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Poll: In what ways do you benefit from KudoZ?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 22:38
SITE STAFF
Mar 12, 2008

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "In what ways do you benefit from KudoZ?".

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Sandra Petch
Local time: 07:38
French to English
+ ...
All three of the main KudoZ functions Mar 12, 2008

I enjoy answering questions. They can be a welcome diversion from whatever I'm working on, often something of a challenge, a chance to see other people's ideas, and if my answer is chosen then I'm happy!

Searching the glossaries has been a great help to me in the past, sometimes by providing a specific term and sometimes by giving me ideas to work on.

And I'm indebted to my virtual colleagues out there who have helped me out of a tight translation spot on several occasions!

So I would have to say "a combination of three"!


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:38
English to Arabic
+ ...
Other: The time-wasting fun! Mar 12, 2008

I admit it -- my favourite thing about Kudoz (you could say it's a kind of "benefit" I get out of it) is the time-wasting fun of it. Plus a combination of the other poll options as well.

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Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:38
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
University of terminology Mar 12, 2008

I remember someone, somewhere, said KudoZ is a kind of university for terminology. I think this is what I like about it most - the chance to discuss with peers the most difficult, and therefore often the most interesting, aspects of our translations. Of course it can also be a great help from a practical point of view.

While collecting the points is quite a fun challenge, personally I don't really see the use in them, maybe because I don't use Proz to find work.


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Matt Stott  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:38
Russian to English
+ ...
Pity only one answer could be chosen Mar 12, 2008

I enjoy it and benefit from it in all the respects given. It's also good to know I'm not the only freelancer out there and there are others who are to some extent faced with the same working conditions.

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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 00:38
German to English
Two sides of the coin Mar 12, 2008

I benefit from KudoZ in many ways, but I'm currently so disappointed with what I see happening all too frequently that I can't discuss the benefits without mentioning the pernicious effects it is having on the profession. To a large extent, the joy has gone out of KudoZ participation.

Pro-level KudoZ is a venue for translators to get help with their work. It is thus a window on the working practices of other translators. Here's the job I'm currently working on, says the colleague. It's a logistics text to be translated from German to English. I'm British and I have specialist knowledge of this subject. Here's what I found when I tried to research the term in Google. The potential helpers see that it's indeed a tough nut to crack. The term's not available in the standard or specialist dictionaries. It's not readily searchable in Google. The translator in need of help has provided plenty of context. Good translators are eager to jump in if they have the time and try to solve this puzzle. A lively exchange of ideas ensues among colleagues. We have well-documented, honest opinions. Plenty of "disagrees" and "neutrals" and "agrees" from colleagues trying to arrive at the very best solution and the result is enlightening for everyone involved. It is the result of a professional discussion of a term yielding a substantiated solution that a translator could defend if necessary. This is what pro-level KudoZ should be like. Professional translators helping other professionals and creating a fine glossary for future use in the process. It's a pleasure to be part of such a community and to be involved in this kind of activity.

But all too often, this is what we see in our workplace:

The asker is a German translating into English (for example). She feels more comfortable explaining her problem in German. Or maybe she is uncomfortable explaining her problem at all, so she just enters the term she'd like a translation for and practically no context. Providing context and an explanation requires the asker to understand the subject matter and asking a question properly is beyond her. Over the past three days she has asked 45 questions from the same text and is entitled to ask 15 more questions tomorrow. On the basis of the questions she has been asking over the past six months, it is obvious that she doesn't have the standard or specialist dictionaries needed for the work she is doing. She obviously doesn't know much about the subject matter she is translating. She obviously doesn't know how to use Google for her own research. She obviously doesn't know English well enough to be writing in that language. She has discovered that she can accept jobs and get bailed out by qualified professionals.

But if a colleague asks the asker if she has checked the standard dictionaries or what her own research has yielded this colleague faces the prospect of being found in violation of KudoZ rule 3.7 (commentary on askers is not allowed). True - a KudoZ "rule" states that "KudoZ should be used for requesting terms help only have other resources have been exhausted," but no one is allowed to evoke this rule because the powers that be have decreed that it is "not a rule but a guideline."

KudoZ is attracting more and more people who aren't ready to be translators and worst of all, who appear to have no interest in becoming good translators. KudoZ is actually encouraging and nurturing the kind of thing that is bad for our profession. KudoZ would be good for the profession if it improved the status of professional linguists. KudoZ is not doing that. Ideally, KudoZ would teach newcomers to become better translators, and that still happens, but more and more people have discovered that they can accept jobs they're not qualified to perform to professional standards by asking 15 questions per day/60 per week.


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Rocio Barrientos  Identity Verified
Bolivia
Local time: 01:38
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
a combination + learning Mar 12, 2008

There is always a new word, a new concept, a new way of dealing with a difficult phrase or text, ... a new something.

On top of all the other features, personally, I see Kudoz as a place to learn.

Happy Eastern!

Rocío


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xxxJon O  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:38
Dutch to English
+ ...
what about the option 'to show off and massage my ego'? Mar 12, 2008

That's what lots of people seem to use it for.

