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I don't want to be part of such a site (ad for file conversion and MT services for translators)
Thread poster: Siegfried Armbruster

Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:16
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Question/comment on "interest" Oct 23, 2012

Jared wrote:

...
In a case like this, where a service has proven at least interesting to a good number, but is found objectionable by some, perhaps there is room for improvement.



Hi Jared,

Where do you get the notion of "being interesting to a good number" from? I suppose from the sheer number of clicks, which, by and in itself, tells you nothing about the nature of such interest. By contrast, you should take the objections voiced in this thread and elsewhere much more seriously (in my opinion).

Steffen

[Edited at 2012-10-23 07:01 GMT]


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:16
French to German
+ ...
As in other places... Oct 23, 2012

As in other places, the main effort and emphasis are put on quantity over quality.

And whether people here or elsewhere don't like it, this kind of advertisement is seen as an implicit seal of approval from ProZ.com's side, and it gives the impression that translation is actually a commodity.

As a professional translator with 15 years experience, I'd like to be contacted by potential clients who value my expertise and not mainly by quick-and-dirty outsourcers wanting m
... See more
As in other places, the main effort and emphasis are put on quantity over quality.

And whether people here or elsewhere don't like it, this kind of advertisement is seen as an implicit seal of approval from ProZ.com's side, and it gives the impression that translation is actually a commodity.

As a professional translator with 15 years experience, I'd like to be contacted by potential clients who value my expertise and not mainly by quick-and-dirty outsourcers wanting me to do 24,000 words in 2 days at 0.05 €/word.

At the moment, I don't see how the tools provided to me can compete with mass advertisements for outsourcers offering ridiculous rates to their end clients, and even more ridiculous rates to outsourcees.
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B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:16
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Purpose of ProZ Oct 24, 2012

The advert could be seen as the tip of an iceberg. It seems to me that, in spite of its laudable "Guiding Principles" the real purpose of ProZ is making money, rather than supporting a high level of professionalism in the translation industry. (See Jared's contribution to this discussion for supporting evidence.) On the other hand, many of the people involved with ProZ are genuinely concerned to build a community of translators for mutual assistance and to raise professional standards. Also, th... See more
The advert could be seen as the tip of an iceberg. It seems to me that, in spite of its laudable "Guiding Principles" the real purpose of ProZ is making money, rather than supporting a high level of professionalism in the translation industry. (See Jared's contribution to this discussion for supporting evidence.) On the other hand, many of the people involved with ProZ are genuinely concerned to build a community of translators for mutual assistance and to raise professional standards. Also, the website is more user-friendly than rival sites and excessive proliferation of translators' websites could be a nuisance rather than helpful competition. That's why I have so far stuck with the site in spite of complaints to moderators about the following types of practice going unanswered:

1. what appears to be a group of semi-literate people being able to register as a single individual translator even when they post on their profile page that they are an "end-user";

2. people who are not able to string a coherent sentence together in a language that ProZ allows them to display as among their native ones;

3. though people covered under "2" above are clearly not abiding by the professional and business standards that are ostensibly required of Certified Pros, yet there are examples of such people being allowed to retain the status of Certified Pro in another language pair;

4. even slight nibbles at the ankles of such people on KudoZ (not even really biting sarcasm) gets one's comments deleted and a certain lamented, former contributor who has now packed it in, had many of his perfectly innocent and extremely useful comments deleted and one can no longer search the site for his knowledgeable and well-referenced KudoZ contributions.

(I am not referring to a "native" language that moderators are unfamiliar with; I only feel competent making such remarks about English.)

Lack of response does, to my mind, indicate lack of concern. However, I am sure that this posting will get a response in the form of being deleted.
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Veronica Coquard
France
Local time: 16:16
French to English
Support for BD Finch Oct 25, 2012

B D Finch wrote:

...a certain lamented, former contributor who has now packed it in, had many of his perfectly innocent and extremely useful comments deleted and one can no longer search the site for his knowledgeable and well-referenced KudoZ contributions.



Oh dear, I believe I know just who you mean. I was wondering where he'd gone.

I fully support your post and those of others in the same vein. It would be a shame to lose the collective knowledge represented by this site - and residing in the expertise of its users - in the name of funding.

The values of our community as they are expressed by the knowledgeable translators using the site should be reflected in ProZ.com practices, and one of the foremost of these is to provide uncompromising quality.


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:16
French to German
+ ...
Very much so... Oct 25, 2012

Veronica Coquard wrote:
(...)
The values of our community as they are expressed by the knowledgeable translators using the site should be reflected in ProZ.com practices, and one of the foremost of these is to provide uncompromising quality.


Very much so...

There is no compromise to be made when *some* decide to put *anything* in jeopardy just in order to make a few dollars here and there.

