Pages in topic:   < [1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8] >
Discrimination based on national origin and native language in ProZ ads
Thread poster: lumierre

Yvonne Gallagher
Ireland
Local time: 18:32
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
IELTS Mar 31

Kaspars Melkis wrote:

There are different statistics collected about IELTS test takers. IELTS is the test of the English proficiency level that is required for those who want to study in the UK universities.

It was interesting to note that the best average results were achieved by native speakers of German whereas native English speakers lagged behind. Of course, we are talking about numerous edge cases when those native speakers have received education in other countries. Nevertheless, for the purpose of academic studies the declared or even verified native language is not even considered. One can qualify only by receiving previous education in English or by passing some kind of proficiency test.

I am not saying that the concept of native language is not useful but this example clearly shows its limitations to use it to assess proficiency.


I've never heard of true native speakers having to take an IELTS test, and I taught EFL for many years and trained thousands, both as individuals and in classes, for this and other tests. There is absolutely no reason why a native (with certified primary/ secondary education in an English-language country) would have to take such a test, so it is rather disingenuous to suggest non-natives would score higher! Since the test is NOT required for natives, no such comparisons can be made. As Trump would say, this is FAKE NEWS!

Anyway, this test is not designed to check translation or interpretation skills (which are not merely about grammar but include cultural and historical background as well). The main aim is to ensure that students wishing to enrol in English-language higher academic institutions have sufficient reading/listening COMPREHENSION, along with speaking and writing skills, to be able to succeed in the academic course, rather than wasting their time and money. And, in the case of intending immigrants, to be able to get jobs and adapt to life in their new country.

https://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/choose-ielts/what-ielts

I have no idea how Proz tests for "nativeness" but if though speech, obviously this would be worthless. As someone said, people can speak a language but still be illiterate. As also previously stated elsewhere, lots of people just call themselves "native" on their profile page, no test or proof required, when it is quite clear they are not (either through life experience, residence or education) and from all the errors peppering the page and/or other written comments.


writeaway
missdutch
 

Kaspars Melkis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:32
English to Latvian
+ ...
What is a true native speaker? Mar 31

Thanks Ivonne for your insights. Wikipedia provides multiple definitions what is a native speaker: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_language

It appears that there is no commonly agreed definition. That's why I think that the concept of a native speaker is not very useful even for translators due to its fuzziness. Instead, we should concentrate more on defining language profici
... See more
Thanks Ivonne for your insights. Wikipedia provides multiple definitions what is a native speaker: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_language

It appears that there is no commonly agreed definition. That's why I think that the concept of a native speaker is not very useful even for translators due to its fuzziness. Instead, we should concentrate more on defining language proficiency and ways to measure it.

Just for the fun: https://www.ielts.org/teaching-and-research/test-taker-performance
Collapse


Natasha Ziada
 

Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:32
German to English
+ ...
Mirko Apr 1

Mirko Mainardi wrote:

"He or she is probably a pretty good translator all round": IMO no, not necessarily. That's a "prejudgment" as well. If I pass a professional association's translation test based on a book passage (i.e. literary translation), that does in no way mean I will be able to adequately localize a piece of software, financial reports, medical records, etc.

You would have to tell me something about the tests of this nature that you have written, what types of material you translated, and what types of criteria. I was writing about the exams here, which I wrote and past as a candidate, later tutored toward in the optional preparatory work, and then acted as a co-marker for a number of years. If the tests you have come across are different, then one would of course have different conclusions.

The exams I was involved in were not literary translations or based on book passages. (That reminds me of things I have seen in universities, though, and they seem a bit silly). There were two passages, one of which was technical.

When it comes to "nativeness", what people are after, I think, is language usage - that the language does not sound foreign, awkward, have syntax and grammar problems. That usually does show up in this kind of work. If a person's exam work is fluent and natural, it makes no sense to predict that it will not be fluent and natural based on where he or she has lived.

Who says the fact of being a native speaker automatically means that person is also necessarily a good translator? No one, I believe.

