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Pro-level KudoZ
Thread poster: Kim Metzger

Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 23:41
German to English
Oct 3, 2008

Based on the threads posted recently and again and again over the years, it is clear that many pros are hugely disappointed with KudoZ. They are also disappointed with the lack of informed responses from the powers that be. Recently the focus has been on askers and poorly formulated questions. It seems that many of us take the site's claim of offering "a workplace for professional translators" seriously.

I would like to ask fellow users/members how you feel about the definitions of pro-level and non-pro level KudoZ.

PRO questions are those that are asked by OR that are suitable for professional translators.

Non-PRO questions are those that are asked by people who are not professional translators, and that can be answered by any bilingual person without the aid of a dictionary.

So if someone wants a translation of a term that is in the dictionaries, the question is properly classified as a pro-level question under the current definition, i.e. "suitable for professional translators". Do professional translators ask colleagues to look up words for them in a dictionary unless they are temporarily away from the tools of the trade? Clearly, a pro translator would not ask such a question and clearly such questions are not suitable for pro translators.

Do we need new definitions of pro and non-pro questions? Any suggestions on how to word these definitions?

The rule that is not an enforceable rule, 2.1 states, "Use KudoZ to ask for a translation only after you have consulted the KudoZ archives (KudoZ > KudoZ Search from the main menu), dictionaries, search engines and any other commonly available resources that might be helpful. If you find translations elsewhere and still wish to post a KudoZ question, include the information you have found and explain what further information you seek."

Should some of this wording be incorporated into the definition of a pro-level question?

[Edited at 2008-10-03 23:08]


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ntext  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:41
Member
German to English
+ ...
Splitting HairZ Oct 4, 2008

In the early days of ProZ there were a lot of KudoZ questions being posted along the lines of "How are you?" and "You are an idiot." I believe that had to do with KudoZ being accessible through other, non-translator gateways. Back then, if I remember correctly, KudoZ was also not categorized by detailed subject categories. So having a NON-PRO category made some sense against that backdrop, especially as a way for answerers to filter out NON-PRO questions. (Actually, I think they were called EASY back then.)

But nowadays I rarely see this type of trivial question, at least for German {} English. We also have detailed subject categories now which prevent "How are you?" KudoZ from being listed in, say, the biochemistry category.

In other words, I would probably do away with the PRO / NON-PRO disctinction altogether.

But if the distinction is to be maintained, I think the current definitions work just fine. Using the NON-PRO label to brand certain askers as "lazy bastards" or as "too dumb to Google" may seem emotionally gratifying to some colleagues, but at the end of the day I fail to see any real benefit in that.

It's true, when I try to answer a KudoZ question, I sometimes find it helpful when an asker mentions what potential translation options s/he has already considered. But to require from all askers to include this discussion as a prerequisite for awarding the PRO label, as if it were some badge of merit, strikes me as unnecessarily cumbersome and, frankly, a bit silly.

Translation is a complex craft. A dictionary doesn't necessarily tell you which translation of a term you should use (among the many options it may provide). Sometimes a simple term or phrase can be tricky to translate, even for a PRO. A well-versed legal translator may have a relatively basic automotive terminology question; and a well-versed automotive translator may have a relatively basic legal terminology question. Is there really a point in trying to decide whether such questions should be PRO or NON-PRO or maybe SEMI-PRO or HEMI-DEMI-PRO?

KudoZ ought to be about translators helping each other out. It is ill-suited as an instrument to police the translation industry based on hair-splitting criteria for what other translators should or shouldn't be doing.


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gad
United States
Local time: 00:41
Member
French to English
Well said! Oct 5, 2008

ntext wrote:

.... I would probably do away with the PRO / NON-PRO disctinction altogether.

But if the distinction is to be maintained, I think the current definitions work just fine. Using the NON-PRO label to brand certain askers as "lazy bastards" or as "too dumb to Google" may seem emotionally gratifying to some colleagues, but at the end of the day I fail to see any real benefit in that.

It's true, when I try to answer a KudoZ question, I sometimes find it helpful when an asker mentions what potential translation options s/he has already considered. But to require from all askers to include this discussion as a prerequisite for awarding the PRO label, as if it were some badge of merit, strikes me as unnecessarily cumbersome and, frankly, a bit silly.

