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ProZ.com Certified and non native
Thread poster: Paola Dentifrigi

Paola Dentifrigi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:46
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Oct 28, 2008

Hallo,
If you search the directory using the following criteria:

S/T language
Service provided: translation
Proz certified

the results include also non native translators.

I (sort of) understand some translators provide services into a language which is not their native one, but being certified is a bit over the top in my opinion.
I am afraid the certification criteria were not strict enough. Maybe the system needs improvement.
Please, fell free to move this thread to another forum.

Paola


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:46
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
I don't understand the hype about being native Oct 28, 2008

I was born in Poland nearly half a century ago and leave for nearly the half of my life in Germany. My native tongue is Polish. My second native is now, after so many years here, German. And I'm certified pro...
Really, I donźt think the ability to translate from/into a language depends only on being native speaker of this language. Fo people outside this industry the native language criterion may very well be a crucial issue, as they don't know much about translation. But being a translator myself I see so many examples of situations, where a non native is a better translator because of the very high level of paid to the usage of language. Or in case the text you translate from is in your mother tongue and contains errors and you translate into your foreign language your translation has good chances to be better than the same translation done by a native speaker of the target language.
Or take a highly specialised person - a physician, a banker or a jet pilot - don't you suppose, that this person might be able to translate within his/her speciality field better in any language he/she has sufficient comman in then a native speaker of the target language?
Would the criterion of being native be so important, why then study translation?
In my opinion not the native langaue makes a good translator, but his/her ability to use language. So in my case I would never dare to translate into English, but I very well do translations into German - not worser then any other German "native".

[Edited at 2008-10-28 19:46]


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Paola Dentifrigi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:46
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Jerzy, not eveybody's like you, believe me Oct 28, 2008

Jerzy, for 1 person like you (and I don't know you well, but I trust you)
there are 100 who are not capable of translating into a non native language. Believe me, I know the market, I read the kudoz, the forums, the cotests, and agencies propose me disgraceful translations to be proofread. I want to create a good market for minor pairs.
This has always been my target.

Czesc,
Paola


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:46
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
We are speaking about professionals here Oct 28, 2008

and not by-chance-translators, or this is at least what I strongly assume.
And this makes the difference, not the fact of being native or not.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:46
English to French
+ ...
Native or not? Oct 28, 2008

If you look at my profile, you can see that I only have the grey symbols for my native languages, and not the yellow-red-blue ones. This means that my nativeness has been verified neither in English nor in French. However, the fact that my nativeness hasn't been verified doesn't mean I can't be a native speaker of both of those languages. This information should thus not automatically exclude someone from the pro network. Further, in my case, the reason why my symbols are grey is that I have declared two native languages, in which case, for the time being, no verification is done by ProZ (they simply don't have the means in place to check if someone is truly bilingual - and I can understand if they don't want to go there).

The reason why I have gained access to the pro certification is most likely that, meanwhile, all the people who reviewed my application have attested that I am native in French (I applied for English-to-French as that is my niche). Mind you, I trust this method more than the little symbols in my profile, even if, as discussed in another thread, it may be that some people are not entirely impartial or truthful when they review pro network applications.

[Edited at 2008-10-28 19:57]


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Caryl Swift  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 10:46
Polish to English
+ ...
100% behind Jerzy Oct 28, 2008

My most trusted colleagues, the people to whom I turn when I have a problem and when I need a text (translated by me into my native English) to be rigorously checked are none of them 'native speakers' of English.

I trust their knowledge, their experience and their outstanding language skills and would consider myself honoured to share their TMs.

There was an interesting discussion on this quite recently:

http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/118373-false_native_in_english_translators.html

which covers the point Jerzy makes about why this criteria may be all-important to a client; it also contains a number of other considerations with which I, personally, am in agreement.

There is, of course, also the issue which has been addressed many times here; not every language is 'blessed' with the requisite number of native speakers who are also fully competent translators.

I often wonder - is it really possible to make one hard, fast and truly encompassing rule for something as gloriously diverse as the languages of the earth?

Best wishes,
Caryl

[Edited at 2008-10-28 21:59]


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Iza Szczypka  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:46
English to Polish
+ ...
Hmmm ... Oct 28, 2008

Paola Dentifrigi wrote:
Jerzy, for 1 person like you (and I don't know you well, but I trust you)
Czesc,
Paola

Which means that in order to put 99 poorer people down the drain, you are willing to sacrifice the good one. And how do you know you are not sacrificing 3 or 5 or 10 out of the hundred? Checked them all out?
The capital punishment was abolished to save a single innocent...


