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would non-natives answering KudoZ Qs practice a little introspection please?
Thread poster: xxxLia Fail
xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:00
Spanish to English
+ ...
Oct 4, 2006

I'm posting this in 'Artificial Languages' a) becuase it seems somewhat appropriate, and b) where is the 'Translation Issues' Forum?

I have just posted an answer to a Q which has recieved to date 1 answer from someone who is almost certainly non-native, as what they wrote wasn't English, it was translationese.

I'm so infuriated, as I have been before, seeing how non-natives who claim to be translators offer ridiculous answers - and have NO sense of shame about it. We can assume they palm themselves off on clients too ...hardly surprising that translation has the abysmal reputation it has.

I can understand that there are exceptionally good bilinguals and non-native speakers (we have had this out plenty of times in ProZ), and I can also understand that non-natives can be extremely helpful with terminology or with specific problems, but what I cannot understand is how someone has the lack of sensitivity to post an abysmally worded sentence and claim it to be 'English' (or whatever other language). This is highlighted particularly with sentences and sentence fragments.

This particular answerer has given him/herself a confidence factor of 5, i.e. the maximum. Just shows how subjective and utterly useless this system is.

I have occasionally answered Qs in my main source language but nearly always point out that I'm not native; I'm merely hoping to provide insights on a subject that is probably familiar to me. I most certainly would NOT give myself a confidence limit of 5!!!!

So, can ANYTHING be done to raise awareness among these so-called 'translators' ...it's enough to turn one off Proz and KudoZ, even the forums, as this issue has been raised so often, and yet the problem persists.







[Edited at 2006-10-05 08:48]


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Magda Dziadosz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 09:00
Member (2004)
English to Polish
+ ...
I'm moving this topic... Oct 4, 2006

to the KudoZ forum as this is the place to discuss such issues at least judging by the number of past threads on same topic

I see your sense of humour in posting it to Artificial Languages forum, but let's not bore lovers of Esperanto and Klingon with KudoZ issues

Best,
Magda



[Edited at 2006-10-04 22:00]


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Sophia Hundt  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:00
Russian to English
+ ...
KudoZ answers are merely suggestions Oct 4, 2006

Once you start filtering who can answer what question, you will lose a valuable resource of non-natives offering a valuable insight in some particular case. I feel like if you are asking for help, you should to a certain degree be able to tolerate ridiculous answers, since sensible answers will, most likely, come as well.

However, someone in the past did offer to improve the Kudoz system by making it possible for the asker to "reject" an answer that is obviously poor (hide it, maybe?) so that good answerers don't skip over a question with lots of answers provided already. You know, they are accepting suggestions as to how to improve the site right now in a different thread.

Also, do keep in mind that if you are translating from a language that is not your native and are merely trying to understand the meaning (and then provide your own, better translation), then a native speaker of the source language is often more valuable than a native speaker of the target language, simply because they will understand the subtle shades of meaning and cultural context that sometimes won't be understood by the native speakers of the target language. (İ think you touched on that as well).

I do agree with you, however, that 'confidence level' option has very little value to the asker, since, as you correctly point out, it's highly subjective. Why not ignore it?

Regards,
Sophia


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xxxMalik Beytek
Local time: 11:00
Display native / non-native status & order answers by answerers' Kudoz accumulated? Oct 4, 2006

I think the web site software already displays answerer's status vis-a-vis the relevant language and category of question.

It appears that answers are currently listed in descending order of confidence level plus number of "agree"s logged in. This could be changed to listing in descending order of Kudoz accumulated by the answerer plus sum of the Kudoz accumulated by users / members having logged in "agree" for each answer.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:00
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Hmmm Oct 4, 2006

It just occurred to me: would it make programming sense (considering we already have programmable asker-side restrictions) to make it impossible for a non-native not working in the question's specialist field to assign a confidence level of '5'?

And then, would it make kudoZ sense?

Or would a message "you have not reported yourself a native in this target language" do the trick?

