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Kudoz and terminology: do ProZ members know what a term is?
Thread poster: Fatima Noronha

Fatima Noronha  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 05:17
Member (2012)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Apr 2, 2017

I thought KudoZ was about terminology questions, eg., queries about problematic terms that are difficult to track.

So, I was expecting to see queries about "terms", aka, terminological units, which would allow, after peer validation, their insertion in the ProZ glossaries in order to build a reliable database.
Those who studied terminology know that it's possible for a terminological unit to equal a whole sentence. But this is extremely unusual, as a terminological unit, by definition, contains one and only one concept [Cabré, M. T. (2003). Theories of terminology: their description, prescription and explanation. Terminology, 2(9), 163–199; Temmerman, R. (2000). Towards New Ways of Terminology Description: The Sociocognitive-approach. John Benjamins Publishin, and so on...)].

So, I was expecting to see, from time to time (I mean, once in a life time), kudoz questions relating whole sentences. However, I see more and more questions that not only include terms but clauses and sentences. Surprisingly, this is getting viral and these "toxic terms" are invading the glossaries turning them (almost) useless. Here's some examples of "things" that are concordance queries, but surely are not terms:
- But couldn\'t the rationale of buying
- fear was all out of proportion to reality
- the second one checked it when he took my order
- they are as integral a part of the company
- we could have an overdue invoice, but we still received the supply as usual

(and there is more and more)

Are these terms? I don't think so, but probably I missed something about Kudoz, I admit...

Thus, I think that it could be a good idea (for our glossaries sake) to do something about this growing problem. For instance:
- organise some training on terminology basics for ProZ members, namely, to KudoZ moderators to allow and enable them to wash out toxic terms
- create a validation board in order to evaluate the entry after the answer is chosen;
- prevent that KudoZ queries longer than XXX words are posted
- create a dedicated dashboard for these concordance queries
etc, etc, etc


 

Paulo Eduardo - Pro Knowledge  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:17
Member (2008)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Worse... Apr 2, 2017

To corroborate what you said, in my opinion, "newbies" are getting lazier, don't search for anything: just wait for entire phrases to be translated by other colleagues...
The glossaries are, what we call in database management, "dirty."
It is time someone does something about it.
The risk is re-licensing or subscribing to ProZ being hindered.


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:17
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
This is the definition is the FAQs Apr 2, 2017

2.1 - What constitutes "term help" as defined in rule http://www.proz.com/siterules/kudoz_general/1.1#1.1 ?

KudoZ questions can be used to ask for help on terms or idiomatic expressions.

A group of words (up to approximately 10) should be posted in a single question only when they constitute an unbreakable unit, such as an idiomatic expression (e.g. 'a jack of all trades and master of none') that may be several words long and where omitting any part would not formulate the question correctly.

Askers can also ask for help in understanding the meaning of a sentence, word order, a grammatical issue or the difference between two terms, but this should be done in the corresponding monolingual language pair. Monolingual KudoZ questions can be asked by selecting the same language for both source and target languages.


2.2 - What is the meaning of "one term is allowed per question" in KudoZ rule 2.1?

Unless they share a root or are otherwise related, terms should be posted separately--an asker should not ask how to say "apple" and "banana" in the same question. This means that a question such as "flotsam/jetsam/derelict" in a context of maritime law would be not valid, since the terms are independent and should posted in three separate questions. On the other hand, "the flotsam and jetsam of the inner city" would be OK, as the terms flotsam and jetsam are related in a unit of meaning. Other examples of valid KudoZ questions are: "screen / screening" (they share a root), "Many levels in this game were heavily tuned for smoothness" (terms related as a unit of meaning in a particular context).


If you see a KudoZ question that violates the rules, then don't answer it. Report it to the moderator.


 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:17
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
are you reporting them? Apr 2, 2017

In Dutch ⇆ English, "terms" consisting of several terms usually get removed by the mods. Maybe you guys aren't reporting them (enough)?

Michael

PS: although I do agree with you that most translators are in serious need of a bit of terminology training. you'd be surprised how few people actually even use the termbase features in their CAT tools. it's sad really.