Translation is a complex craft. A dictionary doesn't necessarily tell you which translation of a term you should use (among the many options it may provide). Sometimes a simple term or phrase can be tricky to translate, even for a PRO. A well-versed legal translator may have a relatively basic automotive terminology question; and a well-versed automotive translator may have a relatively basic legal terminology question. Is there really a point in trying to decide whether such questions should be PRO or NON-PRO or maybe SEMI-PRO or HEMI-DEMI-PRO?

KudoZ ought to be about translators helping each other out. It is ill-suited as an instrument to police the translation industry based on hair-splitting criteria for what other translators should or shouldn't be doing.


I agree completely. Very well said!


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 05:41
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
And what about the specialist who doesn't seem to know any vocabulary in his main subject? Oct 5, 2008

ntext wrote:
A well-versed legal translator may have a relatively basic automotive terminology question; and a well-versed automotive translator may have a relatively basic legal terminology question. Is there really a point in trying to decide whether such questions should be PRO or NON-PRO....


Well, I do agree with your point as you state it. But I wonder about the case in our DE->EN language pair of a "legal specialist" who posts a huge number of legal terms each day, some of which are indeed quite challenging but many of which can be found in standard reference works, standard contracts or simply with a basic understanding of the source language. I have been tempted on a number of occasions to reclassify these questions as NON-PRO, but in the end I decided to ignore them and use the filters so I wouldn't feel too irritated.


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Buck
Netherlands
Local time: 06:41
Dutch to English
Pro vs Non-Pro Oct 5, 2008

I personally have no problem with the distinction between pro and non-pro questions. I enjoy trying to help askers' regardless of whether the question is pro or non-pro. What I do have a problem with is questions that are posted, the answer to which could easily be found in a good, often, basic dicitonary. I have decided not to answer such questions, because I feel like I am doing the asker's work.

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Stéphanie Soudais  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:41
Member (2006)
English to French
Me too Oct 5, 2008

Buck wrote:

What I do have a problem with is questions that are posted, the answer to which could easily be found in a good, often, basic dicitonary. I have decided not to answer such questions, because I feel like I am doing the asker's work.


Dictionaries AND the KudoZ glossary where you sometimes discover that some questions have already been asked X times.... But there will always be people ready to answer and grab easy-to-win points.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 06:41
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I have been very grateful for 'non-pro' help Oct 5, 2008

I occasionally ask KudoZ questions outisde my normal language pairs.

It happens, for instance, when there is a quote from some other language in a Danish-to-English text I am translating. I don't have any dictionaries in that language. There may be an allusion to something in another country (the tax system, a cultural festival, a proverb...) that I cannot look up, even if it is one of the languages I ahve a passing acquaintance with.

Or I am short of time and cannot immediately find the answer on the Net.

Luckily there is always someone willing to answer, even if it looks like an idiotic question to someone who actually knows the language.

The reverse happens too - people get two lines of Danish in a text in a completely different language pair. No problem for me or anyone else who lives in Denmark, but quite mysterious for most of the rest of the world.

Det er vel let nok at forstaa, ikke?
Uden at begynde paa de lange sammensatte ord...
(= That's easy enough to understand, isn't it? Without beginning on the long composite words...)

Are these pro or non-pro questions?
Does it matter?

Happy translating!


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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:41
French to English
+ ...
Reclassification... Oct 5, 2008

... by "busy-bodies" is what really irks me. I was looking at my statistics the other day and noticed that I had apparently asked one "Non-Pro" question. The term was "minage" and it was in the context of decommissioning nuclear plants - certainly not a term your average bilingual person would have a clue about it! Now I can't think I would have classified it as Non-Pro in the first place, so I assume that it has been edited since - but it patently is a Pro question! I see this happening a lot, where people ask about a term which may seem quite straightforward, but in the specific context it appears, it has a non-obvious meaning. It seems to me that certain people take it upon themselves to go through and reclassify (or vote to reclassify) questions without bothering to read the detail of the question and find out why the question has been posed in the first place! Grrrr!

