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https://www.duolingo.com/spanjo504

Unfair translation criticisms

spanjo504
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Different countries use different words for the same things. There are certain translation checkers who seem unaware of this. An example of this would be having ones translation changed because they used the word mother and the checker said it should be mum. This deprives the original translator of a looks good for their perfectly good translation. Another would be substituting policeman for police officer.

4 years ago

51 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/queendeeny

Yes, that is my pet peeve! So annoying when someone takes a correct translation and changes it to one that is also correct, but not an improvement in any way. And of course there's never an explanation in the comment section.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/prwh
prwh
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One of the things that we come to realize rather early in the process of learning a foreign language is that a word-for-word literal translation, with the same word order and sentence structure, is often a very unnatural translation. A "translator's translator" may even stray rather far from the specific words present in the source language; translating idioms and aphorisms is an obvious example of this. The point of effective translation is to get the idea across in the target language, not necessarily the exact words, and very often not the same word order. Again and again, I have seen what I thought was a brilliant Duolingo translation of a sentence reverted back to a literal word-for-word string that is far from natural in the target language. A translation is not necessarily "wrong" just because the translator has used some creativity and flexibility in his or her choice of words and sentence structure. There must be some way of changing Duolingo's systems of scoring, awards, and incentives to keep the refinement process from discriminating against non-literal but high-quality translations. Any ideas out there?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/queendeeny

Yes. what prwh says is all true but that's not what I'm referring to. I'm talking about when a translation is changed for no apparent reason at all. It's bewildering.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator
Dessamator
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Well, the issue is that theoretically both translations are accurate, just because something is literal, and sounds unnatural does not necessarily mean it is incorrect, either grammatically or semantically.

Anyway, users could just try to convince them to follow the Immersion Community Guidelines, http://www.duolingo.com/comment/984423 (Writing Style General 1). Or try to discuss the issue in the immersion discussion.

Aside from that, I believe it is best that Duolingo have one "official version" of the translation, which depends on votes and other metrics they have, and one unofficial version which people can keep changing for as long as they wish, and perhaps if the unofficial one gains sufficient votes it automatically becomes the current version.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/spanjo504
spanjo504
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Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of the issue. You stated the concern very well.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda
Luscinda
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It can certainly be frustrating, though I think those are two different issues, and the first one you cite would be reasonable - maman = Mum, mère = mother, for instance, they are significantly different in tone and usage, and you would want to reflect the original. The latter sounds more like a US/UK thing, which is driving me up the wall at the moment - I really would like to say to the couple of individuals who insist on changing everything I write to US spelling and conventions in articles that have been consistently translated in standard English English that they really do not know better, whatever they think.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/queendeeny

Some one suggested in an earlier post that the person who translates the title of the article specify British vs. American usage in a comment. I have not seen that done, but it would be a good idea. It would be great if that were added to the community guidelines. The main thing is that it is consistent throughout.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Alipaulam
Alipaulam
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I did try once specifying in the discussion box that I would be using BE, and got a very grumpy response from an American. I haven't done it again. I don't want to be rude, but there does seem to be more of a reluctance from some USE speakers to accept BE than vice versa, perhaps because people feel that this an American-based site.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/queendeeny

That's a shame. British English should be accepted, too. We need to be more accepting.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Potatosage
Potatosage
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You are abs right about Mae West not being rhyming slang for life jacket (or even life vest) and if it was it would not be a Mae West but simply a Mae (since it is considered "bad form" to use the rhyming component except in demo mode), But it really sounds like it ought to be rhyming slang for something. So perhaps in Mockney rhyming slang it might be "Stand up straight and stick your Mae out".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator
Dessamator
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It is already in the community guidelines, under regional guidelines, and has been there for at least a month. Although users may just be ignoring that. I think it may be best to post that in the immersion discussion rather than the title (now that we have the immersion discussion).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/arethusa

It sounds like a good idea but I don't know how it would work. The longer an article is, the less chance that any one person is going to translate it in its entirety. Some people start at the bottom, while others start at the top. Some just do text while others fill in tables or captions. And I doubt if many check what others have done to see if the article is being done in British or American English. So there's bound to be a mixture.

If the uploader could specify, then in effect that would almost shut British English out since so many members are Americans, they'd just swamp the rest of the Commonwealth.

The other thing is that it would make it harder for Europeans trying to learn the version of English that they're most likely to come in contact with. Why should they have to learn American English when they have no intention of vacationing anywhere anglophone other than the UK, or when the majority of anglophones they mean are British?

