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Answers: a fast/right/undocumented one or a documented one?
Thread poster: xxxLia Fail
xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:00
Spanish to English
+ ...
Aug 24, 2007

An undocumented answer ( the personal opinion of a single translator) and a documented answer (with supporting evidence from the WWW) are posted. The documented answer is uploaded a little later than the undocumented answer.

Not too long after, the undocumented answer has 5 agrees. The documented answer, just one.

Both answers are correct and agree with each other. The only difference is that the undocumented answer was posted first.

So .... it was correct (as was the 2nd answer, they agree 100%), which explains all the agrees, but surely a documented answer is more valuable than a subjective opinion?

The documented answer takes more time to "construct" than the undocumented one ... the person who actually provides "hard evidence" departs from the assumption that the asker is a discerning and objective questioner who wants "objective" evidence and not just "opinions". So they go to the trouble of convinvincing a person they expect to be objective in their translation choices. The undocumented answerer insults the asker/shows their arrogance: for some reason known only to them, their opinion should matter to an asker whom they know not at all and VV.

Here's to all Kudoz answerers who actually go to the trouble of checking/proving that their gut/expert instinct might possibly be supported by fairly easily available evidence from the WWW (meaning, if you can't prove it in a few seconds-minutes searching on the WW, you're probably not equipped to answer...for all that your profile and website make all sorts of fab claims about you ....)

One thing is providing "answers", another thing, surely, is corroborating "answers"?

After all, when it comes to translation, the issue is to be able to defend a particular translation decision, which means, surely, documenting it? In other words, when I send in a translation, the translation of each item can be defended, which means that when translating a word/phrase/sentence, I must be able to produce some kind of evidence supporting the choice of that particluar word/phrase/sentence.


[Edited at 2007-08-24 22:36]

[Edited at 2007-08-24 22:37]


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Gisela Greenlee  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:00
German to English
+ ...
Documentation provided with answer Aug 24, 2007

While I'm not disagreeing that documenting your answer is a valuable addition, I do believe that it also depends on the answerer's expertise and experience with the term in question. If I help someone with a term that I have personally translated as "widget" numerous times and know for a fact that this is the correct term, then I may not feel it necessary to support my answer with links or references.
However, if the term is much more obscure and difficult to research, meaning I actually did some research to come up with it, rather than already know the term up front, then I will provide the research that led me to my proposed term.
That's my take on it.


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 18:00
German to English
Make yourself stand out from the crowd Aug 25, 2007

The trouble is, Lia, there are so many askers who regularly do a poor job of asking pro-level questions that you need a way to stand out from the crowd. The rapid-fire answerers don't distinguish between novices for whom just about anything will do and professionals who have already done their homework and need carefully considered input.

You need a way to shout: I'm an experienced, professional translator and as such am in the habit of choosing answers that are well documented so that I will be able to defend my choices to a client, if necessary. Please don't bother answering this question if you don't feel like reading the question carefully and providing a good explanation and some reliable resources that substantiate your proposal.

On the other hand, a lot of pros would be insulted by this kind of statement. "You're asking me for help, but you are treating me like an idiot? You're biting the hand that feeds you?"

Askers now already have a range of options to select from when asking their questions:

Choose who will close the question
I will choose the most helpful answer

Send me the first validated answer (not for points)

Special Options
I am not a professional translator.

This is a "not for points" question; you will still need to select the best answer but you will be neither asked nor able to award points.

The content of this question may be perceived as offensive by others

This question was taken from a translation test (or from homework)

Direct your question specifically to answerers who meet the following criteria:

Direct your question specifically to answerers who meet the following criteria:
Native language:

Language pair described in profile as: interest or working

Field described in profile as: interest, working, specialty

Only ProZ.com members may answer

Why don't we add another option to the list? Something that would clearly signal that the asker knows what he's doing and needs help from people willing to spend some time researching and/or documenting his answer. I don't know the best wording, but I think it would be a good idea.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
You be the judge, you do the research Aug 25, 2007

We who answer are taking the time to help you who ask. This may or may not include any research. My own opinion is that the fellow translator who is getting paid for the job should do the homework, not the answerer. In fact, so many times the asker could have found the answer without coming here with just a bit of research, starting with the Glossary.

In my case what I offer is my own unique knowledge and experience that cannot always be found in Google. No one should take it on face value, and my recommendation would always be: "Here's my answer, now you research it and confirm it. If it fits your context, then use it".

So you be the judge, and you do the research. I'm not getting paid to do it for you.


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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 18:00
French to Spanish
+ ...
With Henry, once again. Aug 25, 2007

As Henry, I rarely put links to confirm my answer.
When I do, I add: "¿Why didn't you find it here, as I?"
But I don't put: "Ya", as him.


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xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 01:00
French to English
+ ...
Henry has a good point Aug 25, 2007

Sorry to rain on your parade but some of us have years of experience in particular fields and have entered that fact in our profiles.

In my case, I have worked all my career in transport. So if a question is raised on something in the transport sector, especially railways, there is a good odds on chance that I will know the answer. But how can I prove it? Most of my information is in vocabulary lists, often handwritten, sometimes typed. Or it is in texts translated in the past. I can't give you a link to any of that.

