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Use of a single question to clarify distinctions between similar terms/ apparent rule conflict
Thread poster: Oliver Lawrence

Oliver Lawrence  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 04:39
Partial member (2008)
Italian to English
+ ...
Aug 4, 2009

IMHO it can be useful to ask for clarification of the subtle difference in meaning between two similar/related terms using a single KudoZ question. Asking the two terms as separate questions would be likely to lead to them being viewed in isolation by answerers, thus making it hard for the asker to obtain the clarification that they were seeking.

Moderators appear to be clamping down on this type of question, on the grounds of KudoZ rule 2.3 ("One term is allowed per question. Including multiple terms for translation in a single KudoZ posting interferes with the process of generating glossary entries").

However this seems to conflict with ProZ 'how to' number 327 (http://www.proz.com/howto/327: "unless they share a root or are otherwise related, terms should be posted separately"), which thus appears to allow two related terms to be posted in the same question for clarification purposes.

I feel that this kind of use of KudoZ is fundamentally legitimate and also enriches the glossary content of the site. I think it would also be useful to have clarification from ProZ as to this apparent conflict.

What do you all think ?


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R.S.
Local time: 04:39
English to Polish
+ ...
Agree 100% with Oliver Aug 4, 2009

I'm sorry I can't agree more than that ;-(

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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:39
Italian to English
Interesting Aug 4, 2009

Hi Oliver

Thank you for your constructive post on this subject.
I have seen your recent question and shall be very interested to see Jared's clarification, as he gave a very comprehensive reply to a not dissimilar point raised by Kim Metzger yesterday.
One option, I suppose, might be to post a longer phrase (within the 10 word rule) and clarify the advice you are seeking under "Explanation".
This would help to avoid problematic glossary entries.
However, although your phrase contained both terms, I appreciate that this is not always the case.
At the risk of making Site Rules unwieldy, it probably would be helpful if KudoZ rule 2.3 did include some reference to How To 327 or its contents.
Best wishes.

Russell

[Edited at 2009-08-04 12:28 GMT]


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Iza Szczypka  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:39
English to Polish
+ ...
Oh, yes... Aug 4, 2009

May I second Russell's call for another sample of a perfect job from you, Jared?

[Edited at 2009-08-04 12:19 GMT]


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Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:39
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
Reply to Oliver Aug 4, 2009

Hi Oliver

I saw your question, in my opinion in that case one should post 2 kudoZ questions:

1- One term and then in the context box the explanation of your request

2- The other term and in the context box the explanation again


However Russel is right let's wait Jared's clarification.


All the best!

Angio

[Edited at 2009-08-04 13:37 GMT]


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:39
French to English
+ ...
Agree with proposal Aug 4, 2009

Angio--

I think that's indeed how you could do it and stick to the current rules.

But I don't think that's *ideally* how you'd do it...! It's just fitting a square peg into a round hole because a round hole is all we've got...

Neil


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Stuart Dowell  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 04:39
Member (2007)
Polish to English
+ ...
TM Aug 4, 2009

Multiple terms are not useful when building a massive TM.

That may be the reason why they are removed.


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:39
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Meaning of source terms vs. translations Aug 4, 2009

Hi Oliver,

If you are looking for the meaning of source terms, rather than their equivalents in another language, you may also post one (or two, in line with Angio's suggestion) monolingual questions, such as "Italian-Italian", in order to get native-speaker input on term subtleties.

Steffen


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:39
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
If the question is really about differentiating between the two Aug 4, 2009

I do not see a rule conflict. In fact, I have seen questions of the kind "XYZ vs. ABC" in my pairs, I may have even asked a few of those.
I think the point is that the question is not only about the individual translation of those terms, but how to translate them so they would carry the exact differentiation that is present in the source.
There are cases where the differentiation does not exist in the target language. In such cases it is important to have the two terms together, so that answerers can clearly state that there is no difference. If the terms were posted separately, they may end up with the same target translation, but without the explicit confirmation that they indeed SHOULD be the same in the target.
There are other cases where the two source terms can be translated in more than one ways, if looked individually, but there is only one way to translate them when used together. Posting the terms separately could prevent the answerer from getting the right answer.
One example comes to my mind - once I had to translate four terms for warning labels, each representing an increased level of danger. If posted separately, at least two of them would have been easily translated the same way, thus, putting me back to square one. The only way to get a useful answer was to post them all together, explaining how their order represents the increasing levels, and ask for the equivalent four-step scale in the target language.

