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Can we make an effort to be nice to newcomers?
Thread poster: Christine Andersen

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:23
Member (2018)
French to English
unsolicited advice Jan 10, 2014

Mark Benson wrote:

The problem I saw in one of the cases mentioned was that, while some of the things that were pointed out were true, they weren't solicited.



Of course there's nothing people want to heed less than advice, unless it's unsolicited advice.

Trouble is, sometimes they ask the wrong question! So if you see that the problem cropped up at a point before the OP started worrying, like they didn't pick up on a warning sign, should you simply ignore that?

Just to cite a completely different topic to remain neutral: I was on a parenting forum a while back and one mother posted a topic about discipline: she wanted to know how to stop her baby from trying to climb out of her baby seat without smacking her. Not a single mother answered the question, instead they were asking the age of the baby and telling the OP that probably her baby was perhaps bored just sitting there and should be allowed to crawl about exploring or should be given age-appropriate toys to hold her attention while in the seat. The mother actually expected her daughter to just remain quietly in her seat while Mum got on with the housework. It worked when the baby was only three months, but by six it was no longer the case. The mother's expectation was unrealistic, it didn't factor in the changing needs of her baby, so the answers she got were gentle explanations to that effect.


 

Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
I strongly agree with Christine Jan 10, 2014

Politeness costs nothing, sometimes it is better refrain from posting than writing a rude message, also most of the newcomers are young, please remember that young people
often don't know, they still have to learn how things works, so... definitely please can we try to be polite?

I second your proposal Christine, well, well said!


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:23
Spanish to English
+ ...
If it walks like a duck... Jan 10, 2014

DLyons wrote:

But I seem to be seeing more people who claim substantial experience which doesn't seem to be supported by the questions they ask. Others who clearly have almost no understanding of the subject matter they are translating. And some whose target language ability seems very limited.

In other words, people who should not be translating whatever it is. ..



I personally find it particularly irksome when they are obviously non-natives offering translation services into my native English and it can be a real struggle not to post "stick to the day job" or some other pithy putdown. However, we were all newbies once upon a time and I do try my best to be as nice as Christine and less snarky than... some I could mention.

Happy New Year everybody!

PS: Is anyone else as annoyed as I am by this message on my homepage?
"Your ProZ.com membership expires in 25 days! (Feb 4) Renew now » Jan 10 20:18 CET (GMT+1) ".
I'm seriously thinking about not renewing it - at this time of the year what I really don't need is nagging for cash. I had to pay for my PO box today and my rent's due next week too...


 

Mark Benson (X)  Identity Verified

English to Swedish
+ ...
I'll clarify: Jan 10, 2014

Texte Style wrote:

Mark Benson wrote:

The problem I saw in one of the cases mentioned was that, while some of the things that were pointed out were true, they weren't solicited.



Of course there's nothing people want to heed less than advice, unless it's unsolicited advice.

Trouble is, sometimes they ask the wrong question! So if you see that the problem cropped up at a point before the OP started worrying, like they didn't pick up on a warning sign, should you simply ignore that?

Just to cite a completely different topic to remain neutral: I was on a parenting forum a while back and one mother posted a topic about discipline: she wanted to know how to stop her baby from trying to climb out of her baby seat without smacking her. Not a single mother answered the question, instead they were asking the age of the baby and telling the OP that probably her baby was perhaps bored just sitting there and should be allowed to crawl about exploring or should be given age-appropriate toys to hold her attention while in the seat. The mother actually expected her daughter to just remain quietly in her seat while Mum got on with the housework. It worked when the baby was only three months, but by six it was no longer the case. The mother's expectation was unrealistic, it didn't factor in the changing needs of her baby, so the answers she got were gentle explanations to that effect.




Obviously, nobody is expected to wait with posting until a poster has expressly said what he/she wants others to say.

Please note, also, that I didn't delete any posts in the topic I was referring to, even if that could actually be debated. Nor did any other mod!

I think that everybody is making good and valid points in the forums. My feeling is, ultimately, that we all complement each other to just the right end.

Personall, there are lots of you I really wish would post more. Nobody should be put off from posting, but it works both ways. The same thing applies to established, seasoned ProZ who have been posting here since the site started, and newcomers who are coming for the first time. And that's the guiding principles!

Thanks Christine for bringing this up, and the good vibes!


 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:23
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Don't agree Jan 11, 2014

Mark Benson wrote:

If you get angry or think that something is bad, not replying is the worst thing you can do against it. I find that holds true in every aspect of life.


