Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >
Could we make the language rules clear for users?
Thread poster: ViktoriaG

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:48
English to French
+ ...
Mar 24, 2009

I have, over the course of the past year or so, observed a nasty tendency to ignore the site rule according to which posts in a forum that is not language-specific should be made in English. I think this has to do with two things: the number of users on this site is increasing to a point where it becomes uncontrollable and there are many users who do not take the time to familiarize themselves with the rules.

There is also a third problem I see: moderators are not inviting people to switch to English when it is warranted. The result is that there were two threads in Spanish that were posted the very same day this week, and a German one was added today. Discussion still continues in the German one, where I feel people who do not speak German are being totally ignored.

As I have explained to one colleague who has posted in Spanish, it is not a question that everybody has to speak English, but rather a question of community spirit. If everybody posts in their own language, soon enough, forum search will become totally useless. There is a tremendous amount of knowledge in this forum, but if it is posted in a multitude of languages, then the community will hardly ever benefit from it.

There are forums for almost every language on ProZ's picklist to ensure that those who do not speak English can still have discussions. It is not like those who speak Spanish or German do not have a place they can talk just between them.

Another thing that makes me wonder is how people assume that if I really want to understand what is going on in the thread, I can use Google's translation engine. I return the question back to those of this school of thought: wouldn't you agree that you could use Google's translation engine for your own post? What makes more sense: that everybody except the poster use machine translation to be able to read the thread or that that one person use machine translation so the rest of us don't have to? No wonder why some of the threads using the wrong language don't get many replies - I shouldn't have to jump through hoops to try to help you.

I think there is a widespread misbelief about the reason why forums exist. Many seem to be thinking that forums are there for them personally and that they are meant to serve their personal interests. This is not so at all: forums are there to serve a community, and ours has more or less 300,000 members. A forum may be a good place to go to when you personally have an issue, but it doesn't stop there. Your problem and the solution to it are meant to benefit the entire community. By asking a question in a forum, you are not only helping yourself but also helping your colleagues, who will then find a solution to their own problems by reading your thread. The least you could give back to the community who is trying to help you out is to ensure that they will be able to use that information in turn.

I therefore propose the following solutions:

1. Make it mandatory to read and agree to forum rules. A robot could also be installed to detect the language of a post, and if a post is about to be posted in the wrong language, the robot should tell the user that the forum they are posting to is English only.

2. Ensure that moderators detect language issues quickly and remind the users of forum rules.

3. Users recognizing that they can't expect of other users to do for them what they are themselves not prepared to do for other users. It is simple common sense. It is called living in society. It is also recognizing the help your colleagues extend to you by allowing for that help to reach the masses. Is that so hard to do?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Giuliana Buscaglione  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 20:48
Member (2001)
German to Italian
+ ...
It happens, mostly by accident Mar 24, 2009

Hi Viktoria

ViktoriaG wrote:
There is also a third problem I see: moderators are not inviting people to switch to English when it is warranted. The result is that there were two threads in Spanish that were posted the very same day this week, and a German one was added today. Discussion still continues in the German one, where I feel people who do not speak German are being totally ignored.


as long as I was a moderator, respective forum moderators have always either invited thread starters or posters to switch to English (in non-language specific forums) or simply moved a topic to the language-specific forum.

I don't know what new moderators are doing, but there is a little bit of a moderators shortage now. Have you contacted the respective forum moderator, in order to make him/her aware of the problem and/or submitted a support ticket about this issue? "Mismatching" is solved quickly this way

Giuliana


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:48
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
A completely different angle to consider - and a solution: Tagging Mar 24, 2009

Viktoria,
I would like us to consider that perhaps those that post in non-English languages do so because they do not know English, or do not know enough to express themselves, and/or understand the responses, and not because they do not know or disrespect the RuleZ.

