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Answer or comment on KudoZ questions only in your working language (T)
Thread poster: Samuel Murray

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:56
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Jan 26, 2004

G'day

I propose that ProZ.com allows translators to answer or comment on KudoZ questions only if the question is in one of their working languages.

Recently someone asked a KudoZ question in English>Afrikaans, to which a non-native translator gave an incorrect answer, even though Afrikaans is listed as one of his working languages. Another translator, whose working languages do not include Afrikaans, then commented "I agree" to this!

I wonder if the second translator is on a BrowniZ collecting spree, answering and commenting on questions she has little knowledge about. Surely the "I agree" or "I disagree" comments should be reserved for translators with good knowledge of the languages in question!

URL available on request (I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post URLs that reflect badly on ProZ.com members).

[Edited at 2004-01-26 06:54]

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2005-02-02 19:21]


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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 17:56
French to English
Sometimes it's nice to have input from native speaker of source language Jan 26, 2004

In terms of the actual meaning/explanation for the term/phrase to be translated, the input of a native speaker of the source language can be an invaluable part of the exchange. Also, think about languages where there simply are no (or very few) native translators for the target language (I could use Turkish to English as an example, because I am familiar with that pair...most of the translators working that pair are native speakers of the source, not the target, language.)
It is up to the askers to evaluate the credibility of the answers suggested by looking at profiles,doing their own follow-up research, etc., and by just using common sense.
I think a rule to exclude "non-natives" would do more harm than good.
Regards,
Sara


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:56
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I think you misunderstood what I meant by "working languages" Jan 26, 2004

Sara Freitas-Maltaverne wrote:
In terms of the actual meaning/explanation for the term/phrase to be translated, the input of a native speaker of the source language can be an invaluable part of the exchange. ... I think a rule to exclude "non-natives" would do more harm than good.


When I said "working language" I did not mean "native language" or "target language". I meant any language which is listed in the translator's profile as a working language.

I agree that input from non-natives can be helpful, but the second translator mentioned in my first post don't have Afrikaans listed as *any* of her languages.

When translators agree or disagree with KudoZ answers, I suspect very few public askers check out their profiles to double check their knowledge of the languages.

[Edited at 2004-01-26 07:05]

[Edited at 2004-01-26 07:05]


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Lydia Molea  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:56
English to German
+ ...
I am afraid ... Jan 26, 2004

that wouldn't work. There are no restrictions on the working languages one can add to one's profile. Therefore, you can just list 10 working languages and still answer KudoZ-questions (incorrectly).

I believe there was a similar discussion some months ago ...

I do agree that it is very frustrating to see wrong answers being agreed to and even picked as the best answer.

Happy translating!
Lydia


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Gillian Scheibelein  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:56
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
not really feasible Jan 26, 2004

For less prolific languages, such as Africaans, Zulu, Xhosa etc., I can see your problem. However, for common European languages, particularly English, so many people have a smattering that they can give some useful input even though it is not their working language. So limiting Proz comments is hardly worthwhile. Like any Internet forum, there are plenty of opportunities and methods to abuse the system and plenty of people who will use them. It is extremely frustrating sometimes. This behaviour is very unfair to the asker, who is being misled, and to anyone giving other answers - if it is done on purpose. I suspect that your commenter was only trying to help and got it wrong. Heaven knows, it happens in all languages often enough. Lots of agrees under a wrong answer. But any asker worth his/her salt ought to cross-check an answer before using it, after all, it is their professional image which is at stake if their translation is faulty.

[Edited at 2004-01-26 07:51]


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Deborah Shannon  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:56
Member (2002)
German to English
Checks and balances are in place Jan 26, 2004



Samuel Murray-Smit wrote:

When translators agree or disagree with KudoZ answers, I suspect very few public askers check out their profiles to double check their knowledge of the languages.



Hmmm, public askers ... they are often a bugbear in other respects too, e.g. not providing enough context.

But we already have Disagree (which has to give a reason), Add an Answer, and Note to the Asker. I would have thought these three mechanisms are capable of making most askers realise the first answer isn't necessarily the best.

Assuming of course that said askers follow the guideline to leave questions open for 24 hours and to give sufficient time for peer comments.

Maybe the 24-hour message should emphasise that closing a question early deprives you of answers from colleagues on tight deadlines or working in different time-zones.

Deborah


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 17:56
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Can moderators keep the wrong answers out of the glossaries? Jan 26, 2004

I agree very much in principle that it is almost too easy to hit the 'agree' button and earn three Browniz. But also with the reasons given above for not limiting access too much.

Luckily there are often 'disagree' responses and explanations too. And they can be added after the question is closed, if anyone bothers.

I regularly go back and check questions, particularly any I didn't have time to answer or couldn't answer, to see what came up.

What is really important is keeping the wrong answers out of the glossary, because if anyone finds them there they won't (can't?) ask again. If someone appeals to the moderator for a language pair, could he/she remove a term?

I'm sure the moderators have plenty to do, but keeping the glossaries 'clean' would be a really useful function if they don't do it already.


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nyamuk
United States
Local time: 09:56
Indonesian to English
+ ...
language pairs Jan 26, 2004

Samuel Murray-Smit wrote:

I propose that ProZ.com allows translators to answer or comment on KudoZ questions only if the question is in one of their working languages.

Recently someone asked a KudoZ question in English>Afrikaans, to which a non-native translator gave an incorrect answer, even though Afrikaans is listed as one of his working languages. Another translator, whose working languages do not include Afrikaans, then commented "I agree" to this!

