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Taking "Disagrees" Personally
Thread poster: Samuel Sebastian Holden Bramah

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
Aye, but Mar 19, 2014

Sheila Wilson wrote:

So, when is a monkey wrench NOT a monkey wrench? When it's an adjustable spanner; adjustable wrench; gas grips...


I've always called it a "shifting spanner", but then again what do you expect from a Weegie?


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:15
Member (2008)
Italian to English
May I just point out.... Mar 19, 2014

... that in the English language there is no such thing as a "disagree". Nor is there any such thing as an "agree".

 

Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 21:15
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Right you are Mar 19, 2014

Tom in London wrote:

... that in the English language there is no such thing as a "disagree". Nor is there any such thing as an "agree".



I would agree with that. Because grammar.


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 20:15
English to Polish
+ ...
More complex than agreeing to disagree Mar 19, 2014

Well, in some cases it is possible to agree to disagree, but unlike what some tender-hearted modern philosophers think, the truth is an objective matter and worth fighting for. Sometimes the issues disagreed about are subjective and a matter of merely aesthetic preference, but often a risk of mistranslation is involved.

In those latter cases, answerers sometimes display a very troubling lack of language competence, for example when they fail to understand something a professional tr
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Well, in some cases it is possible to agree to disagree, but unlike what some tender-hearted modern philosophers think, the truth is an objective matter and worth fighting for. Sometimes the issues disagreed about are subjective and a matter of merely aesthetic preference, but often a risk of mistranslation is involved.

In those latter cases, answerers sometimes display a very troubling lack of language competence, for example when they fail to understand something a professional translator should not fail to understand (e.g. a correctly built complex sentence), or when they make a relatively basic grammatical mistake. Not only is it impossible to agree to disagree in such a case, it is also hard to continue to regard the answerer as a competent professional translator.

It is also all the worse when someone displays such a lack of language or translation competence in actually disagreeing with a correct translation. I agree this should still not be taken personally, but at the same time there is no such thing as agreeing to disagree and continuing to regard the disagreer as a fully competent professional, at least in the more clear-cut cases.

Tom in London wrote:

... that in the English language there is no such thing as a "disagree". Nor is there any such thing as an "agree".



That calls for a respectful disagree. While it's true in the general language, here, we're talking about a more specific context within a group of participants who all understand that context. As long as the context remains clear and the register informal or semi-formal, I believe nomalisations, verbings etc. are acceptable, especially where the writer does not seem to purport they are valid in the general language and in other contexts. A Proz.com disagree (n) – which is an almost binary type of comment left under an answer proposed by someone else – is definitely not the same as using the verb 'disagree' in the function of a noun in normal speech or writing.

[Edited at 2014-03-19 17:00 GMT]
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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:15
Italian to English
In memoriam
It's not the grammar... Mar 19, 2014

... it's the personalities.

Dissing an answer with a points-critical "disagree" (pace Tom) instead of a less aggressive "neutral" is, as others have pointed out, often inspired by personal animus or a frustrated ego.

If that's that's the way the land lies, so be it.

I answer Kudoz questions because they interest me and I usually learn things as I am attempting to frame my contribution in terms the asker will find useful.


 

Samuel Sebastian Holden Bramah  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
According to the Moderators Mar 20, 2014

Samuel Murray wrote:

It is not because you disagree with them that they get upset, but because you deliberately and knowingly voted that they be penalised for having given an answer.

(...)

Why do I say this? Because if you select the "disagree" option, it does not merely act as a useful label of your response, but it actually penalises the answerer in a hurtful way.

Owing to this unfortunate bad design of the KudoZ system, you should only use the "disagree" option if you agree that the answerer should be penalised for his answer. Otherwise you should use the "neutral" option, and then write the actual word "disagree" in your reply.

Think not of what you're doing, but of what the immediate consequences are of what you're doing.


I just got this back from a support request I opened to the site helpdesk (slightly edited):

Disagrees do not result in penalizations
Hello Samuel,

(...) I'm afraid that the post is not accurate. Disagrees do not penalize other users in any way other than showing you disagree with their answer on the question itself. What they may refer to is to the fact that KudoZ activity can be shown on profiles, for example one can read "PRO-level points: 32, Questions answered: 37, Questions asked: 4" on your profile. Having given many answers and having earned relatively few points can be considered to be a bad message to give to potential clients visiting your profile, but this is subjective. Additionally, it is possible to hide KudoZ activity from profiles, so that only total points are shown.


