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Smilies as explanations for answers
Thread poster: Kate Chaffer

Kate Chaffer
Italy
Local time: 00:39
Member (2009)
Italian to English
Jun 17, 2009

This is something that has been bugging me for a while. Why do people think a suitable explanation for their suggested Kudoz answer isicon_smile.gif or even just . ?

I can understand it in cases where the meaning is clear and the asker just needs a good way of saying it, although I still think it would be nice to add a "hope that helps" or something similar. But if an asker is asking about a technical term and gets three different answers with an explanation oficon_smile.gif, how can they possibly know which is the right one?!

This is happening more and more often in my pair and the leading answerers are often the worst culprits, almost as if being in the top few answerers in some way validates their answer.

I'm aware there's not a lot that can be done about it but I just felt the need to rant today and am curious to know if the same thing happens in other language pairs.


***

Aaargh! I didn't want the actual yellow smiley faces to appear! I meant when answerers use : followed by ) - you know what I mean!

[Edited at 2009-06-17 15:30 GMT]


 

jacana54 (X)  Identity Verified
Uruguay
English to Spanish
+ ...
It also happens in English>Spanish Jun 17, 2009

And I don't like this type of answers either; your posting pretty much conveys my feelings on the subject.

Best,

Lucía


 

Stéphanie Soudais  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:39
Member (2006)
English to French
? Jun 17, 2009

Lucia Colombino wrote:

And I don't like this type of answers either; your posting pretty much conveys my feelings on the subject.



Which posting? Your post is the first of a new topic...

Stéphanie

[Edited at 2009-06-17 15:56 GMT]


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:39
French to English
Patience Jun 17, 2009

Stéphanie Soudais wrote:
Which posting? Your post is the first of a new topic...

This caught me out for a second.
But the name of the thread starter (towards the top right in the green bar) being different to the name of the only poster in the thread is always the clue.
I believe posts disappear while they are being edited.

Anyway meanwhile, I agree. I did suggest last week that we should amputate the thumbs of anyone who "explains" an answer with "HTH" or "*", but this suggestion was not picked up and carried through by site staff. I would be happy to add any kind of smiley to the list of capital offences. And anyone who just posts a link to a google search which does no more than prove the suggested words exist.

But this is how the people who score thousands of points a month do it - no point wasting time explaining anything. And their answers are obviously frequently picked as the most helpful. Go figure.


 

Kate Chaffer
Italy
Local time: 00:39
Member (2009)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Google search Jun 17, 2009

Yes, I did edit my post and as I'm not a member it had to be approved so apparently my whole post disappeared! Sorry about that!

I completely agree with Charlie about posting the link to the Google search. That's another thing that really irritates me! I could post a link to "apricot jam" and prove quite categorically that it exists yet it would still be a completely wrong answer. And Charlie, I'm sorry I missed your amputation suggestion last week. I would have agreed wholeheartedly!

And then of course there are those answerers who "reserve" their time slot by answering after 2 minutes giving no explanation and then editing their answer later on to give references, so at least timewise theirs is the first answer.

[Edited at 2009-06-17 16:28 GMT]


 

jacana54 (X)  Identity Verified
Uruguay
English to Spanish
+ ...
They fixed it! Jun 17, 2009

Hi, Stéphanie:

I saw what you say and submitted a support ticket: they fixed it immediately.

I felt terrible for having caused the original posting to disappear!

Edited to add: Charlie, thumb amputation is a great idea.

icon_smile.gif

L

[Edited at 2009-06-17 16:23 GMT]


 

Stéphanie Soudais  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:39
Member (2006)
English to French
ok Jun 17, 2009

I can see the first post now.

As an asker, I never choose an answer with smileys, poor or no explanation at all (except style-related questions). If the same answer comes later with explanations, I pick up this one (except if very long after).

As an answerer, I almost always give documented answers, with the risk of coming after quick answerers who don't provide explanations, and therefore the risk of not earning points...Never mind, I can't imagine throwing answers with no explanations (and in the end I remain in the top 5 of the Kudoz leaders !).

Stéphanie

[Edited at 2009-06-17 16:26 GMT]


 

Mette Melchior  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 00:39
English to Danish
+ ...
A smiley is not an explanation Jun 17, 2009

I agree with you completely, Kate and Stéphanie - a smiley is not an explanation.

 

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:39
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
* Jun 17, 2009

I do sometimes give * as an explanation, where the term is eight or nine words long and the answer itself should be sufficient explanation.

 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:39
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A word is definitely better! Jun 17, 2009

Something like "OK", "See-ya", "Cheers" is definitely better!

