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Voting is inconsistent in English to Chinese and English to Portuguese
Thread poster: Henry Dotterer

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 01:18
SITE FOUNDER
Dec 8, 2008

Hi all,

We are in the process of closing out the qualification round. Mostly, things are in order, with almost all pairs showing the type of voting pattern one would expect: a few entries that rose to the top having a bunch of relatively high ratings*, followed by a bunch of entries with mixed results, and then finally a few entries having received mostly lower scores.

That is the case in all but 2 of the pairs that had qualification voting.** But there are two pairs in which a smooth continuum like that described above is not observed: English to Chinese, and English to Portuguese. In those pairs, results are mixed throughout the sorted list; the entries at the top have a good number of low ratings to go along with their high ones, and the ones at the bottom sometimes collect high ratings. (Chinese and Portuguese to English, in contrast, have more or less regular patterns.)

Is the issue language variants? If so, what should be done? Shall we allow contestants to self-identify their language variant, and choose a winner for each variant? What would the variants be in Chinese?

If the issue is not language variants, what would it be?

Your input would be appreciated.

Henry

* There is sometimes an odd vote of 1 / 1, which in an otherwise highly rated entry stands out like a sore thumb. When we see that, we investigate. If a pattern of indiscriminate voting is found (ex. ratings of 1 for all of the entries in a pair), the results for that pair are recalculated with the offender's votes ignored.

** Well, a few pairs need more votes to firm up the patterns. We are leaving them open while dealing with this issue...


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xxxwonita
China
Local time: 02:18
Chinese traditional vs. Chinese simplified Dec 8, 2008

These are 2 variants in Chinese, Chinese traditional and Chinese simplified. Simplified Chinese is the national language for P.R.China, whereas traditional Chinese is used in Taiwan, Hongkong and Singapore. Some terms are different, so are the wording and even some sentence structures. Some terms in traditional Chinese sound awkward to me, but they could be fine for someone from Taiwan.



[Edited at 2008-12-08 20:06 GMT]


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 01:18
SITE FOUNDER
TOPIC STARTER
Would it make sense to divide the pair into two variants? Dec 8, 2008

Bin Tiede wrote:

These are 2 variants in Chinese, Chinese traditional and Chinese simplified. Simplified Chinese is the national language for P.R.China, whereas traditional Chinese is used in Taiwan, Hongkong and Singapore. Some terms are different, so are the wording and even some language structures. Some terms in traditional Chinese sound awkward to me, but they could be fine for someone from Taiwan.

Thanks, Bin.

In your opinion, would it make sense to divide the pair into two parallel competitions, one for each variant (with winners selected from each)?


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xxxwonita
China
Local time: 02:18
I can't say so, Dec 8, 2008

Henry D wrote:

Bin Tiede wrote:

These are 2 variants in Chinese, Chinese traditional and Chinese simplified. Simplified Chinese is the national language for P.R.China, whereas traditional Chinese is used in Taiwan, Hongkong and Singapore. Some terms are different, so are the wording and even some language structures. Some terms in traditional Chinese sound awkward to me, but they could be fine for someone from Taiwan.

Thanks, Bin.

In your opinion, would it make sense to divide the pair into two parallel competitions, one for each variant (with winners selected from each)?


One winner of the previous contests is from Taiwan, who translated into traditional Chinese. She has got the best result among all previous contests (72 points as far as I can remember); indeed her translation is the best one among all the contestants, whether they translated into traditional or simplified Chinese. I think it depends on the subject. Since I have no experience with traditional Chinese, I can't say in which way they could be different for this particular source text, I'd suggest you wait for more opinions.

[Edited at 2008-12-08 20:31 GMT]


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Fabio Said  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:18
Member (2008)
German to Portuguese
+ ...
It would, definitely Dec 8, 2008

Henry D wrote:
In your opinion, would it make sense to divide the pair into two parallel competitions, one for each variant (with winners selected from each)?


It would definitely make sense to distinguish between Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese.

In the English-Portuguese and German-Portuguese pairs, I noticed that someone entered "dislike" tags for perfectly OK translations in Brazilian Portuguese. And a few days later, I also noticed that European Portuguese translations had been tagged incorrect based on pt-BR/pt-PT differences when they were not at all incorrect. And this despite the fact that it is perfectly clear which language variant the translations had been written in. I mean, perfectly clear to a NATIVE (and educated and informed) speaker of Portuguese (European or Brazilian). Maybe there was some misunderstanding on the part of non-native speakers who added the "dislike" tags... Or maybe that was just plain "competition tactics"...

Anyway, all this wouldn't have happened if the Portuguese section of the contest were divided into two separate camps: Brazilian and European.

But I think now it's too late for segregation, as the tags (and probably the voting) have been influenced by the fact that both language variants were made to compete with each other.


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Fernanda Rocha  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 03:18
Member
English to Portuguese
+ ...

MODERATOR
I totally agree! :-S Dec 8, 2008

Fabio Said wrote:

It would definitely make sense to distinguish between Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese.

In the English-Portuguese (...) pair, I noticed that someone entered "dislike" tags for perfectly OK translations in Brazilian Portuguese. And a few days later, I also noticed that European Portuguese translations had been tagged incorrect based on pt-BR/pt-PT differences when they were not at all incorrect. And this despite the fact that it is perfectly clear which language variant the translations had been written in. I mean, perfectly clear to a NATIVE (and educated and informed) speaker of Portuguese (European or Brazilian). Maybe there was some misunderstanding on the part of non-native speakers who added the "dislike" tags... Or maybe that was just plain "competition tactics"...

Anyway, all this wouldn't have happened if the Portuguese section of the contest were divided into two separate camps: Brazilian and European.

