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Kudoz: do you help colleagues who are clearly translating out of their mother tongue?
Thread poster: Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:19
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Aug 5, 2008

I don't. My first reaction is: tough, mate! You deserve it! But I might be an old cynic...

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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:19
English to Dutch
+ ...
I do Aug 5, 2008

That is, if you mean the source text of the translation is in their native language, and they are translating into a target language that is not their native language.

But lately I've seen KudoZ questions being asked by people who report neither target language nor source language as their native language, or even worse: they ask questions in pairs they don't even mention in their profiles. I don't help those people.

I've also stopped answering questions that are so basic that it is clear the asker has hardly any knowledge of the source language.

Cynical? Hmm. Not sure about that.


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:19
Member (2004)
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
yes... Aug 5, 2008

translating into a target language that is not their native language...

But why do you do it? Are you a particularly charitable person? Why encourage this abysmal trend?


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xxxJPW  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:19
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not sure about that... Aug 5, 2008

Margreet wrote:

they ask questions in pairs they don't even mention in their profiles. I don't help those people.


There may be a perfectly innocent reason:-

I recently had to ask a KudoZ question in Basque, so I could send a friend my condolences in her native language. I am fairly sure I stated the purpose of the requested help when I posted the question, but others may simply overlook that aspect.

Regards,

JP.


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:19
Member (2004)
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
fine... Aug 5, 2008

John Paul Weir wrote:

Margreet wrote:

they ask questions in pairs they don't even mention in their profiles. I don't help those people.


There may be a perfectly innocent reason:-

I recently had to ask a KudoZ question in Basque, so I could send a friend my condolences in her native language. I am fairly sure I stated the purpose of the requested help when I posted the question, but others may simply overlook that aspect.

Regards,

JP.


if you state the reason and is acceptable. But when someone is translating the instructions for a medical device in a foreign language, surely this is to be discourage...
Do you help?


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:19
English to Dutch
+ ...
Guilty Aug 5, 2008

Well, as you may have noticed, I also translate into English sometimes, so I myself have to plead guilty in this case too For the record, I always get a native English proofreader to check the quality of my work.

No, I'm not particularly charitable. But I feel this native/non-native debate is much more complicated than a lot of people would like to believe.

I feel the lack of quality assurance and the lack of proper self-judgment by some people is causing the biggest problems here. So I don't just answer any old question; I do check people's profiles and previous postings and questions to see if it's worthwhile to help them out.

Maybe I also lack self-criticism; if so, I'm willing to learn. So shoot me if you like


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:19
English to Dutch
+ ...
Of course Aug 5, 2008

John Paul Weir wrote:

Margreet wrote:

they ask questions in pairs they don't even mention in their profiles. I don't help those people.


There may be a perfectly innocent reason:-

I recently had to ask a KudoZ question in Basque, so I could send a friend my condolences in her native language. I am fairly sure I stated the purpose of the requested help when I posted the question, but others may simply overlook that aspect.

Regards,

JP.


I would help out in a situation like that, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about multiple questions by people who - when asked in the ATA-box - refused to tell why they did not state any of the languages involved as their working languages and gave no other explanation whatsoever.


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xxxJPW  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:19
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sorry... Aug 5, 2008

...I should have expanded.

I don't always have time for KudoZ anyway, but
when someone is translating the instructions for a medical device in a foreign language
, presumably with no subject-matter knowledge, then there are always some kindly souls who will lend a hand, even if oneself is not inclined or otherwise engaged.

Margreet wrote:
I've also stopped answering questions that are so basic that it is clear the asker has hardly any knowledge of the source language.


These are the ones which I can't figure out: it takes less time to look them up than post the question in the first place.

But there is a limit on the amount of questions you can ask - that surely will prevent someone from trying to translate an entire document via KudoZ, n'est-ce pas?


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 17:19
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Sure... Aug 5, 2008

As you might see in my profile, I do not translate into English, but I have no objections if some other native Polish translators do. The reason is simple: there are not enough Polish-English translators who are skilled enough in translation, are native speakers of English and, to top it all, have the slightest idea what they are writing about.