I think this is VERY subjective, as the moderator says. If I were looking through ProZ for a potential translator or group member or someone to give me a hand with my work, I would prefer someone active in the ProZ comunity that speaks up and gives their opinion, rather than someone who just hovers around. Of course there are other things to be considered too, and KudoZ points hardly make anyone an expert or a better translator.

In any case, the "negatives" do not "damage" you in any way. I have even seen answers with loads of negative comments which have been selected as the "best option".

So. I will continue to issue "disagree" comments and not feel that it is a breach of netiquette to do so... Since that is what the button is there for

And I will continue to answer as many KudoZ questions as my time and knowledge permit... I don't do it for the points, I do it to join in and learn things.


 

Samuel Sebastian Holden Bramah  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
English Key Mar 20, 2014

neilmac wrote:

Sheila Wilson wrote:

So, when is a monkey wrench NOT a monkey wrench? When it's an adjustable spanner; adjustable wrench; gas grips...


I've always called it a "shifting spanner", but then again what do you expect from a Weegie?


If you put it through Google Translate from Spanish to English you will probably get "English Key" LOL

So, could someone please give me a better word to sub into that original post... Or maybe I should post and English-English KudoZ question and we can all vote on the best word to exemplify what I was trying to get across LOL

(All tongue in cheek kids, no harm done... I wrote that after a long day and was not thinking str8)

I will be haunted by monkey-gas-shifting adjustable-spanner wrenches 'til the end of my days (you can change the hyphens to your own personal taste... but I thought monkey gas shifting could be a fun new job)


 

Letizia Olivieri  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:15
Member (2010)
English to Italian
+ ...
Utter Crap Jun 20, 2014

Hi,
I found this thread very interesting as I have just received my first "disagree" about a phrase I was (and am!) pretty sure about, by a colleague who didn't even bother to come up with an adequate alternative translation but simply provided an explanation of how the matter works in her country (tax-related/labour matter), which was not, in any case, the country where the source text came from.
Now why shouldn't I take it personally?
I don't care about being penalized, it'
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Hi,
I found this thread very interesting as I have just received my first "disagree" about a phrase I was (and am!) pretty sure about, by a colleague who didn't even bother to come up with an adequate alternative translation but simply provided an explanation of how the matter works in her country (tax-related/labour matter), which was not, in any case, the country where the source text came from.
Now why shouldn't I take it personally?
I don't care about being penalized, it's a simple matter of competence... even the asker didn't know what the whole thing was about so... what is the point in answering Kudoz questions when you do a lot of research before submitting your answer, you check and re-check and then you realize that most of the time people just don't know what they (or you) are talking about?
...
Rant over, but my professional pride is hurt.
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Samuel Sebastian Holden Bramah  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
yikes! Jun 20, 2014

Letizia Olivieri wrote:

Hi,
I found this thread very interesting as I have just received my first "disagree" about a phrase I was (and am!) pretty sure about, by a colleague who didn't even bother to come up with an adequate alternative translation but simply provided an explanation of how the matter works in her country (tax-related/labour matter), which was not, in any case, the country where the source text came from.
Now why shouldn't I take it personally?
I don't care about being penalized, it's a simple matter of competence... even the asker didn't know what the whole thing was about so... what is the point in answering Kudoz questions when you do a lot of research before submitting your answer, you check and re-check and then you realize that most of the time people just don't know what they (or you) are talking about?
...
Rant over, but my professional pride is hurt.






Ok... this of course is just daft... when people rate or comment without even thinking it is annoying.

I was going for well thought-out negative comments being answered with bitchy comebacks or "hurt feelings"



 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:15
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
You feel insulted; but you are also perhaps slightly insulting Jun 20, 2014

Letizia Olivieri wrote:
I have just received my first "disagree" about a phrase I was (and am!) pretty sure about, by a colleague who didn't even bother to come up with an adequate alternative translation

It's considered totally acceptable to disagree with a translation that you believe to be incorrect. Whether or not you provide an alternate translation is a separate matter.

but simply provided an explanation of how the matter works in her country (tax-related/labour matter), which was not, in any case, the country where the source text came from.

If I understand it correctly (and I don't master the languages involved), none of the three people concerned in the KudoZ Q&A were from Argentina (which I think is where the source referred to?).

Now why shouldn't I take it personally?

Well, it's a very human reaction. But then, maybe it could be construed as being just a tiny bit arrogant to be so sure you're right and the other person is so wrong, when you said you were only "pretty sure", and
even the asker didn't know what the whole thing was about

and
what is the point in answering Kudoz questions when you do a lot of research before submitting your answer, you check and re-check and then you realize that most of the time people just don't know what they (or you) are talking about?


The title of your post suggests real fury. Surely that isn't the way a professional should react to criticism, even if you feel it's unjustified. It's much better to construct a defence of your point of view.