And there are other places more than eager to welcome compromise for the sake of getting business.

Hence my question: is ProZ.com willing to lose its appeal for PROfessional translators?

[Edited at 2012-10-25 12:07 GMT]


 

Penelope Ausejo  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:16
English to Spanish
+ ...
Supporting this idea too! Oct 25, 2012

Nicole Schnell wrote:

There IS a market for cheap, low quality, quick-and-dirty language services. But neither services nor jobs in this segment should appear next to regular, professional linguistic services. Many newspapers for example structure their classifieds and display ads accordingly and provide dedicated sections for "Thrifties", "Bargains", "10$ or less" or similar. No decent paper would ever place a job ad "Babysitter wanted" next to "Senior Controller position in multinational investment firm".

My suggestion:
A dedicated BudgetZ (or "ThriftieZ", "BargainZ", CheapskateZ" "Nobody readZ it anyway") section here on ProZ.com where interested and potential customers can look for cheapo-machine translation, and where vendors can offer their wonderful machine-based concoctions. On this terrific playground all kinds of companies can exchange 0.0001/word "jobs" and advertise their services as shown in the above sample and ProZ.com will not lose any revenue.

A unambiguous headline and disclaimer will clearly distinguish these kinds of services from professional translation and new and strict ruleZ at ProZ.com will automatically filter all requests for ridiculous rates into this section and to all "translators" who voluntarily have registered with this section.

Just an idea.


Great idea, Nicole!


 

opolt  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:16
English to German
+ ...
Main conflict Oct 25, 2012

I very much support the general gist of opinion, as expressed above in this thread, however personally I have long come to the conclusion that at the root of the problem is the conflict between commercial interests and community aspects.

As a company, ProZ' own commercial interests seem to be first and foremost in the minds of those responsible for the site, and maybe, with ProZ being a company, one cannot realistically expect it to act any differently, in the long run. Maybe it's t
... See more
I very much support the general gist of opinion, as expressed above in this thread, however personally I have long come to the conclusion that at the root of the problem is the conflict between commercial interests and community aspects.

As a company, ProZ' own commercial interests seem to be first and foremost in the minds of those responsible for the site, and maybe, with ProZ being a company, one cannot realistically expect it to act any differently, in the long run. Maybe it's time for ProZ to stop saying it's a community of any sort -- just concentrate on being a place to advertise and exchange jobs, without much in the way of moral qualms.

The dwindling number of really professional people (who are, or were, the most active and vocal ones in terms of adding community value to the site) is not a good sign. Personally I will retain a ProZ membership as long as it makes any commercial sense to me, and as long as the few friends and esteemed colleagues that I know remain more or less active. But I have to say, after less than 2 and a half years of membership, disappointment has set in -- I can't even begin to mention all the aspects and trends that I don't like, mainly on the community side -- basically I've never even participated in any discussion of these topics, because they seem rather futile to me.

On thing is for sure: if ProZ wants to maintain the community part (and even, in a sense, its commercial value), it's only logical that it should focus on the expertise of translators, and the best ones among them, rather than on the industrial aspects of the profession. Its biggest capital are the people participating. Or to put it more bluntly: if ProZ excessively promotes MT-ish solutions, or indeed the industry as a whole only gets the impression that it does, in the long run ProZ itself will be gone. There's a tendency right now in certain circles to impose MT despite the rubbish it produces; one can't exclude the possibility that these people will be successful to a degree, no matter what the damage. But ProZ won't profit from this. Or as Henry Ford would have put it: machines don't buy ProZ membership. Only humans do.



[Edited at 2012-10-25 14:28 GMT]
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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:16
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Agree with opolt (or, Same old s@#t, different day) Oct 25, 2012

Opolt has aptly summed up not only the feelings of an increasingly large proportion of members of this site, but also of the danger of proz.com hastening its own demise to the extent that it continues to concentrate on enabling traffic at the very lowest end of the translation market.

 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:16
French to German
+ ...
Blinkers Oct 25, 2012

Robert Forstag wrote:

Opolt has aptly summed up not only the feelings of an increasingly large proportion of members of this site, but also of the danger of proz.com hastening its own demise to the extent that it continues to concentrate on enabling traffic at the very lowest end of the translation market.


If they do so, they should be bold enough to announce it and to put the blinkers on.


 

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:16
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Agree Oct 25, 2012

Robert Forstag wrote:

Opolt has aptly summed up not only the feelings of an increasingly large proportion of members of this site, but also of the danger of proz.com hastening its own demise to the extent that it continues to concentrate on enabling traffic at the very lowest end of the translation market.


I also belong to that increasingly large proportion.


