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Can the KudoZ term search function be improved? (staff: 'OK, improvements made')
Thread poster: N.M. Eklund

N.M. Eklund  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:16
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
Apr 20, 2009

It seems to me that the search term function is not very effective in displaying the most relevant results.

Am I the only one?

I first noticed this a couple years ago, but never said anything about it since I had nothing to quantify my observation.
However, now it's gotten to a point where only half my searches find the terms I'm looking for, whereas in the past it was 90% of the time.

I mostly use the Search term function as a memory booster, since some accounting and financial terms are well-defined (and well-documented in Kudoz) but I may occasionally forget if I haven't used that vocabulary recently. These are often defined expressions or several words that define the term (not one word searches).

I'll give an example:
If you search for "Compte de Résultats" from French into English
You get :
>> KOG results: 236
» KudoZ archive results: 370
» Personal glossary results: 230
» Glosspost results: 0
» Wikiwords results: 126

The first page shows only the first 50 KOG and Archive results (These are the most helpful).

Yet, the actual entry "Compte de Résultats" is hidden as the 22nd result and another entry without -s "Compte de Résultat" is the 33rd entry.
I wonder what algorithm defines their placement as to their relevancy; or even if a sort function does exist?

All I know is that several years ago, I found my searches rather easily at the top of the list, and now it's a bit of a struggle;
I'm forced to go through several pages to make sure I didn't miss a possible result. This is a serious time waster for just a memory booster.

Yes, before anyone says it, I do know there is a 'Match exact phrase' function, but this often does not work well in French due to all the possible variations (plural, singular, feminin, masculin, with/without accents, etc.). I would replace reviewing all the KOG pages with researching all possible variations.

Using the above example, I'd have to search: Compte de Résultats, Compte de Résultat, Comptes de Résultats, Comptes de Résultat, Compte de Resultats, Compte de Resultat, Comptes de Resultats, Comptes de Resultat, (and maybe in case of error) Comptes des Resultats, Compte des Resultats, Comptes des Resultat, etc. etc.
In short, to be sure that the answer isn't hidden somewhere in the Kudoz database, you have to have a Masters in factorials to check all possible combinations.

Is this something that can be improved?
To me, this is an essential point. Beyond the discussions concerning Kudoz quality, ratings, and points, this tool is not even half as helpful as it could be given the treasure trove of information it can provide.

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-04-20 21:52 GMT]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-04-20 21:53 GMT]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-05-11 21:15 GMT]


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Amy Taylor  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:16
Member (2002)
Italian to English
Google finds things the KudoZ search does not Apr 20, 2009

You're right, at least in my experience. I get far too many hits that are not useful, and often when I give up on the KudoZ search and turn to Google, I'll find great matches that way (in the KOG and the Archives). Also, like you, I often need to dig through dozens of hits to find the one or two exact or nearly exact matches available. It's a shame that the algorithm can't rank the results. I've nearly given up on it to be frank. It's too bad, because there is a lot of useful information buried in the KOG and the Archives.

Amy Taylor


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N.M. Eklund  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:16
Member (2005)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Was it always like this? Apr 20, 2009


It's a shame that the algorithm can't rank the results.


And yet, I seem to remember it working better than that before.
I'm wondering if a couple years ago, someone gave it a bad tweak and should tweak it back.


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Colin Brady
Local time: 05:16
SITE STAFF
I will take a look at this Apr 20, 2009

Hi All,

Thanks for posting your concerns with the term search.

I will look into how it can be improved and post back here.

Colin


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Enza Longo  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:16
French to English
+ ...
you're not the only one Apr 20, 2009

I've been quite frustrated with the searches for quite some time and like Amy, I now resort to Google.
I've run a little test on "compte de résultats", with the accent and "match exact phrase" checked, and it gives me "0" results even though the KOG has exact matches!


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Marek Daroszewski (MrMarDar)  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:16
English to Polish
+ ...
your're definitely not the only one - and not the only frustrated one Apr 20, 2009

Some time ago I got really frustrated with the search functionality (or its lack). So much, that I posted an observation on the Technical Support forum. I whinged on purpose - but to no avail.

To my surprise I got no response - nothing, nil, zero - from the support staff, just as if I used the search functionality to find help (irony intended).