IMHO, anybody who insists that an article be translated in just one version of English might want to get checked out for OCD.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda
Luscinda
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It is necessary in the end, though, if anyone proposes to publish these articles. Which is why if thing has started out in one form, then fair enough if in the end someone changes something halfway down the article for consistency with what was established at the beginning (and if someone has uploaded and translated the first few paragraphs, I don't see the need for a post saying 'please follow style). What irritates me is when someone takes it upon themselves to change all the perfectly correct material already put in place to suit their own preference.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda
Luscinda
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You know, I think it's a small minority who actually upload stuff, so I'm not sure the proportions of the membership in general means much here.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/queendeeny

It's better writing to have a consistency and that is addressed in the community guidelines. I don't think it's a sign of OCD. Try to work on an article at the beginning and put a comment in the discussion section for the article that it's to be done in British English. Hopefully other translators will repect that.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/arethusa

I don't see that as realistic. There are some articles submitted that are dozens of pages long. No one person is going to translate the entire submission and few translators are going to read every single sentence of the translation to see if it's in American or British English.

I myself often don't often start at the beginning of an article so as not to get mixed up in a free-for-all with other translators working on the same sentences, so I wouldn't see a comment that it's to be in a particular version of the language.

And lastly, I emphatically, I don't know how I can stress this more, do not think that I should be forced to use a certain spelling or vocabulary just because some self-important individual thinks that their version of the language is the only one that can be used. For somebody to do that is the extreme in ego and selfishness.

There are more people speaking English in the world than just Americans (it seems to always be Americans who are the ones too stubborn to allow any other version of English) and they have just as much right as anybody else to use spellings that are proper in their country. It's all English!!!

If somebody can't recognize when a spelling is correct in another country, and just let it be, then I question their motivation in being on a site to learn another language anyway. Recognizing spelling variations is part of not only learning other languages, but in understanding where your own language comes from in the first place and where it might be going. No language is static (despite what the French think) and all languages evolve over time. Even the meanings of words can change. I've seen the meanings of several words change during my lifetime.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/arethusa

queendeeny, perhaps YOU can read an entire article (in Spanish as I note in your profile) before you start to translate, but the majority of people just starting to learn another language cannot. By the time they read some of the long articles, the more proficient translators might have left nothing to do but some of the most difficult sentences down near the bottom of the article. There are some immersion articles that would be dozens of pages long if printed out and unless a person is already fluent, they just can't read the articles that quickly.

And what is this about reading the translated sentences in the side by side version? If you're the first person to work on the article, there IS no “side by side version”.

So are you saying that if you're the first person to translate the first 10 sentences, and you use British spellings, that all your work and your upvotes should be cast aside because somebody comes along and spells some words a different way? Words that were spelled correctly where you live but that that person lives in a different country with a different spelling convention?

Who did the translation; you or the person who “corrected” your spelling? Who should get the upvotes; you or the person who just can't abide by a different, but still correct spelling of a common word?

You give an example that you changed somebody's spelling from 'neighbor' to 'neighbour'. You thereby robbed the original person of all future upvotes for doing the translation, and now you gather the upvotes yourself when you didn't really do any translating, and your edit 'for consistency' didn't really add anything to the sentence or make it clearer for people to understand.

Consistency is important true – but only up to a point. Consistency in this case as far as I can tell, is more to keep an article in the same tense throughout. It shouldn't be a mixture of past, present and future or first person, second person, etc. That becomes confusing for somebody else trying to learn any language.

But most people around the world understand that there's more than one dialect of many languages, particularly between some of the countries that were former colonies. Anybody who travels will quickly realize that spelling and some vocabulary can change between say France and Quebec, Mexico and Spain, or Brazil and Portugal. If they're going to learn the language, they HAVE to be able to deal with those differences.

In many cases, spelling changes from one generation to another. I've read books written at the turn of the last century and found variations in spelling. If someone mandates only one form of spelling is allowed, that could make some old books unreadable to those who aren't aware of the different possibilities. It would also make it almost impossible for those who don't speak English as a native language to understand that words such as 'light' and 'lite' are actually the same, and that's two different spellings both in common use in the same country. How are other translators going to learn to recognize (correct) variants in spelling if they're never exposed to them?

