Allow some non-members to participate in the translation contest
Thread poster: Samuel Murray

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:47
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Oct 7, 2010

I propose that for small languages, non-paying members be allowed to participate in the ProZ.com translation contest (i.e. to submit translations). This will increase the enjoyment of the contest for paying members in those languages.

One of the rules of the ProZ.com translation contest is that only paid members can participate (and by "participate" I mean submit entries). I can understand that this rule is there to improve the enjoyment of the contest by limiting the number of possible entries to a manageable figure.

A language combination like Enlgish-Spanish has tens of thousands of native Spanish speakers registered as users on ProZ.com. Limiting the contest to paid members reduces this number to less than 2000 (I realise that anyone who has Spanish as a language of interest can participate, but I'll assume for simplicity's sake that the majority of participants in the contest participate in their native language). Still, Spanish had 75 entries, which is a rather high number of entries to review individually. So it makes sense for a language like Spanish to limit the number of potential participants to paying members. Too many entries will make the contest less enjoyable.

A language combination like English-Afrikaans, on the other hand, has only 114 native Afrikaans registererd users, and the fact that the contest is limited to paid members reduces the number of potential participants to 7. Yes, seven. Afrikaans had 5 entries, which meant that 75% of eligible Afrikaans users took part in the contest (keeping in mind, of course, that this is based on my sweeping but not improbable assumption as stated above), as opposed to 4% for Spanish.

For Afrikaans, the situation is the complete opposite of that of Spanish, namely that *too few* entries make the contest less enjoyable. In Spanish, paying members benefit from the restriction that only paying members can participate, but in Afrikaans, paying members are actually at a distinct disadvantage because of that rule.

I doubt that if non-paying Afrikaans users were allowed to participate in the contest (all 114 of them), that there would be even close to 75 entries (the number of Spanish entries). In fact, I'd be surprised if there would be more than 15 entries, but one can hope for that.

My suggestion, therefore, to increase the enjoyment of the contest for smaller languages, is to allow non-paying members free access to participation in the contest (not via some cumbersome proxy method), for languages with an arbitrary low number of paying and non-paying members. I suggest: fewer than 100 paying members and/or fewer than 1000 non-paying members.




[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2010-10-07 13:35 GMT]


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Pernille Chapman  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:47
Member (2004)
English to Danish
+ ...
You have my vote :-) Oct 7, 2010

I would very much appreciate such a system, as there have been no entries at all for my native language - Danish - in the last few competitions. Allowing non-paying members to participate should at least make the rest of us sit up and take notice. Thanks for this useful suggestion, Samuel.

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:47
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Make sense to me too! Oct 7, 2010

I wonder whether you could ask a moderator to edit the title of this forum. When I read it, I think of non-paying agencies, i.e. people with low Blueboard ratings... Maybe you meant to say "non-members"?

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:47
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Terminology Oct 7, 2010

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
When I read it, I think of non-paying agencies, i.e. people with low Blueboard ratings... Maybe you meant to say "non-members"?


Well, I find the terminology "members who are not users" versus "users who are not members" that is currently used by ProZ.com for the old Platinum and Gold members to be very confusing, and I try to avoid it where I can. But yes, I was referring to "users" when I said non-paying members and to "members" when I said "paying members".

So, my proposal is to allow "users" (i.e. anyone with a profile page) to submit entries, if the language is small. If ProZ.com is worried about quality, they can limit it to users with complete or near-complete profile pages.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:47
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Like the idea Oct 7, 2010

Samuel, I like the idea but who is going to sort out who can or cannot participate? That would seem like a huge task and one that could potentially generate disagreements.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:47
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Tina Oct 7, 2010

Tina Vonhof wrote:
I like the idea but who is going to sort out who can or cannot participate? That would seem like a huge task and one that could potentially generate disagreements.


My proposed solution is pragmatic: make it arbitrary. Like I said, my suggested cut-off point are languages that either have less than 100 members or less than 1000 users who are native speakers of that language. Then review the decision at every new contest.

If anyone can show a scientific way of figuring out which languages should qualify for this exemption, I'd be happy to hear about it, but as far as I can see, an arbitrary figure would be the simplest solution, and not much worse than any kind of statistical guesswork.


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Susan Welsh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:47
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
Sounds like a good idea to me Oct 8, 2010

Arbitrary cutoff at 100 makes sense.
Even in a much larger language pair, Russian-English, we had a (different) problem in the last contest, that not enough people voted on the last round of entries, so the contest was not closed for months. There were other pairs in that situation also, as I recall.


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Geraldine Oudin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Japanese to French
+ ...
Good idea Oct 8, 2010

And by the way, when wil the next contest take place?

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Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:47
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Agree - but allow non-members to participate in all language combinations Oct 8, 2010

I feel that non-members should be allowed to participate in translation contests whatever their language pair. One suggestion would be for non-members (users, in current terminology) to pay a small fee or pay with BrowniZ points.

There could even be two categories:

Category A - paying members - prize and system as now
Category B - non-members - membership could be offered as a prize for the best overall translation among non-members

Or possibly category B could stay without a prize, provided good translations were given some kind of recognition (e.g. a certificate or diploma).


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:47
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Paul Oct 9, 2010

Paul Dixon wrote:
I feel that non-members should be allowed to participate in translation contests whatever their language pair. One suggestion would be for non-members (users, in current terminology) to pay a small fee or pay with BrowniZ points.


I have no objection to this idea, but it must be separate from my idea. The reason for this is that I'm very, very sure that non-members will not participate if they have to pay to participate. The whole point of "allowing" them to participate (in small languages) is to *encourage* them to participate (and to allow members to encourage them to participate). It would be counter-productive if yet another obstacle was placed in their way of participating.

Also, browniz are (or were?) awarded for site participation, so if only browniz-owning non-members can participate, then you're basically limiting the contest to people who are active participants in the site. Some translators who do not while away their hours on a translators' portal may be very good at submitting contest entries, which is what I want.

More entries (in small languages) = more fierce competition = more enjoyment for members.


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