Conflicts with clients reading KudoZ questions
Thread poster: Reed James

Reed James
Chile
Local time: 04:16
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
Oct 5, 2006

I was just wondering if anyone has ever had a problem with clients reading your KudoZ questions. Could posting a KudoZ question ever be construed as a conflict for clients? Not that this has happened to me...

Reed


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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:16
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Conceal confidential information Oct 5, 2006

I doubt that any client would have a problem with questions being posted re their documents, as long as any confidential or otherwise sensitive information were concealed (e.g., names of litigants, etc.). I would say that, except for this obvious consideration, any further restriction on posting would be the obligation of the client to communicate to the translator at the time that the project is assigned.

This being said, I think that a translator has also to realistically consider the possibility that employees of agencies for whom he or she is doing project work also visit this site. It would therefore behoove him or her to avoid asking unnecessary questions. Doing something like asking 70 questions over five days for a 2000-word project, especially if many of the questions could have obviously been answered with a little basic investigation on the Internet, is not something that would make a particularly good impression.

I've often wondered about this latter issue in connection with frequent posters. As a client, I cannot imagine feeling at ease about paying a translator so utterly bereft of research skills or practical know-how (or just so damned lazy) the he or she has to resort to Kudoz for the simplest of translations.

Bob

[Edited at 2006-10-05 22:13]


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
Confidentiality is a serious issue Oct 5, 2006

This is something I always keep in mind when posting questions here or via listservs.

It's not just a matter of "Is my client reading ProZ?": It's whether my clients' competitors are nosing around.

So, for instance, if a client is expanding into a new country, I make sure that any sentences I post for context are well disguised... sometimes even to the point of making up a parallel sentence about a different type of product.

[Edited at 2006-10-05 22:38]


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Reed James
Chile
Local time: 04:16
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Could that hurt the context? Oct 5, 2006

Steven Capsuto wrote:

It's not just a matter of "Is my client reading ProZ?": It's whether my clients' competitors are nosing around.

So, for instance, if a client is expanding into a new country, I make sure that any sentences I post for context are well disguised... sometimes even to the point of making up a parallel sentence about a different type of product.

[Edited at 2006-10-05 22:38]


Wouldn't this make it more of a chore for you to provide context? Do you refrain from saying what country the text comes from? Many times the country of origin tells other translators a lot about the meaning of the term or phrase being asked.

Reed


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 04:16
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
KudoZ are an asset Oct 6, 2006

Sometimes when a client thinks that his document is very specialized and hard to translate I tell him that we, translators, also rely on networks of help and that I wouldn't hesitate asking when in doubt.

Once a client checked my musical translation and found a question I had asked in ProZ (it was a client who contacted me via Proz too). He just made a comment like "the world is so small".

I have already been asked not to ask questions in KudoZ when the job had been outsourced to me by another freelancer who didn't want his client to know that.

Confidentiality is a big issue and KudoZ rules remind askers and answerers to avoid mentionning clients' names.
I underline answerers because sometimes they find information in the web that leads to the client's name, they should not mention it if the asker hasn't.

In summary, there are different kinds of clients, it would be useful to ask the client whether he doesn't see anything wrong about asking.

Claudia


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Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:16
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Look for other samples Oct 6, 2006

I've never done this on PROZ, but I have posted questions in mailing lists. I look for a similar context by plugging a passage into my favorite search engine. Then I ask for replies to a question saying something like

At www.confusing.com, I find the following passage:

XXXXXXXXXXX I don't get it XXXXXXXXXX

What does "I don't get it" mean in this context?

Obviously, the client's competitors can read www.confusing.com. I can then extrapolate back to my context.


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
Disguising projects Oct 6, 2006

Reed D. James wrote:

Wouldn't this make it more of a chore for you to provide context? Do you refrain from saying what country the text comes from? Many times the country of origin tells other translators a lot about the meaning of the term or phrase being asked.

