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Poll: In your opinion, what is the current trend in the quality of KudoZ answers?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 18:48
Jan 22, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "In your opinion, what is the current trend in the quality of KudoZ answers?".

This poll was originally submitted by A Hayes

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see:


Stefanie Sendelbach  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:48
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
I answered "declining" Jan 22, 2006

I feel that there is less room for discussion in Kudoz questions recently. One reason might be that there are fewer answerers. I have the impression that many colleagues spend less time or stopped answering Kudoz questions.

Only recently has it happened to me that I received only one answer to a question I had posted, and no peer comments at all. It actually happened with a few of my recent questions. I think this would not have happened a few months ago. There used to be various answers, and many peer comments to help me choose the most suitable answer.

Do others have the same impression?



Heidi C  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:48
English to Spanish
+ ...
I wrote the same... Jan 22, 2006

But it still frustrates me to see a lot of wild guessing, trying to be the first to reply and not really understanding the question, and "voting" for friends without really looking at (or thinking) of the answer.

I have only asked for help once, and I really did not receive a single answer that was useful: all the answers were guesses, and you could even see that some of the repliers hadn't even read the complete question...

I can add that people are very polite, and you rarely find a "disagree": comments on blatantly wrong answers usually only merit an ocassional "neutral". I do believe that there should be more "disagrees", and that people receiving them should think about them and even remove their answer if they see that they were really wrong. Receiving a comment on an answer should not be taken personally, but rather as a learning opportunity.... (I have seen some people remove an answer, but not too frequently; but this doesn't mean that sometimes the disagrees or neutrals are way off base...)

On the other hand, I have seen, when answering, that there are people who do put a lot of thought into their answers and try to be helpful and know what they are talking about. And it does happen in a significant amount of answers, so this is what gives value to the kudoz answers.

It really depends, and one cannot generalize. The service is useful, but it depends on the seriousness and profesionalism of the people who provide answers. I just hope that people asking for answers really look at them carefully and "read between the lines".

Anyway, I do believe that Kudoz is very useful, and fun and challenging for answerers...


paolamonaco  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:48
English to Italian
+ ...
I answered "quality declined" Jan 22, 2006

Stefanie Sendelbach wrote:

I feel that there is less room for discussion in Kudoz questions recently. One reason might be that there are fewer answerers. I have the impression that many colleagues spend less time or stopped answering Kudoz questions.


I fully agree with Stefanie. Less answrers, less agrees and, what's even worse, more and more people do not use dictionaries when answering, but just guess (or rely ONLY on google hitsicon_frown.gif ).


Dusica Cook
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 03:48
English to Bosnian
+ ...
i often wonder... Jan 23, 2006

well... i have asked several questions since i joined, and have on all of the occasions received answers that i could use and that i was happy with. still, i tend not to ask questions for which i can find asnwers on my own or ask them only when i am tired or when i understand the term, but can not find the right words...

what did i want to say... yes... quality of answers... i think it declined in comparison to several months ago.


A Hayes (X)
Local time: 12:48
Original poll question Jan 23, 2006

Hi there,

My original poll question asked if, in your opinion, the quality of KudoZ answers had improved, declined, or remained unchanged since 2000.

This was rephrased to be more inclusive of those memebers who were not using the site as early as 2000.

Just thought you should know, as I was mainly interested to find out the trend over a longer period of time. But it is still great to hear your opinions about shorter term changes.



David Brown  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:48
Spanish to English
Quality of answers AND questions Jan 23, 2006

[quote]A Hayes wrote:

My original poll question asked if, in your opinion, the quality of KudoZ answers had improved, declined, or remained unchanged since 2000.

I answered "remained unchanged", but I also thought that the quality of the questions may have declined. Some have little or no context, and require guesswork or drawing on wide experience of a subject, questions on abbreviations would exasperate even Sherlock Holmes and many answers can be found in a dictionary or a simple web search. I use Kudoz, both to answer questions and ask them (my weakness is grammar in long sentences).


Ricki Farn
Local time: 03:48
Member (2005)
English to German
Depends on the language pair?! Jan 23, 2006

Perhaps this poll should be made for each language pair - I guess that you will have a couple of good askers/answerers in certain pairs but not in others.

I asked some questions on En>Ger in the last months and was literally showered with great answersicon_smile.gif (except for one or two tricky things where the author of my text was not a native speaker to start with, and I suppose good answers just don't exist for that stuff)



Sylvain Leray  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:48
Member (2003)
German to French
Questions and answers... Jan 23, 2006

David made a good point : the quality of both answers and questions is declining (in my main language pair).

We see always more questions which could be avoided with a minimum of personal research, often asked by people who obviously take jobs in areas they have no knowledge of and don't want to "waste time" with research... or people who obviously don't have a good command of the source language and don't own a dictionary.

And on the other side, we see people who want to be the first to answer, or who don't want a question to remain unanswered and give "dictionary answers" or wild guess (and get the points, because they were the only ones to answer).

Yes, I'm very pessimisticicon_frown.gif

[Edited at 2006-01-23 11:39]


Fred Neild (X)  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
Portuguese English pair Jan 23, 2006

I have put 'declined' since in the specific case of the "Portuguese-English pair" quality has declined, because there are few English native speakers, one of the best answerers in this pair was recently banned, and sometimes a native speaker is essential.

On the other hand, I agree that other pairs have great quality, Spanish-English and English-Spanish, IMO.

Regarding disagrees, I am not polite when I put a 'neutral', but cautious. Sometimes, I really want to share something with the answerer or simply see what was his/her intention. I only put a disagree when I am sure or when I realize the person doesn't have a clue. There are some people who put 'disagrees' and they don't know what they are talking about, or they are just trying to 'get even' for some past episode (that is so sad).

