KudoZ Puritanism
Thread poster: Tim Drayton

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 17:59
Turkish to English
+ ...
Feb 19, 2014

Twice in recent months I have noticed that questions asked about swearwords in the Turkish to English section of KudoZ have summarily been deleted. This is even though the asker had flagged the questions as "May be found offensive". I wonder why this is. Is there a new puritanical policy at KudoZ? I would agree that in both cases the language involved would be considered extremely taboo in Turkey but, so what? Translators may encounter any kind of language in their work. Those who are easily offended can simply avoid reading questions flagged as "May be found offensive".

PS I am not the asker of these questions, just an observer.


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:59
Hebrew to English
Oh dear... Feb 19, 2014

There are some sensitive souls out there.

Sigh.icon_frown.gif


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 16:59
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
That was the whole point of flagging... Feb 19, 2014

A problem won't go away, just because you refuse to look at it!

I remember being very relieved when flagging was introduced, because I had just had a similar problem.

Personally, I cannot really swear in any of my languages. In my early childhood, 'OH BOTHER!!!' was the strongest expletive I heard... and the tone of voice said it all.

So I have to work at 'taboo' language in translation to find the right register for the target audience... I don't have a natural ear for it! However, I appreciate as much as anyone that these expressions might create a bad impression as the first thing you see in the middle of the screen...

On sensitive issues like that, KudoZ can be invaluable, so please, mods, don't just remove the questions!


 

Endre Both  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:59
Member (2002)
English to German
Talk to the TR-EN KudoZ moderator Feb 19, 2014

I would take the matter to the KudoZ moderators in charge of the relevant language pair. In the unlikely event that they are unable or unwilling to help, you can (and should) go directly to ProZ.com staff.

Endre


 

Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 16:59
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
A translator is a language engineer. Feb 19, 2014

From day one I have been a propenent of the following principle:

We are language engineers specialized in the conversion/interpretation of texts from one language to another. We are not engaed to be moral judges.

IF we have problems with this view, I once suggested the KudoZ clause "may be offensive" in order to protect and respect sensitive minds, offering the option not do indulge in the matter at hand but to simply abstain.

If one has doubts about translating an offensive text one should always have the option to politely refrain from translating such a text.


 

Mats Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 16:59
Member (2000)
German to Swedish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Please, mods, don't just remove the questions! Feb 19, 2014

Christine Andersen wrote:
On sensitive issues like that, KudoZ can be invaluable, so please, mods, don't just remove the questions!


Very wll put, Christine!


 

Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:59
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
There might be reasons Feb 19, 2014

I think it's a good idea to ask the moderators (those who removed the questions). There might well be reasons for the removal other than just the term being "offensive". Is it possible that the questions were asked by a troll who only signed up in order to post offensive questions?

Was there no reason given by the person who removed the question?


 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 17:59
Turkish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Dissapeared without trace Feb 19, 2014

Thomas Pfann wrote:

I think it's a good idea to ask the moderators (those who removed the questions). There might well be reasons for the removal other than just the term being "offensive". Is it possible that the questions were asked by a troll who only signed up in order to post offensive questions?

Was there no reason given by the person who removed the question?


No, both questions disappeared without trace. The asker, who posted both questions, appears to be a native English speaker who is learning Turkish as a foreign language and uses KudoZ as a tool to help in making sense of texts she is studying. She seems to have a taste for studying extremely colloquial texts that sometimes involve taboo language. I believe that her motives are genuine - she wants to be able to understand very colloquial Turkish - and she is not a troll.

As professional translators, we can never be sure what kind of language we will encounter. As a legal translator, I once worked on an indictment in a criminal case containing lengthy quotes of intercepted telephone conversations between a number of gangsters, and the language they used was replete with taboo words, including frequent instances of the very construction that was asked about in the question most recently deleted (within the past 24 hours) - whose most faithful English rendering would be the 'f' word used adjectivally, in my opinion. This just goes to show that questions about the use of such language are valid on a professional translation forum.


 

writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
Imo, it's probably the Moderator removing them Feb 19, 2014

If they disappeared without a trace, then it almost has to be a Moderator-initiated action. If an editor removes them, there is a notice left stating who removed it and why. A reason must be given. Profanity is one of the possible reasons, but foul or racy language isn't. But if a person in power decides to impose their personal ideas about what is or isn't acceptable, then things can get out of hand.
Imo, it's best to contact the powers that be directly. They usually back moderators (who are handpicked and working on their behalf to police a language pair or forum) but in this case I personally think that contacting the Site Staff is your best or even your only recourse.


 

Jared Tabor
Local time: 11:59
SITE STAFF
Reasons why a KudoZ question may be removed Feb 19, 2014

Hello all,

Reasons why a KudoZ question may be removed are outlined in this article: http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/articles/94/

I will have a look at the questions you mention, Tim, to make sure any removal was in line with those guidelines.

Jared


 

Daryo
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:59
Serbian to English
+ ...
one of the best ways Feb 20, 2014

of making a total fool of yourself is by being ignorant of anything that is not "decent and proper language" see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_sucettes

I really hope that no one of Proz moderators imagines that bowdlerising questions is going to bring any improvement.

"There might well be reasons for the removal other than just the term being "offensive". Is it possible that the questions were asked by a troll who only signed up in order to post offensive questions?"
What kind of logic is that? Even if it was the case, there would be no ways of knowing it for sure.
But that kind of logic would make it acceptable to deny help to someone on he basis of assumed though-crimes, when a fellow translator is in fact totally baffled by some term crucial to the meaning of a ST. "translators helping each other"?
And if there is any kind of terms for which you need "live sources" and not glossaries or Google, "offensive terms" are the ones!

I better stop here before launching in a very long digression..


 


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