The problem is described in detail here http://www.proz.com/forum/prozcom_technical_support/116459-term_search_problems.html

From what I noticed the Proz search engine works more (but still rather less) if you restrict yourself to using only Latin characters (i.e. no national characters with diacritics, etc.). Naturally, this is absurd given that the whole site has been localized to allow users to use their mother tongue (or am I mistaken here?).

I would be surprized if you really get any true answer on how to solve your problem.

My ranting and raving is over now - back to work

Marek

[Edited at 2009-04-20 18:40 GMT]


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Colin Brady
Local time: 05:16
SITE STAFF
Update has been made to the order of results Apr 20, 2009

I just published an update to the term search that should present the results in a more relevant order. There is however, one exception. Older KudoZ entries that were stored using a character set other than Unicode may not appear in the correct spot. So, if you see a KudoZ question with a green check mark next to it and the characters look correct, please convert the character set to Unicode by clicking the check. If the text is garbled, click the red arrow.

Thanks again for posting! Please let me know if this helps at all.


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Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:16
French to English
google vs. kudoz search Apr 20, 2009

The problem is not just the order of results.

Entries that *should* be found are not found. Try searching for "grand témoin" (match exact phrase) using the KudoZ search function, 0 results. Search for "témoin" and you will find only 1 of 2 glossary entries for "grand témoin".

Now search with google "grand témoin"site:proz.com and you will immediately find both glossary entries.

This is just one example ...I posted a support ticket in February to draw staff's attention to these problems.


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Gianni Pastore  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:16
Member (2007)
English to Italian
Not at all Apr 20, 2009

N.M. Eklund wrote:

Am I the only one?



Also I find Search in forums particularly frustrating. We NEED an advanced search functionality, folks!
Gianni


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Elvira Alves Barry  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:16
Member (2007)
Portuguese to English
It doesn't find exact matches . . . Apr 20, 2009

The problem I have is that when check the box "match exact phrase", it wants to give me everything but the kitchen sink! When we're on a deadline and need to know an exact meaning quickly, it's frustrating to have to sort through a never-ending list of possibilities. All I wanted was the phrase I put in. ARRGH!!!!!

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Colin Brady
Local time: 05:16
SITE STAFF
Investigating character set issue... Apr 20, 2009

Hi Lori,

Thanks for posting. It appears that the example you gave falls under the issue I described earlier with character sets (I clicked the green check to convert it to UTF-8 and now it shows up in the term search.) I'm going to look into it and see if there is a way to fix this.


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Colin Brady
Local time: 05:16
SITE STAFF
Forum search compaint has been noted. Apr 20, 2009

Hi Gianni,

Thanks for posting. I'll take a look at the forums search when I get a chance. For now, let's keep this thread focused on the term search. Thanks!


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Colin Brady
Local time: 05:16
SITE STAFF
Please provide example Apr 20, 2009

Hi Elvira,

Thanks for posting. Searching by "Exact phrase" seems to be working ok for me. Can you give me an example of it working incorrectly? Thanks for your help.


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Colin Brady
Local time: 05:16
SITE STAFF
"Search all likely character encodings" option was not working properly - fixed Apr 20, 2009

The "Search all likely character encodings" option has not been working because of a bug in the code. I just published a fix.

If you don't already know, here is the explanation as to why we have more than one character encoding:

Because data entered at ProZ.com prior to March 2006 did not all use the same character encoding, it is possible that a term search will not return all possible results. This can happen when your search term is encoded using one character encoding, but the term in our database is encoded with a different encoding.

When you select "Search all likely character encodings", your search will automatically be performed in all character encodings that are likely to be used in the language pairs you specify. (Please note that this may also cause a few search results to appear that may not match your search term.)


So, to make sure you are getting all relevant results for your searches, make sure that you:

1. Select the "Search all likely character encodings" option, and
2. Enter at least a source language.


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:16
Italian to English
Wikiwords Apr 20, 2009

I often find that a link to the most appropriate kudoz question is only found via the Wikiwords entry; maybe this is a character set issue too as the Italian to English section is still full of confirmation requests.
Another annoying feature is that the "Search" button is often out of view due to the advert above the search box. This was resolved some time ago after a forum discussion but has now reverted to the old problem. I know I can use the Enter button on my keyboard but what is the point of the button if you have to scroll down to use it?


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