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Iza Szczypka  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:38
English to Polish
+ ...
All of the above, plus... Mar 12, 2008

Why is networking not mentioned???
So many new friendships, often evolving from on-line to direct personal contact, so many jobs transferred between us...


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:38
English to Spanish
+ ...
By answering and earning PRO points Mar 12, 2008

For every point I have I have learned something new, and not necessarily from those points I have earned, but from participating in general.

What I have learned, that is what I put in the bank. Of course the points do inflate my ego, but that isn't much good for anything. What counts is translating.


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Hilary Davies Shelby
United States
Local time: 00:38
German to English
It's a virtual coffee break - and a networking tool! Mar 12, 2008

Sad, perhaps, but to me it's a break in my day, a chance to grab a cup of coffee and have a nosey at what other people are working on. I drop in, say hi to people I know and see if there's anything I can help out with.

Kudoz is a way to give my brain a quick break from my subject matter and have a look at someone else's. It's a way to give back a tiny bit of what I've gained from using the glossaries and to pass on what I've learned.

Most importantly, though, I've made more translation contacts via KudoZ than from any other feature of the Proz site. It's a way of sussing out other good translators for future work exchanges. Hang out there for a few days and you learn who knows their stuff and who's way out of their depth. You hear regional accents and discover people with similar senses of humour. You learn who works in your field, and who works in fields you'd like to work in. You exchange messages, glossaries, jokes, opinions, phone calls, work. It's my favourite part of Proz.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
Most of the above Mar 12, 2008

Sometimes it helps to be taken down a peg, when someone gives a better answer than you do. The mix of friendly rivalry and a spirit of mutual collaboration are a good thing as far as I'm concerned.

I also find kudoz invaluable for difficult or specialist questions, especially when looking for synonyms or checking regional variations and specialist terms.

In general I believe that one doesn't always need to be an expert in the subject matter to be a good translator, and proz is a great forum where translators more specialised in one field can help others out in a disinterested way.

I do not think there should be more "protectionism" for professionals, because I'm pretty sure most of us know how to sort out the wheat from the chaff, although I do understand Kim's comments.

Incidentally, Since I have never had time to read all of the guidelines/rules, I was surprised to see Kim's mention of KudoZ rule 3.7 (commentary on askers is not allowed), having recently been described as "testy" and "haughty" by a respondent who obviously hadn't understood my jokey comment on a stilted (in my opinion) legalese term and had taken it as a personal slight.

The networking aspect is also a boon, and I now have more colleagues and friends (and the odd client too) than I would have in a proz-less world

PS: What's wrong with "showing off and massaging my ego'" ? You don't usually get to do it anywhere else and it does no harm...

[Edited at 2008-03-12 19:48]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:38
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Kudoz, a risk for translation? Mar 12, 2008

Kim Metzger wrote:
Ideally, KudoZ would teach newcomers to become better translators, and that still happens, but more and more people have discovered that they can accept jobs they're not qualified to perform to professional standards by asking 15 questions per day/60 per week.


Unfortunately I have to agree...


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lexical  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:38
Portuguese to English
Agree totally with Kim Mar 12, 2008

When I first came to Proz.com, shortly after it was launched, my memory is that Kudoz was rather like Kim described in his first long paragraph. Contributors seemed to be genuinely interested in using their knowledge and experience to help solve a terminology problem.

It seems to me that it has taken a nosedive in the last year or so. Not only is it as Kim describes in the second part of his comments but it's worse. The shortcomings he identifies are compounded by a lack of professionalism on the part of answerers. The desperate pursuit of Kudoz points by some answerers has resulted in a scattergun approach - enter a sheer guess or a literal translation on the theory that the more questions you attempt to answer, the greater your chance of 'earning' some points. This 'lottery ticket' approach has some logic because the (understandable) ignorance of askers means that totally wrong answers are sometimes chosen. One asker to whom I gave a 'Disagree' actually said "I have to give it a shot, otherwise I don't stand a chance of winning" - implication: even if I don't know what I'm talking about, suggesting anything is better than nothing. So the pursuit of points has turned Kudoz from a professional discussion into the equivalent of a cheap TV quiz game.

The latest development (at least, it seems recent to me) is the emergence of the 'Kudoz tourist', who tours from one language pair to another, offering totally mistaken answers, again - one assumes - in an attempt to pick up points. These people not only do not work in the pair in question, but do not even claim to be native speakers of either language in the pair. What price their advice? I don't say they are malicious or careless - merely that they do not possess the cultural understanding to offer a reliable answer.

As I've remarked before in the Forums, abolishing Kudoz points would go a long way to resolving this problem. Not only would it deter the scattergun merchants - the "points tarts" - but also the Kudoz tourists. Unfortunately, the Proz.com business model is predicated on attracting outsourcers through a ranking of translators based on what we have seen is a fallacious system. And those who are desperate for work (because they are new entrants to the industry or, frankly, not very good) fall for this model and perpetuate its shortcomings.

Eventually, the weaknesses of this approach will be obvious even to outsourcers - and that is when Proz.com will face its biggest challenge.

[Edited at 2008-03-12 20:04]


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
agree largely with Kim Mar 12, 2008

Kim Metzger wrote:

She has discovered that she can accept jobs and get bailed out by qualified professionals.



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