Questions and answers
Thread poster: Angel Biojo

Angel Biojo
United States
Local time: 00:36
English to Spanish
Mar 16, 2002

Days ago I read in this forum about some pros complaining on the number of questions an asker should make when using either the Glossary or the Ask a pro features. A few days later I got an urgent assignment and asked about a dozen questions in a row. Most of the pros were very helpful and assisted me promptly, and I duly thanked them.

There was one though, who sent to me a flaming message saying that they were doing my job word for word and called me a wiseass. What he surely did not know was that the dozen words I was asking for came out of a total of a 7.895 words document and that I work with no TM. Actually I would not call that such a poor record, taking into account that I am not a smartass. Nor claim to be, as the one who called me a wiseass.

Doing that translation I happened to find, after asking the pros, that there is no equivalent in Spanish for surf . It occurs to me that it can be translated “Montar olas”, its real Spanish meaning and leave the babyboys using the English word and keep pretending that there is nothing else.

Hace unos días leí en este foro la queja de algunos pros sobre el número de preguntas que alguien debería hacer cuando estuviera usando los servicios Glossary y Ask a pro. Pocos días después recibí un trabajo urgente e hice aproximadamente doce preguntas una tras otra. La mayor parte de los pros fueron muy amables y me asistieron con prontitud, y en su momento les agradecí.

Hubo uno sin embargo, que me mandó un mensaje encendido diciendo que ellos estaban haciendo mi trabajo palabra por palabra y me llamó sapo. Lo que seguramente el no sabía era que las doce palabras por las que estaba preguntando salían de un documento de 7.895 palabras y que yo trabajo sin MT. En realidad yo no llamaría a eso un mal récord, tomando en cuenta que no soy un sabihondo. Tampoco pretendo serlo como quien me llamó sapo.

Durante esa traducción me encontré, después de preguntar a los pro, que no hay equivalente en español para surf. Se me ocurre que podría ser traducida como “Montar olas”, que es lo que en efecto es en español y dejar a los aniñados usar la palabra inglesa y seguir pretendiendo que no hay mas.


Fernando Galv�n (X)
English to Spanish
+ ...
si tienes dudas sobre el surf... Mar 16, 2002

¡...te las puedo atender encantado, hace años que surfeo y además traduzco para una revista!



Pilar T. Bayle (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:36
English to Spanish
+ ...
Hola, Ángel Mar 16, 2002

icon_smile.gif Usually we don\'t complain about people like you, who have legitimate doubts and may pose a few questions in a row. We are complaining about the trend that seems to be developing in which people ask for whole sentences, and I mean sentences. And they pose 5 or 6 questions and you end up translating paragraphs. For such jobs, they may use the services of a professional, because it\'s a clear abuse of the ProZ system.

But that\'s very different from posing terminology questions, as you may have been doing. Once in a while, I find myself lost, and by the time I am finishing the translation, I get all my doubst together. I do it that way because something that may seem untranslatable in the beginning, it becomes clear in context, later in the translation. When I pose my questions, I have my doubts and I have researched the proper channels (google, glossaries, dictionaries, the works). And I imagine you do the same.

It\'s sad that you received that message... I hope to have the chance to help you in the near future.

Take care,



Marcus Malabad  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:36
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
dear Angel Mar 16, 2002

Don\'t mind those detractors who perpetually whine that \"they\'re doing your job for you if you ask too many Kudoz\". People who are glad to help will help, and many will, and those who will count your posted questions, sitting in their cubbyholes with gnarly fingers pointing, will invariably point and whine. I too have been in situations like yours, asking, say, 25 questions from a 15,000-word text. The hell you should care if people accuse you of supposed abuse for asking help from colleagues.

If people don\'t like to answer, they should vote with their mouse and click on the delete button, or drink tea and eat crumpets instead. There has NEVER been and there is NO rule on this site that states that there should be a maximum number of questions asked. If anybody tells you otherwise, then ignore them. If they send you flaming messages, and many will, report them to Henry using the Support Request feature. They\'ll yap away until kingdom come but who the blazing fiddle cares? If your question gets squashed by a self-imposed policeman, then ask a moderator to unsquash it.


De>En co-mod


José Luis Villanueva-Senchuk (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:36
English to Spanish
+ ...
Did I touch the sore spot? Mar 17, 2002

Hello Angel,

I apologise if you got it the wrong way.

If you had, in your first or second question, let your colleagues know that you were going to \'flood\' us with questions, I would have been more relaxed.

It is not the first time that a colleague asks lots of questions about a given subject in a row. In those cases, he or she states clearly, at the start, that there will be a row of questions. If that is not done, one might get the impression that either the job that was given to the asker is over his/her head, or that one is being abused - that is what I thought.

I don\'t complain about those who have legitimate doubts and ask a few questions in a row. I am sure I will do it more than once.

Last and not least, I do not claim to be a \"smartass\" (\"sabihondo\") like you mention in your message. I try to help and learn. I get constructive criticism and use it to improve.

Take care,

José Luis

By the way...a flaming message?!? ¡Qué suceptible!

