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A new feature for this contest: group commentary on the source text
Thread poster: Henry Dotterer

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 08:30
SITE FOUNDER
Oct 15, 2012

Dear contest participants,

Some of you who have taken part in contests in the past know that generally, an attempt is made to improve upon the contest format each time around. This time, instead of going straight into rating / voting, we are going to try something new: group commentary on the source text. The idea is to give those who care to, a chance to make observations about the source, including its meaning, style, nuance, impact, etc. With observations on the source text on hand, the thinking goes, raters will be in a better position to make judgments on the accuracy of translations submitted. (Especially if those entering notes are native or highly proficient speakers of the source language.)

To be clear, we're not getting into discussions regarding translation just yet -- the idea is to first collectively "internalize" the meaning of the source, as a way of preparing to evaluate and discuss the translations.

Any translator registered with ProZ.com, whether s/he submitted an entry or not, is welcome to take part in this "source text notes" experiment. If you have an interpretation of any of the Yogi Berra quotes to share, especially an interpretation that you imagine some of the translators may not have considered, please share it using "source text notes". Or, review the notes and consider agreeing or disagreeing with observations that have been made by others.

To see this new feature now, go to the overview page for this round of the contest, and then click "Comment on this source text »": http://www.proz.com/translation-contests/28

This is the first time we do this, and it is a brand new idea, so we'll just have to see how useful this turns out to be in practice. Any feedback or suggestions (on this feature specifically, for now please) would be welcome.

We'll allow a few days for this experiment. Entries will become visible (in pairs that have at least three entries) on Wednesday, at which time rating / voting will be possible. (Ignore the notes that say rating / voting is possible now.)

In pairs that did not receive the minimum of three entries, we will go into an extended submission period. The fact that the source text has been discussed could obviously have an effect on competition in those pairs. However, since contestants are able to edit their entries, factoring in any new information gained from the discussion on an equal level with peers, we feel that competition in those pairs will still be valid. Let us know if you feel otherwise. (In that case, we would just consider those pairs to be in their final state, with entries visible and feedback possible, but no winner to be declared.)


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:30
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Bugs Oct 15, 2012

Henry Dotterer wrote:
This time, instead of going straight into rating / voting, we are going to try something new: group commentary on the source text.


1. Please note the number of comments next to each segment, so that I don't have to click each segment to see if there is a comment yet.
2. I can agree/disagree with my own comment (!). What's the point in that?
3. I can click both "agree" and "disagree" and both will seem active, but when I leave the segment and then return to it, the option I clicked most recently will be active (e.g. "disagree").

==

4. Not really a bug, but I foresee these comments turning into conversations unless you do something to prevent that. For example, randomise the display of the comments, and tell commenters clearly that their comment will appear in a random position, so they shouldn't "reply" to the "previous" comment and expect other users to see the comments in the same sequence. Another thing you may do is to place the comment box in a completely different place, i.e. not underneath the other comments, so that it does not imply a conversation.

In fact, I wonder how one can ever prevent this from turning into a conversation, unless perhaps you should allow repliers the opportunity to add a 50-character long reply when they click Agree or Disagree. Hopefully that would discourage people from using the comment box as a reply box. What do you think?





[Edited at 2012-10-15 08:42 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:30
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Have you left any comments, Samuel? Oct 15, 2012

I can't see anything there. Does that mean nothing has been left, or just that I need to do something to see your comments?

Update: I've just found some! As you say, Samuel, it isn't at all clear at the moment.

[Edited at 2012-10-15 08:24 GMT]


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Sean McDonald  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:30
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thank you for your suggestions Oct 15, 2012

Thank you very much for your suggestions. As per your suggestion I will be placing the number of comments next to each segment shortly.

As far as agreeing with your own comment, the ability to do so will be removed shortly. There was a small debate as to whether you should be able to or not, and it has been agreed that you should not be able to.

As it stands now, agreeing, and then disagreeing with a comment does not add one to both. Instead it changes your vote. This was done so that you could change your mind based on new information that might come in. However based on your suggestion I can see how this may be confusing, and will be updated to better illustrate this.

As far as the facilitating the discussion. The comments should not appear in time order, nor will they display as random. Instead they will be displaying in an order of how people are agreeing/disagreeing with them. This does not mean however, that comments with more agrees will necessarily be higher, as finding out an overwhelming amount of people disagree with a statement could be just as useful as those agreeing with a different one. This order should help eliminate conversation, and keep the comments focused on the matter at hand.

Thank you very much for the suggestions, and for participating in the contest.


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Christophe Delaunay  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 14:30
Member (2011)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Not sure I see the point... Oct 15, 2012

I just had a look at the comment page and I'm not sure I see the point. We are professional translators, we should know about these things or at least we should have done some research. Commenting about Yogi Berra's quotes feels like being an actor and talking about the movie you just made. Nothing new under the sun...

[Edited at 2012-10-15 20:03 GMT]


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Cris Lazzerini  Identity Verified
Brazil
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Your effort is appreciated but... Oct 15, 2012

I appreciate the effort of ProZ.com team to always improve the site and offer members something new. But regarding the content of the comments I agree with Christophe Delaunay.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:30
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Kinda agree Oct 15, 2012

Christophe Delaunay wrote:
I just had a look at the comment page and I'm not sure I see the point. We are professional translators, we should know about these things or at least we should have done some research.