Sorry, just joking of course. I increasingly feel that there are different uses for different answers: an answer without an explanation has a shorter life but could also be useful to the asker, who might be keeping a lot of information we ignore. Longer explanations are useful in the long run, when someone comes later on. So both approaches are Ok I reckon, although I entirely support explaining the answer.


 

Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:39
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
partial disagree Jun 17, 2009

Stéphanie Soudais wrote:

As an answerer, I almost always give documented answers, with the risk of coming after quick answerers who don't provide explanations, and therefore the risk of not earning points...Never mind, I can't imagine throwing answers with no explanations (and in the end I remain in the top 5 of the Kudoz leaders !).

Stéphanie

[Edited at 2009-06-17 16:26 GMT]


I partly disagree with what you say. Let me repeat what I said in another thread (http://www.proz.com/forum/kudoz/137669-kudoz_leader_list_a_good_moment_to_sort_by_usefulness_rate_too-page3.html#1149493) some hours ago:

efreitag wrote:

As a side remark: To a certain extent, I disagree with the concept that answerers are generally (!) required to extensively document their answer. Often, I see an answer as a starting point for further research that I carry out myself. I often post references only in cases where my answer is challenged, or where I want to challenge other's answers, or where my own CL isn't particularly high. I think that the task of verifying answers can generally be left to the asker, there is no need to serve answers on a silver plate.


In other words: As a responsible translator, you'll have to thoroughly research the suggestions anyway. The most valuable contribution for me as an asker often is a starting point for further research, a starting point which I didn't know before.

Of course, answers that are on the edge of impoliteness due to their brevity are a different matter. I don't like that, either.

My 2 cents,
best regards,
Erik




[Bearbeitet am 2009-06-17 20:26 GMT]

Edited (twice) to include name in quotation.

[Bearbeitet am 2009-06-17 20:27 GMT]


 

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 20:39
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I always give an explanation Jun 17, 2009

When answering questions, I always give an explanation or, if this is impossible or impracticable, I put "A suggestion" or "Another option" or something along those lines, rather than just "*" or ":)".

Whenever possible, I give a explanation based on sources, not just on the fact that Google says so, as many traps lie in wait for the incorrigible Googleite. As I posted on another forum, the fact that one word has more Google hits than another does not always mean it is the best answer.

Taking this to an extreme, it is possible that if someone asked how to say "uva" in English, and there were two answers given, "grape" (correct) and "banana", it is quite likely that "banana" would have more Google hits as the word has the same form in many languages, different from "grape" which, as far as I know, is exclusive to English.

So, say NO to Google when explaining answers... and don't use "*" or ":)" which mean nothing - this is my constructive advice.


 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
I agree with efreitag Jun 17, 2009

Who said: (I've yet to fathom how to put quotes in boxes)

"To a certain extent, I disagree with the concept that answerers are generally (!) required to extensively document their answer. Often, I see an answer as a starting point for further research that I carry out myself. I often post references only in cases where my answer is challenged, or where I want to challenge other's answers, or where my own CL isn't particularly high. I think that the task of verifying answers can generally be left to the asker, there is no need to serve answers on a silver plate."

My best known and most common explanation is the word "Ya" (Spanish) which even mystifies some Spanish-speakers. Basically my philosophy there is, "I've given you something to work with, now YOU check it out." I am often very busy and I have to move on. But I certainly believe that such help is far better than no help at all, and it is apparent that many askers also agree.


 

Erik Freitag  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:39
Member (2006)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Exactly (and: hints on how to quote) Jun 17, 2009

Henry Hinds wrote:

Who said: (I've yet to fathom how to put quotes in boxes)


Sorry, I've failed to include the name of the poster (myself in this case). I edited my post.

In order to quote in a box: Start the quotation with an opening squared bracket, the word quote, and a closing squared bracket. Finish the quotation with the same, but insert a slash before the word quote.

An easier way is to just click on the button "quote", which you will find in the right corner of every postingicon_wink.gif


Henry Hinds wrote:

Basically my philosophy there is, "I've given you something to work with, now YOU check it out." I am often very busy and I have to move on. But I certainly believe that such help is far better than no help at all, and it is apparent that many askers also agree.


Exactly!

Edited: slash!

[Bearbeitet am 2009-06-17 21:21 GMT]


 

JPW (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:39
Spanish to English
+ ...
How to put quotes in boxes! Jun 17, 2009

To Henry:

Just use (quote) and (/quote) at the start and end of the words you want to use, respectively. But use square brackets instead of normal ones - on my keyboard they're next to the letter p.

Ya. * HTHicon_smile.gif (with a heightened sense of irony there.)

And here's a link: http://www.proz.com/faq/5231#5231


 
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