Consistency in this case is not retaining the same spelling throughout. Beethoven didn't always spell even his own name the same way throughout. Almost nobody is going to read and translate each and every sentence of the longest articles. I certainly don't and if you check my stats, you'll see that I'm one of the more prolific translators here. People just don't have the time, nor the interest, to follow those long articles from start to finish.

You're darned right I'm offended when some arrogant person like joseph2 takes it upon himself to declare that American English is going to be used throughout and that he's going to reject my spellings just because he thinks American is the only proper way to do anything. What he said, and what he implied he's going to do IS offensive. It's a way of asserting himself and his spellings as more important and that other people's spelling is somehow second class.

You said to “ specify in the title post British vs. American as directed in the guidelines”. Well, I've never seen anybody do that, and from what he said, I doubt if people like joseph2 would abide by that if anybody did it. Often, the person who submits an article doesn't translate the title. Do you then think everything should be just a free-for-all with the first person to get there the one who sets the standard?

You say that this is all “part of educating each other”, but what sort of education is it if only one point of view gets presented?

It's not a 'collaborative process” if individuals take it upon themselves to correct others translations all to one national version of spelling. The way joseph2 put it, there's to be no collaboration at all. He declared himself the judge and jury and that his way was right and the only way and nobody else was to have any say in it.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not offended by American spellings in the least. I live with them every day and I'm adept enough at American spellings that I've masqueraded on another forum for two without anybody yet figuring out that I'm not American. What I'm offended by is the high-handed way in which some people have said that they're going to change spellings to suit their personal egos and that I have no say in the matter. And what's more, that I'd lose any credit for the translation just on their whim, even if my translation was 100% correct. (And neighbour or theatre ARE 100% correct where I live).

And no on your last sentence. People who use Commonwealth/British spellings should not be required to leave a comment on regional differences every time they spell something differently than Americans. That's nothing more than another way of implying a second-class status I'm sure if it was the other way around and that Americans had to leave a comment about on regional differences every time they spelled a word the U.S. way that they'd object or ignore it. But what's the difference?

Leaving a comment after making an edit is good practice and something I try to do except when the reason for the edit is so obvious that an explanation shouldn't be necessary. However, since changing one CORRECT spelling to a different spelling that is also correct is not necessary, then a comment would be superfluous. Since there's no expectation that anybody must translate or even read an immersion article in its entirety, then such a change is obviously going to be seen as a rejection and a theft of any future credit for translating.

If we were translating for official purposes, then you might have a point. But most people are using Duolingo to learn another language and not to be some sort of pawn in a contest of “my language/spelling is better than yours”. Since that's the case, I emphatically reject any attempt by somebody to enforce one spelling convention over another, no matter how much the two of you downvote me on this discussion as you've apparently done.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/queendeeny

I agree with what you say in your first paragraph. It is certainly a challenge for all translators to be consistent. But it is part of our community guidelines and I agree with Dessamator's reply to your post. If I start in the middle of a translation, for the same reasons you gave, I first read the translated sentences in the side by side version so I know what the article is about. I recently was working on a Spanish article about a bombing in Columbia and the first time "barrio" was translated, "neighbourhood" was used. In subsequent sentences, I edited "neighbor" to "neighbour" with a comment that it was for consistency. Yesterday I worked on an article about the Vandals and the issue was not British English vs. American but that there are many accepted spellings for these ancient tribes. Like Dessamator says part of translating is proofreading. Having consistency makes the translation more professional. It's obvious from your post and previous posts from others that speakers of British English are offended when their translations are rejected. It may be for consistency or maybe because the translator doesn't recognize the variant. You can change it back with a comment. That is part of educating each other. Also, the first translator, should specify in the title post British vs. American as directed in the guidelines. If that's not done, which it never is, you can make a note in the "discuss this article" section, if you start in near the beginning. I myself enjoy the collaborative process with all of its challenges. I find it troubling that it is such a source of irritation and offensiveness to our British English speaking members. It would be a shame if you people stopped using immersion. I urge all to leave a comment when making edits pertaining to regional differences, so that it is not interpreted as a rejection.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/arethusa

Dessamator, of course a single person can read or translate a document given enough time. But exactly how do you propose to do that with a document that would run about 30 + pages if printed out, BEFORE somebody else translates parts of it and decides that THEIR spelling is the one to which all others should follow?

I've uploaded a number of documents and not once have I got more than a dozen sentences translated before somebody else is also translating the same article, and they may or may not be using the same version of English that I'm using. Am I to go back and change all my spellings because they chose short sentences and so got more done in the same time?