Currently the non-English forums are not divided in to subcategories according to topics, so if a non-English speaker has a specific question about let's say a CAT-tool, there is a chance that his/her posting will be missed by those people that would be able to give him/her useful advice.

There were several requests in the past for site staff to consider changing the non-English forums, so they would mirror the structure of the English forums. That would be one way to resolve this, however, I do not think that is the most practical way. (Reason: not every language subcommunity is active enough to justify the whole-nine-yard structure, so it would be a waste.)

Instead, I think the solution is implementing an appropriate tagging mechanism, where the threads are marked with tags for the TOPIC, and for the LANGUAGE. (There could be other tag types, but for now these two would be fine.)
The forum view would change according to which tag I want to sort/filter for. (I could see the threads grouped/sorted by TOPIC - which is the current way of viewing them, or I could view them by Language, or both.)
There could be more than one topics marked for a single thread (probably with a cap of 3 or so).
So, it would be possible to tag a posting (such as a posting in German about Dreamweaver) BOTH as a German thread and as a Software thread. People who view the German forum would see it, and also people who view the Software forum would see it.

What I imagine is this: when a thread is posted, it would be possible to assign various tags to it, such as the language of the posting, and the topic (for example, from a pull-down list of various categories that are perhaps the same as the current forum titles, and it would be possible to assign multiple categories, up to a limit).
The view screen would have an option to list threads based on the topics - so if I click on "Money matters" I would see all threads that were tagged with that category, in any language. The language code (the ISO standard codes could be used) would be visible next to the title of the thread, so I could immediately see what I am interested in and what not.
I could also change the list to show the threads by language, so I could see all the threads written in Hungarian for instance, in all categories.

I think this is a better way than the current public forum structure where the various categories are there, but their "official language" is English, while the non-English fora are not divided into categories.
This would resolve the "posted in the wrong language" problem, and also the cross-posting issue. There would be no such thing as "illegal" cross-posting, as there would be only one thread, with multiple tags, so it would be visible from various places and it would accept postings into the same thread, regardless of which view is used.

I have proposed this before, and Henry said he liked it, but I have no idea where it is on the "To Do" list.

Katalin


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 21:48
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Dear Viktoria Mar 24, 2009

Please contact the moderator of the specific forum (or submit a Support Ticket if there is none). I believe the latter is the preferred way nowadays.

BR,

Uldis


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 14:48
SITE FOUNDER
Automatic identification of language - good idea Mar 24, 2009

ViktoriaG wrote:
A robot could also be installed to detect the language of a post, and if a post is about to be posted in the wrong language, the robot should tell the user that the forum they are posting to is English only.

Good suggestion, Viktoria. Thanks.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:48
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Something can definitely be done Mar 24, 2009

It is true that sometimes, this happens by accident, which is OK - but there probably would be less accidents if users were more familiar with the rules. That's why I was proposing to make it mandatory to read the rules and agree to them.

I also agree that some people don't speak English, and that should of course not exclude them from the community. However, that is exactly the point of language-specific forums. As Katalin says, it would be pointless in many cases to subdivide language-specific forums into categories like the ones used in the English forums. One of the forums I do subscribe to is the Hungarian one - not much activity there and it is a good example of a forum which is not ripe for subdivision into categories. However, when someone posts a thread in the Hungarian forum about technical questions, I still do participate, and I imagine that other users working with language pairs involving Hungarian do monitor that forum. It is easy to monitor because there is usually only a couple of threads per week. That is exactly my point. If someone posts in Hungarian in the Hungarian forum, they will be read by a limited number of Hungarian-speaking users. If the same person posts in Hungarian in an English-language forum, however, that will still not get them more visibility - more users may look at the topic, but only a few of those users will understand it and be able to reply. Even worse, by posting in Hungarian in an English-language forum, the poster takes the chance to have actually less visibility because some of the users who speak Hungarian may not even be monitoring English-language forums because they may not speak English. The post would be better off in the Hungarian forum, even if the topic is not Hungarian-specific (e.g., a question about Dreamweaver).

