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Suggestion: certified pro in each field of specialization
Thread poster: Mohammad Ali Omrani

Mohammad Ali Omrani
Iran
Local time: 22:35
Member (2013)
English to Farsi (Persian)
+ ...
Aug 3, 2013

Dear colleagues,
As you have noticed, in Certified Pro program each applicant should submit only one sample translation in one field to get certified and it doesn't really matter which text they translate and submit. Does being a certified pro mean that person is qualified in all subjects? of course not.
Now, suppose an outsourcer is looking for a certified pro in medical field and after searching the directory he doesn't know who is qualified in medical field(of course the one who has more Kudoz points in medical field is not an expert in that field).
I suggest in each language pair those who claim to be specialize in a specific field be given a sample translation and if they pass the test they become certified pro in that field, this new qualification can be shown in their profiles.
It also made it easier for the outsourcers to know who a qualified translator is in that particular field. What do you think about this?


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:05
English to German
+ ...
Why? "Certified Pro" has nothing to do with proficiency in translation Aug 3, 2013

Mohammad Ali Omrani wrote:
As you have noticed, in Certified Pro program each applicant should submit only one sample translation in one field to get certified and it doesn't really matter which text they translate and submit. Does being a certified pro mean that person is qualified in all subjects? of course not.
Now, suppose an outsourcer is looking for a certified pro in medical field and after searching the directory he doesn't know who is qualified in medical field(of course the one who has more Kudoz points in medical field is not an expert in that field).
I suggest in each language pair those who claim to be specialize in a specific field be given a sample translation and if they pass the test they become certified pro in that field, this new qualification can be shown in their profiles.
It also made it easier for the outsourcers to know who a qualified translator is in that particular field. What do you think about this?


ProZ.com is brilliant platform for networking and meeting clients. It is neither a linguistic institution, nor an academy and therefor not authorized to "certify" translators based on their talent or expertise. If this would be the case, I would have applied for the "Red P" years ago - that customers are tricked into the belief that the "Red P" says anything about the quality of the translator is highly deceptive and doesn't go well with my standards of business ethics. If you want to have the level of your proficiency evaluated, you need to contact a local translators association that is officially allowed to perform such certification tests.


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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 14:05
German to English
Qualified translators Aug 3, 2013

Nicole Schnell wrote:

It is neither a linguistic institution, nor an academy and therefore not authorized to "certify" translators based on their talent or expertise.... If you want to have the level of your proficiency evaluated, you need to contact a local translators association that is officially allowed to perform such certification tests.


Amen!


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Mohammad Ali Omrani
Iran
Local time: 22:35
Member (2013)
English to Farsi (Persian)
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
means of differentiation Aug 3, 2013

Thank you Nicole and Kim for your comments, I'm trying to say it's better to have some ways to differentiate a real specialized translator and a translator with no experience in a specific field. Suppose you have a document in medical field and you need an English to Farsi translator, how and based on what criteria you select that translator?

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:05
English to German
+ ...
Real specialization Aug 4, 2013

Mohammad Ali Omrani wrote:

Thank you Nicole and Kim for your comments, I'm trying to say it's better to have some ways to differentiate a real specialized translator and a translator with no experience in a specific field. Suppose you have a document in medical field and you need an English to Farsi translator, how and based on what criteria you select that translator?


I go by the profile page. However, whenever I see the full range indicated as "Specializes in", from Law to Marketing, from IT to Medical, and Finance to top it off, I don't see ANY specialization.



Edited for typo, sorry...

[Edited at 2013-08-04 00:29 GMT]


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:05
Russian to English
+ ...
I don't think any educational institution in the US is really authorized Aug 4, 2013

to certify translators -- there is no such a thing as a certified translator here. They can only certify that you completed a course of study at their institution.

They just have to look at your resume (the outsourcers), give you perhaps a very short test and make the right decision. Choosing the right translator is not that easy -- it is definitely not pressing a few buttons, saying some magic words and you have the best translator coming out of the filter on the other side. See, the problem is that good outsourcing companies -- I know a few in fact -- to be counted on the fingers of one hand, know whether a translation is good or not, and they would not need any certificates.

The others have to learn it the hard way -- do more screenings of translators and hire editors. When you pass the ATA certification test -- you are not a Certified Translator -- you are an ATA certified translator, the same way as when you pass the Proz certification exam, you are not a certified translator per se, but rather Proz certified, which might be an asset, but cannot really be a requirement.