[Edited at 2017-04-02 19:28 GMT]


 

The Misha
Local time: 00:17
Russian to English
+ ...
Why do you think we need everything compartmentalized and properly labeled? Apr 2, 2017

In my experience, most difficulties people experience are not with terms as such, but rather with putting them together, so why not let them ask? Why put any artificial limits on what they can or cannot ask based on some arbitrary, unscientific (because let's face it, "terminology" and most of linguistics isn't really science, not in the Popperian sense anyway) criteria for the sake of a glossary that isn't much use anyway? That sure would kill all the fun, at least for me it would since I am only answering those question for the entertainment value of it. I also have substantial expertise to share in my areas of specialization, so if you take the fun part out of it, I will simply go away and take it to the grave with me:)

Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer wrote:

most translators are in serious need of a bit of terminology training. you'd be surprised how few people actually even use the termbase features in their CAT tools. it's sad really.



Are you absolutely positive about it? What's "terminology training" anyway? I have managed to do just fine in this business for over 30 years without the benefit of knowing any of such pseudo-scientific mush. Oh, and I also put quite a few glossaries and style guides together based on - surprise, surprise! - my knowledge of the subject matter, language skills and common sense. And until a couple of years ago, I have not even used any CAT tools at all, termbases or not.

I say, keep your hands off of it. Let everyone be and let them figure it all out by themselves.

P.S. Incidentally, I am mostly using the termbase in my CAT tool to save time and keystrokes on recurring long terms, such as names of institutions, and entire sentence chunks. Oh, the horror!

[Edited at 2017-04-02 20:08 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:17
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
KudoZ answerers are there to give practical help, IMHO Apr 2, 2017

Fatima Noronha wrote:
Those who studied terminology know that it's possible for a terminological unit to equal a whole sentence. But this is extremely unusual, as a terminological unit, by definition, contains one and only one concept [Cabré, M. T. (2003). Theories of terminology: their description, prescription and explanation. Terminology, 2(9), 163–199; Temmerman, R. (2000). Towards New Ways of Terminology Description: The Sociocognitive-approach. John Benjamins Publishin, and so on...)].

This isn't academia. KudoZ is there to help practising translators with problems they encounter in their translations. The objective - in their eyes - isn't to build some sort of bilingual terminological unit that a university might consider correct. Their objective is to deliver a correct translation!

There's a word limit to try to avoid abuse, and KudoZ editors (volunteers) will sometimes squash questions or suggest changes to the term if the Asker seems to have parsed the text incorrectly.


 

Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:17
Member (2014)
French to German
+ ...
My few cents Apr 3, 2017

Kudoz is not really here to built up a term base.

I find it often more difficult to translate whole expressions and choose the right verb to use in a German translation from French e. g.

If you do not like to answer to such questions, just don't.

Kudoz surely is not there either to have translated whole sentences by fellow translators on a regular basis because someone works in a field she/he does not know a thing about.

I do see other abuse of Kudoz though such as people posting 15 questions every day. Questions I can answer with a bit of research within 2 minutes although it's not my field. This shows as well in my eyes that some colleagues just accept any project and/or work at a rate which is so low that they do not have the time to do any research themselves.

Maybe the number of questions in a day should be more limited.

In my language pair some even already wondered if there are not fellow translators using more than one profile to be able to post even more questions.


 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 07:17
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Kudoz is competition Apr 3, 2017

Those eager to answer will rise on the list of professionals when somebody searches for a freelancer. Its not about terminology.
In my language pairs Kudoz is not relevant at all.
Perhaps asking should be restricted to paying members only. Definitely this would improve the quality. I cannot think of any other easy way.


 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:17
English to Spanish
+ ...
Kudoz and terms Apr 3, 2017

Fatima's posting invited 3 pages of answers last night. Today, just one. I couldn't find a single reply or comment that would merit removal by Proz moderators. Oh, maybe except mine, where I gave a suggestion about the future of Kudoz terms section.