Your suggestion to divide the task up among several users is unrealistic to say the least. There's no chart set up where we can choose who does the first 10 sentences, who does the next 10 and so on, and there would always be others dropping in who aren't part of the cadre and who would translate sentences 'out of order'.

And if you're such a good translator that you can “proofread” everything that everybody else has done before you even start your own translation just to see which version of spelling is being used, then you're fluent enough that you don't belong on a site for learning languages, you obviously already know the languages.

You're right that consistency is paramount (and please don't insult me by defining the word, I actually mark English exams every year that determine ability to graduate from high school) in official translations. However, we're not making official translations; we're learning other languages.

When you talk about not “having to infer that it was written by (a)(sic) hundred or more people”, do you not understand that some of the larger articles ARE possibly being translated by a hundred or more people. And not all of those people are Americans, or even British, but a mixture not only of countries that are part of the Commonwealth but also countries where English isn't the national language and where textbooks may not use American spellings.

If you really think that a “a good translator must read a whole document before doing a translation”, then you're in the wrong program. Many of the people here are just beginning to learn a language and there's absolutely no way that they could read entire documents before beginning to translate without the document being already almost completely translated before they finish reading and are about to start 'translating'. Living in a bilingual country, I'm able to carry on a conversation in French and yet I couldn't read (or translate) the entirety of some of these articles before they were half translated by somebody else.

You say, “The only possible way of translating/reading a document well, is to ensure that the language (and the dialect) used is understood by the reader.” Well, if you can't understand that 'theatre' and 'theater' have the same meaning, or 'neighbour' and 'neighbor', then you have more problems than just not knowing another language.

There is no such thing as a 'proofreader' here going through checking for consistency of spelling, and anybody who self-appoints to the position is doing it from an overblown sense of ego. Anybody who goes through and edits another person's translation for nothing more than different versions of spelling is, IMHO, stealing the credit and the upvotes that the original translator deserves for doing the work of translating. (Please note, I'm not talking about something as different as 'lorry' and 'truck' or 'elevator' and 'lift', I'm talking just about spellings.)

Sometimes some people may 'correct' what is a correct spelling in a different country through ignorance that there even are different spellings, and that's excusable. But there are people here, (perhaps you're one of them?) who have stated in no uncertain terms, that they intent to go through and unilaterally make the decision which spellings, AmEng or BritEng, are to be used and that in their unilateral opinion, American English is the only one to be used.

My beef isn't with people who honestly don't know that there are different acceptable spellings of some words in English. It's with the people who have said that their spelling is right and other spellings are wrong and that they're going to take it upon themselves to correct everybody to one way of doing things.

If I make a mistake in translation, or if there's a better way of saying it than I did, then by all means go ahead and edit it – with an explanation in the comments section if warranted.

But don't go and edit something purely because you're too Americo-centric to abide by what is the correct spelling in MY country. The U.S. Isn't the only English-speaking country in the world nor even the most populous one. Somebody who changes spellings of others on a regular basis purely for imposing their will on others might be considered deserving of downvotes.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator
Dessamator
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Certainly, a single person may read a document, or translate a document given enough time. Translators do it all the time, why can't Duolingo users do it? Even if translators didn't do it proofreaders certainly do, it is just a matter of dividing the task among several users, or using the time effectively.

In terms of a translated document, consistency is paramount (of the greatest importance). When one letter is changed in a word, the word may change its meaning, and the reader of any document should be able to read it and understand its meaning without having to infer that it was written by hundred or more people.

The only possible way of translating/reading a document well, is to ensure that the language (and the dialect) used is understood by the reader. In my opinion, a good translator must read a whole document before doing a translation, to get the feel and understand the author. This should also be done after the translation is complete. If a translator is unwilling to do so, and ensure consistency, then another user (a proofreader) may do so and make the adequate corrections.

That said, in my opinion, the immersion system lacks the proper (translation) tools to ensure consistency. This is especially a problem in a crowd-sourced document, in which many people of many nationalities may use words that are familiar only to their group and nobody else.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda
Luscinda
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I think we can all cope with reading the first paragraph or two, though, can't we? And that's where it's often an issue, people editing dates to their preferred format repeatedly. It's just daft.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Phobic
Phobic
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Hey, I have OCD and I feel strongly that an article should be translated into just one version of English. I don't insist, though. That would be OCPD. ;)

I'm a U.S. American. If an article is specified as British English, I'll do my best. I may make mistakes, and I hope that someone will please correct them. For super-nice amazing person bonus points, it would be great if they'd upvote my translation (if it's otherwise okay) first.