Sorry if I sound like I am putting all my eggs in the same basket - I didn't include foreign-language posts made by accident because that isn't an issue to me. They also occur so seldom. I was specifically looking to discuss non compliant posts where the poster was simply showing the wrong attitude.

I did explain to a user a few days ago why their posts would be better off in a language-specific forum, and from her reaction, I could tell that she felt insulted. Her reply was "I thought this was an international forum." This only goes to prove that there is a problem with the way some users perceive the forum.

I find Katalin's tagging suggestion interesting. However, what bugs me about it is that, by going ahead with such a system, we may be diluting useful knowledge. The majority of users does speak at least basic English. If the current posts in English were posted in the native languages of the respective posters, the majority that does speak at least basic English would lose out on a majority of very useful knowledge.

I know that there is a shortage of moderators at present, but I recall this problem being present before that as well. One of the ex moderators I find was always spot on with this is Ralf Lemster. He would always politely ask the poster to post in the forum's designated language, and he was fast, too. Other moderators weren't doing this, and now, with the shortage of moderators, it is bound to become worse.

Thanks, Uldis, for the suggestion to submit a support ticket. It is one way to deal with this. However, I feel this behaviour has been taking roots here, and I thought it may be more productive to involve a larger group of people, and also to give the chance to all interested parties to express their views (hopefully, in a polite and calm manner - why do I feel the need to specify this nowadays?). After all, this doesn't only affect me but the community as well. Here's our chance to try out the sounding board function recently assigned to us.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:48
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Moderators just have to keep 'em peeled, that's all Mar 24, 2009

ViktoriaG wrote:
As I have explained to one colleague who has posted in Spanish, it is not a question that everybody has to speak English, but rather a question of community spirit. If everybody posts in their own language, soon enough, forum search will become totally useless.


I disagree. There is potentially *more* community spirit on a forum whose members are not forced to communicate in a foreign language.

I return the question back to those of this school of thought: wouldn't you agree that you could use Google's translation engine for your own post?


Certainly not! I would never use Google Translate to translate something that I'm about to post, but I'll gladly use Google Translate to translate something that I want to respond to... but when I respond, it will be in a language that I speak well.

If there was a language-neutral section of the ProZ.com forums, I would expect nothing less from people reading my posts. The golden rule remains that if you want your post to be read and appreciated, you should select a language the poster and/or readers of the thread are likely to understand. But if you enjoy writing stuff that no-one understands, that's also fine, as long as you're aware that you'll be ignored and not taken seriously in the long run.

I therefore propose the following solutions...


I think moderators should just take a firmer stance on the issue. The current forum rules about the language of posts are clear. They should be implemented, or changed (my vote goes for implement).


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:48
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Forcing English posts... (practically)? Mar 24, 2009

ViktoriaG wrote:

I find Katalin's tagging suggestion interesting. However, what bugs me about it is that, by going ahead with such a system, we may be diluting useful knowledge. The majority of users does speak at least basic English. If the current posts in English were posted in the native languages of the respective posters, the majority that does speak at least basic English would lose out on a majority of very useful knowledge.


I feel a slippery slope here.
"Diluting???" From who's point of view? From the English-speakers point of view? I thought ProZ was about embracing various languages, allowing communication, participation in many languages, (the site itself is localized into a few dozen languages), so I find this point of view absurd.

What use is the forum for a user if he/she is forced to use a language she is not comfortable with? What if the question is about a localized version of a CAT tool, error message, affected TU is in a non-English language, yet, there are only a few users of that CAT-tool reading the given language specific forum?

It is not true that everybody monitors their own native or second or whatever language forums.

I don't think the tagging would take away anything from anybody. I believe it would help encouraging more participation, provide more flexibility both for real-time use and also for post-mortem searching.