All I can go is offer you the benefit of my knowledge.

If you prefer not to use it, that is your absolute right.

I suggest, therefore, that in addition to all the rest, you check whether the person with the unsubstantiated answer is an expert in the field.

I could also say that a lot of the references people haul off Google are not always much good. And if the answerer can fish them out that easily, the asker should have been able to do so for him or herself, so an "unsubstantiated" answer from someone with "expert" knowledge may often be a safer bet.

Last, but not least, at the end of the day, it is the asker who allocates the points and does not have to go along with his or her peers. In your pair in particular, Lia, I've seen peers line up behind some very strange suggestions, totally ignoring later contributions that have often been far better IMHO.


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Gianni Pastore  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:00
Member (2007)
English to Italian
Agree 100% Aug 25, 2007

Henry Hinds wrote:

In my case what I offer is my own unique knowledge and experience that cannot always be found in Google. No one should take it on face value, and my recommendation would always be: "Here's my answer, now you research it and confirm it. If it fits your context, then use it".

So you be the judge, and you do the research. I'm not getting paid to do it for you.



Most of my answers are also undocumented, since what pushes me to say something is an instant idea I can come out when I first see the question. I very seldom search the internet if nothing sparks a clue initially.


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:00
Dutch to English
+ ...
I prefer documented answers too and rarely provide an answer without hard proof Aug 25, 2007

Lia Fail wrote:

So .... it was correct (as was the 2nd answer, they agree 100%), which explains all the agrees, but surely a documented answer is more valuable than a subjective opinion?

Here's to all Kudoz answerers who actually go to the trouble of checking/proving that their gut/expert instinct might possibly be supported by fairly easily available evidence from the WWW (meaning, if you can't prove it in a few seconds-minutes searching on the WW, you're probably not equipped to answer...for all that your profile and website make all sorts of fab claims about you ....)

After all, when it comes to translation, the issue is to be able to defend a particular translation decision, which means, surely, documenting it? In other words, when I send in a translation, the translation of each item can be defended, which means that when translating a word/phrase/sentence, I must be able to produce some kind of evidence supporting the choice of that particluar word/phrase/sentence.


However, I think that many people ask for help far too quickly without doing research themselves. When I ask a question, it is the last option on my list and that is why I want answers to any question I ask documented. I rarely give points to the first answer. I find it insulting that a professional translator does not provide proof. The same applies to me since I do consider myself a professional translator. My word is not good enough, that is the bottom line, even if I translated the term many times before.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:00
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
We have various different approaches here... Aug 25, 2007

so, once again we need various options.

I would fully support another option to tick, saying "The asker has requested documented answers only."


Astrid

P.S. There are in particular certain trademark terms which cannot successfully be documented by carrying out a Google search. I know them because I worked full-time on the premises of a firm of patent and trademark lawyers for over 6 years. If an asker asked one of these terms and ticked a box saying "The asker has requested documented answers only.", I would therefore have to refrain from answering, even though I could provide the correct term. Nonetheless, I can CREATE documentation/corroboration for someone else to find, namely I sometimes put these terms into my Proz.com glossaries, or I may also cause them to turn up elsewhere on the web. Thus, I, the person who could answer such a trademark question, could not be the answerer, but could permit someone else to be the answerer (and get the points for my knowledge in that particular field) by finding what I have written up somewhere on the web as their evidence, i.e. documentation.

[Edited at 2007-08-25 10:00]

[Edited at 2007-08-25 10:01]


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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:00
French to English
+ ...
I think that would be a shame Aug 25, 2007

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

I would fully support another option to tick, saying "The asker has requested documented answers only."


Astrid


I think it would be a shame to impose further restrictions. Like other people who've posted here, I've been working in the nuclear/energy field for well over 20 years and a lot of my glossaries are hand-written or typed glossaries which I've accumulated over the years. If I can provide evidence, I will do so, but sometime I just have my notes to go on and sometimes I quite simply don't have time. I would like to think that my experience stands for something and, as ever, it's up to the asker to take that into consideration. It would be a real pity if askers ruled the right answer out of the equation by imposing further restrictions. I rarely use the restrictions that do exist, simply because I hope I'm able to sort the wheat from the chaff.....

Claire


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Gianni Pastore  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:00
Member (2007)
English to Italian
Exactly Aug 25, 2007

Claire Cox wrote:

Like other people who've posted here, I've been working in the nuclear/energy field for well over 20 years and a lot of my glossaries are hand-written or typed glossaries which I've accumulated over the years. If I can provide evidence, I will do so, but sometime I just have my notes to go on and sometimes I quite simply don't have time. I would like to think that my experience stands for something and, as ever, it's up to the asker to take that into consideration. It would be a real pity if askers ruled the right answer out of the equation by imposing further restrictions. I rarely use the restrictions that do exist, simply because I hope I'm able to sort the wheat from the chaff.....