Surely the "I agree" or "I disagree" comments should be reserved for translators with good knowledge of the languages in question!



How can you be certain that the person who agreed to an answer that you charecterise as incorrect does not have a preference for your language pairs?

A user can have language pairs that aren't displayed. It seems like the real problem here is that there aren't enough people active in the language pair, if there were they could identify incorrect answers.


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 11:56
SITE FOUNDER
Status of this topic among moderators Jan 26, 2004

This is currently a topic of dicussion among moderators. The consensus so far seems to be that contributions in non-working languages pairs should not be shut out, but that perhaps points earned in non-working languages should not be shown in profiles or the leaderboard. Agreeing/disagreeing might also be limited in some way in non-working pairs.

There is also support for the concept of limiting the number of working languages a member may claim. This would also have repurcussions for the directory and jobs.


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Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 10:56
Spanish to English
glossaries Jan 26, 2004

I was trying to look for the forum but I couldn't find it.
Anyway a few months ago the discussion came up about changing wrong glossary entries, and we are supposed to report these to a moderator. I have on occasion done this with satisfactory results.


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Anjo Sterringa  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:56
Member (2003)
English to Dutch
+ ...
please not too many rules.... Jan 26, 2004

When answering KudoZ questions you sometimes get it wrong because you lack context, or you may be thinking in the wrong direction - not because you want to mislead the asker. Sometimes this 'thinking process' leads to a better answer by someone else. I think that is part of the process.

It is also very difficult to say whether the asker chose the wrong answer- so much is context dependent AND there are so many opinions of what would be the correct translation. Hey, there are mistakes in dictionaries, in EURODIC - so would you believe what is in a dictionary or glossary just like that? Of course not.

My impression is that there are many helpful people out here at ProZ - hit the reply button and you sometimes get it wrong (we are all human) but in general I think everybody takes answering questions very seriously.

I had no idea that an 'agree' got you Brownies?? I do not think that is necessary at all.

Personally I do not think it would enrich ProZ to put restrictions on who ('working languages') could answer what questions. I would not try anything Polish, Russian, Arab, Greek etc.(I would not even be able to read the question!) but I was able to help someone with a question in Italian - and my Italian is almost non-existent but it was a nautical expression that is also used in Spanish...

Then there is another (last) thing: does it make the answerer more reliable if his or her answer is chosen? I think not necessarily. For all the reasons already mentioned - the asker chooses another answer, it may have been a brainstorm for the 'best' translation of a certain expression, you add another option for translation, all answerers may have added to clarification but the asker can of course only give his/her points once - which is OK.

Well- my two cents!
Life is too short, let's enjoy it!


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 17:56
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Difference between 'working languages' and 'languages of interest' Jan 27, 2004

My position on language pairs is probably typical for many Kudoz participants:
I have registered myself with 'English-Danish' as a working language pair - because the other way round is my main pair. Strictly speaking, it is a 'language pair of interest' and I do not do jobs from English into Danish.

Still, although my written Danish is not up to professional standard, I do understand it as a second native language on a level with many Danes. In the demanding subject areas I just know several Danish translators who are far better than I am.

All the same, as I live in Denmark and read newspapers etc. I am sometimes in a position to answer a Kudoz-type question from English to Danish. I follow the monolingual English Kudoz discussions (my native language after all ...) but don't receive all the e-mails with questions, for reasons of time.

Egoist that I am, I would hate to be cut off from joining in these discussions when I think I have something to say!

I would definitely be unhappy if some of the others who take part were excluded for not having them as working languages, because they do make useful or interesting comments.

I have of course had to hide my contributions now and then, e.g. when a peer has explained that I'm wrong. Kudoz is a reflection of 'work in progress' and mistakes along the way are inevitable.

As long as mistakes are marked (by 'disagree' with an explanation etc.) and kept out of the glossary, they can serve as warnings about the pitfalls and sources of confusion, and may even be quite useful in their way.

I've thought of suggesting that reasons should always be given for 'agree', but sometimes it is hard to say anything that has not already been said. 'Disagree' should IMHO always be explained, if only by 'see my answer' or 'ditto the previous comment' or the like.

I'm in favour of keeping the status quo, which is really fine in 'my' languages, where practically everyone is polite and keeps to the point without getting personal.

Long live Kudoz!


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Richard Benham  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:56
German to English
+ ...
Ultimately it is the asker's responsibility.... Jan 27, 2004

There may be many reasons why a person may want to contribute to a question outside his/her working language pairs. For example, he she may have some knowledge of the languages in question, but not enough to work professionally in that language pair, and happen to know the particular term because of technical expertise in the area. There are other possiblilities too.

Surely the asker, if he or she is actually working in the language pair of the question, should have enough professional knowledge to discern the good answers from the bad. In any case, when you undertake a translation assignment, you alone are responsible for the quality of your work, not the well-intentioned (but often wrong) people who suggest terminology via KudoZ.


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 10:56
English to Russian
+ ...
I have never seen a living wrong translator in my entire life. Jan 28, 2004

Have you? Such self-confidence in "my answer was right and I can not be wrong and who are you" sometimes gets to me really bad, to put it mildly. No personal references, just a life-time observation...

Lydia Molea-Lanier wrote:

that wouldn't work.


Sincerely, Lydia, I hope that would never work... Or the Proz will stop working in the originally intended format as I understand it. Please, guys, get real - this is not a Pro site per se (rates are my witnesses:), no blasphemy meant) even though it is being visited by dozens of great professionals. This is a game, and a charming living room filled with great people having similar interests and problems.

[Edited at 2004-01-28 21:19]


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