Just a couple of thoughts.


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Mireille K  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:00
French to English
+ ...
I feel your pain Oct 4, 2006

Hello Lia,

And what do you do when you give an answer that you are positive about, take the time to give data to back it up, get 6 people to agree with you, and surprise!! the asker picks an answer that is so off field!!!
It makes me cringe to think that the answer is going to be in the glossaries!!
Who are these people!! and what exactly are they doing in the translation field?
M


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Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:00
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Trust in self-regulation of the system Oct 4, 2006

Wow, someone's angry her, eh? Did you already put the kettle on and have a nice cup of tea - that always helps

I had a look at the KudoZ question you are refering to. Did you notice that the answerer who upset you so much is actually an English native speaker? Anyway, I was surprised that you didn't give that answer a 'Disagree'. It might make sense to tick the disagree box and add a short explanation on why you disagree - that might make the the answerer re-consider their answer or explain why they have given that answer. And, of course, it makes the asker (and other users) aware that this particular answer might not be quite right.

Sometimes I, too, try and give answers to queries in a language which is not my native language, but in such cases I usually select a lower confidence level or state that I am not a native speaker. But I agree with Sophia - sometimes it is the speaker of the source language who can give the more valuable input on a particular query.

I think the option to 'reject' a particular answer (maybe even "awarding" negative KudoZ points for plain wrong answers) would be a good idea.

Other than that, I do believe that the system is pretty self-regulatory. Even if other answerers don't highlight a wrong or useless answer, then usually the asker will have enough linguistic understanding to identify an answer as unhelpful or misleading.


Thomas

[Edited at 2006-10-04 22:37]


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Jackie Bowman

Local time: 04:00
Spanish to English
+ ...
What they’re doing … Oct 4, 2006

maboumra wrote:

Who are these people!! and what exactly are they doing in the translation field?


I think what they’re doing, in many and perhaps most cases, is taking the time to make a genuine effort to offer help to someone they’ll never meet. Personally, I find it hard not to find that admirable.

Their answers might be wrong, but any half-decent asker will see they’re wrong and ignore them. Getting ‘infuriated’ about their being wrong is perhaps a tad pointless.

But you know what irritates me, as a fully realized, proud-to-be-an-English-native professional? It’s when my fellow proud-to-be-a-native-speaker professionals don’t grasp the difference between ‘that’ and ‘which’ in restrictive and non-restrictive clauses. Takes all sorts to make a world.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
This is the Net Oct 4, 2006

This is the Net, folks, judge for yourselves! The thing that amazes me is not how many ding-a-lings we have here but how many true professionals. Just take the wheat and throw away the chaff.

As much as they try, in the interest of freedom I don't think the folks at Proz.com can or should establish all kinds of filters. Rather, that filtering process needs to be performed by everyone individually.

The competence of both askers and answerers can be questionable. It is up to each to increase his or her own.


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craigs
Local time: 03:00
English to Portuguese
+ ...
More than mere suggestions Oct 4, 2006

Sophia Hundt wrote:

Once you start filtering who can answer what question, you will lose a valuable resource of non-natives offering a valuable insight in some particular case. I feel like if you are asking for help, you should to a certain degree be able to tolerate ridiculous answers, since sensible answers will, most likely, come as well.

However, someone in the past did offer to improve the Kudoz system by making it possible for the asker to "reject" an answer that is obviously poor (hide it, maybe?) so that good answerers don't skip over a question with lots of answers provided already. You know, they are accepting suggestions as to how to improve the site right now in a different thread.

Also, do keep in mind that if you are translating from a language that is not your native and are merely trying to understand the meaning (and then provide your own, better translation), then a native speaker of the source language is often more valuable than a native speaker of the target language, simply because they will understand the subtle shades of meaning and cultural context that sometimes won't be understood by the native speakers of the target language. (İ think you touched on that as well).

I do agree with you, however, that 'confidence level' option has very little value to the asker, since, as you correctly point out, it's highly subjective. Why not ignore it?