[Edited at 2013-08-04 10:18 GMT]


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Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: Empty post.

Khanda
Poland
Local time: 21:05
Polish to English
+ ...
Spot on, Nicole Aug 4, 2013

I would certainly NOT select a translator basing on an online-dispensed certificate that is morally dubious to start with. To answer your question, many pros in medical field have proper medical credentials.

Also, the world does not end with ProZ. Many countries have proper translators' organizations where you can ask for somebody with proven skills (you run the risk that the professional's rates may not be rock-bottom, but I'm more than OK with that). Heck, if I were to put together a list of the best translators and interpreters I've been lucky to cooperate with, I have seen maybe 10% of them on ProZ at all. Let's be reasonable.


[Edited at 2013-08-04 10:04 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-08-04 10:04 GMT]


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writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
"Certified Pro" has nothing to do with proficiency in translation Aug 4, 2013

[quote]Nicole Schnell wrote:



ProZ.com is brilliant platform for networking and meeting clients. It is neither a linguistic institution, nor an academy and therefor not authorized to "certify" translators based on their talent or expertise. If this would be the case, I would have applied for the "Red P" years ago - that customers are tricked into the belief that the "Red P" says anything about the quality of the translator is highly deceptive and doesn't go well with my standards of business ethics. If you want to have the level of your proficiency evaluated, you need to contact a local translators association that is officially allowed to perform such certification tests.


Well said Nicole. Couldn't agree more.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:05
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I don't think it would be useful Aug 4, 2013

Mohammad Ali Omrani wrote:
As you have noticed, in Certified Pro program each applicant should submit only one sample translation in one field to get certified and it doesn't really matter which text they translate and submit. Does being a certified pro mean that person is qualified in all subjects? of course not.

Being a Certified Pro doesn't say anything about that person being able to provide a faultless translation in any subject area. It's not what it's aiming for. All it aims to say to prospective clients is that PROs are true 'professional' translators. In other words, they are able, first of all, to issue a legal invoice. They have a professional reputation, both on this site and elsewhere, that goes back quite a few years. That reputation is checked: I know they contacted a direct client of mine in France (with the permission of both of us, of course), who had never heard of ProZ.com. As you know, there's also a translation samply that's reviewed by several other PROs who work in that area. Normally, a translator who delivers poor translations (in whatever subject area), or delivers them late, will be expected to fail some or all of those checks.

Now, suppose an outsourcer is looking for a certified pro in medical field and after searching the directory he doesn't know who is qualified in medical field(of course the one who has more Kudoz points in medical field is not an expert in that field).

I would imagine clients could get quite a useful idea of competence from KudoZ activity. Not so much from the number of points, but from actually looking at a few answers and the explanations for those answers. Apart from that, clients can restrict their choice to those who have a full "about me" section of the profile and/or their CV available.

I suggest in each language pair those who claim to be specialize in a specific field be given a sample translation and if they pass the test they become certified pro in that field, this new qualification can be shown in their profiles.

I don't think you can tell a hell of a lot from 100-200 words - something, but not a lot. Preparing translation samples in each of my specialisation areas (where there's a lot of overlap anyway), plus reviewing other people's samples, would all take time.

I'd really rather get on with some work.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:05
English to German
+ ...
Lilian - why the discussion about the US? Aug 4, 2013

LilianBNekipelo wrote:

I don't think any educational institution in the US is really authorized

to certify translators -- there is no such a thing as a certified translator here. They can only certify that you completed a course of study at their institution.

...

The others have to learn it the hard way -- do more screenings of translators and hire editors. When you pass the ATA certification test -- you are not a Certified Translator -- you are an ATA certified translator,



The original poster is located in Iran.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 20:05
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Amen, Amen, and Amen! Aug 4, 2013

Kim Metzger wrote:

Nicole Schnell wrote:

It is neither a linguistic institution, nor an academy and therefore not authorized to "certify" translators based on their talent or expertise.... If you want to have the level of your proficiency evaluated, you need to contact a local translators association that is officially allowed to perform such certification tests.


Amen!