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-03-17 03:40 ]

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-03-17 03:45 ]


Theodore Quester  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:36
French to English
+ ...
On being in over your head; OR, getting help is better than being... dead Mar 17, 2002

There seems to be a running thread here about people being in over there heads asking questions.

My reply to this is, what would you prefer that they do? Not ask questions and put in any old thing? Give up and mess up a job completely for an agency or client?

I don\'t think anyone enjoys asking 15 or 20 questions. Believe me, it\'s a heck of a lot easier to know the answer already or find it in a good dictionary. Or find it yourself on the web. Or be given it in a glossary. But when it isn\'t in any of those places? You ask a question, and half the answers make no sense, because the responders are not involved in the context of the project like you are. You have to cull through the answers and hope you will find something that sheds some light on the subject.

In the projects I have done the translation manager has never been available to help, or even to be asked to extend a deadline.

We have lifeguards at the swimming pool because we don\'t want people to \"sink or swim.\" Some here at Proz who complain about being asked questions seem to wish those people would just sink. Realizing you are in over your head is what asking ANY question is about -- you realize you are no longer SURE of your translation.

The times I have \"been in over my head\" were not something I hope to repeat. Asking a lot of questions while trying to meet some ridiculous deadline with a text that is way too difficult for the crappy rate you accepted is not getting a \"free ride.\" It is doing twice as much work, admitedly with HELP (THANK YOU) from other pros (not proz) who understand that you care about the quality of your product and that you are probably at the end of your rope.

I personally don\'t want to repeat the jobs that cause me to doubt the quality of my work, keep me up all night, generally ruin my health and sanity (and cause me to ask a lot of questions on Kudoz.) But please remember people, there is a learning curve, and something that appears obvious to you may

1) be quite simply wrong, OR

2) be impossible for the asker to see, as he or she is so \"over their head\"

(this list is not exhaustive)

Respect to all and good night.


Giuliana Buscaglione  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:36
Member (2001)
German to Italian
+ ...
Active Prozies Mar 17, 2002


well, I normally complain if too many questions are asked by non-prozies or prozies with empty profiles, BUT I would never think about complaining, if an active member posts several questions in-a-row! I mean, every translator works a different way: some people like to write down difficult passages and then ask all the questions at once. So what? I believe we should grant an active member, that is a colleague who is normally helping other colleagues, the same help, shouldn\'t we? Some colleagues would just tell, while posting the first question, they have some questions to ask for the day, which is polite and correct, but even if they don\'t do it, it\'s not so bad, we know them....

I don\'t know your situation in KudoZ, but I don\'t see why you should get an \"insulting & blaming\" private email. All SC have moderators, therefore members could complain directly with their moderators or tell _politely_ in KudoZ what they think, thus giving the poster a chance to say something.

It\'s a matter of manners...




Steffen Pollex (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:36
English to German
+ ...
I am tired of this Mar 17, 2002

We have been discussing this issue back and foreward, over and over again. I have been trough this myself at the time I just had subscribed to the site, being \"shot\" for asking 20 questions in a row from a 7.000 word text and then argueing a whole week with the \"prosecutors\" that I did not send 200 (which turned ot to have been a technical default of the site).

I absolutely agree with Marcus who, by the way, supported me then in my argument. But I would suggest to call it a day by this and not to drag this issue further to the forum for it is none anymore.

Salem to all



Federica Jean  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:36
English to Italian
+ ...
Very well put, Theodore and Giuliana! Mar 17, 2002

I totally agree with you. Unless there is clear abuse (asking help on obviously adjacent sentences that, taken together, form a whole short text), I fail to see what the problem is about. What is so terribly wrong about “being in over your head”?

By the way, I disagree with the frequent argument that “a translator should not accept jobs on subjects he/she is not familiar with”. I personally have a purely linguistic background. If I had strictly followed that rule, now I would only translate texts on linguistics, at best. That would be a shame, since what I like most about my job is variety.

When I started translating texts on medicine, I did not know much about the subject. The first jobs cost me a lot of time and research as well as endless, stupid and very trying questions to any unfortunate friends or acquaintances who happened to be doctors. The point is, the only person who was responsible to the client was me. I did not misrepresent myself as an “expert”, and it was clear that, if they did not like my work, they would simply look for another translator.

People who ask rows of questions may have perfectly legitimate reasons to do so and should not be made to feel embarrassed about it or subject to (hostile) scrutiny. For instance, I noticed that some tend to post questions on any points on which they have doubts, although they have a fairly good idea about the solution, simply because they wish to get confirmation by other human beings. In a solitary job like ours, that’s one of the main advantages of the ProZ site.

In my mind, the whole hullabaloo is pointless. If a translator is truly incompetent (meaning he/she does not take the trouble to research the subject thoroughly and simply “let others do the job” in his/her place), it will come out anyway, no matter how many questions they post. They will probably choose the wrong answers and misunderstand the meaning of the text as a whole, which means they will not get other jobs from the same client. That’s all, and I do not see how that would affect other translators.

So, please, let us all relax a bit. As I see it, the KudoZ system is no competition. It is just a much needed way to provide mutual help and exchange views on stylistic and terminological issues.




Angel Biojo
United States
Local time: 00:36
English to Spanish
Questions and answers Mar 17, 2002

Thank you to all of you for your understanding.



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