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Paola Dentifrigi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:46
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Being defensive Oct 29, 2008

God, how everybody's taking so personnally, so dramatically even (see the last post).
I did not and do not want to open a thread like zillions of others.
I would like to know the criteria used for reviewing. If you, e.g., could have a look at the winning text of the RO>IT contest, you'd notice it is not Italian (many other colleagues pointed it out, but nothing was done). I think this, like other things, may put in danger professionalism for certain language pairs. Since my student years I am trying to have "more exotic" languages put on the same levels of more common ones (EN, FR, DE, ES). I am succeding, so I am going on. When I started this career, so many people were discouraging me. Why? Simple, because most (if not all of) the PL/RO>IT translations were done for peanuts, and were of course in a very bad Italian. Many clients believed that this was the rule (how can you possibly find an Italian who knows PL and RO? or SK? or CS?).
I insisted, and thanks to my being stubborn, thanks to the EU, now I am translating professionally, at high rates, from PL and RO. So I did not have to live just on EN and FR. But I see more things have to be done. I reiterate: for a 1 good translator into a non native language there are 100 who are not.
I quote Viktoria from another forum:


That is also what I did. Some people will think I am mean, but I consider I am just being impartial. This is the right way. At the end of the day, what's most important? That professional translators (that includes you) are recognized as such, or that we are all one big happy bunch who likes each other mutually? To me, it's obvious. Don't be afaid to scrutinize those who shouldn't have applied in the first place. That was exactly the point in building this network.


Have a nice day
Paola


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 09:46
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
You can still filter for "natives" Oct 29, 2008

I can't see why you're worried, Paula. I just checked out the search function, and one can still use the native language filter if desired. I did a search on my own language pair and - lo and behold - the top of the list was occupied by someone who isn't a native English speaker. I wasn't the least bit bothered by that, because he is a true professional who knows his strengths and limits, and his skills in my native language are superb.

I have flip-flopped (in my own mind at least) on this issue of native vs. non-native status for the target language. My own position is probably close to Jerzy's these days. If someone can deliver the goods, then I support him/her in doing so. God knows there are enough natives delivering crap despite a wall full of credentials.

Like you, I have known very few people who can deliver really first class work in a target language which is not their mother tongue. But the few I have known have often been far superior to good natives, including this one, including for texts requiring more than technical understanding. (And I will agree that many non-natives grossly overestimate their skills and take confirmation from illiterates in the target language too seriously.) So I'm not in favor of shutting the gates for my language pair or any other to a non-native of the target language. A good screening process, including translation review by competent natives, should be filter enough.


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Paola Dentifrigi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:46
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I wasn't asked Oct 29, 2008

I am one of the few natives for the PL/RO>IT pairs. I was't asked to review anything. I'll repeat it over and over: the contest was shameful, it was an insult to the Italian language. I don't want the same to be done for the Proz certification, that's it. I am not discussing here - and maybe I was not clear from the beginning - the ability or not to translate into a non native language. This subject has been discussed far too much. I want to learn more about the certification program, as I want this to be a serious thing.

Paola


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Jana Zajicova  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Member (2007)
English to Czech
+ ...
Misunderstanding? Oct 29, 2008

I have not joined the network yet so please bear with me - maybe I do not understand all the mechanisms properly.

When I was invited to join, I found one that I could only enter one of my working pairs in the registration process. There was a vague mention of the possibility to add more pairs sometime in the future. The problem is that when I look at Paola's profile, I have no way of knowing for which pair she got her certification. It seems that once she is in the network, she is considered a proz.com certified translator whenever she appears on site, including directory lists for pairs she is actually not certified for. In other ways, (my hypothesis is that) the software treats certification as an inherent, pair-independent characteristics. Consequently, it is possible that a Romanian translator working in the Romanian-Italian pair appears in the list of proz.com certified translators although she is certified for, say, English-Romanian only. If Paula hasn't been yet asked to evaluate anyone's profile for the Romanian-Italian pair, it doesn't necessarily mean that non-natives undermine the value of the network by generously granting certifications to other non-natives. It is conceivable that Paola has not been asked to evaluate any application because no one has applied so far in the Romanian-Italian pair.

Now, I do think it would make sense to show in the profiles for which language combination(s) the certification is valid and that the filters should take this in account as well.

But I agree with what some others said here: There are many outstanding professionals translating from their native languages and they should not be prevented from getting a certification. Let's have a merit-based access for everyone.


[Edited at 2008-10-29 10:01]

Sorry, typo fixed. (blush)

[Edited at 2008-10-29 10:11]


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Paola Dentifrigi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:46
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
good point Oct 29, 2008

Jana Zajicova wrote:

Consequently, it is possible that a Romanian translator working in the Romanian-Italian pair appears in the list of proz.com certified translators although she is certified for, say, English-Romanian only.


I guess you're right, Jana. That's why the system needs to be improved.

Paola (sorry, not Paula)

[Edited at 2008-10-29 10:03]


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Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:46
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
Excellent suggestion Oct 29, 2008

Jana Zajicova wrote:

Now, I do think it would make sense to show in the profiles for which language combination(s) the certification is valid and that the filters should take this in account as well.



This is, IMHO, a fundamental flaw in the programme and needs to be corrected. People are going to get the wrong idea otherwise.


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Paola Dentifrigi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:46
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
agree Oct 29, 2008

With Jana and Nikki.

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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:46
Italian to English
+ ...
Me too Oct 29, 2008

Yes, this should certainly be made clear.

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