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Providing context in the source language in KudoZ questions
Thread poster: liz askew
liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:22
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Jul 28, 2009

Hello

Well, yes, I love research and finding out possible answers to queries.

But, hey, I am sure most of you have a document in front of you, so why not post about at least 4-6 sentences of context IN THE SOURCE LANGUAGE [capitals for emphasis, not because I am shouting]. The latest one I have tried to "answer" had four words of context. Seriously.

If you want people to help you, then help yourself by giving as much context as possible. BTW a gist or summary in the target language is no good, context means context in the source language.

I am waiting for the objections.

Kind regards
Liz Askew

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-07-28 10:52 GMT]


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:22
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
More explanation would sometimes help too. Jul 28, 2009

In the case of some colloquial expression or proverb, it is a help if an explanation of the meaning of the original is included. Some askers do this, many don't.

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chica nueva
Local time: 17:22
Chinese to English
Information on the type of source text, country of origin, and intended readership can be helpful Jul 28, 2009

Information on the type of source text, country of origin, and intended readership can be helpful. IMO, context has two or three meanings 1 background/field, 2 the surrounding text 3 text-type/genre.

The current form doesn't seem to require 'context' from the source text. In fact, it asks for 'explanation', (so perhaps we can't blame infrequent askers if that is what they do, 'give an explanation'). The form says: 'As much explanation as possible should be entered for the term. Consider including: type of document/situation, country and dialect, URLs, translations you are considering, etc.'

The KudoZ rule about context, is actually a Guideline: http://www.proz.com/siterules/kudoz_asking/2.4#2.4 Perhaps the wording could be made a bit stronger ...

Lesley

[Edited at 2009-07-28 11:47 GMT]


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Stéphanie Soudais  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:22
Member (2006)
English to French
Confidentiality Jul 28, 2009

Hi Liz,

I think that context doesn't necessarily means text surrounding the term asked, i.e. context can mean type of client, type of reader targeted, type of text (article, marketing brochure).

Someone might not want to provide context because of confidentiality. Even if confidentiality isn't an issue I, for one, don't like to provide a full paragraph when the text is available on the Internet (i.e. I don't want others to know what I am translating for whom...). Sometimes I change the source text a bit.

And of course there are "lazy" askers who just don't want to take time to explain why they need help. I guess you are talking about them. Well, maybe they should be educated and reminded of

http://www.proz.com/siterules/kudoz_asking/2.4#2.4
(Guideline): Sufficient context must be provided with each question. When there is no context, the subject area and type of document should be indicated. It can be helpful to enter sentences or paragraphs where the term in question occurs.

Anyway, it's one of those reccurrent KudoZ issues.

Stéphanie

Edited to add: I hadn't seen Lai An's post when I wrote mine....

[Edited at 2009-07-28 13:04 GMT]


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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:22
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Going round in circles Jul 28, 2009

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose

[apologies for lack of accents].

I am just going to carry on answering in my own sweet way.

No point in getting bothered/frustrated about this issue.

Liz


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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:22
Member (2007)
French to English
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TOPIC STARTER
Confidentiality Jul 28, 2009

Hi Stéphanie
Thanks for making this point.
This is important, but cannot be used as an excuse for not providing more context in the source language. In my field, medicine, it is absolutely no good giving a general summary, interspersed with the odd bit of source text. The only person who knows what they mean is the asker in most cases. Proper research requires proper context, otherwise the asker will have to accept silly answers. Rubbish in rubbish out.

Liz


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:22
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
The words around it are not all you have - let us have it all Jul 28, 2009

lai an wrote:

Information on the type of source text, country of origin, and intended readership can be helpful. IMO, context has two or three meanings 1 background/field, 2 the surrounding text 3 text-type/genre.

......

Consider including: type of document/situation, country and dialect, URLs, translations you are considering, etc.'




I agree absolutely.

Type of document and readership - the translation may need to be very different, depending on whether the readers specialise in the field or whether it's for general public consumption.

Country and dialect - in the French-English pair it's very important to know if the French is from France, Canada, an African French-speaking country or ..., and whether the English is for readers in the UK, America or ...

