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Is it ethical/fair to use Kudoz for a translation test?
Thread poster: Jenny Forbes

Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:36
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
May 15, 2012

I've just done a short test for an occasional client who needed a test for a particular potential project. I noticed this morning that the latest Kudoz questions included several of the trickier phrases in the test I was doing. As far as I know, the asker didn't say the words concerned were part of a test.
Is this ethical? Is it fair either to the client or to other translators who may be taking the test? Should I "shop" the person concerned to the client? Probably not ...
Jenny


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writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
No it's not ethical May 15, 2012

But truly ethical behaviour and Kudoz rarely go hand-in-hand, unfortunately.
Imo

[Edited at 2012-05-15 10:32 GMT]


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Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:36
Member (2006)
English to Polish
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Why not? May 15, 2012

Kudoz is one of possible tools, unless for confidentiality reasons it won't be possible to use Kudoz for the later assignment it should be fine to use it for test. After all translator remains responsible for the final choice of a term.
Of course if a question regards a test translation it should be marked as such.

Cheers
S


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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 14:36
German to English
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I presume May 15, 2012

you're not hoping to get a doctorate for it? (see various german politicians in recent months!)

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Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:36
Member (2006)
English to German
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It's not cheating May 15, 2012

Unless it was specified that the test translation should be carried out without the help of others or without using online references, then I do not see it as a problem at all.

KudoZ is just one of many tools a translator may use when doing his or her research - just like the use of dictionaries or online research etc. If the translator uses KudoZ in real life, why not for a test translation? After all, the test should ideally reflect what the translator is able to deliver in real life.

I am sure anyone takes greater care when doing a test translation - you might spend more time on it than usual, review it again and again, maybe even ask a colleague to have another look over it. Is that fair or unethical?

And surely we all know that some agencies have completely different processes for normal jobs ("send file to cheapest translator in database, return translation to client") and for test translations ("sent file to best translator in database, have it proofread 8 times, and wrap it in gold foil before delivering the translation to the client"). Once they passed the test they, of course, revert to the normal process again. Is that fair or unethical? No, it's absolutely understandable because we all want to do better than normal when being tested.

Tests are marketing and in marketing we can promise anything we want. If we fail to deliver on those promises later, however, we might get into trouble.

Maybe one limitation to what I just said: I suppose, the asker should have marked the question as "From Test/Homework". (Although I fail to see what difference that makes).


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Isabel Estevez Higueras
Spain
Local time: 14:36
Member (2011)
French to Spanish
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It's not ethical May 15, 2012

I think It's not ethical. But that's life...

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Paula Hernández
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:36
English to Spanish
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I do not see why it should May 15, 2012

If it were, would it be ethical to use dictionaries for the same tests?

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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:36
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Questions not marked as "from a test" May 15, 2012

Thank you for your views, everyone. The asker has not marked the questions as being "from a test", but as most of you seem to think it's OK to use Kudoz, and I see your point (if we can use it for actual jobs, then why not for tests?), I think I won't "shop" the asker.
David, I'd love to know how I could get a doctorate in such "shopping"! I haven't heard about the German politicians. How would I go about it?
J


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 15:36
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
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Is it ethical to use a dictionary then? May 15, 2012

The test should show if you are able to use available sources and produce a good translation. Total ignorance can hardly be concealed by using these sources. I see no obstacle for using dictionaries, Kudoz, MT or calling up specialists and ask their opinion. Just assuming someone would use only his/her own memory is very old-fashioned IMO.

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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:36
Hebrew to English
Doesn't bode well...... May 15, 2012

Yes, KudoZ is a tool, a resource...but surely it's a resource of last resort? That's how I see it anyway. I'll only come to KudoZ once I have exhausted all other avenues.

As Jenny points out, it was only a short test, yet this person has had to resort to using KudoZ....it doesn't really bode well for how they will cope with the whole hog.

You could argue till the cows come home about whether it is ethical or not, but either way, it might not really be appropriate.

Presuming the outsourcer were to look at KudoZ for the relevant pair and see the questions...wouldn't look too good, would it? Especially if your competition had managed to do it as well or better without resorting to KudoZ.

[Edited at 2012-05-15 11:10 GMT]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:36
English to German
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Not unethical May 15, 2012

However - be aware that the prospective client, who probably found you on proZ.com, might watch your KudoZ activities.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:36
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
If the asker lied for no good reason, that is unethical May 15, 2012

Jenny Forbes wrote:
As far as I know, the asker didn't say the words concerned were part of a test.


The asker should have indicated that this is for a translation test (there is a specific tick box for that in the KudoZ submission form). Perhaps he lied. Or perhaps he just forgot to tick it (or didn't see it), since he never selects it to on any other occassion.

Using KudoZ for the test translation is not unethical per se, though. If the translator is satisfied that the test translation submitted by him is his own work (in all respects that matter), then he is not being dishonest with the client.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:36
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
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Exactly May 15, 2012

Nicole Schnell wrote:
However - be aware that the prospective client, who probably found you on proZ.com, might watch your KudoZ activities.

If I sent a test to someone and noticed parts of it in Kudoz... bye bye my friend! No way I am hiring someone who cannot find a solution without help of his/her peers... and who discloses parts of future potentially confidential texts all over the shoppe!


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:36
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
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The purpose of a test May 15, 2012

Thomas Pfann wrote:
Unless it was specified that the test translation should be carried out without the help of others or without using online references, then I do not see it as a problem at all.

But... isn't the goal of a test to evaluate your skills as a translator? If I am hiring someone I am hiring that person, and not other people this person might eventually ask and who might not be available in the future.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:36
Member (2006)
French to English
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TOPIC STARTER
A misunderstanding? May 15, 2012

Nicole Schnell wrote:

However - be aware that the prospective client, who probably found you on proZ.com, might watch your KudoZ activities.


Nicole, I think you may have misunderstood. It is not *I* who am asking Kudoz questions for a test, or asking whether it is ethical for ME to do so, but another translator. The context the asker quotes in the questions is identical to parts of the test I did for this client, who, as far as I can remember, didn't find me on Proz.
J


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