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Should marketing/advertising slogans be allowed as Kudoz questions?
Thread poster: writeaway

writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
Mar 4, 2006

Like many translators, I really enjoy the challenge of coming up with a good equivalent marketing or advertising slogan. It's a lot of fun and a completely different type of job compared with just routine translating.
But I wonder about the 'ethics' of simply posting the slogan on Kudoz and allowing others to work it out. Askers, very often non-native (but native too) speakers of the target language, have found they can take their job (ie the slogan) and invite colleagues to 'have fun' trying to come up with a clever solution. But in the end, after people have provided excellent solutions and points have been distributed, what happens? Does this person tell the client that the wonderful slogan was actually done by others or do they just take credit for it, collect the money and get the next job too, since they have done so well?
Imho, this is more than just helping with a difficult term or tricky grammatical structure. Most of the time, the Askers don't even show what they themselves have come up with (if they have bothered to try at all). Often the question is asked as though they are doing us a 'favour' for letting us have a crack at it.
Ethically I find this sort of "question" unacceptable. Because it's not a real question-it's a job or an important part of a job. And we're not supposed to post jobs.
What do others think? (please no 'you don't have to answer if you don't want to' remarks). It's not about answering or not-my question is: should this sort of posting be allowed?


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Maria Diaconu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 21:11
English to Romanian
No, they shouldn't be allowed Mar 4, 2006

Some time ago, there was one person asking for the translation of such slogan from English into about 20 different languages! Think how much money (s)he spared. This is totally unprofessional and unethical. They should be posted as jobs and paid accordingly.

The situation should be different if the asker came with an answer and asked everybody's opinion on it. This kind of question can be acceptable in some circumstances.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:11
French to English
But how can you tell? Mar 4, 2006

In theory, yes, I agree.

But how do we know if something (a question posted) is an actual slogan, intended for widespread marketing use on posters, newspaper ads and marketing material in general, or just some snappy sounding phrase that simply recurs a few times in a PowerPoint presentation to drive a particular point home, for instance.

Indeed, maybe the Asker doesn't even know if it's a slogan (in a widespread marketing sense) or not?

This very week, I was on the verge of posting a question for "Quand passion rime avec [something I forget now]". It was (as far as I could tell, I checked the web to see if it was a slogan for the company) just a tagline to a page of corporate blurb. And in the end, inspiration struck as I clicked "ask a question".

But would you have suppressed my question on the grounds it sounds like a slogan? How on earth are you going to police it? Like so many suggestions to improve kudoz (e.g. the issue of 'abusers' who ask hundreds of questions and never answer any), the tricky bit is defining objective rules which apply universally. Almost impossible for slogans, I would suggest.

[Edited at 2006-03-04 13:59]


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writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Objection is about real slogans asked without any input from Asker Mar 4, 2006

Charlie Bavington wrote:


But would you have suppressed my question on the grounds it sounds like a slogan? How on earth are you going to police it? Like so many suggestions to improve kudoz (e.g. the issue of 'abusers' who ask hundreds of questions and never answer any), the tricky bit is defining objective rules which apply universally. Almost impossible for slogans, I would suggest.

[Edited at 2006-03-04 13:59]


Hi Charlie,
it's not a discussion about squashing or about questions that 'sound like a slogan'. I'm talking about real slogans, where people ask 'what's a snappy/clever/good etc. way to put this into English/French etc. As Maria says, in some instances such questions may be ok, especially if people show what they have come up with and ask for opinions/feedback.
It's the 'free lunch' aspect I object to and the idea that other people's skills are being passed off as one's own.


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Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:11
German to English
+ ...
You're probably right. But I don't think they should or can be forbidden. Mar 4, 2006

Hi, writeaway, long time no hear!