Reed


It makes it a bit of chore, but not too bad. Let's say I need to know how to talk about a function on a video camera, and I know that the same function exists on digital "still" cameras. I know enough about photography to know that the term is almost certainly the same on a video camera and a still camera. If confidentiality seemed important, I might say the question is about a still camera when it's actually about a video camera.

I provide just enough information for people to make an intelligent answer. For instance, last week I asked questions about a term to do with the petroleum industry. I doubt anyone could guess the nature of the product or service my client is offering, or in what countries. But because I *knew* confidentiality was key, I had to refuse a request to give more context.

[Edited at 2006-10-06 06:56]


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 09:16
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I definitely disguise the context Oct 6, 2006

The particular client who knows I am working on a particular job might recognise it, but I write 'fictive' context if the real one is too confidential. It certainly helps people make some good suggestions - thanks to the answerers!

Sometimes it doesn't matter - the text is the kind of thing dozens of companies have in their manuals etc.
Then there is no point in a lot of cloak and dagger work, especially when time is tight.

* * * * *
I've just read a fascinating article in New Scientist on the phenomenon of 'confabulating' - making up stories to fit the case. Commonly seen in people with brain damage of many kinds, but apparently it's something we all do more or less.

Slightly off topic, but here is a case where it is healthy and useful!



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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:16
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Kudoz may be just one bullet in his barrel Oct 6, 2006

Robert Forstag wrote:
As a client, I cannot imagine feeling at ease about paying a translator so utterly bereft of research skills or practical know-how (or just so damned lazy) the he or she has to resort to Kudoz for the simplest of translations.


It may be that the translator who asks something on Kudoz also checks other sources, and that Kudoz is not his only source of knowledge (merely a confirming one).


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Diana Wright  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:16
Romanian to English
+ ...
KudoZ - a real help if used properly Oct 6, 2006

So far, none of my clients have seemed bothered by whether I sometimes ask for other translators' help or not. And why should they? Using KudoZ is not much different from using dictionaries, glossaries and search engines - apart from human interaction, of course. It is an opportunity for brainstorming and getting help from other professionals when you find yourself desperately lacking ideas or you cannot quite grasp the perfect translation for your term.

However, I believe that all of us should research our terms and phrases before posting them as KudoZ questions. There is an unacceptably large number of 'easy questions' on ProZ, and I tend to agree with Robert that the people asking them are either 'so damned lazy' (some people can't even be bothered to check whether their question has been asked before) or not very confident of their own knowledge and translating skills. Or, maybe, some of them are just having a laugh wasting other people's time!? Fortunately, there are also 'real' questions which lead to constructive debates on what the correct alternative might be for the given context. These questions are, in most cases, already researched by the asker, who understands the meaning of his/her term (usually ambiguous or highly technical) but is trying to find the perfect correspondent/match in the target language. I believe these might be the translators who also go to other sources, as Samuel was pointing out.

Samuel, I think you've got a very important idea there: KudoZ should only be a confirming source, not an authoritative one and, most importantly, not the only one.

I think that, if used properly, KudoZ can be a real help for all translators who are aiming to provide a quality product to their clients. And the clients should be keen on their translators checking every doubtful term rathen than just using whatever translation 'sounds' or 'seems' all right to them. After all, our profession doesn't leave much room for guessing, does it?

Regards,

Diana

P.S. I am definitely for disguising contexts that can be 'recognised' or 'identified' and may breach a non-disclosure clause.


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Reed James
Chile
Local time: 04:16
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
I do this all the time Oct 6, 2006

Samuel Murray wrote:
It may be that the translator who asks something on Kudoz also checks other sources, and that Kudoz is not his only source of knowledge (merely a confirming one).


I do this all the time. There may be several English translations for a given Spanish term...I am 95% positive what the answer may be, but I submit it to fellow translators to see what they have to say.

Also, many KudoZ answerers provide valuable Internet sources which can be later analyzed for more context and terminology.

Reed


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