KudoZ rule 2.2 allows max. 10 words, so I think these types of questions fall within the rules.
Also, the FAQ says:
A group of words (up to approximately 10) should be posted in a single question only when they constitute an unbreakable unit, such as an idiomatic expression (e.g. 'a jack of all trades and master of none') that may be several words long and where omitting any part would not formulate the question correctly.


http://www.proz.com/faq/2896#2896

In such XYZ vs. ABC cases, omitting one of the terms would not formulate the question correctly, as the question is precisely how to differentiate in the target between the two source terms.
Therefore, I think such questions are legitimate, and should be left alone.
At least this is how I handled such cases when I was a KudoZ moderator.

Katalin


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 21:39
German to English
Two for the price of one Aug 4, 2009

Katalin Horvath McClure wrote:

I do not see a rule conflict.

I think the point is that the question is not only about the individual translation of those terms, but how to translate them so they would carry the exact differentiation that is present in the source.

In such XYZ vs. ABC cases, omitting one of the terms would not formulate the question correctly, as the question is precisely how to differentiate in the target between the two source terms.



KudoZ rule 2.3 ("One term is allowed per question. Including multiple terms for translation in a single KudoZ posting interferes with the process of generating glossary entries").

Rule 2.3 makes it easier to generate glossary entries and it also addresses the tendency of some askers to try to get two translations with one question. But as Katalin has pointed out, we need to apply some intelligence to the rules.


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Jared Tabor
Local time: 00:39
SITE STAFF
Posting monolingual vs. posting in a pair Aug 4, 2009

Hello all,

As mentioned above, if the question is about distinguishing the difference between two terms and not the translation of two terms, a monolingual KudoZ question can be used. I've updated http://www.proz.com/faq/2896#2896 to reflect this. In the case of two terms which also need translation, these should be posted in the correct language pair, as two separate questions .

Best regards,

Jared


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:39
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Jared, is this helping the asker? Aug 4, 2009

Jared, could you please refer to the examples I listed in my post?
According to your instructions, those should be first posted in the monolingual area, to clarify the difference between the two source terms, and then, after the asker understands the difference between the two source terms, ask them separately in the source-target pair?
How does it help the asker, if the asker is perfectly clear about the difference between the two source terms, but still needs help in finding the corresponding target terms AS A PAIR (or set, if it is more than 2)?

How does it help the potential answerers if the two terms posted as separate questions, referring to each other for context (as the two terms are from the same context and should be used together), therefore forcing answerers to go back and forth, actually answering both to make sense, either at both questions separately, or giving BOTH answers at one of the questions. (This has happened in the past.)

How does it help the asker, if after receiving the answers for the two separate questions, the asker still has to make sure the two translated terms work together, not only by themselves? (Where that was his original dilemma to begin with?)

As for "conflict with creating glossary entries", I do not see a serious conflict at all.
In fact, when searching in the glossary, if "warning vs. caution" is included in the glossary as a phrase, it will come up in the search for both "warning" and "caution". The person searching for the term may actually be pleased to find both of them, or (god forbid) the whole set of four ATEX label texts, because it is likely he/she will come across most them in his/her work if he/she needs one of them.

I respectfully ask to apply common sense here, and trust a translator when he/she posts "XYZ vs. ABC" type questions, especially when it is clear that they are posted together for a reason. We are not talking about an asker that post a list of unrelated terms due to laziness or unfamiliarity with site rules. We are talking about questions that are posted with adequate context, after adequate research on the asker's part, and explained adequately.

After all, the fundamental purpose of the KudoZ system is to help the asker.

Katalin


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Jared Tabor
Local time: 00:39
SITE STAFF
Context? Aug 4, 2009

Hi Katalin,


... once I had to translate four terms for warning labels, each representing an increased level of danger. If posted separately, at least two of them would have been easily translated the same way, thus, putting me back to square one. The only way to get a useful answer was to post them all together, explaining how their order represents the increasing levels, and ask for the equivalent four-step scale in the target language.