It's too bad that the way the system is set up, people naturally tend to value points at the expense of quality. A dialectically inconsistent final product might distribute points more evenly, but it would be a pretty odd piece of reading material.

I personally turn off notifications (Do I really need to know every single time someone makes a change to any sentence I've ever translated?), check back on articles to which I've contributed from time to time to see how things are shaping up, and try not to stress too much over something that should be enjoyable. I keep what I learned, whether my translation stands or not.

Trust me, not stressing over something that should be enjoyable is no small thing if you have OCD. :P

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/arethusa

Tell me where ANY article has been specified as British English or American English. To my knowledge, there isn't any place that's done. An American flag is used for all English on the site, no British at all.

However, I'd think that a European article about a British site or event should more likely be in British English, wouldn't you? And yet Americans go in and change all the correct British spellings to US spellings. That's the only change they make. All the rest of the translation was correct.

You say "it would be great if they'd upvote my translation first", but if they change the spelling, then you can't get upvoted any more.

It's really no different than if there are two different words that mean essentially the same thing (say, a kind of duck, a sort of duck, a type of duck, a variety of duck) and somebody changes it for no reason to improve the translation, but just to take all the subsequent upvotes.

If it improves the translation, then fine, but if it's just a choice between two equally correct possibilities when neither one makes the sentence more understandable or more true to the original, then no, it shouldn't be done.

On top of that is the attitude of some of the people (I'm thinking of one in particular) who take a &*%! you attitude, and very pointedly give the impression that they think they're somehow better and should be able to do as they please and run roughshod over anybody else. After expressing that attitude, he then went on to complain about how everybody was "anti-American". Sorry, but after you figuratively spit on me and kick dirt in my face, don't expect me to bend over and ask you to keep doing it.

It would be great if there were some place to specify that the whole article should use either American or British spellings, but there isn't. On one hand, it would be nice for consistency. But on the other hand, people are trying to learn English and they should be aware that there's more than one correct spelling of a great many words.

If the purpose of the site is to churn out professional level translations for commercial use, that's one thing.

But I don't think most people are here to provide free labour (or labor if you insist) for such an endeavour (endeavor). I think most people are here to try and learn another language and perhaps have some fun at the same time, and if you're always on the receiving end of having your translation sent to the garbage heap because the spellings you use, which are correct in your country, are continually changed and you lose all the upvotes because somebody else is too self-important to let it go, then it isn't much fun.

I shouldn't have to constantly change my spelling to accommodate somebody else's sense of entitlement.

Put the shoe on the other foot. Since you're an American, how would YOU like it if you spent an hour or so translating an article, only to find out that moments after you finished, somebody went through it edited 50% of your work into British spellings, so that you won't get any upvotes for half of the work you did? Those were the only changes made, just spelling. Otherwise your translations were fine. Do you value your time and your expertise so little that you'd welcome your work to be discarded like that so casually? If so, then why do you even bother in the first place?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Alipaulam
Alipaulam
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Joseph 2, I don't really want to get involved in this because tempers are clearly running high, but you are honestly wrong about Mae West. Google it and you will see that most of the references are American; it appears in American dictionaries, it was an American product named after an American actress, it is unlikely to be rhyming slang since the BE for said garment is life jacket, not life vest, and the term was coined by Allied Forces (US and UK) because of how it made you look when you inflated it.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Druckles
Druckles
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@Joseph2 You turned a discussion (that wasn't even about you, or directed at you) into an argument. And you manifest 'anti-American' tendencies everywhere. And you appear to take offence at everything.

If you were partial to advice, I would suggest you need to lighten up. Unfortunately, I think you would even take that the wrong way.

And respect is earned, not demanded ;-)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Phobic
Phobic
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I would look for the specification in the article's discussion section. If there are no comments there, I'll try to go with whatever style the article appears to be originally written in, as best I can determine. I haven't seen anyone comment with that so far, but I'm relatively new around here. Maybe I have unrealistic expectations.

I'm pretty certain it's not fair to you for me to imagine how I'd feel in that situation. I'm not sure I'd notice if someone edited 50% of my work into British spellings. If I did, I'd probably be confused but more concerned with finding something else to translate. I don't think that does any justice whatsoever to your point of view.