Depends on what and how bad it is... we are not a charity. I'm not investing my time in replying to someone who obviously can't be bothered to do some research... finding information these days is very easy. If I answered, I would be rude too.

[Edited at 2014-01-11 13:06 GMT]


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:23
Member (2018)
French to English
Agree with Giovanni Jan 11, 2014

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL wrote:

Mark Benson wrote:

If you get angry or think that something is bad, not replying is the worst thing you can do against it. I find that holds true in every aspect of life.


Depends on what and how bad it is... we are not a charity. I'm not investing my time in replying to someone who obviously can't be bothered to do some research... finding information these days is very easy. If I answered, I would be rude too.

[Edited at 2014-01-11 13:06 GMT]


If all you do is get mad at the OP, it's best not to bother. To preserve your own self from too much stress, to maintain a friendly atmosphere here.

If an OP doesn't get any answers that should set them thinking after all.


 

Mark Benson (X)  Identity Verified

English to Swedish
+ ...
Stating the obvious. Jan 11, 2014

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL wrote:

Mark Benson wrote:

If you get angry or think that something is bad, not replying is the worst thing you can do against it. I find that holds true in every aspect of life.


Depends on what and how bad it is... we are not a charity. I'm not investing my time in replying to someone who obviously can't be bothered to do some research... finding information these days is very easy. If I answered, I would be rude too.

[Edited at 2014-01-11 13:06 GMT]


I didn't mean that you actually punish anybody by not posting. I said that in effect, it's even worse for the person you take issue with when you don't.

If you can state what your issues are without offending or hurting etc., then that's optimal. Second best is just the spontaneous reaction. The forum is moderated after all.


 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:23
Member (2012)
French to English
Another thing Jan 11, 2014

It's slightly worrying that it takes "an effort to be nice" - isn't politeness the default?

I have to say, I'm quite disappointed, as a relative newbie to the translation industry, at the levels of impoliteness I've so far encountered.

I mean, of all professions, wouldn't you say that translation is all about the intricacies of communication? Isn't that what we're all about?

Yet, time and time again, people fail to be polite, fail to reply to polite enquir
... See more
It's slightly worrying that it takes "an effort to be nice" - isn't politeness the default?

I have to say, I'm quite disappointed, as a relative newbie to the translation industry, at the levels of impoliteness I've so far encountered.

I mean, of all professions, wouldn't you say that translation is all about the intricacies of communication? Isn't that what we're all about?

Yet, time and time again, people fail to be polite, fail to reply to polite enquiries.

Even the ProZ mentors fail to reply to enquiries from prospective apprentices.

What does it cost to send a quick email? Heck, I remember a time when people would answer every enquiry, in the days when you had to type a letter on real paper, put it in a real envelope, put a stamp on it and place it in a letterbox.

Rant over.
Collapse


 

Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
Dear Elizabeth Jan 11, 2014

Elizabeth T wrote:

Even the ProZ mentors fail to reply to enquiries from prospective apprentices.
.


You wrote to me and I replied that in my opinion it would be better for you to have a mentor native in English.

[Edited at 2014-01-11 19:22 GMT]


 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:23
Member (2012)
French to English
. Jan 11, 2014

Angie Garbarino wrote:

Elizabeth T wrote:

Even the ProZ mentors fail to reply to enquiries from prospective apprentices.
.


You wrote to me and I replied that in my opinion it would be better for you to have a mentor native in English.

[Edited at 2014-01-11 19:22 GMT]


Sorry, Angie, I never received your message. This confirms that there is a problem with the ProZ email system - for me, anyway.


 

Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
There is a problem yes Jan 11, 2014

Elizabeth T wrote:

Angie Garbarino wrote:

Elizabeth T wrote:

Even the ProZ mentors fail to reply to enquiries from prospective apprentices.
.


You wrote to me and I replied that in my opinion it would be better for you to have a mentor native in English.


Sorry, Angie, I never received your message. This confirms that there is a problem with the ProZ email system - for me, anyway.


I am receving job notifcations randomly, I have submitted a support ticket since 6 January.
But we are off topic, my apologies to all and to the moderators.


 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:23
Member (2012)
French to English
. Jan 11, 2014

Angie Garbarino wrote:

Elizabeth T wrote:

Angie Garbarino wrote:

Elizabeth T wrote:

Even the ProZ mentors fail to reply to enquiries from prospective apprentices.
.


You wrote to me and I replied that in my opinion it would be better for you to have a mentor native in English.


Sorry, Angie, I never received your message. This confirms that there is a problem with the ProZ email system - for me, anyway.