If the "nativeness" test I read about here actually exists, that is exactly what they would be saying. The only reason to have a test to show whether someone is "native" on a translation site would be the belief that a native is a good translator. And if that test is based on how well a person is in oral speech, I would disagree, and it appears, so would you.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:32
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
ProZ.com's nativeness test Apr 1

Maxi Schwarz wrote:
I read the "test" on ProZ where somebody's oral speech is used to test nativeness. I am hoping that this isn't really done. As a "test" for how well someone can potentially translate this leaves me speechless.


The current iteration of ProZ.com's nativeness test (there have been a few previous iterations) is a speech-based fluency test that evaluates a 2-minute browser-based voice recording. I think the main purpose is to verify people who claim more than one native language. If you claim only one native language, you can also take the test, but at present it won't really change your status.

If you declare only one native language, but you didn't pass the test, you still get a yellow "N" icon near the top of your profile page. The only difference between a person who passed a test and a person who didn't pass a test is a slightly different wording on the the pop-up that pops up when someone clicks the yellow "N" icon.

At some undetermined future date, ProZ.com may start offering clients the option to search specifically for translators who passed a nativeness test.

A person who speaks well could even be illiterate. Surely nobody can think one can judge how professional a translator is based on how well that person speaks.


The purpose of ProZ.com's nativeness test is not to determine how professional a translator is, but whether the language he claims to be his native language is likely his native language. And since nativeness is a speaking function (no native speaker learns to write fluently before they learn to speak), it makes sense to test nativeness by a speaking test. Yes, a person who speaks well could even be illiterate. The nativeness test is not a literacy test, but a nativeness test.


Mirko Mainardi
missdutch
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
The ProZ test Apr 1

Samuel Murray wrote:
The purpose of ProZ.com's nativeness test is not to determine how professional a translator is, but whether the language he claims to be his native language is likely his native language. And since nativeness is a speaking function (no native speaker learns to write fluently before they learn to speak), it makes sense to test nativeness by a speaking test. Yes, a person who speaks well could even be illiterate. The nativeness test is not a literacy test, but a nativeness test.

Exactly.

I judged a few of these tests a while back. Some people from the way they spoke were clearly natives and some were clearly foreigners.

A native speaker won't have a strong foreign accent and use foreign syntax (unless they've lived abroad too long, but that's another can of worms).

Foreigners who claim to be native are liars and ought to be weeded out, and this is a simple and effective way of doing it.


Mirko Mainardi
Kay Denney
Jo Macdonald
 
Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member because it was not in line with site rule

lumierre
Germany
Local time: 19:32
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
opinion was expressed with reference to translation jobs ONLY Apr 1

Eliza Hall wrote:

lumierre wrote:

I quote part of the larger opinion received from Antidiskriminierungsstelle des Bundes
”Insgesamt ist deshalb festzustellen, dass die Anforderung als „Muttersprachler“ in den meisten Fällen nicht zu rechtfertigen sein wird und damit eine mittelbare Benachteiligung aufgrund der ethnischen Herkunft darstellt. Sofern Sie eine Absage erhalten, weil Sie keine Muttersprachlerin sind, können Sie Ansprüche nach § 15 AGG geltend machen. Nach § 15 AGG können die von einer Benachteiligung betroffenen Beschäftigten Schadensersatz- und Entschädigungsansprüche gegen den Arbeitgeber geltend machen.”


That opinion says, "the requirement to be a 'native speaker' will IN MOST CASES be unjustifiable and thus constitute indirect discrimination on grounds of ethnic origin." (Capitals = boldfaced German text).

So that means that IN SOME CASES, such a requirement is perfectly legal and not discriminatory at all.

I don't think any of us need to ruminate very long before we can figure out in what cases a native-language requirement would be perfectly legal. Spoiler: translation jobs, interpretation jobs, and language-teaching jobs. Possibly other jobs too (certain tourism jobs perhaps), but certainly, without the shadow of a doubt, it's justifiable and legal when the job itself IS translation/interpretation/language teaching.