Regards,
Sophia


I agree with what you said; I just want to add that not only are they suggestions, but a representation of the person's credibility as a translator. Guesses should be altogether shunned unless it becomes obvious that it is an extremely obscure term and no viable answers are offered.

In such a case, why on earth would someone get upset at a candid if not completely accurate response.


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xxxMalik Beytek
Local time: 11:00
Asker can put all restrictions as long as the potential answerer knows them before answering Oct 4, 2006

In response to Parrot's comments:

Asker should be able to set any restrictions on answers s/he wants, but prospective answerer should know them before s/he types in an answer.

Entering answers and then getting messages like "oh no you don't" would frusrate answerers and cause them to shy away from trying again.

As regards requiring native-speaker status in target language in connection with answering Kudoz questions, see Sophia Hundt's remarks above.

"The question's specialist field" is not always relevant to what is in fact being asked about in that question.

Answering Kudoz questions is the not at all the same as translating. It does have a lot to do with translation, it is about helping with translation, but it is not translation. There are instances in which one could be helpful even in a matter of translation into a language in which s/he has very little competence.

Of course, Site Rules could always be revized - and I noticed, in that connection, Site Rule 3.7, by the way.

[Edited at 2006-10-05 00:29]


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Mireille K  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:00
French to English
+ ...
To answer your comments Jackie Oct 4, 2006

I have nothing against people offering answers, I find it very admirable as well. Please read my comment before making little personal attacks. All I am saying is when an asker picks an obviously wrong answer, it is going to affect his or her translation. I only cringed for a few seconds, I did not get infuriated, I moved on to more important things. I thank you for correcting my English, I was writing fast and I did not check for mistakes.
M


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Jackie Bowman

Local time: 04:00
Spanish to English
+ ...
Just to be clear ... Oct 4, 2006

M,

I wasn't correcting your English. And plainly you did not say you were infuriated. Someone else did. Sorry for the misunderstanding. My comment was not in any way a personal attack.


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Mireille K  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:00
French to English
+ ...
I am sorry too Oct 4, 2006

@Jackie,

Thank you for the clarification.

Mireille


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 02:00
German to English
ProZ.com is a translation workplace Oct 5, 2006

Henry Hinds wrote:

This is the Net, folks, judge for yourselves! The thing that amazes me is not how many ding-a-lings we have here but how many true professionals. Just take the wheat and throw away the chaff.

As much as they try, in the interest of freedom I don't think the folks at Proz.com can or should establish all kinds of filters. Rather, that filtering process needs to be performed by everyone individually.

The competence of both askers and answerers can be questionable. It is up to each to increase his or her own.


I agree with you, Henry, that askers need to exercise judgment when it comes to KudoZ. Professional translators who've been around awhile will have no problem separating the wheat from the chaff. Others will get burned several times before they discover whom they can trust. They will then learn to filter for themselves.

But I take issue with the title of your post: This is the Net
Yes, it's the Net, but this site is addressed to a specific audience: professional translators and interpreters. And I believe site management has been trying to tailor the site more and more toward language professionals.

You remember the days when we were constantly being asked for translations of "I love you" and "horse". We don't see those questions much any more. The separation of questions into pro and non-pro and other filtering tools have also helped working translators concentrate on real translation problems so they can do their translating work and only see KudoZ questions that are worth their while.

I quote:

ProZ.com is the web's leading site for translators and their clients.
Serving the world's largest community of translators.
ProZ.com delivers a comprehensive network of essential services, resources and experiences that enhance the lives of its members.
ProZ.com enables language professionals to:
-outsource and accept translation and interpreting assignments
-collaborate on terms with proprietary software
etc.
http://www.proz.com/?sp=info/&ssp=intro&sssp=overview

Scope:
ProZ.com is a translation workplace. Its goals and scope are strictly limited to translation and the translation industry. The site is not provided for any other purpose.


[Edited at 2006-10-05 00:15]


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