This is evident in Kudoz questions, actually: there are not too many native English speakers who answer them... most of the answers come from Polish speakers.


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 18:19
Turkish to English
+ ...
same for Turkish Aug 5, 2008

Jabberwock wrote:

There are not enough Polish-English translators who are skilled enough in translation, are native speakers of English and, to top it all, have the slightest idea what they are writing about.

This is evident in Kudoz questions, actually: there are not too many native English speakers who answer them... most of the answers come from Polish speakers.


Replace "Polish" with "Turkish" above and exactly the same applies to my main language pair.
With the exception of about 6-8 languages that are commonly taught in English-speaking countries, translation from other languages into English is mainly done by speakers of the source and the not the target language. There just aren't enough native English speakers with the necessary competence in these languages to translate from them.


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Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:19
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
I don't Aug 5, 2008

I appreciate that other language pairs might be different, but there are plenty of Spanish to English translators, so I don't see why I should help non-native speakers out with their KudoZ questions. In my opinion, they should have refused the job and pointed the client in the direction of a native speaker, just as I would do if someone asked me to translate into Spanish. This the reason why I have filtered a lot of poeple in KudoZ and I no longer see their questions.

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:19
English to Spanish
+ ...
Some yes Aug 5, 2008

I will help some at first because I usually do not look so closely at the asker, only the question. But if it becomes obvious due to repeated long phrases, etc. that the asker is trying to work beyond his/her capabilities, then I forget them.

It is impossible for someone who is not capable and who does not really know the language to produce good work. I start thinking that whatever answers I might have provided could be the only things they got right in their translation, and that is not going to get them very far.


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 10:19
German to English
Don't participate in cheating translation buyers Aug 5, 2008

Nikki Graham wrote:

I appreciate that other language pairs might be different, but there are plenty of Spanish to English translators, so I don't see why I should help non-native speakers out with their KudoZ questions. In my opinion, they should have refused the job and pointed the client in the direction of a native speaker, just as I would do if someone asked me to translate into Spanish. This the reason why I have filtered a lot of people in KudoZ and I no longer see their questions.


The bottom line is pro translators should NOT help someone produce lousy translations. If a Dutch person is working on a job into English and it's clear from her questions that she can't write decent English and that the results will be horrendous, pros shouldn't participate.

Haven't all pro translators signed up to a code of ethics? Even ProZ.com has asked members to endorse their Professional Guidelines. http://www.proz.com/professional-guidelines



[Edited at 2008-08-05 15:30]

[Edited at 2008-08-05 16:14]


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Evonymus (Ewa Kazmierczak)  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 17:19
English to Polish
+ ...
well Aug 5, 2008

Well, this subject was discussed on this forum so many times, too many times in my humble opinion.
I’ve seen some translations done by English native speakers (professional translators) that did not make sense at all. And they didn’t make sense to scientists either (scientists who are English native speakers).
If I would get crazy enough to translate legal texts, even from English into Polish (my mother tongue), certainly I would deliver more than rubbish translations.
But vegetation science....this is a different story (for me)
And (as Margreet does), I also get a native English proofreader to check the quality of my work.
So have a nice afternoon everybody
Ewa


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:19
Swedish to English
+ ...
The question is wider than native/non-native Aug 5, 2008

I very rarely answer KudoZ these days. Why? Simply because I don't feel most askers in my pairs actually deserve help.

As I work in small language pairs, I'm able to "get to know" both askers and answerers. These days most askers (and possibly answerers) are less than deserving. A few examples:

- A few days ago there were a lot of questions from askers with a question/answering ratio of something like 1500+/100-
- Not long ago the trend seemed to be for native speakers of language X to ask questions from A to B or vice versa

Not surprisingly, many of the competent answerers in my language pairs have long ago disappeared.

On a more general level, if I had a penny for every question asked by target language native speakers who are totally unable to spot obviously typos in their source language/s, I'd very, very rich...

Most prozians appear to be concerned about whether or not a translator is a native speaker of the target language. An important issue I admit, but what about the level of source language competence? In my opinion, a translator unable to spot obvious typos in his/her source language is seriously unprofessional.


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