I understand your point completely - one of my specialty areas is marketing / advertising. However, I'm also a believer in "what goes around , comes around" in the end, and wouldn't lose sleep over the ethics of it. Some translators not qualified to do marketing texts accept them, knowingly or unwittingly. It can happen. I've inadvertently taken on texts that had some things in between that I was not really qualified to do, but I did my best anyway (this has happened when the client has had a tight deadline, for example. Usually it worked out fine with some extra research effort on my part.

Those individuals who knowingly take on marketing (or any type, for that matter) texts without having any or insufficient experience in the subject will either learn to do it right or get caught out at some point and not entrusted with this type of work again. We don't always have the luxury of poring over a text to see if we can translate every word or not before taking on a job, and often texts contain a mixture of subject matter, and are very difficult to classify as one thing or the other.

The problem with forbidding certain types of questions is fraught with ethical issues, and potentially very dangerous precedents. Therefore I would be for continuing to allow these types of questions, ignoring them if you think the asker is only out for a free ride, and getting on with your own affairs.

I personally would give the asker the benefit of the doubt, and enjoy the challenge of thinking up a great slogan while I'm at it. I don't feel threatened by them or think that they're taking the bread out of my mouth.

I guess it's basically a matter of thinking positively or negatively, in the end.

[Edited at 2006-03-04 15:03]


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:11
French to English
Where do you draw the line? Mar 4, 2006

writeaway wrote:

As Maria says, in some instances such questions may be ok, especially if people show what they have come up with and ask for opinions/feedback.
It's the 'free lunch' aspect I object to and the idea that other people's skills are being passed off as one's own.


You've more or less said it yourself - sometimes it'll be OK, sometimes it won't. It all sounds a bit arbitrary. Without wishing to sound like some anally-retentive civil sevant, you need to have a clear definition of what is permitted and what isn't. If you just say "posting slogan questions isn't allowed", people will just not mention the fact that their question is a slogan - after all, a well crafted title for a presentation (say) can easily sound like a slogan without being one.

The only possible way you might suspect a given question is a slogan is if the precise phrase is already in the public domain for one organisation (i.e. by searching the web). In which case, fine - apply your rule if you wish. Nothwithstanding the fact that the Asker may be blissfully ignorant of the fact he/she is being asked to translate a slogan at their standard rate per word....!

I'm not convinced that somehow showing you've given it some thought by suggesting a translation is a satisfactory determining factor either. Ideally, this should be the case with all questions

And let's face facts, the whole Kudoz system is predicated on passing off other people's work as one's own


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Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:11
German to English
+ ...
I'm in complete agreement with you, Charlie. Mar 4, 2006

Charlie Bavington wrote:



And let's face facts, the whole Kudoz system is predicated on passing off other people's work as one's own



Excellent final point.

I think we essentially said the same thing with somewhat different emphases.

[Edited at 2006-03-04 15:13]


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writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yes but... Mar 4, 2006

Woodstock wrote:

I've inadvertently taken on texts that had some things in between that I was not really qualified to do, but I did my best anyway (this has happened when the client has had a tight deadline, for example. Usually it worked out fine with some extra research effort on my part.



Yes but. We can all get caught out with a text we aren't really suited for, but then we research and make an effort to get it right. We even post questions on Kudoz.
Here I mean people who accept marketing texts/slogans with eyes wide open and then immediately post the slogan on Kudoz, no effort being made on their part.

Charlie Bavington wrote:

And let's face facts, the whole KudoZ system is predicated on passing off other people's work as one's own.



Here I don't agree. You can't equate asking and receiving extra help with a few terms and/or grammatical issues with passing off other people's work as one's own. But when people post phrase after phrase from the same job... that starts to look like it indeed.
Marketing/advertising slogans, jingles etc. need creative thinking and good language skills. Using a suggestion from someone else and presenting it to client as your own is what I object to.


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Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:11
German to English
+ ...
Good guys vs. bad guys Mar 4, 2006

writeaway wrote:

Here I don't agree. You can't equate asking and receiving extra help with a few terms and/or grammatical issues with passing off other people's work as one's own. But when people post phrase after phrase from the same job... that starts to look like it indeed.
Marketing/advertising slogans, jingles etc. need creative thinking and good language skills. Using a suggestion from someone else and presenting it to client as your own is what I object to.