Sometimes these are as necessary as the words around the term.


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Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:22
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
My thoughts on this Jul 28, 2009

I see two lines of thought to consider:

1: What to do if you see a Kudoz question that you might like to answer but with inadequate context information.

2: What modification to suggest for the "Ask a KudoZ question" page to encourage the asker to give adequate information. At present the page says " As much explanation as possible should be entered for the term. Consider including: type of document/situation, country and dialect, URLs, translations you are considering, etc." but it doesn't explicitly mention the textual context.

My response to 1 is now: if I don't think the asker is a habitual non-provider of context, I'll probably ask for more context, perhaps with a specific question of my own. If, for whatever reason, I think the asker is not going to provide adequate context, I just ignore the question, and hope that everybody else will also. I hope that if this is done by most potential answerers, the unhelpful askers will either "go away" or realise that a proper answer needs a proper question.

As for 2, I suggest the KudoZ page should remind the asker to read the proposed question from the point of view of a potential answerer, to judge whether they have provided enough information. It should also make explicit the desirability of providing some of the text that surrounds the term in question and tell the asker to read the question from the potential answerer's viewpoint.
If the asker can't do this, I thiink they should try answering a few questions themselves to "get the point", though of course they may not realise that they have this problem.

My 2c worth. Oliver


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Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:22
French to English
background information Jul 28, 2009

Stéphanie Soudais wrote:


I think that context doesn't necessarily means text surrounding the term asked, i.e. context can mean type of client, type of reader targeted, type of text (article, marketing brochure).

Someone might not want to provide context because of confidentiality. Even if confidentiality isn't an issue I, for one, don't like to provide a full paragraph when the text is available on the Internet (i.e. I don't want others to know what I am translating for whom...). Sometimes I change the source text a bit.


Exactly my thoughts - sometimes background information is more helpful than surrounding source text.


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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:22
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
background information Jul 28, 2009

Well, this may be relevant in non-medical texts, but frankly the more source language context you have in medical queries the better.

Liz Askew


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
CONTEXT Jul 29, 2009

Ah yes, CONTEXT.

So many askers do not even understand what the word means. Some even stubbornly refuse to provide any, as though it were a great imposition on them to do so. To them I say, "go thee well, but with no help from me".

Considering those who actually have formal study in the area (I do not), it would seem incredible that their education would not include the importance of CONTEXT in all its aspects. For those who are clueless, some of the opinions expressed here could be a start in maybe providing a document that could give guidance on what CONTEXT can consist of for different kinds of questions. It could be made available for consultation and recommended to those who seem to need it.

Unawareness of the importance of CONTEXT is certainly an ongoing problem and it evidences a serious deficiency in the professional capability of many people who aspire to be translators.


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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:22
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
CONTEXT Jul 29, 2009

Hello Henry

You have said it all:-) The voice of experience. Truly though I wonder whether experience is respected enough these days? [another debate].

Liz

[Edited at 2009-07-29 07:03 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-07-29 07:03 GMT]


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:22
French to English
+ ...
Examples Jul 29, 2009

It's no good talking about this in the abstract - examples are essential, or we'll just go round in circles for ever.

Sometimes the source context is useful (meaning the surrounding sentences). Sometimes the surrounding material is not helpful. Even if the surrounding material isn't helpful, though, there is ALWAYS context: if it's a patient report, what's wrong with the patient? What kind of document is this?

In short: I agree entirely with Henry, even though I dare say I am considerably younger and less experienced than he is.


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 05:22
English to Croatian
+ ...
Perhaps... Jul 29, 2009

.. if they knew how to dig into the context deeper, they wouldn't even need the help of KudoZ peers?

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Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:22
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
But the site rules say... Jul 29, 2009

Angela Dickson wrote:
It's no good talking about this in the abstract - examples are essential, or we'll just go round in circles for ever.

The problem, if you're considering giving examples of inadequately put questions, is site rules such as 3.7 on this page:
http://www.proz.com/?sp=siterules&mode=show&category=kudoz_answ

Oliver


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