I don't think rule enforcement is the only way, in particular if the rule does not necessarily makes sense.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:48
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The answer to that is in my previous post Mar 24, 2009

Katalin Horvath McClure wrote:

...What if the question is about a localized version of a CAT tool, error message, affected TU is in a non-English language, yet, there are only a few users of that CAT-tool reading the given language specific forum?

My answer to that was above:
If someone posts in Hungarian in the Hungarian forum, they will be read by a limited number of Hungarian-speaking users. If the same person posts in Hungarian in an English-language forum, however, that will still not get them more visibility - more users may look at the topic, but only a few of those users will understand it and be able to reply. Even worse, by posting in Hungarian in an English-language forum, the poster takes the chance to have actually less visibility because some of the users who speak Hungarian may not even be monitoring English-language forums because they may not speak English. The post would be better off in the Hungarian forum, even if the topic is not Hungarian-specific (e.g., a question about Dreamweaver).

...And back to square one. As I said, the idea that by posting in an English forum in a foreign language will increase visibility is an illusion. What good is a widely diffused message when only a minority is able to understand it?

Of course, it is impossible to please everybody. When there are many groups of people each with their own interests, the only way to even get close to an ideal solution is to find common ground. On this site, I think the common ground would be the use of English. Not everybody speaks it, but more people speak it than any other language. Using English as common ground may not please everybody, but it would at least please the majority. Oftentimes, when we try to please everyone, we end up displeasing most everyone...

You may not agree with me on this, but I'd rather be part of the minority that has to conform to one majority than be part of a majority composed of minorities and have to try to conform to a bunch of minorities all at once. Yes, I do live through that every day, and let me tell you that it's not always easy.

[Edited at 2009-03-24 19:11 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Arnaud HERVE  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:48
English to French
+ ...
The Law in the West Mar 24, 2009

Well first tags are less efficient for a forum than clear blunt categories. That's my experience. But that's not my main point.

I believe in our Western civilization we are sick with a special disease, that consists in seeing any law and order reaction as "violent" or "fascist", or "stalinian", etc.

If you find me playing tennis in the handball room at the beginning of the handball training session, you may assume I made a mistake. But even then if in an excessive democratic spirit you allow me to play tennis among the handball players by placing a "tennis" tag on my shirt, it will simply not work.

But... you may assume that if I'm told my mistake, I will walk out to let the handball players train as they should train. Viktoria Gimbe is talking of people who RESIST using English in the English forums. That is totally different. That's not a mistake, it is an aggression of the site. Such people should be kicked out immediately, no negociation.

Yes that sounds harsh, that sounds violent, but imagine I stay playing tennis in the handball room, as the handball players are arriving... Imagine I insult the coach and so on...

And then, what Viktoria says is even WORSE. She says that people actually suggest her to use Google translate. I believe that someone who tells me to use Google translate has nothing, nothing to do on a professional website. It is a gross abuse, an insult to the profession. It is incompatible with decent work here.

Law n' order, I say. Just call Josh Randall.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 20:48
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
"what we got here, is a failure to communicate" Mar 24, 2009

ViktoriaG wrote:
....

As I have explained to one colleague who has posted in Spanish, it is not a question that everybody has to speak English, but rather a question of community spirit. If everybody posts in their own language, soon enough, forum search will become totally useless. There is a tremendous amount of knowledge in this forum, but if it is posted in a multitude of languages, then the community will hardly ever benefit from it.
...


This is sort of an off-topic, un-PC comment. I guess Victoria is talking about the following topic

http://www.proz.com/forum/omegat_support/130844-ayuda_con_omega_t_+_181_update_2.html#1087678

1. The Topic starter is a greenhorn as regards ProZ com rules, on the other hand she has a (very interesting btw) technical problem
2. She also has a problem with the English language
3. Would she write in French - which she is better versed than me for sure - the problem would still be specific (or too specific for say Victoria).

In other words she was between the wall and the hard place. How it ended: she converses with Spanish-speaking users in the Yahoo/OmegaT group.