I believe the system in general is extremely useful, but for a better assessment I have to agree that more time is needed, like A Hayes said.



Gabrielle Allemand-Mostefaï  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:48
English to French
+ ...
Agree with Sylvain Jan 23, 2006

I have been "hanging around" Proz and Kudoz for the last 4 years or so. In my opinion, the quality of questions and answers in my main language pair (EN>FR) and domain (legal) has sharply declined.

As Sylvain said, many questions could be avoided by personal research and let one think that the persons asking them do not master the domain they are working in.

Many aswers given are less than helpful, when they are written in correct French, and even then the level of certitude is rarely set under 3. Personally, I do not answer to questions when I'm "just guessing". I do not see the point of doing that and do not welcome that kind of answers. I can do the guessing myself.

"Disagree" is rarely used and when it is (I disagree when the answer given is obviously wrong), it is seen as unpolite, except in some rare circumstances.

I think many reliable translators have stopped answering KudoZ questions because of this unpleasant climate. I am myself reconsidering my participation to KudoZ.

One last point: I have often noticed a strong imbalance between the number of questions asked/answered by members, which indicates IMO a tendency to rely a lot on the others without helping back in exchange (maybe because they are unable to do so?).

This is too bad because I thought of Kudoz as a fast and reliable way to find an answer to difficult translation issues, given by professional translators in the field. This is not the case anymore and I have to rely on other sources when I have a particularly difficult question. Most of the time I don't even bother to post a KudoZ question anymore.

I hope all this will change and return to the way it used to be, because I find this system very interesting from many aspects.



Henry Dotterer
Local time: 21:48
Can anyone explain the discrepancy between those who vote and those who comment in the forums? Jan 23, 2006

According to poll results, among those who see an up or down trend in KudoZ quality, 58% think quality is improving, and 42% think it is declining.

Yet among those posting in this thread, and those who usually post in the forums, there is a clear consensus that quality is declining. (In fact, members first began to report "dramatic" drops in KudoZ quality in the early months of 2000, and have been doing so in the forums on an ongoing basis ever since.)

Can anyone explain for me why the poll vote shows the opposite of the opinion expressed in the forums? Can anyone propose a follow-up survey to shed some light?


CMJ_Trans (X)
Local time: 03:48
French to English
+ ...
reply to Henry..... Jan 23, 2006

The answer is simple, my dear Watson: those who have voted for "declined" obviously feel a greater need to justify their answers than those who gave either of the other potential replies.

They also feel it helpful to explain the ways in which they think quality has declined.

It think the site has lost momentum and that there are too many askers who make abuse of the system. You still get whole texts virtually cut up into bit-sized pieces so that effectively other translators are doing the job. In terms of professional ethics, this is a particularly sorry state of affairs.

I would have liked the site to be more open, more positive and friendly. I find that it is very hard to communicate with one's peers, even when you are trying to help them. If I weren't pretty bored at the moment, I would have nothing more to do with the site, such is my discouragement.


Ingrid Lovric
Local time: 03:48
English to Croatian
+ ...
The same quality Jan 23, 2006

In my opinion the quality of answers on has been the same or maybe even improving, at least in my main language pair.

I have been a member of for at least 6 years, if not longer, and in the past couple of years I notice several really good and helpful colleagues giving answers to KudoZ questions. I have received help whenever I needed it and tried to do my best by giving answers.

Of course, my language pair is not very "popular", and I always notice the same 5-10 translators looking for, or giving answers, and most of them back the answers up with plenty of comments, research, links…

So, I am sure things at KudoZ are not so gloomy as they may seem - at least to us working with "strange and unknown" languagesicon_smile.gif

Dear colleagues, thank you for your helpicon_smile.gif



Sylvain Leray  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:48
Member (2003)
German to French
Good question, Henry. Jan 23, 2006


Good question. I was quite surprised by the results of the poll too, because I thought that many people among us were thinking that the quality is declining.
In my main pair, we have "lost" very valuable and professional fellow translators, who left because of the declining quality of both questions and answers.

I think we should consider differents points of vue when answering the poll: does "quality" means "quantity" or "speed"?
The voters think perhaps that it is a quality to get fast and numerous answers. Personaly, I perfer gettting no answer than 3 or 4 wild guesses or copy/paste from LGDT. I prefer waiting a few hours than getting an immediate response from someone who obviously did not even read my question.

I would have a personal explanation of this tendency: the most valuable kudoz-answerers I know/have known are "senior" translators who have a real expertise in a certain field, and are very often former engineers or jurists, for example. The "new" translators (*and I am one of them !*) come mostly directly from the university and can translate because they have a good command of one/two/three languages, but without having a real particular knowledge in a specialisation field. The current work conditions often encourage them to take all job offers that come, and that's the trap: one feels overwhelmed and overtaken by the technical aspects and... kudoz is there!

No offense to anyone, but I see that there are always more young/new translators in kudoz, and that more of 50% questions could be avoided. Most of the askers claim the lack of time and knowledge in a particular field... these askers may think that the quality of kudoz answers is improving, because they get fast and numerous answers. And they have no sufficient experience in the field they translate to judge the real quality of the answers they get.
You only need to take a look and see which answers get the points...

The follow-up survey should be: what do you understand with "quality of kudoz answers" ?
- speed
- accuracy
- references
- number of different answers...

But we must take into account the difference between a purely technical question and a marketing question, a slogan for example: in this latter case, I would be very pleased to get 4 or 5 answers, when creativity has a role to play and it comes to "brainstorming".

Well, sorry if it is too long. And that's just my point of vueicon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2006-01-23 14:23]

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