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Clearing up PRO/non-PRO confusion
Thread poster: Neil Coffey

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:01
French to English
+ ...
Jan 19, 2010

There seems to be widespread confusion about the purpose of the "PRO" / "non-PRO" classification. As I understand from the FAQ, "non-PRO" questions are intended to be essentially for words/terms that 'any bilingual person' can answer 'without a dicitionary'.

But I've seen a spate of terms (including a couple that I have posted), where mutliple members have voted as non-PRO terms which (a) blatantly don't fit the description above, and (b) for which as testimony to this, various (presumably) professional translators have suggested different translators. And in some cases, members voting the question as non-PRO have themselves suggested an answer that turns out to be wrong or at least recieve a large number of disagrees from other members.

Just to pick an example that's come up in the last few minutes, "procédure de codification informatique" has received four votes for non-PRO. This might be "easy for an IT translator to translate", but how in a million years is this a term that any bilingual can translate without a dictionary?? Another example (one which I posted) was "rapport de synthèse" in a specific context of criminology. Five different translations were suggested, with various answers feeling the need to justify their answers with references, and some discussion ensuing among commentators on the answers. Yet despite this, three people apparently deemed the term translatable by any bilingual person without a dictionary...

It seems that members are interpreting the notion of "PRO"/"non-PRO" willy-nilly rather than actually voting according to its intended definition. So I wonder if the definition needs to be re-iterated alongside the reclassification button?


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 13:01
German to English
Definition of non-pro KudoZ questions Jan 19, 2010

I see your point Neil, but I think we need to change the definition of "non-pro." In addition to "a term any bilingual person can answer 'without a dictionary" we should add: a term that is readily found in most dictionaries.

[Edited at 2010-01-19 20:01 GMT]


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Peter Riccomini  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:01
Spanish to English
+ ...
Internet too Jan 19, 2010

Kim Metzger wrote:

I see your point Neil, but I think we need to change the definition of "non-pro." In addition to "a term any bilingual person can answer 'without a dictionary" we should add: a term that is readily found in most dictionaries.

[Edited at 2010-01-19 20:01 GMT]


I agree with Kim, but as well as most dictionaries, I would add ' or on the internet'. I am surprised by the number of questions that can readily be answered by a simple Google query. Personally, I wouldn't dream of asking a question until I'd exhausted all the online possibilities.

Of course, that would mean that at least 30% of questions would be classed as non-PRO, but what does that tell us?


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:01
English to Spanish
+ ...
Eliminate PRO/non-PRO Jan 20, 2010

My opinion is that PRO/non-PRO should just be eliminated; it appears to have little significance. How many others agree?

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MartinHazelwood
United States
German to English
definition is important Jan 20, 2010

I think Henry has a point - proz should examine what the value of labeling a term 'pro' is.

If the distinction is going to be maintained, then I would change 'pro' to 'specialized term' or something similar, as 'pro' is kind of meaningless on its own.

Martin Hazelwood


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:01
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Fair enough, Kim, but... Jan 20, 2010

Kim Metzger wrote:
I see your point Neil, but I think we need to change the definition of "non-pro." In addition to "a term any bilingual person can answer 'without a dictionary" we should add: a term that is readily found in most dictionaries.


... Neil's examples cited in the initial post do not fit your proposal at all - they are "110%" Pro! What's the use if these terms are "readily found in most dictionaries" if they have very specific meanings in different contexts? I'm afraid I can't agree with your proposed extension of the definition.

Steffen


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:01
English to Japanese
+ ...
120% agree Jan 20, 2010

Henry Hinds wrote:

My opinion is that PRO/non-PRO should just be eliminated; it appears to have little significance. How many others agree?


Once in a while, this same old question comes up. I too think that classification of Pro/Non-pro should be abolished. For example, if somebody is asking a medical term, but s/he doesn't have any knowledge about medicine and asks the question as Pro, and three people vote it as Non-pro (these three people are physicians, doctor of medicine or a specialist in that field), then to these people, the term asked might be a kindergarten level question, but to the asker who has no or less knowledge would consider it to be Pro.
I know that some people would complain that "then why did you take this job in the first place where you have no medical knowledge?" but I wouldn't go further into that issue right now.

And what happens if the asker doesn't have a medical dictionary?


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AnneMarieG  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:01
Member (2009)
German to French
+ ...
Abolish pro/non pro Jan 20, 2010

"My opinion is that PRO/non-PRO should just be eliminated; it appears to have little significance. How many others agree? " Henry H.