I value my time and expertise in a way that has very little to do with other people, whom I can't control don't expect much from. I feel a bit surprised and happy if I get upvotes. Translations are something I do actually do obsessively, usually for hours at a time, at the expense of basic needs such as food, water, sleep, and medication if I'm not careful. I'm not sure why. It's something I do that gives me some sense of satisfaction and it's a learning activity.

I think I know who you're thinking of. I'm not touching that conversation with a ten foot pole, or three metre pole if you'd rather. If things are going to be like that, perhaps you're right and it's best if we all write in the dialect we prefer and try not to step on each other's toes. :/

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/arethusa

Yeah Phobic, it could be put in the discussion section of an article. But how many people look at that each and every time they open an article to start work on it? I know I don't.

When I start on an article, I want to get into the translating of it. If I'm going to spend a while reading what everybody else has said about the article, then I've lost time that I could be putting to use on language skills.

And on the long articles (300+ pages), there's no way I'm going to finish them in one sitting. I've got other things to do during the day. If I left an article for a couple of hours or a couple of days, who's to say that somebody hasn't changed the discussion point about which version of English to use. I'm certain from what that one individual said, who thinks American English should prevail at all times over British English, would have gone in and made his views felt even if the article was originally slated for British spelling.

As for the value of your time and expertise, I'm sure all of us have different reasons and motivations as to why we do this, as well as perhaps some overlap.

As you can see if you check my profile, I don't care personally about the points or the upvotes. There are very few people here who's upvotes matter with me and I add more points in a day than the majority of people do in a week.

Of course you're going to get upvotes Phobic. If your translations are good, people in higher tiers actually get more points by upvoting you than they do by editing you.

LOL, I know what you mean about the OCD of translating. It's now 3:30 PM where I am and I haven't had breakfast yet, let alone lunch.

But the person you probably think I mean DID go out of his way to step on toes, and claimed that he was going to do it in the articles too. That doesn't sit well.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/arethusa

Druckles, you're correct about Joseph2 verging on sexism. I've never given any hint of my gender, but he's automatically assuming female, which is a common tactic of a certain type of person trying to denigrate an opponent.

As it happens, I'm male.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Druckles
Druckles
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@Joseph2 I would appreciate it if you refrained from using my name, quoting me and presuming my preferences.

Seeing as you are incapable of making pleasant conversation on this topic.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/arethusa

Well Joseph2, you've definitely proved the saying about what making assumptions does to a person. FYI, I'm not female, but that's okay. I recognize your tactic for what it is. I notice you seem to use “her” as a derogatory term when talking about somebody you don't like, as in somebody who “cowardly, deleted her comment”.

For you to pretend that you don't favour American spellings over British is disingenuous considering all you've said up to now. You've made it quite clear that you neither know nor care what the British spellings are but that you're going to 'correct' any spellings you don't think are right.

You say you aren't aware of British spellings, and yet you expect anybody who uses British spelling to be aware of all American spellings. That's the true hypocrisy.

Can you point out where I made any statements one way or the other about American English lacking Oxford Commas? I don't recall saying any such thing. Or is that just another lie you've made up about me?

You dismiss British spellings as “trivial variants”, which is nothing if not a derogatory.

You seem to assume that British spelling is only in England when actually more people use British spellings worldwide than American spellings. Over 2 billion people in the world use British spellings.

I'll take your word for it (unlike the discourtesy you showed me by as much as calling me a liar) that somebody accused you of downvoting British spellings, but I can't find it on this thread.

Your idea of “defending your countrymen” (while shouting?) at the expense of anybody else is more than a little offensive, as is your general attitude and your swearing.

And since by your own admission you're apparently ignorant of British spellings, how do you know that they “haven't been widely used since the 20's or earlier”? FYI, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Britain, Canada, Egypt, Ghana, Grenada, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Malta, Pakistan, New Zealand, Nigeria, S. Africa, Rwanda, Scotland, Singapore, Tanzania, Trinidad, Uganda, Wales, Zambia, Zimbabwe and a couple of dozen other countries have been using British spellings since long before the 20's. And they still do.

What “British slang” is used in translating foreign languages? When you translate, you translate what's written. It's not the same as composing something new so there's no way that slang comes into it.

So your spellchecker marks British spelling as wrong. So what! Mine marks American spellings as incorrect. But unlike you, I have no intention of editing anybody's translation because they used a different correct spelling. If an American translated a word first, then I keep their spelling. I expect the same courtesy to be extended to me but I think courtesy might be one of those “British slang” words that you don't understand.