I am receving job notifcations randomly, I have submitted a support ticket since 6 January.
But we are off topic, my apologies to all and to the moderators.


No need to apologise.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:23
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
There are several reasons Jan 11, 2014

Elizabeth T wrote:

It's slightly worrying that it takes "an effort to be nice" - isn't politeness the default?


Yes, but in defence of some of those whose postings are unintentionally less polite than the ideal

1. While most of the discussions go on in English, it is not everyone's native language, or it may not be a working language, so it may be a little less polished than their professional work.

2. Some of us use the discussion forums as a 'water cooler' or a place to find some virtual company over a coffee break. (I do.) So we fire off comments almost as we would with colleagues we know as friends, assuming that the reservations and asides will be understood.

3. People don't have time to read a lot of long posts, so the 'padding' is omitted. Unfortunately what some regard as padding is probably what others need to sugar the pill of criticism or disagreement.

4. When I, and I suspect others, do have more time, we get into debates on subjects we feel strongly about, and 'raise our voices' a bit. I use the forums to showcase my ideas and approach to translating, much as others use blogs.

When I have just hit on a witty comment or a new angle on the topic, I unconsciously assume everyone else has seen what went before, so there is no need to sum up the pros and cons. With newcomers, this is not a fair assumption, and it probably feels as if we are slamming an idea or taking the mickey without even considering it.

Some of the ideas newcomers introduce have been discussed many times, and rates are particularly sensitive... But there are other topics we jump on, to the surprise of those who have not yet gathered a lot of experience.

* * * * *
People need to be conscious of things like that when they post. They rarely mean to be rude or unkind. Still, we do all need to make sure nobody misunderstands, and try to read our comments through the eyes of the person who began the discussion, or whose post we are answering.

So yes, sometimes it does in fact call for an extra effort to appear polite and friendly when we don't intend to be rude!


 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:23
Member (2012)
French to English
. Jan 11, 2014

Christine Andersen wrote:

Elizabeth T wrote:

It's slightly worrying that it takes "an effort to be nice" - isn't politeness the default?


Yes, but in defence of some of those whose postings are unintentionally less polite than the ideal

1. While most of the discussions go on in English, it is not everyone's native language, or it may not be a working language, so it may be a little less polished than their professional work.

2. Some of us use the discussion forums as a 'water cooler' or a place to find some virtual company over a coffee break. (I do.) So we fire off comments almost as we would with colleagues we know as friends, assuming that the reservations and asides will be understood.

3. People don't have time to read a lot of long posts, so the 'padding' is omitted. Unfortunately what some regard as padding is probably what others need to sugar the pill of criticism or disagreement.

4. When I, and I suspect others, do have more time, we get into debates on subjects we feel strongly about, and 'raise our voices' a bit. I use the forums to showcase my ideas and approach to translating, much as others use blogs.

When I have just hit on a witty comment or a new angle on the topic, I unconsciously assume everyone else has seen what went before, so there is no need to sum up the pros and cons. With newcomers, this is not a fair assumption, and it probably feels as if we are slamming an idea or taking the mickey without even considering it.

Some of the ideas newcomers introduce have been discussed many times, and rates are particularly sensitive... But there are other topics we jump on, to the surprise of those who have not yet gathered a lot of experience.

* * * * *
People need to be conscious of things like that when they post. They rarely mean to be rude or unkind. Still, we do all need to make sure nobody misunderstands, and try to read our comments through the eyes of the person who began the discussion, or whose post we are answering.

So yes, sometimes it does in fact call for an extra effort to appear polite and friendly when we don't intend to be rude!


Yes, I certainly take into account replies from those "whose postings are unintentionally less polite than the ideal." As a translator/communicator/human being, I can easily recognise intentional from unintentional rudeness. I stand by what I said earlier, though. In "normal" circumstances, politeness should be the default.


 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:23
Member (2012)
French to English
. Jan 11, 2014

Angie Garbarino wrote:

Elizabeth T wrote:

Even the ProZ mentors fail to reply to enquiries from prospective apprentices.
.


You wrote to me and I replied that in my opinion it would be better for you to have a mentor native in English.

[Edited at 2014-01-11 19:22 GMT]


I understand that it is generally better for a translator to translate into their native tongue, and that is certainly what I have been doing.

However, on your mentoring page, you state that you offer mentoring services from Italian to English and French to English. Is this a mistake? Perhaps your mentor profile should be amended, so that people do not mistakenly think that you might be able to help them? I know quite a few people who are considering paying for membership to ProZ, so that they can avail themselves of the mentoring service. It would be a shame to mislead them.


 
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