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Melzie
Local time: 06:41
French to English
+ ...
reclassification 2 Oct 5, 2008

on a couple of occasions after I've posted an answer or an agree/disagree, I've been put down as having voted 'non-pro' and thought to myself "no, I didn't"! I've never bothered with a support ticket for this but Claire, please don't take it personally if it was me!!

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Stéphanie Soudais  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:41
Member (2006)
English to French
yes Oct 5, 2008

Claire Cox wrote:

I see this happening a lot, where people ask about a term which may seem quite straightforward, but in the specific context it appears, it has a non-obvious meaning. It seems to me that certain people take it upon themselves to go through and reclassify (or vote to reclassify) questions without bothering to read the detail of the question and find out why the question has been posed in the first place! Grrrr!


Agree. Too often, people (myself included, I am sure) vote to reclassify a question in non-pro because they are specialised in the field involved and the term appears obvious to them, while it is not the case.

When I was a student in translation, we had a class about how to search terminology. We were given a technical text (in target language, not source language) and the first thing to do was to underline all terms more or less specific to the field and that could pose a problem, justify a research or a verification in dictionaries. Believe me, in the end, almost the whole text was underlined, because - for instance - a verb like "to realize" can have a different meaning whether used in a law, a business or a cinema context.

That is why I don't like the fact that some people have the right to reclassify a question without voting (BTW I would like to know why some have this right, why others don't). I also think that native people are not always in a position to decide if a term in their language should be classified "pro" or "non-pro" for non-natives (sorry if I am not very clear ! ).

Stéphanie

Stéphanie


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:41
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I had presumed PRO questions were from professionals who couldn't find the answer Oct 5, 2008

I know I should have actually read the rules, but would you if you had a 56k connection?

I assumed that NON-PRO was either from amateurs who just wanted a bit of personal help or was posted by a professional who either didn't have time, facilities or inclination to research the term or who posted a question that 3 others thought was too obvious.

I must say that in my pair there are some who systematically vote NON-PRO if the source context is understandable, even though they don't propose a translation. Sometimes these questions prove the most difficult, with many "yes, but ..." comments.

I don't like the present grading. Here are two possible alternatives:-

1) stop accepting questions from non-logged-on unidentified askers - it doesn't cost anything to register

2) Insist on a minimum of an agree/disagree (and preferably an answer) from those recommending regrading

3) change the definition to depend on the term asked tather than the asker.

Any agrees or disagrees?

Sorry, I'm a translator, not a mathematician!

[Edited at 2008-10-05 19:22]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:41
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Here's a (complex but easy) solution Oct 5, 2008

Kim Metzger wrote:
Do we need new definitions of pro and non-pro questions? Any suggestions on how to word these definitions?


How about classifying KudoZ questions based on three tiers, namely translator x non-translator, serious x non-serious, and fact x opinion? I mean, some people are likely to be confused with the terms "pro" and "non-pro", so rather let the asker choose three options from three sets of tickboxes:

A1. I'm a professional translator
A2. I'm not a professional translator

B1. The question relates to work for a client
B2. The question does not relate to work for a client

C1. I want facts
C2. I want opinions

Translators who need an answer in a job they're doing for a client, would select A1+B1. Translators asking simply out of interest would select A1+B2. Non-translators (including clients and the public) would select A2 (and it doesn't really matter whether they select B1 or B2). So if a translator selects B2 then we all know that the question is not urgent.

Because I think in many cases where terms do occur in dictionaries, the asker wants a set of opinions more than a set of factual answers. So if an asker selects C1 and his question can be found in any dictionary, we may rightly be annoyed with him, but if he selects C2 then we know that he is looking for interaction, not just action.

The items B1 and B2 may also be rephrased like this (although I wonder if it would not be too bold):

B1. It is quite urgent
B2. It is not so urgent

The rule that is not an enforceable rule, 2.1 states, "Use KudoZ to ask for a translation only after you have consulted the KudoZ archives ..., dictionaries, search engines and any other commonly available resources that might be helpful. If you find translations elsewhere and still wish to post a KudoZ question, include the information you have found and explain what further information you seek."