Neighbour, colour, favour, catalogue, centre, theatre, metre, cheque, and are few others are the words you're most likely to come across. The website http://www.elearnenglishlanguage.com/dialects/spelling.html gives you most of the others so now you have no excuse that you're not aware of the differences. (Although from your behaviour so far it's unlikely you'll make yourself aware of the differences.)

However, spelling differences are not the same thing as dialect despite your misunderstanding of the term.

You're even ignorant of what Cockney is. (For one thing, it's capitalized.) FYI, “Mae West” isn't Cockney, nor is it even British. Despite what you seem to think, even though you've been told at least three times, Mae West is an American term, not a British one. Yes, the definition WAS posted by somebody else. You apparently didn't bother to read it.

I AM putting the blame where it belongs in all of this; squarely on you. Maybe since you've been caught out in a few lies, perhaps it's you who should just go away and be quiet.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wwishmd
wwishmd
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Begs the question as to why you don't up vote translations before "editing" a number of sentences just by adding full stops and thereby taking the credit for others' work

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/arethusa

If I'm editing somebody else's translation for something minor and they have it basically correct, I do upvote them before I make the edit. If I have a different word that I would have used, but their word is just as correct, just not the one I would have chosen, then I upvote and don't edit at all. However, if by 'full stops' you're talking about punctuation, then yes, I do edit because it IS something wrong and it would be wrong no matter which side of the Atlantic or Pacific they were on. But I still upvote them first.

And since I'm in the highest tier of anybody I've seen in both the languages I work on, my upvotes count for everybody.

And as you can see, I'm not desperate for points or upvotes. What I want is for the people in the lower tiers to get the credit they deserve and not have it taken away just because somebody thinks their spelling is superior to the spelling of some other country.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Phobic
Phobic
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That's what I did, upvote the translation and then fix inconsistent or erroneous punctuation. It's unfortunate that my tier is lower and the upvotes didn't show up. I do regret that wwishmd decided to revert the translations back to the old punctuation and leave them there, but I'm not going to start an edit war over it. :/

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Phobic
Phobic
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I did upvote them. :/

Oh! You're tier 3. I'm only tier 2. My upvotes won't count for you. :(

Sorry, I didn't intend to take credit for anyone's work, I just wanted the full stops to be consistent.

ETA: I put a lot of hours into that article and I've already gotten more reward that I expected. I'm glad you're taking back your sentences. As you I'm sure you'll agree, I don't need the credit for those. (I still really would like the full stops to be consistent, though. >_<)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/arethusa

I just started translating an article in the French immersion section called 'Bilinguisme' and it contained a perfect term for the type of person mentioned earlier who insists on changing all spellings to American English.

The term (translated) is "Linguistic imperialism".

And history has shown that wherever and whenever it has occurred, imperialism of any kind has been resented by those who would be subjugated.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/arethusa

Yes, just a couple of days ago a new member, obviously American, changed almost every sentence in an entire article just because most of the spellings were Commonwealth English, accompanied by egotistical comments that all spellings should be American because of all the American flags on the translations.

Duh! He hadn't even been around long enough to realize that the US in Duolingo just mean English, it doesn't mean American English. I'm sure he wouldn't have put it all in Commonwealth English if the flags had been Union Jacks, which are what most European manufacturers use on the English text for their products. This guy may not even have known how to spell everything in the Commonwealth manner and yet he expects everybody to kowtow to him.

He should change his nappies, put on a jumper, go down the lift and out of his flat to the carpark, get in his lorry and drive off a cliff into the Channel, - without wearing a Mae West!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jaye16
jaye16
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In the last few days I have written at least 20 posts to newcomers leaving the Immersion site addresses on their stream. At times I've given advice re what is proper-yes proper crowd sourcing etiquette. Such as don't change something correct to s/th else correct.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Druckles
Druckles
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Actually, in the second example, there is a preference. Police officer is more correct than policeman, certainly in the UK, and as far as I know, in the US.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LingPenguin
LingPenguin
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Where I'm from (Canada), "Police officer" and "Policeman" are both equally correct, but "Police officer" is way more formal. Someone wandering down the street would say "Oh, look, there's a policeman over there", but a newscaster would say "A police officer arrived at the scene...".