Claire


It seems to me that a lot of people thinks that if it's not on the Internet, then it doesn't exist. Which is not necessarily true

[Edited at 2007-08-25 10:15]


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:00
French to English
Askers looking stuff up themselves Aug 25, 2007

Akshully, as the internet continues to just get bigger n bigger n bigger, I find that some of the stuff that used to be just in my personal notes is in the public domain, somewhere.

But even if one does provide an answer from one's own resources, that doesn't stop people (askers) researching a) their term, then b) the suggestion and drawing their own conclusions. Sometimes I provide links for them, sometimes I suggest they find it themselves, depends how I'm feeling.

Assuming the suggested answer is, indeed, valid/correct, it really shouldn't take any asker long to draw the necessary parallel, other than for the uber-obscure stuff.

And, of course, the same applies to any answer suggested, not just mine

As an aside, it's interesting to note the tone that one or two have adopted to the thread initiator and contrast this with the circumstances that led her to make this post....


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Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:00
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Meaning of "documented". Aug 25, 2007

I have some sympathy with your problem, but...
Lia Fail wrote:
An undocumented answer ( the personal opinion of a single translator) and a documented answer (with supporting evidence from the WWW) are posted. The documented answer is uploaded a little later than the undocumented answer.

This implies that you consider an answer without "supporting evidence from the WWW" to be undocumented.
The undocumented answerer insults the asker/shows their arrogance: for some reason known only to them, their opinion should matter to an asker whom they know not at all and VV.

I suggest this is not necessarily the case. The answer may also be "undocumented" because the answerer's own knowledge and experience are enough (like Henry's "unique knowledge and experience"). It's up to the asker to judge this by considering the offered answer in the light of his/her own knowledge and experience. If the asker does not have this knowledge and experience, perhaps they should not have accepted the translation job. (Yes, they did in fact accept it, and ProZ can help them to achieve a good result, but they should be careful in considering whether to accept similar jobs in the future.)

Examples of "undocumented" but still valid answers (from my own KudoZ history).

1. (En>Fr) minimum target reception range > distance minimum pour réception du signal cible
From my own experience, with some explanation.
http://www.proz.com/kudoz/1140228
2. (De>En) Kennwert > parameter
http://www.proz.com/kudoz/1020578
As above: experience + explanation.
3. (It>En) radar a schiera di fase > phased-array radar
My own knowledge, and I suggested what to search for but didn't give any other "documentation"
http://www.proz.com/kudoz/967054
4. (En>De) human in scale > menschlicher Dimensionen
The accepted answer served as "inspiration" for the actual translation.
http://www.proz.com/kudoz/1967098
5. (En>Fr) first receive chain portion > première étage de la chaîne de réception
From my own experience, plus some explanation.
http://www.proz.com/kudoz/1966602

My conclusion: documentation of answers is certainly helpful and often convincing when it is provided. Undocumented answers can also be the correct answer. An "option to tick, saying The asker has requested documented answers only." (Astrid's suggestion) would, I believe either usually be ignored, or would tend to suppress useful answers rather than produce them. I don't consider that the answerer needs to provide the means with which the asker can defend the translation (though of course there's no objection to doing this!).
Oliver


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 00:00
Dutch to English
+ ...
Hear, hear ... Aug 25, 2007

Henry Hinds wrote:

So you be the judge, and you do the research. I'm not getting paid to do it for you.



If a translator can't recognise a good answer, with or without links, then he* shouldn't be doing the particular job in the first place.

Like CMJ says you should do: "you check whether the person with the unsubstantiated answer is an expert in the field".

True experts are normally very busy people. So, if they go to the trouble of taking time out of their hectic schedule to give you a correct answer, it's a bit ungrateful to assume they are arrogant or insulting you because they don't spoonfeed you at the same time!!

Obviously there are those who shoot from the hip just trying to get points without any idea of what they are doing, but likewise it should be easy for a professional translator to immediately dismiss those answers.

At the end of the day, the asker is the one who accepted the job. He should have made sure from the outset he was qualified to take it on. Obviously we all come across things in jobs that have us puzzled from time to time, but it's still up to the translator to do his own research. Everything has to be independently checked anyhow.

[* "he" includes "she" for the purpose of this posting]





[Edited at 2007-08-25 17:23]


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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 19:00
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Let's respect our colleagues. Aug 25, 2007

Obviously, we have differing opinions and approaches. Could we please not assume "arrogance" or that someone is "insulting" us just because their opinion or approach is different from ours?

I've gotten very helpful information from links provided by answerers. On the other hand, I've gotten answers with "documentation" that is just the top five Google listings for my term, when my question clearly stated that I need an expert colleague's considered judgment *for this context.*

And, I've gotten some ludicrous answers from people who obviously have no clue.

In awarding points, we are asked to choose *the most helpful* answer, not necessarily the "right" answer, or the fastest, or the one with the most agrees, or the one with the longest list of links. Some people know how to choose among answers, some people don't. That's the breaks.

BTW, when I ask a question, I give extra weight to answers from, or agreed to by, Henry Hinds and certain others in my pairs. This is not because of the number of points they have; it's because I've seen their answers over and over and found them to be reliable.

We are all building reputations among our colleagues here on Proz.com. For better or for worse.


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