How about this: if an asker selects A1, he is required to fill in a little form that consist of some tickboxes and a text box in which he can say what resources he searched. After all, if an asker didn't consult any resources, he should at least say why.

If an asker did consult resources, he should have the option (but not required) to specify which resources and how he consulted them. This could also be useful for answerers to avoid duplication of efforts.

So the extra form required for askers indicating A1 would be:

Please indicate which resources you have already consulted before asking this question:

* KudoZ archives
- If yes, please indicate your search terms: [___] (optional)
* Search engines
- If yes, please indicate your search terms: [___] (optional)
* Dictionaries
- If yes, please briefly mention which dictionaries: [___] (optional)
* If none of the above, please enter a reason why you did not consult any of them: [___] (not optional, if no other option was selected)

These items should appear in the e-mail sent to answerers, so that they can see if the asker is likely someone worth helping. And naturally we answerers should be able to filter out questions marked A2 instead of A1 (or possibly any other combination).


[Edited at 2008-10-05 19:53]


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 23:41
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Clarification Oct 5, 2008

Problem: translators pushing challenging questions (suitable for pro translators) off the front KudoZ page by flooding the system with questions that a pro translator would not need to ask. See recent discussion: http://tinyurl.com/4dj8b2

Solution: redefine non-pro questions

Discussion:

Once again the current definitions:

PRO questions are those that are asked by OR that are suitable for professional translators.

Non-PRO questions are those that are asked by people who are not professional translators, and that can be answered by any bilingual person without the aid of a dictionary.

The term itself might well not be a term that just any bilingual person would know how to translate without consulting a dictionary, but a term that a pro translator should be expected to be able to handle with the standard tools of the trade unless there are unusual circumstances. I'm talking about terms that really do require just a dictionary answer, not about terms that are tricky to translate – "Firlefanz" comes to mind – And many of us in the German/English pairs do believe we are being bombarded with trivial questions that ought not to be classified as pro.

Gillian Scheibelein wrote:

And another thing that has been bugging me: is it possible to implement some sort of rule limiting the number of questions per asker to e.g. 3 per hour. We have a few of the aforementioned high-ratio askers on the German > English forum who fire off 6 or more questions in a few minutes thus pushing questions from other askers off the front page prematurely. This is particularly annoying to those who only ask occasional questions after thoroughly researching the term and who really do need help. Unfortunately, this is not a sporadic occurrence, at least in my language pair.

Jill


Proposed wording for non-pro questions:

Non-PRO questions are those that are asked by people who are not professional translators, and that can be answered by any bilingual person without the aid of a dictionary

and by translators who do not wish to consult commonly available resources.

Or by translators who would like other translators to do their work for them (tongue in cheek)

Now I know that we all find ourselves in situations occasionally when we've got an urgent deadline to meet and haven't got the time to research a term and are desperate for quick help from colleagues. I'm not talking about the exceptions but about folks who have come to see KudoZ as the FIRST resort, rather than the last resort – about folks who have no compunctions about letting others do their basic work for them.


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Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 02:41
SITE STAFF
KudoZ - deciding whether a question is PRO or non-PRO Oct 5, 2008

There is an article entitled KudoZ - deciding whether a question is PRO or non-PRO where Henry clarified this issue back in February 2005.

I believe the article makes a lot of sense.

Regards,
Enrique


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:41
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Don't want to fill a whole questionnaire... Oct 6, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:
A1. I'm a professional translator
A2. I'm not a professional translator

B1. The question relates to work for a client
B2. The question does not relate to work for a client

C1. I want facts
C2. I want opinions
...
B1. It is quite urgent
B2. It is not so urgent
...
* KudoZ archives
- If yes, please indicate your search terms: [___] (optional)
* Search engines
- If yes, please indicate your search terms: [___] (optional)
* Dictionaries
- If yes, please briefly mention which dictionaries: [___] (optional)
* If none of the above, please enter a reason why you did not consult any of them: [___] (not optional, if no other option was selected)


Honestly Samuel, I would not want to fill a whole questionnaire to ask a question. Kudoz is OK as is for a good question. You only need to WANT to make a good question. And many people don't want to do so. Let's simply ignore them and spend our time in the good questions! As simple as that!


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