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Decipherit  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:05
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Who would be doing the marking? Aug 4, 2013

Mohammad Ali Omrani wrote:

Dear colleagues,
As you have noticed, in Certified Pro program each applicant should submit only one sample translation in one field to get certified and it doesn't really matter which text they translate and submit. Does being a certified pro mean that person is qualified in all subjects? of course not.
Now, suppose an outsourcer is looking for a certified pro in medical field and after searching the directory he doesn't know who is qualified in medical field(of course the one who has more Kudoz points in medical field is not an expert in that field).
I suggest in each language pair those who claim to be specialize in a specific field be given a sample translation and if they pass the test they become certified pro in that field, this new qualification can be shown in their profiles.
It also made it easier for the outsourcers to know who a qualified translator is in that particular field. What do you think about this?



By the site's own admission, the program is only a test of "adequacy". Sometimes I'm not even sure "adequacy" has been attained. This from the FAQs:

"3 - How good does a translator / a company have to be to be admitted into the Certified PRO Network? Are only elite translators / companies admitted? [Direct link]

The level screened for inclusion into the network is not "good" or "elite" but "adequate". In the case of translators, the screening process seeks to establish only that the applicant meets or exceeds certain minimum professional standards in three screening areas: translation ability, business reliability and "citizenship"."

So, you see, the bar couldn't be lower. Trying to market those same individuals as an elite group and specialists in their field would be laughable. Furthermore, does the site have the wherewithal to train high-calibre examiners in a multitude of specialist areas covering umpteen languages? The simple answer is 'No'.


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:05
Russian to English
+ ...
Perhaps this is the only country I know more about Aug 4, 2013

Nicole Schnell wrote:

LilianBNekipelo wrote:

I don't think any educational institution in the US is really authorized

to certify translators -- there is no such a thing as a certified translator here. They can only certify that you completed a course of study at their institution.

...

The others have to learn it the hard way -- do more screenings of translators and hire editors. When you pass the ATA certification test -- you are not a Certified Translator -- you are an ATA certified translator,



The original poster is located in Iran.


and Proz is a US site-- at least registered here. He wanted some changes to the site, as far as I understand. Unfortunately I do not know that much about the education system in Iran, not to mention any translation sites.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:05
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The PRO network is merely a peer assessment Aug 4, 2013

As far as I understand it, qualifying for the PRO-tag involves submitting a sample, getting it assessed by some peers who have passed a similar process, and, if they consider it good enough, the person gets another logo by their name, nothing else.

My take is that the strictly business decision from Proz to create it was to attract qualified translators, who were free users or partial members, into upgrading to full membership so they could apply. Makes sense.

From the PRO applications submitted to me for an appraisal so far, I've seen good translations which I cleared, a few from visibly high-potential yet inexperienced translators, and some from candidates in the wrong area.

Of the last type, I've seen quite a few that should be translating (at least for testing purposes) something else. Some submitted technical translations, say, on IT, and it became evident that they'd come out much better if they had tried it with literature. No cases of vice-versa so far.

I don't know who selects the test for PRO applications, my guess being that it's the candidate him/herself. So why do they take it outside their specialty? I have no doubt that I'd fail miserably on a medical text, while I'd outperform a numerous crowd if it were about business management skills. I'd never apply with a medical translation, however I see some definitely trying to push the envelope here.

Furthermore, I haven't received clear, objective criteria for such assessments. So I note the points that IMHO behoove improvement, yet my final verdict is based on a simple yes/no question: "Would I have any reservations, if I were asked to proofread this applicant's translation at my normal rates?" This is what determines my vote.

Certification in translation is somewhat meaningless. In regulated professions, a certifying board will ascertain - on behalf of society - that an individual has successfully completed all the learning that society considers minimally necessary to practice that profession, and will thereupon license them. The same board may suspend or revoke a practitioner's license, thus preventing them to continue practicing, if they commit proven malpractice.

Very few - though some - cases of plumbers' incompetence could cause people to innocently drown while asleep. Likewise, not so many mistranslations could cause such devastating effects. On the other hand, MDs may permanently compromise a patient's well-being, lawyers may severely damage an individual or group's rights, engineers may build things that could collapse and take a few lives, so such professions are regulated. Translation, mostly, isn't.

Hence the PRO certification is no more than a peers' "nod" in approval of someone's attempt at translating. WWAs from clients are the same, from a different, often lay, standpoint. Calling either of these a certification is an overstatement.


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