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Providing references for KudoZ
Thread poster: Kim Metzger

Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 08:05
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
But how an asker knows you are good? Jun 10, 2004

Dear Gareth,

Do you mean that an asker just has to take you at your words and trust you just because you *say* you are an expert? Please, do not take it personally, I have no reasons to doubt you are, but, on my opinion, we have to work on our answers and give nice explanations why we think that the translation or answer we proposed is a good one. Google plays an important role here -- Google references act like confirmations "from aside". It's not just "trust me", but "it's real".<
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Dear Gareth,

Do you mean that an asker just has to take you at your words and trust you just because you *say* you are an expert? Please, do not take it personally, I have no reasons to doubt you are, but, on my opinion, we have to work on our answers and give nice explanations why we think that the translation or answer we proposed is a good one. Google plays an important role here -- Google references act like confirmations "from aside". It's not just "trust me", but "it's real".

Anyway, I believe that Kim means totally different thing: the consistency of Google references cited in answers. They have to be relevant and to show the logical path from the source question to your answer. Unfortunately, the logical chain is often lost, and we do have to discourage such an approach.

If someone asks how to translate into Russian, say, "...said conductors comprise deposited traces...", and I state that the correct translation is "Kirill Semenov" and cite a dozen of links with this name as a `valid' support, it does not yet mean that my answer is worth a penny. It just mean that the name _exists_. Of course, in most cases the logic is broken in more subtle ways, but, basically, it happens way too often in kudoZ.

Gareth McMillan wrote:
Apart from anything else, I don't have the time for dico dredging or googling- ...


Being not only an answerer, but also a kudoZ asker, I have to admit that me personally, I do not feel that an answerer does want to help me when s/he gives a one-string answer and disappears.

When I ask a question this is, obviously, about a word or expression which I do not know, and when I do not know I want to learn and understand. So I would like that those who answer my question give at least short explanations and reasons why I should trust them.


My best regards.

[Edited at 2004-06-10 15:50]

[Edited at 2004-06-10 16:05]
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Kim Metzger  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 00:05
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Providing references for KudoZ Jun 10, 2004

Gareth McMillan wrote:

For Kudos questions, I very seldom use googles or dictionaries, for that matter. I like to answer (particularly engineering questions) from my own professional experience as an engineer, or even just a native speaking human being who has a fair understanding of his own language.
What bugs me sometimes though, is the innuendo or plain sarcasm I sometimes get that my answers are somehow less valid because I haven\'t produced the back-up evidence of a gazillion hits.



Indeed, Gareth, those of us who\'ve seen your answers in the engineering field and many others trust your word, don\'t need references and have been grateful on many occasions for the real-world technical understanding you\'ve provided. I agree with you and CMJ that a trusted colleague\'s insight is more than enough. But since this site is open to everybody, there are also a lot of unreliable participants. I think that, in general, providing useful and meaningful references is the price we pay to keep KudoZ an honest game.

Kim


 

Julia Gal  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:05
French to English
+ ...
There's even worse... Jun 10, 2004

Worse than posting a page of google hits, someone recently posted a translated page (using the yahoo "translate this page" tool) as a reference, in an attempt to prove the existence of a word in French.

Of course this does not prove anything at all, as yahoo leaves unknown words in their original language, so of course the translation into French was the same as the English!

Now luckily in this case, the asker was an active and intelligent member of ProZ, but there are
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Worse than posting a page of google hits, someone recently posted a translated page (using the yahoo "translate this page" tool) as a reference, in an attempt to prove the existence of a word in French.

Of course this does not prove anything at all, as yahoo leaves unknown words in their original language, so of course the translation into French was the same as the English!

Now luckily in this case, the asker was an active and intelligent member of ProZ, but there are many more naive beginners or non-members who would be easily fooled by this kind of answer and who would then go ahead an use an incorrect word in their translation.

KudoZ is not just a game to win points. The advice and information we give our colleagues reflects on the profession as a whole if the quality of their work is poor due to our own misinformation!
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Sol  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
I use Google, but... Jun 11, 2004

I don't use it in the indiscriminate way I've seen others use it. I use it to show, for example, that a certain word already has an accepted translation. U.S. government sites are good references for Spanish translations of words used in their own documentation. If the Social Security Administration calls itself "Seguro Social", it doesn't matter what a similar agency is called in Spain or if there are "better" translations. Google is also very useful for showing how a certain word or phra... See more
I don't use it in the indiscriminate way I've seen others use it. I use it to show, for example, that a certain word already has an accepted translation. U.S. government sites are good references for Spanish translations of words used in their own documentation. If the Social Security Administration calls itself "Seguro Social", it doesn't matter what a similar agency is called in Spain or if there are "better" translations. Google is also very useful for showing how a certain word or phrase is USED, not just what it means. There are people who give TOO MANY Google references, but they don't even read them. I am not talking just about citing pages that are obviously written by non-native speakers, but what is even worse, about sites where the word is used with a totally differente meaning. Some people don't even bother to read the question, much less their own references! I have resulted, in the worst cases, to give neutrals repeating the question. Sometimes it works and the person either corrects his or helself or gives proper references; sometimes I get answers like "What is your problem?" from so-called "professionals". I've been told by collegues to "let them be, the system will weed them out", but I doubt it will happen on its ow; besides, I don't want anyone to be "weeded out", I just want them to look before they leap.Collapse


 

Casey Butterfield  Identity Verified
United States
Spanish to English
+ ...
Slapdash vs. judicious google use Jun 12, 2004

I started using judiciously pasted google hits (never more than 3 or 4, and always attempting to format them correctly, deleting the cache and translate this page options, etc.) after noticing the obscene prevalence of it in Spanish>English.