The Commission Opinion was expressed with reference to the particular case of translation jobs ONLY. The opinion was clear: the specific cases where this is legal and not discriminatory are specific, meaning that the tasks involved are specific, not general. Merely opening a job for translation was expressly considered as NOT AT ALL SPECIFIC, but a general job, therefore, a restriction to native-only is discrimination.


Kaspars Melkis
 

The Misha
Local time: 13:32
Russian to English
+ ...
This is an altogether ridiculous assertion Apr 1

Samuel Murray wrote:

And since nativeness is a speaking function...


"Nativeness," whatever it is, is no more about speaking than it is about grammar. It is about a certain way of perceiving things and expressing them in the language one has been born into or learned at an early enough age. Methink, the two best proxies for "nativeness" are syntax (to a lesser extent) and usage. In my experience, what gives away highly proficient nonnatives in my main pair (which, for the most part, would be well-educated Russians in Moscow and St. Pete translating into English) is not so much grammar or spelling mistakes as the way they structure their sentences and phrase their thoughts, which may be distinctly different from the way a native speaker would (sometimes, deliberately making a mistake natives typically make actually adds to the impression of "nativeness" rather than subtract from it). In other words, they are for the most part expressing their purely Russian thoughts using the formal tools available in English. Not even my wife who is nowhere near "nativeness" in English by any measure despite having lived in NYC for most of her life does that:)

Seriously though, to achieve any degree of "nativeness" (which, of course, is akin to the mathematical concept of a limit and essentially never attainable in full on principle), you need to "live" that language some place people use it in the regular course for a substantially long period of time. And even then it is a necessary but by no means the sufficient condition. That is precisely why claims of "nativeness" by all those good folks that went to school in the UK or the US for a year or two are so damn ridiculous.


Josephine Cassar
 

Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:32
Member
English to Italian
Actually no Apr 1

The Misha wrote:

Samuel Murray wrote:

And since nativeness is a speaking function...


"Nativeness," whatever it is, is no more about speaking than it is about grammar.


Even an illiterate person who can't read nor write a single word of a particular language can be a "native speaker" of that language, without needing to know the set of rules that make up the grammar of that language.

For me, that's more or less the same difference there is between Chomsky's competence and performance.


Kaspars Melkis
missdutch
 

Alison MacG  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:32
German to English
+ ...
Questions for lumierre Apr 1

lumierre wrote:

I quote part of the larger opinion received from Antidiskriminierungsstelle des Bundes
”Insgesamt ist deshalb festzustellen, dass die Anforderung als „Muttersprachler“ in den meisten Fällen nicht zu rechtfertigen sein wird und damit eine mittelbare Benachteiligung aufgrund der ethnischen Herkunft darstellt. Sofern Sie eine Absage erhalten, weil Sie keine Muttersprachlerin sind, können Sie Ansprüche nach § 15 AGG geltend machen. Nach § 15 AGG können die von einer Benachteiligung betroffenen Beschäftigten Schadensersatz- und Entschädigungsansprüche gegen den Arbeitgeber geltend machen.”


Later in the thread, you state:

lumierre wrote:

The Commission Opinion was expressed with reference to the particular case of translation jobs ONLY. The opinion was clear: the specific cases where this is legal and not discriminatory are specific, meaning that the tasks involved are specific, not general. Merely opening a job for translation was expressly considered as NOT AT ALL SPECIFIC, but a general job, therefore, a restriction to native-only is discrimination.


There is no reference to specific versus general, nor to the particular case of translation in your quote above. Could you therefore please quote the relevant portions to support your argument.

Meantime, what do you make of the following?

Deutsch als Muttersprache“ als Voraussetzung bei einer Stellenanzeige kann als Diskriminierung verstanden werden
Diese Formulierung ist unter Umständen eine unzulässige Diskriminierung, die gegen das Allgemeine Gleichbehandlungsgesetz (AGG) verstößt.
...
Ein anderer Fall würde vorliegen, wenn die konkrete Position Deutsch als Muttersprache erfordern würde. Z.B. wenn ein Dolmetscher oder Übersetzer gesucht wird.

https://demin-koll.de/deutsch-als-muttersprache-als-voraussetzung-bei-einer-stellenanzeige-kann-als-diskriminierung-verstanden-werden

I very much agree with Mirko

Mirko Mainardi wrote:

the service we offer IS language itself, so being a native speaker or not is not simply an accessory to it...