I realize the ethics is what you have a problem with, and I address that in my first reply above. You seem to have a strong sense of ethics, which is laudable, but beware of applying it to others, or expecting others to be like you. With all due respect, it's not up to you to make that call, writeaway.

I personally believe it eventually will all work out without my getting particularly involved: The good guys in the white cowboy hats will get rewarded, the bad guys in the black hats will get punished at some point. Perhaps later, perhaps sooner, but I don't worry about it, frankly. I think one doesn't need to complicate one's life even more than it already is.

So I would say "live and let live". I have my opinions when I see what you're talking about, and have sometimes felt annoyance, but then I say, is this worth getting upset about? My answer is always a categorical "no!"


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writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Really just a discussion here Mar 4, 2006

Woodstock wrote:

writeaway wrote:

Here I don't agree. You can't equate asking and receiving extra help with a few terms and/or grammatical issues with passing off other people's work as one's own. But when people post phrase after phrase from the same job... that starts to look like it indeed.
Marketing/advertising slogans, jingles etc. need creative thinking and good language skills. Using a suggestion from someone else and presenting it to client as your own is what I object to.


I realize the ethics is what you have a problem with, and I address that in my first reply above. You seem to have a strong sense of ethics, which is laudable, but beware of applying it to others, or expecting others to be like you. With all due respect, it's not up to you to make that call, writeaway.

I personally believe it eventually will all work out without my getting particularly involved: The good guys in the white cowboy hats will get rewarded, the bad guys in the black hats will get punished at some point. Perhaps later, perhaps sooner, but I don't worry about it, frankly. I think one doesn't need to complicate one's life even more than it already is.

So I would say "live and let live". I have my opinions when I see what you're talking about, and have sometimes felt annoyance, but then I say, is this worth getting upset about? My answer is always a categorical "no!"




Agree about not getting upset-after all, it's all in cyberspace anyway. And it's not really affecting us personally. In many ways, one can dismiss it with a shrug to be sure-but a bit of awareness can't hurt.
Am not thinking in terms of good guys, bad guys either. Nothing is black and white and I ain't no Mary Poppins by a long shot. But somewhere there has to be a line seen (if not drawn) between 'helping someone out' and 'doing the job for them'. A few weeks ago, someone posted 30 questions in 2 days all for the same job-each and every question was answered but somehow I think the 'line' became very visible. And no repeat performance up to now. If people become aware, then things do take care of themselves.


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
Yes, it should Mar 4, 2006

should this sort of posting be allowed?

Time is money - whether you spent it on terminology research or on imagening a good idea. It is a present anyway. And if/when you feel that you should be less generous to certain people, or more generous to other ones, that's exactly what the flag/filter lists are made for.
It works well for me


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Can Altinbay  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:11
Japanese to English
+ ...
Would this be a breach of one or more KudoZ rules? Mar 4, 2006

writeaway wrote:
Agree about not getting upset-after all, it's all in cyberspace anyway. And it's not really affecting us personally. In many ways, one can dismiss it with a shrug to be sure-but a bit of awareness can't hurt.
Am not thinking in terms of good guys, bad guys either. Nothing is black and white and I ain't no Mary Poppins by a long shot. But somewhere there has to be a line seen (if not drawn) between 'helping someone out' and 'doing the job for them'. A few weeks ago, someone posted 30 questions in 2 days all for the same job-each and every question was answered but somehow I think the 'line' became very visible. And no repeat performance up to now. If people become aware, then things do take care of themselves.


Surely a serial post such as that would break one or more KudoZ rule. I would at least ask a moderator to look at it.