Hi,
this is indeed a very good idea: abolish the pro and non-pro button.

Instead the asker (the moderator) should have the posibility to show that s/he knows it is a 'basic' question by classifying the question as 'general vocabulary'.

This way we could avoid unnecessary exchanges in the 'linguistic discussion' part...


And, yes, as soon as the context is specific, a 'basic vocabulary' term becomes very specific.

Have a nice day!

Anne-Marie


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xxxMihai Badea  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
Member (2004)
English to Romanian
+ ...
I would keep the distinction Pro/non-Pro Jan 20, 2010

As you know, Pro KudoZ points are used for the ranking in the directory. Currently, only Pro questions are taken into account. If the distinction was eliminated, terms such as “thermos”, “How are you”, “I love you” etc. would have the same weight as “memorandum of association”, “profit and loss statement” or “acoustic aphasia”. I think that would not be fair.

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xxxhazmatgerman
Local time: 20:01
English to German
As Jan 20, 2010

the underlying definition is subject only to the site management's discretion arguing the merits here is moot. Most of these questionable classifications would be easy for any translator qualified in his working fields in the real world.

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Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 16:01
SITE STAFF
Definition of PRO and non-PRO Jan 20, 2010

Neil Coffey wrote:

There seems to be widespread confusion about the purpose of the "PRO" / "non-PRO" classification. As I understand from the FAQ, "non-PRO" questions are intended to be essentially for words/terms that 'any bilingual person' can answer 'without a dicitionary'.


Thanks Neil,

The meaning of PRO and non-PRO is defined in this FAQ that I copy below:


While there may be no way to draw a clear-cut line, the following definitions have been adopted for the two types of question:

PRO questions are those that are suitable for professional translators.

Non-PRO questions are those that can be answered by any bilingual person without the aid of a dictionary.

When applying the above definitions, detach yourself from your own background/specialisation and think of a - hypothetical - randomly selected bilingual person. Is it likely that this person would be able to produce a good translation of the term or phrase in question (and in the particular context shown) from the top of his/her head? If not, it is a PRO question.


There is also an article by Henry further clarifying this issue.

In this article Henry includes as example of non-PRO questions:
- I love you
- Welcome to Panama
- Since when?
- thermos
- mmm, yummy
- boo!



It seems that members are interpreting the notion of "PRO"/"non-PRO" willy-nilly rather than actually voting according to its intended definition. So I wonder if the definition needs to be re-iterated alongside the reclassification button?


In fact when users vote for making a question non-PRO, the following confirmation label is shown to them:


Are you sure that this question could be answered by any bilingual person without the aid of a dictionary?


Regards,
Enrique


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Andrea Hauer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:01
Member (2005)
English to German
+ ...
Abolish it, yes! Jan 20, 2010

I think it is an unnecessary option - I have seen so much questions voted non-pro that have received more than four different answers what shows that a simple look in the dictionnaries wouldn't work ...

[Edited at 2010-01-20 14:08 GMT]


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Monika Elisabeth Sieger  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:01
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Sometimes the askers are utterly wrong with their classifications Jan 20, 2010

Some askers are sometimes utterly wrong with their classifications.
On the other hand sometimes the non-pro questions prove to be more than tricky in the end.
Andrea is right: non-pro questions with 4-5 different answers? This makes me think! Especially in the legal section!
On the other hand: the classification might make some of the askers think whether they might find their own solution with a little bit of research.
More important in my opinion: teach the askers that they give more context, ask for one single term to be translated and specify their real needs and problems!
Some weeks ago a lady asked little by little for the whole translation of her CV.
A very easy one, admitted, but this is not what the answers are for!


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writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
Imo, easy questions often attract more answers Jan 20, 2010

Andrea Hauer wrote:

I think it is an unnecessary option - I have seen so much questions voted non-pro that have received more than four different answers what shows that a simple look in the dictionnaries wouldn't work ...

[Edited at 2010-01-20 14:08 GMT]


In general, easy questions seem get more answers because lots of people feel they are in with a chance. That's been my observation in 3 language pairs since 2002. Although in 2002, there were far fewer easy questions because translators complained to Askers when their time was being wasted looking up terms found in any dictionary.


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Andrea Hauer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:01
Member (2005)
English to German
+ ...
@Sivara: Jan 20, 2010

[...]
Some weeks ago a lady asked little by little for the whole translation of her CV.
A very easy one, admitted, but this is not what the answers are for! [/quote] .

But this is not a matter of pro and not-pro ...


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