Which is also a solution, at least for her.

regards

Vito

[EDIT]re "a question of community spirit" - for Chrissake, "ayuda" should be enough for anybody: it has "I need your help" written all over the post.

[Edited at 2009-03-24 19:46 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Giuliana Buscaglione  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 20:48
Member (2001)
German to Italian
+ ...
Excuse me? Mar 24, 2009

Hello Arnaud

Arnaud HERVE wrote:

That's not a mistake, it is an aggression of the site. Such people should be kicked out immediately, no negociation.


Excuse me? Kicking out?? I don't find it harsh, I find it impolite, an impolite way of defining how fellow professionals ought to be treated.

Onsite there is a strict policy as to how and when fellow professionals are warned (for not respecting site rules) or blocked or invited to leave the site.

I am happy we have a civilized system.

Regards

Giuliana

[Edited at 2009-03-24 20:08 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 16:48
SITE STAFF
Report to moderator or site staff Mar 24, 2009

Giuliana Buscaglione wrote:

Hi Viktoria

ViktoriaG wrote:
There is also a third problem I see: moderators are not inviting people to switch to English when it is warranted. The result is that there were two threads in Spanish that were posted the very same day this week, and a German one was added today. Discussion still continues in the German one, where I feel people who do not speak German are being totally ignored.


as long as I was a moderator, respective forum moderators have always either invited thread starters or posters to switch to English (in non-language specific forums) or simply moved a topic to the language-specific forum.

I don't know what new moderators are doing, but there is a little bit of a moderators shortage now. Have you contacted the respective forum moderator, in order to make him/her aware of the problem and/or submitted a support ticket about this issue? "Mismatching" is solved quickly this way

Giuliana


Giuliana's advise is sound: If you see a thread written in a language that does not match that of the forum, please send a message to the relevant moderator, or a support request to staff. At the bottom of each thread you will find the corresponding links.

When becoming aware of a situation like this, the moderator or staff member will move the thread to the corresponding forum. This procedure is very simple and it is standard for all moderators, veteran and new alike.

Regards,
Enrique


Direct link Reply with quote
 

chica nueva
Local time: 08:48
Chinese to English
A similar question came up in the Chinese Forum once Mar 24, 2009

http://www.proz.com/forum/chinese/62622-could_topic_posters_thread_hosts_have_access_to_a_preferred_language_option.html

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Enrique Cavalitto
Local time: 16:48
SITE STAFF
Rules enforcement and respect Mar 24, 2009

Arnaud HERVE wrote:

But... you may assume that if I'm told my mistake, I will walk out to let the handball players train as they should train. Viktoria Gimbe is talking of people who RESIST using English in the English forums. That is totally different. That's not a mistake, it is an aggression of the site. Such people should be kicked out immediately, no negociation.


Hi Arnaud,

ProZ.com is based on respect for all its users, even for those who break rules. We have a fine team of moderators and staff members who are able to enforce rules using reasonable measures and explaining them to users.

In the case of a thread written in a language that does not match the language of the forum, all you need is to move it to the appropriate forum. Individual posts in a wrong language can be hidden. Users who make these mistakes should receive explanations of what is expected from them. This usually is all that is needed.

For people who persist in a behavior not in line with site rules, warnings and blocks can be applied, but the idea behind rules enforcement is always that of ensuring a positive and professional environment for all.

Regards,
Enrique


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Lucia Leszinsky[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Could we make the language rules clear for users?

Advanced search






SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2017 helps translators increase translation productivity whilst ensuring quality. Combining translation memory, terminology management and machine translation in one simple and easy-to-use environment.

More info »
BaccS – Business Accounting Software
Modern desktop project management for freelance translators

BaccS makes it easy for translators to manage their projects, schedule tasks, create invoices, and view highly customizable reports. User-friendly, ProZ.com integration, community-driven development – a few reasons BaccS is trusted by translators!

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search