By the way, when I run into a slogan, I always advise my client (usually an agency) to use a marketing professional to deal with it. My client usually says, we understand, please do the best you can. I may simply do it myself, but I like to give my colleagues the chance to have fun with it. I always point out that it's a slogan and that the client has been advised. If I have ideas, I put them in my post. If I understand correctly, this gets the OP (writeaway)'s OK.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:11
German to English
+ ...
Should marketing/advertising slogans be allowed as Kudoz questions? Mar 4, 2006

Can Altinbay wrote:

By the way, when I run into a slogan, I always advise my client (usually an agency) to use a marketing professional to deal with it.


This gets to the nub of the matter in my opinion. There is a more fundamental issue at stake, namely why translators (and their clients, but it is largely the translators' fault) insist on treating all forms of translation as the same. A copywriter who dreams up a slogan may expect to charge a three- or even four-figure sum for it. Translators then "localize" it - for a few cents, even though the intellectual effort involved and the value to the customer may correspond to that of the original. This is where the profession really needs to do a re-think. If translators in the field concerned began to think of themselves, and market themselves, as "multilingual marketing professionals" (to extend Can's term), the KudoZ issue would take care of itself.

Marc


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:11
German to English
+ ...
Now you can sort jelly beans by weight AND colour! Mar 4, 2006

I don't think people should be restricted on posting any type of question, be it a slogan, help on a quotation or whatever.

Restricted in terms of quantity of posts, sure, but not otherwise. (But I was amazed to see what Maria Diaconu wrote about a question having being asked for 20 languages. That amounts to a "free lunch" for some person and arguably there should be a way of introducing a mechanism to prevent 'rip-offs' like that).

I certainly concur with Charlie: "But how do we know if something (a question posted) is an actual slogan, intended for widespread marketing use on posters, newspaper ads and marketing material in general, or just some snappy sounding phrase that simply recurs a few times in a PowerPoint presentation to drive a particular point home, for instance."

I could be the greatest living authority on machines for bagging jelly beans, but if a manufacturer (whose manuals I have always translated to his/her eternal satisfaction) produces a marketing brochure, then I may well be out of my depth every now and then.

Imagine:

Slogan
Technology rules, for 350 words

Slogan
back to to techspeak, for 450 words.

There was a recent question on DE>EN concerning a power tool which had some nifty attributes that were clearly explained by the asker. Here, the original headline was roughly: "You'll be home eating sausages while the others are still out chasing the pig". Honest! In cases like this, I see it as the translator thinking: "Well you know where he's coming from and so do I. Got any ideas, guys?"

I'm sure that translators often have a good idea of what they want to say, but just want to see what the 'community' reckons.

Let's be honest as well, the creative area is almost a form of recreation for some linguists and gives rise to discussions that can be interesting, amusing and indeed very heated. But this keeps the community spirit up and running and I don't think that's a bad thing at all. A couple of times, I have posted tricky non-marketing questions and waited forever for the kindness of a response. You post a slogan and see how many suggestions you get within minutes!

Remember too: (cf Harry) it is your choice as to whether to contribute/block/or whatever. I have sometimes looked at questions and thought: "Why not buy a dictionary?"; "Why take on jobs in areas that you nothing about?", or even "Heck - are you still in business?". I know I'm not alone in that school of thought. As for others reaping financial reward from our contributions? Give and take, I believe. If someone is getting 'unethical', others will soon enough draw their own conclusions.

No. Yours is indeed a valid point IMO, but keep the slogans running, I say.

Support your local jelly bean packing business and those who contribute to its development.


[Edited at 2006-03-04 18:58]


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:11
German to English
+ ...
Higher rates Mar 4, 2006

MarcPrior wrote:

This gets to the nub of the matter in my opinion. There is a more fundamental issue at stake, namely why translators (and their clients, but it is largely the translators' fault) insist on treating all forms of translation as the same.

Marc


Personally, I couldn't agree more and always charge in accordance with the nature of the job. Field, type of files, degree of urgency etc.

Unfortunately, the mythical project as I described above is usually expected from the biggest customer within a very short period. That's when Kudoz can help some poor beleagured colleague.


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