Terminology queries and context
Thread poster: liz askew
liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:04
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Apr 5, 2013

Yes folks it's the same old subject

Could I just request that all members posting terminology queries always provide context in the source language.

Recently I have tried answering some queries and the asker gives the phrase in the source language, with a lot of paraphrasing in English. So the more context in the source language the better. For example, always quote the sentence in which the term occurs, and the sentence before and after the sentence in which the term occurs.

This is a tiresome request, but essential if we are to help one another properly.

Liz Askew


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Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:04
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Yes, but Apr 5, 2013

Yes, your request is, of course, reasonable. The need for context is stated on the web page where the member posts his/her KudoZ request I doubt whether your repeating it in this posting will do much good (but we can hope...).
[Added later:] I think the context given by the asker is usually adequate, but for those who think little or no context is needed, I'm not sure whether your appeal will have the hoped-for effect.

Oliver

[Edited at 2013-04-05 18:55 GMT]


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:04
Italian to English
Caution Apr 5, 2013

I think we have to give Askers more credit.

On the rare occasions I ask a question it is mainly because I don't have much context. If I did, I would be usually be confident of finding the answer myself.

The other issue is confidentiality. Only yesterday I deleted a whole series of questions at the request of an Asker, because his client had complained that the quantity of context provided constituted a breach of confidence (even though there was no NDA). Paraphrasing, maybe with insignificant variations, is one way of avoiding this problem.

If an Asker fails to give a perfectly reasonable amount of detail, the quality of answers may suffer, but that is his or her lookout. It is no justification for hectoring the Asker.

The question page doesn't allow the Asker to submit a question without reconsidering whether enough context has been given and warns of the consequences of not doing so.


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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:04
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hectoring the asker Apr 5, 2013

This is an exaggeration.

Providing context in the source language is a reasonable request. Asking askers to co-operate is also reasonable.

I will make a point of not answering askers who don't.

Strange how some askers are able to post sufficient context, and others just don't bother.


I also forgot to mention that "paraphrasing" is somewhat unhelpful when it comes to researching terminology in the source language.

Cheers!

[Edited at 2013-04-05 18:58 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-04-05 18:58 GMT]


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:04
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
The opposite Apr 6, 2013

I agree with Liz but there are also askers who do the opposite: they give half a page of context, without even marking where the requested term is. Sometimes I never find it. That takes up our time unnecessarily and it is annoying.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:04
Spanish to English
+ ...
Circumstances alter cases Apr 6, 2013

Lack of context in kudoz queries can indeed be irritating. However, we should bear in mind that sometimes it is virtually impossible to give any coherent context. For example, yesterday I was asked by one client (a market research agency, whose end client may or may not be a native English language speaker) to translate a series of disconnected phrases and I had to ask my client to clarify the meaning of "rigs" in the second phrase below:

"1. Fits my management needs
2. Low occurrence of rigs
3. Are you aware of the 3-way cross breeding systems that COMPANY X is offering?
4. Supplier Relationship Quality"

When I asked my client to provide some context and explain what the authors meant by "rigs", here is what they replied:
"No tengo ni idea. El contexto es hablar de una genética para ganadería y que valoran la importancia de algunas características, así que en esta frase dicen "Baja incidencia de "rigs" (????), es que he buscado opciones y no encentro la solución, a lo mejor es un error de escritura. El martes tengo briefing con el cliente, se lo preguntaré, No te preocupes."

So you see, even though the asker may go to some lengths to find out what the original term means, there is often simply no real context or indication to go on.

Software strings is another area where lack of context is a notorious bugbear for translators, but I won't beat our weekend readers over the head with examples.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:04
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
That IS context, IMO Apr 6, 2013

neilmac wrote:
So you see, even though the asker may go to some lengths to find out what the original term means, there is often simply no real context or indication to go on.

Context can be literal, as in the words around the difficult term. And I agree with Tina that if you post more than a line or two, it's immensely helpful to highlight the term. I use *** term ***, as I can't imagine that ever appearing in the source text. Please everyone, don't use "term" or 'term' or similar. We then need to ask if the term appears in quotes in the source text.

But context, at least within KudoZ, can also relate to any other information you have and can share with us. I believe there's a list presented to you when you ask a KudoZ question. If you've asked the client, neilmac, let us know what came out of it. If it's clear that nobody is going to be able to say "I'm sure the translation of ABC is XYZ", then all we can do is indulge in a bit of brainstorming. At least you can report back to the client that you've done the best you can.


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