But I think now it's too late for segregation, as the tags (and probably the voting) have been influenced by the fact that both language variants were made to compete with each other.



I myself received several disagrees based on PT-PT grammar rules/vocabulary - and my entry was in PT-BR. It was really annoying, specially because some people wrote ironic things to justify their opinion - and these things did not make any sense in PT-BR.

It is the 1st Annual Contest we are having and it is kind of late to change the "rules" now. But this idea should be considered as an improvement for next year's Contest.

Regards,
Fernanda


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 01:18
SITE FOUNDER
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, folks. Dec 9, 2008

Thanks for the feedback, folks. Any other Chinese speakers care to comment?

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Maria Graciela Giordano  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:18
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
What about Spanish? Dec 9, 2008

Hi Henry:

Even if I won't be talking about Chinese or Portuguese, I hope my comment is not off-topic (if it is, I apologize!).

I wonder: What is the "standard" for rating Spanish? It DOES make a difference if you're translation into (1) a kind of neutral Spanish, (2) a neutral Latin American version, (3) Spanish for Spain, (4) other Spanish (regional) variants...

So, let's say I translated into a neutral kind of Latin American Spanish. Then someone from Spanish may, and probably will, "dislike" and even correct many of my choices.

In my opinion, entries into Spanish should definitely be judged according to 2 categories: General European Spanish - General Latin American Spanish (by "general" I mean "no regional variants"). Something along those lines.

Any comments?

Thanks for your time.
Regards,
Graciela


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Denyce Seow  Identity Verified
Singapore
Local time: 13:18
Member (2004)
Chinese to English
Traditional Chinese Dec 9, 2008

This is a very small sub-community. I am just afraid if we split it up into SC and TC, we will not get enough participation in TC (at least not enough for the voting part).

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xxxwonita
China
Local time: 02:18
Agreed Dec 9, 2008

Denyce Seow wrote:

This is a very small sub-community. I am just afraid if we split it up into SC and TC, we will not get enough participation in TC (at least not enough for the voting part).


There is only one entry submitted in traditional Chinese, two have converted their characters and submitted in both simplified and traditional Chinese.

Perhaps we can consider it for the next contest.

[Edited at 2008-12-09 08:11 GMT]


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xxxwonita
China
Local time: 02:18
Take your target readers into consideration Dec 9, 2008

Maria Graciela Giordano wrote:
Hi Henry:

Even if I won't be talking about Chinese or Portuguese, I hope my comment is not off-topic (if it is, I apologize!).

I wonder: What is the "standard" for rating Spanish? It DOES make a difference if you're translation into (1) a kind of neutral Spanish, (2) a neutral Latin American version, (3) Spanish for Spain, (4) other Spanish (regional) variants...


Any comments?

Thanks for your time.
Regards,
Graciela


It is part of our task to make our translation appealing to the target audience. I would translate a children's book in a very different tone as an annual report. With the yeras I even know how to do my work to minimize the complaits of a proofreader.

Where are the majority of the voters come from? Which kind of Spanish would be best rated? Adapt yourself!


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 01:18
SITE FOUNDER
TOPIC STARTER
Spanish seems fine Dec 9, 2008

Maria Graciela Giordano wrote:
What about Spanish?

For whatever reason, we don't see the same phenomenon in (English to) Spanish as we do in Chinese and Portuguese. What we see is the type of (expected) smooth distribution.

In other words, whether Spanish has similar issues or not (linguistically), the community has clearly identified its favored entries (statistically). The same is not true in the others.


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 01:18
SITE FOUNDER
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Bin, Denyce Dec 9, 2008

Bin Tiede wrote:
Denyce Seow wrote:
This is a very small sub-community. I am just afraid if we split it up into SC and TC, we will not get enough participation in TC (at least not enough for the voting part).

There is only one entry submitted in traditional Chinese, two have converted their characters and submitted in both simplified and traditional Chinese.

That is helpful to know. Is it your guess that voters are also working mostly in SC?


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Fernando Guimaraes  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 06:18
German to Portuguese
+ ...
I agree..but Dec 9, 2008

I agree with Fabio Said but i think it is not good to divide the pair in two variants, the differences are clear and votes made just because the translation does not follow the writting of a contry should not be taken in consideration - may be some kind of moderator.
Have someone considered divide English in the several ways it is used in different countries ??

Fabio Said wrote
And this despite the fact that it is perfectly clear which language variant the translations had been written in. I mean, perfectly clear to a NATIVE (and educated and informed) speaker of Portuguese (European or Brazilian). Maybe there was some misunderstanding on the part of non-native speakers who added the "dislike" tags...


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 03:18
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The Portuguese language problem Dec 9, 2008

This is a long-standing issue on Proz. I remained a free user for years here because I felt that it was a waste of time bidding for jobs where the poster was unable to decide or state which variant of the Portuguese language they needed. It was an uphill battle - I lost it - because Proz didn't want to open the door to mandatory selection of variant on jobs, fearing it would shatter the Spanish marketplace to many tiny pieces.

Regarding the contest, please read my previous message on another recent thread:
http://www.proz.com/forum/prozcom_translation_contests/122504-pairs_in_the_qualification_round_need_your_votes.html#1007737

The bottom line is:

- Portuguese is one and the same language as source. Both Brazilian and Portuguese constitutions clearly state so.

- As target, Brazilian Portuguese and European Portuguese should be treated as two separate languages


In a nutshell, supporting evidence says that, in Portuguese:

- Any speaker of one variant - though at some risk of misunderstanding, and occasional need of a dictionary - will read and understand text written in the other variant.

- No sensible client will ever hire professional translation services into the "wrong" variant.


I reckon that this whole situation may be difficult to envision by anyone who doesn't understand the language, but that's what happens in reality.


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