I have devoted some time to KudoZ from summer 2000 till now (2003-01-15).
My wife has not always been appreciative of the time spent on it and some members have commented infavourably on 'point grabbers' in general.
Although I have not seen negative comments the last nine months I still feel there is room for comment from one who has some experience.
For me the KudoZ arena has been somewhat of a private university and a very rewarding experience.
The analysis of the words, the looking them up (dictionaries, glossaries), the checking of their frequency (Google & similar) and the peer responses and the decision of the asker is a very good linguistic experience.
In my case the cross-language associations between e.g. Latin-French-Spanish or Swedish-Danish-Norwegian-German-English has been cross-fertilizing and has developed my linguistic skills considerably.
What's driving a true KudoZer?
Much has been speculated:
1. We are greedy ego-aggrandizing maniacs without self-confidence outside the KudoZ arena.
2. We are addicts without better things to do, i.e. we have no real translation jobs.
3. We are sick, passive individuals that are simply triggered by someone asking us a question.
4. We are participating in something condescendingly called "game" by some people.
I contend that we are none of these things.
If one is at all curious and if one wants to learn it is almost impossible to withstand the challenge put on one's table by a person in need. It is impossible because there is always that chain of thoughts:
”Of course the answer must be!” “On reflection, one could also say” “or is it possible to use XXX?”
“Let us check it!” “Hm, that is funny!” “Let us check what YYY says.” “Hm, that is interesting!” “Let us see what Google says!” “Hm, maybe XXX is right after all.” “I think I will call my friend at SKF.” “That is it!” “I knew it was something special.” etc. etc.
One interesting facet of the KudoZ world is the discovery that the so-called “easy” questions are very often not easy at all. “I love you” might be easy but “I love you dearly” or “I want you” might be much trickier to express with all its various nuances. Even more casual expressions like “Did you enjoy yourself yesterday?” could bring so many different correct answers that the asker becomes bewildered.
It might be much easier to translate “refractometer”.
As to having all that time to spend on KudoZ, I want to quote a KudoZ colleague:
“After 45 minutes of translating, I feel fed up and I want variation. A few KudoZ questions later I feel fit for fight again.” That is exactly how I see it and most of the time, that is how I have handled it.
If one is, like me, up at 4 in the morning one might have some extra time and extra calm to be allowed to answer a few extra questions.
If one, like me, works from home, it is also possible to answer questions after the Saturday evening film or Sunday in your free time.
This is, if you like, one of the secrets of “grabbing points”.
Anyway: The joy of being confronted with all these intellectual challenges can still keep me awake.
What is the value of KudoZ points?
ProZ.com member 5293, Prof. Tagir Tagirov wrote:
“One might easily recall as I do those days (not too far from the coming Xmas, though) when KudoZ appeared. As in almost any process in the IT world, by participating in KudoZ you are creating your own traces and ... thus slightly changing the world! Your own world and those of others. I am sure that this invention was, is and will be one of the strongest and freshest things in translation - anybody may trace your answers from almost the origin!
Not saying all those ordinary words about "the best place where you may get highly professional help and assistance", I should note one additional feature: it is absolutely free and can be read and used by anybody.
I am sure that "clever" "outsourcers" certainly read KudoZ and trace eventual candidates (if they do not, then their intellectual level is not too high ). Usually, people claiming and making complaints in view of absence of work flows via ProZ.com either are rather poor translators, or did not understand all roles in this piece since had not read them , or simply do not correspond to the site's name - ProZ.com means "professionals".”
Ttagir’s statement sums up very well what I have unconsciously felt for a long time:
I am killing three birds with one stone.
1. I help
2. I prove myself
3. I leave traces that might help someone to choose me as a translator
Further it is maybe the best meeting place at ProZ.com. You get to know your colleagues step by step without imposing yourself on them or being imposed by them. Most of my ProZ.com friends I have first encountered in the KudoZ arena.
When it comes to nominating moderators, KudoZ quality and behaviour is often one important yardstick.
If you want to try a team effort one of the more common tools is to see how your prospect partner comes through in the KudoZ arena.
K O G
One satisfying experience with KudoZ is that we are together building maybe one of the most interesting glossaries in history: The KOG (KudoZ Open Glossary).
It will be a glossary containing a lot of very special words, terms and expressions, that could not be found anywhere else. The best of it all:
The majority of entries (I know: not all!) are of high quality, due to the checks and balances of the KudoZ system. There still remain a number of measures in order to weed out the bad entries, but those are becoming rarer with the increasing number of participants.
I do not know any better mechanism of building a glossary than the ProZ.com KudoZ system.
I am quite proud to have been one of the more active members in the shaping and building the KudoZ Open Glossary and I still rejoice at every new question
Mats J C Wiman
ProZ.com moderator DEU-ENG-FRA-SPA-SWE