Wouldn't posting this information, plus the other terms, as context for the question work?

question one: terms two, three and four as context

question two: terms one, three and four as context

question three: terms one, two and four as context

question four: terms one, two and three as context

Regards,

Jared


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:39
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
How does it help the asker (again)? Aug 4, 2009

Jared,
What you are proposing may seem like a "solution", but I don't think it is. It is a "workaround". I tried to explain the problem in my previous post, but perhaps it wasn't clear.
Let's take your example.
I, as a potential answerer, see Question One, and I answer: The translation of "term1" is "blahblah". During my thinking when I tried to figure this out, I assumed that "term2" would be "blehbleh", "term3" would be "blybly" and "term4" would be "blohbloh". I may or may not tell this in my answer. I am not obligated to do so, as the other three were only provided for context, not as part of the question.
Either way, the fact is, my answer "blahblah" only works if the other three terms are translated the above mentioned way. If I submit those as answers to the other 3 questions (perhaps copying the explanation I have given in answer 1), the answerer may select those answers and use them together. However, this is not guaranteed, and it is not guaranteed either that I would spend the time to submit those extra 3 answers. Who is losing out? The asker. The glossary.
If I want to help the asker with all 4 terms, but I do not have the time to submit 4 separate answers, I may just include the other three in my answer to ONE of the questions. If the asker likes it, he can accept it, use it, and then do whatever he wishes with the other 3 open questions. If they do not have an answer identical to those that were in my already accepted answer, then he may end up closing them without grading, reason: answer found elsewhere. Who is losing out? The answerers. The glossary.

If the answerer is convinced that my answer (blahblah) to "term1" is good, but instead of my assumed translation of "term2" (blehbleh) he would prefer another translation of "term2" (bluhbluh) presented by someone at Question Two, he would still need to confirm whether blahblah would work with bluhbluh - do you get it?
I assume he could ask in the Discussion field - unless that comment is squashed, or ask as a separate question, putting term 1 in the question field and term2 in the context? Then repeat the whole cycle for all combinations of the four terms?
Who is losing out? The asker.

I think it is quite ridiculous to make it this hard to ask such questions. They are not popping up every day all over the place, but when they are, they are asked for a reason. I am asking again: Why can't we trust the asker's judgement, and apply the rules only when they actually apply?

"otherwise related" is the key phrase here. Such terms ARE related, and should be translated as a set.

I think I described what I see as disadvantages of NOT allowing such questions.

I would like to ask: What is the disadvantage of allowing such questions on KudoZ?

Katalin


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Jared Tabor
Local time: 00:39
SITE STAFF
Reply to Katalin Aug 4, 2009

Katalin Horvath McClure wrote:

Jared,
What you are proposing may seem like a "solution", but I don't think it is. It is a "workaround". I tried to explain the problem in my previous post, but perhaps it wasn't clear.
Let's take your example.
I, as a potential answerer, see Question One, and I answer: The translation of "term1" is "blahblah". During my thinking when I tried to figure this out, I assumed that "term2" would be "blehbleh", "term3" would be "blybly" and "term4" would be "blohbloh". I may or may not tell this in my answer. I am not obligated to do so, as the other three were only provided for context, not as part of the question.
Either way, the fact is, my answer "blahblah" only works if the other three terms are translated the above mentioned way. If I submit those as answers to the other 3 questions (perhaps copying the explanation I have given in answer 1), the answerer may select those answers and use them together. However, this is not guaranteed, and it is not guaranteed either that I would spend the time to submit those extra 3 answers. Who is losing out? The asker. The glossary.
If I want to help the asker with all 4 terms, but I do not have the time to submit 4 separate answers, I may just include the other three in my answer to ONE of the questions. If the asker likes it, he can accept it, use it, and then do whatever he wishes with the other 3 open questions. If they do not have an answer identical to those that were in my already accepted answer, then he may end up closing them without grading, reason: answer found elsewhere. Who is losing out? The answerers. The glossary.

If the answerer is convinced that my answer (blahblah) to "term1" is good, but instead of my assumed translation of "term2" (blehbleh) he would prefer another translation of "term2" (bluhbluh) presented by someone at Question Two, he would still need to confirm whether blahblah would work with bluhbluh - do you get it?
I assume he could ask in the Discussion field - unless that comment is squashed, or ask as a separate question, putting term 1 in the question field and term2 in the context? Then repeat the whole cycle for all combinations of the four terms?
Who is losing out? The asker.

I think it is quite ridiculous to make it this hard to ask such questions. They are not popping up every day all over the place, but when they are, they are asked for a reason. I am asking again: Why can't we trust the asker's judgement, and apply the rules only when they actually apply?

"otherwise related" is the key phrase here. Such terms ARE related, and should be translated as a set.

I think I described what I see as disadvantages of NOT allowing such questions.

I would like to ask: What is the disadvantage of allowing such questions on KudoZ?

Katalin



I'm not sure if there is one, other than breaking with a straight target-source format in the glossary. I really have no strong opinion on how you ask your KudoZ questions. The topic at hand as I understood it, and the reason I chimed in here, was over the use of one question to help distinguish two similar terms, which I think I answered in my first post.

Best regards.

Jared


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