni Pastore  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 17:16
Member (2007)
English to Italian
OT mode (on) Jun 13, 2008

Nesrin wrote:

(...) and even more answerers who don't mind helping, no matter how many such questions are asked.


Exactly just like there will always be translators willing to work for 0.02 cent/word, no matter how loud folks complain about it G

OT mode (off)


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Juliana Brown  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 11:16
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
And what is the point of asking for help Jun 13, 2008

translating from X to Y, when an answerer then provides you with an answer in the source, rather than the target?????

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 17:16
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Filter these people out Jun 13, 2008

On your KudoZ dashboard you will find an option called 'Colleague flags and filters',
where you can filter out any individual user of the site who irritates you.

It doesn't stop them asking questions, and nobody knows except you and the system, so it makes no big difference in practice.
But you can ignore them in peace! It means you will not be notified of their questions, while you can join in KudoZ with the people you do want to help - or trust to help you.

I sympathise so much with your feelings, but life is really too short to worry about things when you can't change them.
Moderators do try to clamp down on direct abuse, but as long as the rules are not broken, there is not much we can do.
Believe me, we discuss it reguarly, but most suggestions for tightening the rules would in practice annoy the people who use KudoZ as intended, who luckily are very much in the majority, more than the types you describe.

But I have used the flter a lot, and it does help to keep my blood pressure at an acceptable level

Good luck with the translating, Ángel. I hope you soon get through the rough patch. You might even get hooked on translating - that 's how I started Then I took some training and was helped a lot by colleagues, and here I am.

Unfortunately there are not too many good translators about, but there are clients who appreciate them, so I hope you find some.


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Mykhailo Voloshko  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 18:16
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
profile Jun 13, 2008

I don't know whether otusourcers ever look at the statistics of your answered/asked questions (in the profile), but I guess those translators you mentioned will be in less favourable situation than you are.

Sadly, those people can choose not to display such statistics in their profile.
Happily, you can display yours!

Good luck!


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:16
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Blame the clients/outsourcers! Jun 13, 2008

Sometimes, not only in Proz/Kudoz, but also in other similar e-venues that shall remain nameless here, I see "tranZlators" asking questions and giving examples of their attempts in the target languages.

First, I notice that they have enrolled there as translators "from A into B". The question per se is undeniable evidence that some individual or organization - predictably regretful in the future - has hired them to translate into "C" (which stands for a human language not the computer one).

Then I see from their attempts that their knowledge of "C" merely stems from its resemblance to "B", by having read a lot in "C", maybe even studied a little, but not enough.

It's just as sensible as maneuvering a dentist into "fixing" a throat inflammation. It's close enough.

What kind of a client hires this sort of translator?

Once I saw a translated book that had been published (thank goodness it's POD) by a friend of mine. After just a few pages, I was ready to sign an affidavit as evidence for that translator to sue whoever convinced her that they had taught her English! The publisher was sad, he told me that she had a "quite impressive" CV. I'd be quite curious to see her other "monsterpieces".

[Edited at 2008-06-13 13:17]


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
researching Jun 13, 2008

Buck wrote:

There is a wealth of dictionaries and resources on the Internet and should, imo, be exhausted before asking a question.


Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day, teach him to fish and he'll never want:-)

It's clear that these people are taking advantage and supplanting "real" translators: the evidence lies in the fact that they couldn't even be bothered to:

1. research their subject and learn about it
2. learn how to research

Both are fundamental to translation, one to acquire field knowledge, the other as a key info resource.

Being a young translator is one thing, but those are generally identifiable and deserve help and support.

I bet the translation pair Chris refers to is one I also work in:-)


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Arturo Delgado  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:16
English to Spanish
Ignore or Answer the Questions Jun 13, 2008

One option is not to answer those questions. Ignore them.
A better option (in my opinion) is to answer the question with...
"You can find that in the dictionary"
"Do a little more research, you can do it"
"Need you to send more context/explanation to be able to help you"

Also, we could write to the answerer (by selecting "disagree" and writing a comment:
"disagree with helping with extremely easy questions"
"disagree. Shouldn't we have more context?"

We tell these people our opinion/outrage/etc about this kind of questions, and we still get some points for "collaboration"!!!!!


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 10:16
German to English
Worst practices Jun 13, 2008

Hi Angel – Yes, there's only one option authorized by the site: ignore them. This is very unfortunate because pro translators are generous people, who are happy to help newcomers to the site figure out all the bells and whistles for asking questions and even help people who are new to the craft of translation. It's a shame the rules don't allow us to point them in the right direction. Worst practices abound and pros must maintain silence.

Since you mention rule 2.1, I thought it would be helpful to remind members what it actually says. Unfortunately rule 2.1 is not actually a rule but a "guideline" (official site interpretation), which is nullified by rule 3.7, which really is a rule and is strictly enforced in some language pairs. Members are prohibited from invoking "rule" 2.1, i.e. in any way calling an asker's attention to it. Rule 3.7 has been used by the site to expel colleagues from the site when they've reminded askers to do their homework before asking pros to help them with their translations.

In other words, the site insists that non-professionals are untouchable and translators who care about standards must remain silent or risk draconian punishments. In the meantime, this policy has had the effect of attracting more and more unqualified people to the site to try their hand at making money in translation and encouraging them by letting them ask 15 questions per day, 60 questions per week with no fear of embarrassment.

2.1 KudoZ should be used for requesting terms help only after other resources have been exhausted. Resources available include the KudoZ archives (KudoZ > ProZ.com Term Search from the main menu), dictionaries, search engines, etc. If translations are found elsewhere and the decision to post a KudoZ question is made nevertheless, information found elsewhere should be included, along with an explanation of what further information is sought.

3.7 Commentary on askers or answerers, and their postings or decisions to post, is not allowed. Comments or insinuations concerning an answerer's or asker's experience or profile, his/her decision to post a certain question or answer, grade or close a question in a certain way, make a certain glossary entry, etc., are strictly prohibited (whether posted publicly, made directly to the person in question, or made to another site user).


[Edited at 2008-06-13 15:05]


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