Eliza Hall
Michael Wetzel
Yvonne Gallagher
 

Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 19:32
Member
English to Italian
Being a native speaker of a language doesn't automatically turn someone into a (good) translator... Apr 1

Maxi Schwarz wrote:

Mirko Mainardi wrote:

"He or she is probably a pretty good translator all round": IMO no, not necessarily. That's a "prejudgment" as well. If I pass a professional association's translation test based on a book passage (i.e. literary translation), that does in no way mean I will be able to adequately localize a piece of software, financial reports, medical records, etc.


You would have to tell me something about the tests of this nature that you have written, what types of material you translated, and what types of criteria. I was writing about the exams here, which I wrote and past as a candidate, later tutored toward in the optional preparatory work, and then acted as a co-marker for a number of years. If the tests you have come across are different, then one would of course have different conclusions.

The exams I was involved in were not literary translations or based on book passages. (That reminds me of things I have seen in universities, though, and they seem a bit silly). There were two passages, one of which was technical.


The specific type of test I have taken is actually irrelevant here. I just meant what I wrote. If I am able to localize a piece of software without errors, that does in no way mean I will be able to do the same with a medical report, a patent, a contract, etc. So, more in general, if I pass a test in a specific subject, it doesn't really mean "I am a pretty good translator all round".

I know the ATA exam has 2 passages, one of which is "more technical", but I have also read what several translators wrote about their experiences with it and many of them (who eventually passed) wrote they sat the exam two or more times, until they found the "right" passages for them (with or without training specifically for the exam in the meanwhile)... Personally, I find that silly... (no offense)

When I passed my qualification exam, I just chose a field (IT/software) and received a test in that field, because that was the nearest thing to what I usually work with, not medical, legal, engineering or whatever...

When it comes to "nativeness", what people are after, I think, is language usage - that the language does not sound foreign, awkward, have syntax and grammar problems. That usually does show up in this kind of work. If a person's exam work is fluent and natural, it makes no sense to predict that it will not be fluent and natural based on where he or she has lived.


Yes, that's what I understand for "nativeness" as well, as I wrote in previous comments, but again, being a "native speaker" and being a "good translator" are two separate things, although IMHO the first is a prerequisite for the latter, for the reasons you mentioned yourself above. BUT even a native speaker DOES make mistakes when it comes to syntax and, even more frequently, grammar...

Who says the fact of being a native speaker automatically means that person is also necessarily a good translator? No one, I believe.


If the "nativeness" test I read about here actually exists, that is exactly what they would be saying. The only reason to have a test to show whether someone is "native" on a translation site would be the belief that a native is a good translator. And if that test is based on how well a person is in oral speech, I would disagree, and it appears, so would you.


See above. In other words, and to make an example, what I'm saying is that there's no guarantee whatsoever that a "good translator" in X>Y (with Y being their L1 and with tons of experience, degrees, certificates, awards, positive feedback, published works, etc.) will be equally "good" in Y>X (with X being their L2). So, that's how I see the "native label" here. Taken by itself it is NOT a guarantee that the person who holds it is a "good translator" (everyone born and raised using a specific language will be a native speaker of that language, regardless of their profession or knowledge of another language...), but it is an indication that someone who holds it will at least use language that does "not sound foreign and awkward", as you yourself put it...

As I previously wrote, it is but one of many elements a client can use in their search for a translation service provider, but IMHO is not (by far) an inconsequential one, as others seem to think.


 
Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: Post being replied to has been removed
Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: Post being replied to has been removed
Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: Post being replied to has been removed
Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: Post being replied to has been removed
Pages in topic:   < [1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8] >


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


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

Discrimination based on national origin and native language in ProZ ads

Advanced search







Déjà Vu X3
Try it, Love it

Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market. See the brand new features in action: *Completely redesigned user interface *Live Preview *Inline spell checking *Inline

More info »
PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Termsøk
  • Jobber
  • Forumer
  • Multiple search