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Luscinda
Luscinda
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I think context is everything for that one.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Joseph2
Joseph2
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In the US, "police officer" has become the PC "correct" form, and I suppose it does work best when speaking of an officer(s) in general. If a male officer were being discussed, "policeman" would probably be preferred. "Policewoman" hasn't really caught on.

I've actually noticed this issue on Duo with the term "spokesperson" quite frequently. When speaking about the job in general terms, I think "spokesperson" is best. But I've seen translations like, "Jay Carney, the White House spokesperson..." and "Nancy, the spokesperson...". IMO, they sound weird and we should use "spokesman"/"spokeswoman" when referring to an individual.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Potatosage
Potatosage
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I was a tad miffed when someone, who posts as a champion of tolerance of the diversity of the English language, changed a correct word of mine for a different correct word with the explanation that my word (which happens to be part of my active vocabulary) was correct but so archaic that hardly anyone uses it anymore. Now I know that I'm getting on a bit but archaic?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/drenglish
drenglish
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I wouldn't mind seeing it as part of the guidelines (though to what extent people refer to them I can't say) that mere stylistic disagreement is not a valid reason for making an edit. (It'd be a different matter if, say, uploads came with copy-editor privileges, but they don't and in any case producing stylistically consistent translations isn't really the purpose of the immersion exercise.) Of course there's an amount of gray area: I see plenty of basically correct translations that read poorly, get idioms slightly off, etc., and--at least for articles where I'm not just dropping in but have done a substantial amount of the work already--I'll take a relatively free hand about making those corrections (while being sure to upvote the prior work first). But if you're not actually fixing errors, or otherwise substantially improving the translation (especially to adhere more closely to the meaning and/or tenor of the original), then you should just lay off.

It's a superset of the (often inadvertent) dialect-chauvanism thing, and is becoming a pet peeve.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wwishmd
wwishmd
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Well said, especially the penultimate sentence.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator
Dessamator
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The guidelines include that recommendation already (Writing Style guideline 1):

An article should not be edited simply to switch from one valid use of the destination language to another;

Although users may be simply ignoring it or unaware of it.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Potatosage
Potatosage
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Surely the point here is that it unreasonable and impractical to insist that US English speakers write in UK English or vice versa. All we should expect is that we can all do our own thing without people insisting on changing April 1 1900 to 1 April 1900 and vice versa until the first short sentence of some wiki article has about fifty versions.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/drenglish
drenglish
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Absolutely. I'm betting I've got an above-average awareness of British English, for an American, but if I were to dedicate myself to translating something in UK style I'd get things wrong, and where's the point in that? The notion of being able to designate some sort of "house style" for an article under those circumstances--especially when there's no provision for an uploader (or anybody) to actually fulfill a copy-editor function here--seems to me fundamentally misguided. Immersion just isn't built to produce polished, style-guide-consistent translations.

It boils down to respect. You know there are different variants of English in use here, so respect that. If I have real changes to make in someone else's translation, and they're using BE, I'll probably shift spellings to USE standard, punctuation too, because that's just the way I can write comfortably. But don't go around treating British style as something in and of itself deserving of correction, any more than American is. (Though I can't say I've seen any particularly British arrogance manifesting in this thread. Sigh.) All that is is chauvinism, and it's gross.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Potatosage
Potatosage
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I came across a very odd thing the other day. It was a heading in an article with three versions. The first used a common, and correct, translation for one of the words. The second replaced that word with one less common and added a comment explaining why that was the correct word in that particular context. THE THIRD VERSION WAS EXACTLY THE SAME AS THE SECOND just that there was a comment telling the second translator that her/his version was correct but his/her comment should have included the URL to the reason for the change. Now I do not know the motivation of the third translator, though I am sure it was not to pinch the credit for someone else's correct translation. But once others have figured out how to do it they have at their disposal a technique that beats comma fascism any day.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator
Dessamator
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My guess is that it could have been partly due to one of the recommendations of the immersion guidelines. Specifically, Content Correctness Guideline 3.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/drenglish
drenglish
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Links are suggested as ways to substantiate a translation. They're not required, or even useful in many cases. Reasonable explanation should always be sufficient.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Dessamator
Dessamator
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Well, I think in this case it is actually a good idea. One accurate translation was replaced with another accurate translation, a very good reason is necessary for that replacement, preferably with evidence (aka a link). Otherwise, it could have sparked an edit-war.

But you are quite right that it is only a suggestion.

4 years ago