I disagree with this, because not all translators will have interpreted it the same way. For example, it never occurred to me that "fork" may be an eating utensil, or that "encyclopedia" contains "cycle", and had I known those things, my translation may have been different.

That said, I find it a bit limiting that I can only comment on each segment, and not on the translation as a whole. I would love to say things about the text as a whole, but now I'm forced to say the same thing at every segment, again and again, or not say anything at all.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:30
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Source vs target language Oct 16, 2012

Christophe Delaunay wrote:

I just had a look at the comment page and I'm not sure I see the point. We are professional translators, we should know about these things or at least we should have done some research. Commenting about Yogi Berra's quotes feels like being an actor and talking about the movie you just made. Nothing new under the sun...

[Edited at 2012-10-15 20:03 GMT]

I definitely agree that we 'ought' to know these things in our source languages, but plays on words do often escape translators, or they find them where they weren't intended! There are many instances of both in KudoZ from some pretty competent translators. Let's face it, if your specialiisation is engineering manuals, then this particular competition is far from your comfort zone.

I remember in the last translation contest, when you could translate into English, that reviewers were restricted to those native in English. Unfortunately (as you may have learnt from a recent thread), there are many people on this site who declare English as their native language, when it clearly isn't. A couple of them made a mockery of the review process by disagreeing with perfectly correct translations and agreeing with some awful mistranslations. They clearly hadn't understood the text. As far as their own entries were concerned, who cares - they certainly weren't going to win - but as reviewers they did a lot of damage.

By adding this 'phase', at least we'll have some concensus of opinion on what the source text means. If several people have agreed that it means ABC, or nobody has disagreed with this notion, then perhaps reviewers will think twice before saying "This translation is rubbish! It should be XYZ".

We'll see.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:30
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
On the other hand Oct 16, 2012

These 'agree/disagree' buttons are turning out to be worse than useless. Most of the answers aren't 100% right or 100% wrong. Agreeing mean you're endorsing the whole answer, and vice versa.

We really need to be able to post a short comment (just one each - no conversation), and give a score of -5 through to +5.


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Christophe Delaunay  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 14:30
Member (2011)
Spanish to French
+ ...
I agree with that Oct 16, 2012

Sheila Wilson wrote:

These 'agree/disagree' buttons are turning out to be worse than useless. Most of the answers aren't 100% right or 100% wrong. Agreeing mean you're endorsing the whole answer, and vice versa.

We really need to be able to post a short comment (just one each - no conversation), and give a score of -5 through to +5.



First, I must admit that I am proved wrong about what I wrote yesterday and I am astonished by the (I don't want to add an adjective...) comments I read today.

Besides, as Sheila perfectly points out, some comments are half-wrong or half-right...This black/white system of grading the comment lacks some nuance.

Gosh, don't take me wrong...but I do feel smart today!


[Edited at 2012-10-16 10:42 GMT]


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:30
Hebrew to English
Group commentary on the source text ...Wrong Crowd! Oct 16, 2012

Nice idea but looking at the comments as they currently stand, I have to ask myself: do these comments help or hinder?

Some of the comments are just a bit "out there", others are downright wrong, bordering on the bizarre.

Weighing up the pros and cons, I think this feature could end up doing more harm than good.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:30
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
This is the root of the problem, I reckon Oct 16, 2012

Henry Dotterer wrote:
The idea is to give those who care to, a chance to make observations about the source, including its meaning, style, nuance, impact, etc. With observations on the source text on hand, the thinking goes, raters will be in a better position to make judgments on the accuracy of translations submitted. (Especially if those entering notes are native or highly proficient speakers of the source language.)

That last sentence shouldn't be an after-thought, a "wouldn't it be nice if...". It has to be a restriction! There's a lot of controversy about native speaker categorisation, but surely this commentary must be restricted to those of us who declare the language as our target language (or one of our target languages for those who have more than one), mustn't it?


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Ali Bayraktar  Identity Verified
Turkey
Member (2007)
English to Turkish
+ ...
Order of the texts Oct 16, 2012

Dear Henry,

The view order of the texts should be changed randomly.
For example on a hourly basis.

Picking a random order at the beginning and showing the same order during the whole contest is not fair.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 11:30
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Bugs? Oct 16, 2012

The comment box says "255 characters remaining", however the number doesn't change as you type. When you submit it, if it's way too long, the comment simply won't "go". If it's a bit too long, the system will chop off the excess before publishing.

MAYBE this is a browser issue. I was using Chrome.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:30
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Opera Oct 16, 2012

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
MAYBE this is a browser issue. I was using Chrome.


When I posted my first comment yesterday, with Opera, the numbers do decrease as you type (though I didn't try to submit more characters than the limit). But today I see that even with Opera the numbers don't decrease while I type.

By the way, I find the comments very interesting to read -- I was initially concerned that it would not lead to much, but it is interesting to read the comments, now that a number of them have appeared. One thing I do see is that if anyone makes a very valid point late in the game, his comment will be lower down in the list regardless of how insightful it is. Perhaps place a cap on the number of agreements? Or perhaps "close" a comment after e.g. 12 hours so that no-one can agree/disagree with it anymore?



[Edited at 2012-10-16 11:14 GMT]


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