 

XXXphxxx (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:16
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Nothing/nobody to contradict any of this Oct 25, 2012

opolt wrote:

I very much support the general gist of opinion, as expressed above in this thread, however personally I have long come to the conclusion that at the root of the problem is the conflict between commercial interests and community aspects.



O., the conflict is over and commercial interests are firmly entrenched. The focus is evidently on the lowest common denominator.


 

opolt  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:16
English to German
+ ...
Some thoughts Oct 25, 2012

Lisa Simpson, MCIL wrote:

O., the conflict is over and commercial interests are firmly entrenched. The focus is evidently on the lowest common denominator.


Well, maybe that's true, so it's not even worth discussing this anymore, and actually (contradictorily :-]) I make a point of not participating in ProZ forum discussions anymore for the very reason. But I'm not so sure, witness the long-winded thread on native language claims ... there seem to be quite a number of members complaining about certain aspects -- I don't know whether that was so in earlier years, because I wasn't a member at the time.

Now, the problem of English native speakers might not be a ProZ-specific problem; rather, it might be a wider problem arising from the changing status of the English language, on a world-wide basis (for instance). But I don't want to restart that thread (beware!).

I'm more interested in finding out e.g. whether ProZ, being as big as it is, is setting the trend here not only wrt E native speakers, but also wrt to what you call the "lowest common denominator", Lisa. That might be the case, but it might also be the case that ProZ is only following the general trend in the industry. Or maybe it's both a follower and a trend setter at the same time, I really don't know. But it's worth thinking about this, IMHO.

At any rate it's obvious to me that ProZ is very prone to becoming part of what I called the "industrial" aspects of the profession. The main reason, IMHO, is that ProZ is largely based on a technological solution, or framework, combined with some money making features :-], and much less on a set of community goals in pursuit of professionalism, educational standards, linguistic expertise, or whatever (as would be the case e.g. with a translators' association). And it's been proven time and again that focussing on the technical aspects only, or even just letting them do their automatic work (without any intervention, or attention to the consequences), doesn't mean things will turn out beneficial for the participants. Technology isn't beneficial per se. Rather, often the opposite is true, once the machinery has started, it turns into what we call a Selbstläufer in German -- a flywheel: virtually impossible to stop, or control, once it's been revved up. So for that reason, it's very easy and natural for ProZ to hook into some of the "industrialisation" trends we are seeing out there.

At the very minimum, if there is such a "schism" (or whatever you want to call it) between the "commons" on the one hand and a minority seeking highest standards, that should be represented by the "P" tag in a true manner. But it isn't.

[Edited at 2012-10-25 19:18 GMT]


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:16
French to German
+ ...
Generalisations Oct 25, 2012

opolt wrote:

(...)
At the very minimum, if there is such a "schism" (or whatever you want to call it) between the "commons" on the one hand and a minority seeking highest standards, that should be represented by the "P" tag in a true manner. But it isn't.


Careful with generalisations!

It may not be the case for *all* CPN translators, but I think *many* have earned their badge in a professional and honest way and keep up to higher standards.

And I won't doubt those posting in the forums to start with.


 

opolt  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:16
English to German
+ ...
Ok Laurent Oct 25, 2012

Laurent KRAULAND wrote:

opolt wrote:

(...)
At the very minimum, if there is such a "schism" (or whatever you want to call it) between the "commons" on the one hand and a minority seeking highest standards, that should be represented by the "P" tag in a true manner. But it isn't.


Careful with generalisations!

It may not be the case for *all* CPN translators, but I think *many* have earned their badge in a professional and honest way and keep up to higher standards.

And I won't doubt those posting in the forums to start with.


Point taken, Laurent, that was an over-generalization of mine.

Be it as it may, if there are really two groups within ProZ (in very broad terms), even with one being the minority, maybe ProZ should act to make this internal distinction much clearer, on several fronts. But it could be difficult to implement, and frankly I don't see it happening. It's much more likely that other things will happen first.


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:16
French to German
+ ...
What I see Oct 25, 2012

opolt wrote:


Point taken, Laurent, that was an over-generalization of mine.

Be it as it may, if there are really two groups within ProZ (in very broad terms), even with one being the minority, maybe ProZ should act to make this internal distinction much clearer, on several fronts. But it could be difficult to implement, and frankly I don't see it happening. It's much more likely that other things will happen first.


What I see after some time off ProZ.com is the proliferation of ads like the one mentioned by Siegfried, so we have a good clue about the direction the site is taking: more room and visibility for those who think translation is a commodity (very much akin to industrial products).

I made my very first translation on an electric typewriter, after having drafted it by hand.

Not that I would regret "good old times", but my brain has remained my main asset - and those who tell us we need more software, more machines etc. get a laugh from me... on a good day.


 
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