Today I learned of the assassination of Miroslava Breach, a journalist for a Northern Mexican newspaper. A note was posted on her car by the killers: For being a loudmouth

What does this gruesome news have to do with censorship? It's part of a continuum. The moment a controlling group is trying to remove your opinion without cause, or for a superficial one, that's the whiff of censorship. Censorship, in its most extreme, means death.

Thanks, Proz, for proving my point: this is not a professional portal.

[Edited at 2017-04-03 07:27 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-04-03 07:31 GMT]


 

EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:17
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
That's the trouble, among other Apr 3, 2017

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

Those eager to answer will rise on the list of professionals when somebody searches for a freelancer. Its not about terminology.

... that many see it this way, give even nonsense answers just to "be there", and will quarrel over merits and points... Heinrich: It SHOULD BE primarily about helping each other. You would be surprised how many people do, and even refuse points (happened to me yesterday).


 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:17
English to Spanish
+ ...
Agree: it shouldn't be about points Apr 3, 2017

EvaVer wrote:

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

Those eager to answer will rise on the list of professionals when somebody searches for a freelancer. Its not about terminology.

... that many see it this way, give even nonsense answers just to "be there", and will quarrel over merits and points... Heinrich: It SHOULD BE primarily about helping each other. You would be surprised how many people do, and even refuse points (happened to me yesterday).


These days, with marketplaces, local and global, being saturated by the offer of translators in many language pairs, it's no surprise that some translators are trying to rise above the rest, even if that includes getting points of dubious value on a portal.


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
It's a conspiracy Apr 3, 2017

Mario Chavez wrote:

Fatima's posting invited 3 pages of answers last night. Today, just one. I couldn't find a single reply or comment that would merit removal by Proz moderators. Oh, maybe except mine, where I gave a suggestion about the future of Kudoz terms section.

Today I learned of the assassination of Miroslava Breach, a journalist for a Northern Mexican newspaper. A note was posted on her car by the killers: For being a loudmouth

What does this gruesome news have to do with censorship? It's part of a continuum. The moment a controlling group is trying to remove your opinion without cause, or for a superficial one, that's the whiff of censorship. Censorship, in its most extreme, means death.

Thanks, Proz, for proving my point: this is not a professional portal.

[Edited at 2017-04-03 07:27 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-04-03 07:31 GMT]


Mario, I hear whispers ProZ was behind Kennedy's assassination too! Get out while you can!!!


 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 06:17
Member
Italian to English
Babies and bathwater Apr 3, 2017

Mario Chavez wrote:

Thanks, Proz, for proving my point: this is not a professional portal.


For such a "non-professional portal", you seem to spend an awful lot of time here.

In Italy we have a saying - "chi disprezza compra". In other words, someone's criticism of something actually hides a certain affection.

Mario Chavez wrote:

points of dubious value on a portal


As for "points of dubious value", of course they won't get you any discounts at the supermarket, or win you money on the lottery. But KudoZ points can show clients and agencies how you work and how you reason as a professional, if you choose to approach the system intelligently. They are also the tool which lets you climb up the directory in terms of ranking, which can help you get work. Despite all the harsh criticism being levelled at the system here, Kudoz is pretty much the first place I always turn when I need to look up a term. As Sheila says, this is not academia: on the other hand, the value of KudoZ all comes down to how you use it, the ability to think critically, and the ability to discern between quality entries and those which are of no value. No system is perfect. But let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater, as the saying goes.

Mario Chavez wrote:

These days, with marketplaces, local and global, being saturated by the offer of translators in many language pairs, it's no surprise that some translators are trying to rise above the rest


I see the same thing!!!! Sometimes this particular phenomenon goes by the name of "specialisation", other times by "professional growth", other times again (very confusingly) by "continuing professional education". Do watch out for this guileful and highly insidious entity: side effects include better performance, higher rates, a larger client base and increased prestige. If you do find yourself affected, don't say I didn't warn you.

