KudoZ - deciding whether a question is PRO or non-PRO

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 »  Articles Overview  »  ProZ.com Site Features  »  KudoZ  »  KudoZ - deciding whether a question is PRO or non-PRO

KudoZ - deciding whether a question is PRO or non-PRO

By Henry Dotterer | Published  06/2/2005 | KudoZ | Recommendation:
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Quicklink: http://pol.proz.com/doc/95
Henry Dotterer
japoński > angielski translator
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KudoZ - deciding whether a question is PRO or non-PRO

Sometimes people who are not translators use the KudoZ service to ask how to translate simple expressions, such as "I love you". While some ProZ.com members don't mind answering questions like these, others find them a source of annoyance. In order to meet the needs of both types of member, the category of "non-PRO" questions was created.

PRO and non-PRO questions are handled differently, and members have been given a means of deciding whether or not they want to be exposed to non-PRO questions. It is possible for a member to set alert and display preferences in such a way that s/he will not be alerted of, and will not see on the site, non-PRO questions. (Set your KudoZ email preferences here, and your viewing preferences here.)


Of course, it is necessary to define what constitutes a PRO or a non-PRO question. While there may be no way to draw a clear-cut line, the following definitions have been adopted for the two types of question:

PRO questions are those that are suitable for professional translators.

Non-PRO questions are those that can be answered by any bilingual person without the aid of a dictionary.

When applying the above definitions, detach yourself from your own background/specialisation and think of a - hypothetical - randomly selected bilingual person. Is it likely that this person would be able to produce a good translation of the term or phrase in question (and in the particular context shown) from the top of his/her head? If not, it is a PRO question.


The following chart contrasts non-PRO and PRO-level questions:


- I love you
- Welcome to Panama
- Since when?
- thermos
- mmm, yummy
- boo!

- conclusions of law
- surge capacity
- roll gap feedback
- sizing stand
- universal joint
- subfloor

Notice that the terms in the left column above could probably be translate by just about any fully bilingual person. These are terms of a type not likely to be asked by a professional translators. Because the skills of a professional translator are not called for, these terms should be classified as "non-PRO".

As for the terms in the right column, it is not likely that a typical bilingual person (selected randomly from among those walking down the street) could translate them without the aid of a dictionary or other resource. Because specialized knowledge is necessary to provide a proper translation, these terms are considered appropriate for specialists and professional translators and they should therefore be classified as PRO.

What to do if you are not sure how to classify

If there is any doubt as to whether a question should be classified as PRO or non-PRO, it is generally suggested that the question be classified as PRO.

Ramifications of PRO/non-PRO classification

As mentioned above, questions are treated differently depending on how they are classified. Here are some important differences:

  • Non-PRO questions will not be sent, or shown, to those who do not wish to receive / see them (and vice versa)
  • Points earned by answering non-PRO questions are not used in determining member position in the leaderboard, directory, or in other areas of the site
  • Non-PRO questions (and their answers) do not appear in the field-specific KudoZ Open Glossaries

How terms get classified

Steps have been taken to ensure that questions get classified appropriately. The first person given an opportunity to classify a question is the asker. After a question is asked, users with at least twenty (20) KudoZ PRO points can vote for its reclassification.

In a "help" KudoZ question marked as PRO, participants may vote to have the question marked as non-PRO, and vice versa.

Three votes for either PRO or non-PRO are required to reclassify a question for the first time, and after that it will reverse its status as soon as there are more votes for the change than against it.

What to do if a term is mis-classified

Many terms have been misclassified. In fact, according to the guidelines in this document, the majority of questions classified in the archives as "non-PRO" should actually be classified as "PRO". If you see a term that you believe has been misclassified, please help to classify it properly by means of your vote. (A log is kept of such votes, and your name will appear to others who have the right to vote. If you cast the deciding vote, your name will appear as the person responsible for reclassification.)

Other information

For more information related to KudoZ, please see:
Note that KudoZ rule 2.1 states, "Use KudoZ to ask for a translation only after you have consulted the KudoZ archives (KudoZ > KudoZ Search from the main menu), dictionaries, search engines and any other commonly available resources that might be helpful. If you find translations elsewhere and still wish to post a KudoZ question, include the information you have found and explain what further information you seek."

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