As one who has posted google hits in good faith as a reference for an asker, I'd like to explain what I think is "good faith" vs. "bad faith" usage:

Good faith:
* Copied google hits are formatted, the first step to show that y
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I started using judiciously pasted google hits (never more than 3 or 4, and always attempting to format them correctly, deleting the cache and translate this page options, etc.) after noticing the obscene prevalence of it in Spanish>English.

As one who has posted google hits in good faith as a reference for an asker, I'd like to explain what I think is "good faith" vs. "bad faith" usage:

Good faith:
* Copied google hits are formatted, the first step to show that you have looked at them before simply copying and pasting.
* The google hits clearly result from a search within quotation marks, as each precisely illustrates your interpretation of the correct target term.
* The google hits demonstrate established usage of the term, i.e. NATIVE TARGET LANGUAGE pages from reputable sources. The definition of a reputable source may vary.

Bad faith:
* An unformatted, complete list of the first page of Google results. Not only is this careless on the part of the respondent, and often indicates that getting your answer in first is a higher priority than helping the asker (which in my opinion is not helped by the ranking of KudoZ leaders on the front page of this site, but that's another thread), but it is disrespectful to your fellow KudoZ answerers, as your long list of results may hide their two line response that comes from their lengthy experience in the field.
* Any Google result that is not a native target language page (i.e. any URL with /eng, /english, .jp, .fr, etc.).
* Google results showing contexts for the word that have nothing to do with the asker's context, and therefore serve exclusively to take up space and hide other KudoZ answerer suggestions.

On a personal note, I only answer KudoZ questions that I am either sure about or intrigued enough by to do extensive research (usually with Google's help), and the behavior of these KudoZ "point gorillas" who answer questions with a high confidence level and page of 10 google results bothers me on a moral level. It feels like cheating.

Factor in the fact that ProZ members with the highest number of KudoZ points get listed on the front page of the site and first on Freelancer directory lists, and it becomes difficult to just grin and bear it, especially when the fundamental point of KudoZ is mutual education and edification.

Thank you Kim for starting this topic; this question needed to be addressed.

[Edited at 2004-06-12 12:47]
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Oliveira Simões  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:05
Member (2017)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Hmmm, not so sure... Aug 18

Jonathan Spector wrote:
Frankly, I think the use of web sources should be discouraged. Material that appears on the web is often written by non-native speakers or translators and is often used to support erroneous translations. Source material should be 'from the source'.


I beg to disagree. It's a fact that erroneous information is all over, not just the Web. Let's face it: nowadays, even politicians can get elected on the basis of the so-called "fake news" (online, on the radio, on TV, on printed advertorials, in the news etc). As professional translators (and citizens), it's up to us to separate the wheat from the chaff, and this applies to ALL information sources. There's plenty of garbage offline too! Being a native speaker does not necessarily equate with accuracy. The other day I was "corrected" by a native guy on a grammar issue in which he was clearly wrong. Poor thing doesn't even know the gerund is not a verb tense! On another, I got "corrected" by a PhD woman on the use of "shall"; in this case a quick dictionary lookup also proved her wrong. Somehow, we need to stop acting as if native speakers know it all. They don't. Unfortunately, some use the "native speaker" argument as a smokescreen for their own ignorance. And some feel threatened if a non-native knows more about grammar than they do. And can articulate better than they can. I think the internet is a great medium, despite the trash that we see everyday.


[Edited at 2019-08-18 14:09 GMT]


 

IrinaN
United States
Local time: 00:05
English to Russian
+ ...
I'm glad Oliveira revived the topic Aug 18

I think the answerer does not have to prove anything, and providing references is h/h good will, nothing else. I am very grateful to everyone who takes time and effort to do so but...

A great deal of demands for references and 5 pages of context usually come from people who are not experts in the field, to put it mildly, or from point-grabbers eager to blurt out anything for an "answer". Somehow when those who know what they are talking about, meet those who know the subject they ar
... See more
I think the answerer does not have to prove anything, and providing references is h/h good will, nothing else. I am very grateful to everyone who takes time and effort to do so but...

A great deal of demands for references and 5 pages of context usually come from people who are not experts in the field, to put it mildly, or from point-grabbers eager to blurt out anything for an "answer". Somehow when those who know what they are talking about, meet those who know the subject they are asking about, both end up happy with minimum information provided and time spent:-)

Also, who says that the answer must be wrapped as a gift to make sure that the asker would not need to lift a finger? The answer is a lifeline, and the asker needs to catch it and know how to work with it. The next step should be the research by.. guess who? the asker! Yes, using Google and other sources but the essence of the research should be to find reputable, original industry/field sources and verify if this term is indeed a part of their professional vocabulary. Practice in such research would do more good to a translator's professional growth than many translation courses and webinars. Best answerers often do not have a lot of time to dig for what they already know, and discuss it, but they may know and offer the main term. Or should they just keep their knowledge to themselves because they are too busy for a lecture at the moment? Time to get to work, askers:-) Sorry, the answerer is innocent until proven guilty.

I'm not advocating No Context/No References, we all know that sometimes there can be no lifeline without it, but only sometimes...

Currently many askers or "trigger-happy" answerers DEMAND to do the job for them. Kudoz is help but not an all-inclusive service for those who can't even pick the right answer or wouldn't dare to choose the right one instead of a wrong one that is offered in 100K hits.
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Chris S
Christel Zipfel
Sandra& Kenneth
 
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