[Edited at 2017-04-03 10:06 GMT]


 

Fatima Noronha  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 05:17
Member (2012)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
You're right, this is not academia. Apr 3, 2017

Sheila Wilson wrote:

This isn't academia. KudoZ is there to help practising translators with problems they encounter in their translations. The objective - in their eyes - isn't to build some sort of bilingual terminological unit that a university might consider correct. Their objective is to deliver a correct translation!

There's a word limit to try to avoid abuse, and KudoZ editors (volunteers) will sometimes squash questions or suggest changes to the term if the Asker seems to have parsed the text incorrectly.


But what is the use of having such long sentences in a glossary? It's highly unlikely that someone, somewhere, will face the same problem. My point is not to have a university approved database, but only a minimally functional glossary, which is getting more and more difficult.

And, no, I don't answer those questions. As a matter of fact, currently I barely answer any KudoZ: somewhere in time I figured out some groups control the whole thing in that awkward competition for points. Whether this points allow me to ascent in the directory or not, I'm not really worried anymore as don't want to climb up answering false terminology questions. I just think there could be (maybe...) another board more proper to concordance help.

So, this doesn't mean I refuse to help and share. It's just about the fact that the way things are, soon Kudoz glossaries will be filled with totally useless "things", which is a pity.

That's why I added some ideas, namely, to offer some basic terminology training to fill the gaps some translators have in that matter.

Sorry, but I can't help it. I am a terminology addicted and fortunately I received academic and professional training. It's hard for me to see terms (those beautiful and special lexical units) treated so disrespectfully here.

Fatimaicon_smile.gif


 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:17
English to Spanish
+ ...
Oh, the humanity! Apr 3, 2017

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:

Mario Chavez wrote:

Thanks, Proz, for proving my point: this is not a professional portal.


For such a "non-professional portal", you seem to spend an awful lot of time here.

In Italy we have a saying - "chi disprezza compra". In other words, someone's criticism of something actually hides a certain affection.

Mario Chavez wrote:

points of dubious value on a portal


As for "points of dubious value", of course they won't get you any discounts at the supermarket, or win you money on the lottery. But KudoZ points can show clients and agencies how you work and how you reason as a professional, if you choose to approach the system intelligently. They are also the tool which lets you climb up the directory in terms of ranking, which can help you get work. Despite all the harsh criticism being levelled at the system here, Kudoz is pretty much the first place I always turn when I need to look up a term. As Sheila says, this is not academia: on the other hand, the value of KudoZ all comes down to how you use it, the ability to think critically, and the ability to discern between quality entries and those which are of no value. No system is perfect. But let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater, as the saying goes.

Mario Chavez wrote:

These days, with marketplaces, local and global, being saturated by the offer of translators in many language pairs, it's no surprise that some translators are trying to rise above the rest


I see the same thing!!!! Sometimes this particular phenomenon goes by the name of "specialisation", other times by "professional growth", other times again (very confusingly) by "continuing professional education". Do watch out for this guileful and highly insidious entity: side effects include better performance, higher rates, a larger client base and increased prestige. If you do find yourself affected, don't say I didn't warn you.

[Edited at 2017-04-03 10:06 GMT]


Fiona, apparently you didn't understand the points I raised. By some translators are trying to rise above the rest I meant this:

Some translators are using anything that seems useful marketing (such as Kudoz points) to become visible to potential clients.

You and I move in different circles. My clients (current and potential) don't find me on Proz, or judge my professional expertise by how many questions I answer here. The few clients that have found me here (once every 4 or 5 years) are looking for a special skill set that I provide. They contact me for that, not for my comments here or for the term replies I provide.

As for "dubious value" and "it depends on how you use it," again, we don't see eye to eye because we don't operate in the same markets. Once in a while I do find a solution to a term search I began elsewhere, thanks to a fellow translator who already answered it for someone else. But I do my research elsewhere, I don't start it here.
Quality entries start with reading texts that are relevant to the query. Kudoz is more like a tree of opinions about what a term might mean, often supported by little more than a Wikipedia entry (dubious source in many specializations) or a translated webpage. I prefer to taste the original first.


 
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