Poll: Do you consult Wikipedia articles in your work as a translator?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 20:40
SITE STAFF
Jun 9, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you consult Wikipedia articles in your work as a translator?".

This poll was originally submitted by Susana E. Cano Méndez. View the poll results »



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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 04:40
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Jun 9, 2015

As I said before: with a grain of salt (or piles of it)!

http://www.proz.com/forum/poll_discussion/275431-poll_do_you_ever_use_wikipedia_in_your_work_as_a_translator.html

[Edited at 2015-06-09 08:33 GMT]


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Yes Jun 9, 2015

All the time. Occasionally you might have to double-check something but in my fields it is a mine of useful information. And handily it always seems to be top of the search results. A fantastic resource.

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DianeGM  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:40
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Yes ... Jun 9, 2015

I find it is generally useful as a first port of call, to get a general idea, etc. but I wouldn't rely on it as a sole reference. But there is so much potential reference material out there online there's no need to.

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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:40
French to English
Wikipedia or other sources Jun 9, 2015

Double check and cross check any source, Wikipedia or otherwise. I consider it risky not to.

[Edited at 2015-06-09 09:04 GMT]


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
Oh, Wikipedia! Jun 9, 2015

Even though Wikipedia articles come on top in many searches, I tend to ignore them. I prefer to go to actual reference materials (published papers, catalogs, brochures, medical or technical articles).

I also stay away from translated articles. Most Spanish translations published on the Internet leave much to be desired (Spanish is one of my languages).

At the best of times, some Wikipedia articles offer a broad sliver of knowledge. These are crowd-reviewed, not peer-reviewed articles, done by volunteers. Some of these volunteers are actual professionals (architects, doctors, chemists, etc.) but that doesn't mean they know how to write properly.

I consider it my job to do a proper research, check all sources and credentials. Then I make the decision.


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:40
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Wikipedia is my first stop Jun 9, 2015

But it's not my one-stop shop.

Today I found a glaring error in an article I was reading, but that's rare (at least for me to find one). I find that the articles in my fields of specialization are usually very helpful. They are structured to provide a good overview of the subject, and they usually tell me what I want to know. I especially trust the medical articles, as they are quite thoroughly vetted by colleagues. My point is that the articles meet my needs for translation work and usually anything more would be TMI (too much information, distracting me from the task at hand).


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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Overcrowding Jun 9, 2015

As a rule crowd-sourcing is rarely trustworthy, reliable, or complete enough (not to mention different material in different languages), for various authors make different accents; yet as far as I prefer seeing different variants/approaches, I occasionally use wiki to grasp or refresh the idea, because there're useful links too.

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Susana E. Cano Méndez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:40
Member
French to Spanish
+ ...
Last resort Jun 9, 2015

Thank you for all the comments.

I asked this question because some years ago I translated as a volunteer a wiki webpage (no longer online). To be honest, what was wiki was not the contents but the translation itself. I had to make changes as the organisation updated the web, as usual. But there was not a moderator, so one day I found out that somebody else had "re-translated" my texts with huge errors (I thought it was made with an automatic - and free - translator).

Furthermore, I have heard many people saying that a lot of Wikipedia's articles are, let's say "biased" towards one specific school or think-tank.

So I always think of it as the last resort, which makes me to overlook the first result of (almost) every search and jump straight into the second or third one.

It is only when everything has failed that I give Wikipedia a chance. But I'm thinking if I'm not being unfair towards the people that are spending their time writing such articles.

[editing = mispelling]

[Edited at 2015-06-09 14:53 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-06-09 14:53 GMT]


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ventnai  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:40
Member
German to English
+ ...
Wikipedia snobs Jun 9, 2015

For my work, Wikipedia is a pretty good source of information as a starting point and also helps with background information. Of course, you should always check information but I'd do that with any other source. I think you'll find that scientific and technical information in English or German is checked by peers. You can't always dismiss it out of hand. I would not rely on it for information about famous people, but that's not my line of work anyway.

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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
Snobs Jun 9, 2015

Ian Jones wrote:

For my work, Wikipedia is a pretty good source of information as a starting point and also helps with background information. Of course, you should always check information but I'd do that with any other source. I think you'll find that scientific and technical information in English or German is checked by peers. You can't always dismiss it out of hand. I would not rely on it for information about famous people, but that's not my line of work anyway.


One man's trash is another man's treasure.

Two things I use Wikipedia for are movie/TV series plot points and biographies of actors.


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Anna Katikhina  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:40
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
If the customer wants it... Jun 9, 2015

I have a couple of customers who ask me to rely on Wikipedia, so for them I do... But when discrepancies are obvious, I make a note.

Other than that, never trust Wikipedia...


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
Why would a customer want that? Jun 10, 2015

Anna Katikhina wrote:

I have a couple of customers who ask me to rely on Wikipedia, so for them I do... But when discrepancies are obvious, I make a note.

Other than that, never trust Wikipedia...


I've never been directed or asked by a customer to rely on a specific reference, be it a dictionary, a manual or Wikipedia, not even when I worked as an in-house translator. I fail to see why a translator would submit to that request. Are there special reasons for that in your case?


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