 

Letizia Olivieri  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:15
Member (2010)
English to Italian
+ ...
Maybe you're right Jun 20, 2014

It's much better to construct a defence of your point of view.


...which of course I did (the long bit in the discussion box).
And I know it is perfectly fine to disagree - I'm not saying it isn't or that I gave the perfect answer; with Kudoz questions disagreeing is part of the game.

Whether or not you provide an alternate translation is a separate matter.


Why? If you disagree with an answer I gave, then either you are 100% sure that there's (at least) another way to say the same thing (and you provide the answer to support your disagreeing), or - as you guys pointed out earlier in the thread - you give a neutral.

As to the being pretty sure part, I tend not to give high levels of confidence even if my answer is supported by a lot of research and/or knowledge in the field. I just don't like it, but maybe I should reconsider it. And yes, none of the people involved lived or was from Argentina; I provided an answer based on the comparison with the Italian social security/labour system.

Maybe you're right when you say I'm being arrogant, when I wrote the above post I was really annoyed - not that this justifies any arrogant behaviour, but... remember it's my first disagree, and I think I'll have to get used to them. Or maybe I'm just one of those (dangerous?) 'personalities'..


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:15
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
One case - but not the case here Jun 20, 2014

Letizia Olivieri wrote:
Whether or not you provide an alternate translation is a separate matter.

Why? If you disagree with an answer I gave, then either you are 100% sure that there's (at least) another way to say the same thing (and you provide the answer to support your disagreeing), or - as you guys pointed out earlier in the thread - you give a neutral.

I vary rarely suggest an answer in the EN>FR pair - I'm not bilingual. But I do sometimes disagree when I'm sure the answerer has misinterpreted the source.


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 20:15
English to Polish
+ ...
... Jun 21, 2014

There is little more to disagree about respectfully when what you see amounts to malpractice or idiocy or otherwise gross error, and, just like some answers do, some disagrees are like to fall under that bracket. I see no reason to disagree respectfully when people are pulling things out of thin air or displaying incompetence in the language they work in.

This said, 'disagree' is just that. From what I see, people choose 'neutral' when they disagree and reserve 'disagree' for someth
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There is little more to disagree about respectfully when what you see amounts to malpractice or idiocy or otherwise gross error, and, just like some answers do, some disagrees are like to fall under that bracket. I see no reason to disagree respectfully when people are pulling things out of thin air or displaying incompetence in the language they work in.

This said, 'disagree' is just that. From what I see, people choose 'neutral' when they disagree and reserve 'disagree' for something more than that. Perhaps it shouldn't be that way and should be neutral when you're really neutral and disagree when you simply disagree. And a longer post in the discussion thread when it's dead wrong.

[Ooops, double post. Please delete this one.]

[Edited at 2014-06-21 14:41 GMT]
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Andrea Alvisi  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:15
English to Italian
+ ...
Food for thought Jun 22, 2014

Hi everyone!

As Letizia pointed out, this is a very interesting conversation indeed. I tend to agree with most of what's been said, which puts me in two shoes at the same time and doubles my personality a bit :S

Generally speaking, I feel the 'disagree' button should be used - without offending anyone, that is. I agree that users tend to rely much more on the 'neutral' button than in the past. I haven't been on this website for long, but I remember that when I joined, '
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Hi everyone!

As Letizia pointed out, this is a very interesting conversation indeed. I tend to agree with most of what's been said, which puts me in two shoes at the same time and doubles my personality a bit :S

Generally speaking, I feel the 'disagree' button should be used - without offending anyone, that is. I agree that users tend to rely much more on the 'neutral' button than in the past. I haven't been on this website for long, but I remember that when I joined, 'disagrees' were perfectly fine and constituted the norm when evaluating answers provided in the Kudoz section (at least, in the EN>IT and IT>EN fora).

I also believe that there is a tendency, especially among 'new' translators (those that you could potentially refer to as 'beginners'), to try and answer to as many Kudoz answers as possible in order to rack up points. This is a strategy which has several consequences:
- First of all, the answers are provided by professionals without the necessary expertise of competence in a specific field (this is something which could be overlooked if we stipulate all translators could, potentially, be Jack of all trades - and master of none? - or could, potentially again, use their excellent research skills to find the answers by means of parallel texts, glossaries, dictionaries, etc.).
- Secondly, some of the answers are plainly wrong. Someone with the necessary self-control and knowledge would not just post such answers. However, said skills seem to be lacking in these people, who continuously answer numerous open questions by providing wrong, inaccurate, ill-founded or just plain outrageous answers.
I feel these people should be told they are doing the wrong thing because, honestly, were I in their shoes, I would want to know. Therefore, I feel the 'disagree' button should be used liberally to point out Kudoz are not an open competition to gain as many points as possible but, rather, a professional space to confront yourselves and your knowledge with other like-minded professionals.
That said, I don't have the time and/or energy to constantly point out what to me is obvious and should constitute good practice in the profession, not to mention some moderators have deleted my comments in the past (and I admit I might have come across as rude) or these people have taken my comments (which I can assure you were not rude but, rather, tried to explain politely why I believed their approach was wrong) very personally. I agree the comments and the 'disagrees' shouldn't be personal, but it also needs to be said that some people simply cannot take criticism.

I also noted a tendency (again, please note I am mostly referring to the EN>IT forum, I can't speak for any other Kudoz language pair) on behalf of the posters. Most people do not look for the answers themselves and merely ask the Internet community to drop the answer at their feet. The open glossaries on this website are an invaluable tool (IMO) which is seldom used. Countless times I have been inclined to simply point out the answer to a specific question could have been found by simply entering the term in the open glossary section. But this is a completely different matter and I am going off topic...

To wrap it all up, over the time I became extremely fed up with the build up of such attitudes in the Kudoz pages. In fact, so much that I now don't participate anymore (minus rare exceptions). And I know this is a widespread feeling (at least among Italian-native translators) because I have been told by other professionals they are distancing themselves from the forum too. For those of you who are interested, there has also been a discussion in the Italian forum not so long ago - true, it mostly related to the fora, but it has some relevance to the Kudoz too.
As a rule of thumb, I agree with those who say that the 'disagree' should be used, albeit with moderation. However, there should also be a more receptive and comprehensive attitude on the behalf of those who are being given the 'disagree' (or 'neutral', for that matter). The Kudoz are an exceptionally useful tool if used wisely. As it stands now, at least for the language pair above, I feel they are being misused and trivialised. #rantover
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Letizia Olivieri  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:15
Member (2010)
English to Italian
+ ...
On second thought Jun 23, 2014

..the disagreer might have had a point. We were talking about very similar procedures and the question allowed for more than one single interpretation. I don’t know how the asker decided to translate the phrase, I just hope she found an acceptable solution. If she got it wrong, it’s her business.

So, to go back to the main topic of this thread, and after spending a few days thinking about this disagree and sometimes regretting to have written my post in the first place, I have t
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..the disagreer might have had a point. We were talking about very similar procedures and the question allowed for more than one single interpretation. I don’t know how the asker decided to translate the phrase, I just hope she found an acceptable solution. If she got it wrong, it’s her business.

So, to go back to the main topic of this thread, and after spending a few days thinking about this disagree and sometimes regretting to have written my post in the first place, I have to say that what really annoyed me was not the disagree in itself but they way the colleague disagreed. As Andrea points out:

I also noted a tendency (again, please note I am mostly referring to the EN>IT forum, I can't speak for any other Kudoz language pair) on behalf of the posters. Most people do not look for the answers themselves and merely ask the Internet community to drop the answer at their feet.


In this particular case, along with a possible translation, I suggested the asker take a look at the links I provided so as to get a clearer idea of what the whole thing was about (and possibly find a better translation herself, you never know). She probably didn’t and didn’t ask for further details/explanations. In fact, she thought I was talking about insurance while my answer referred to social security (same word, double meaning in Italian).

Secondly, some of the answers are plainly wrong. Someone with the necessary self-control and knowledge would not just post such answers. However, said skills seem to be lacking in these people, who continuously answer numerous open questions by providing wrong, inaccurate, ill-founded or just plain outrageous answers.
I feel these people should be told they are doing the wrong thing because, honestly, were I in their shoes, I would want to know.


The disagreer might have found my translation inaccurate or plainly wrong, and I’m perfectly ok with that, what annoyed me was the fact that, as I mentioned before, she didn’t bother or take the time to do a bit of research and come up with a different solution. She simply said: I’m sorry but your answer is wrong and I really can’t think of a way of saying this in Italian. Whether or not this is acceptable may just be a matter of attitude or personality. I have found a number of wrong and inaccurate answers in the EN-IT Kudoz, but still, I have never given a disagree. I guess I haven’t ever had the heart to tell those answerers that they clearly misinterpreted the source; I suggested another answer and that was it.

There have also been cases in which EN-IT answerers discussed their different suggestions in terms that were not so friendly or professional, but then again, as far as Italians are concerned, I believe that when it comes to accepting criticism, we are not so good (including myself!)… it must be something in our blood!
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