KudoZ: asking

What should I do if I don't have context to include in my KudoZ question?

There is always some context to provide, such as information about the type of customer (an oil company? a plumber? a dentist? ), the type of document you are translating, the subject, etc.

Even in the extreme case of posting an item in a list there is hope. Imagine a question posted as:

Question: quolly
Fields: Law/Patents - Other
Context: It's in a list - (sorry but) no context available.

Now with a deeper understanding of what context is and what purpose it serves, some questions may elicit useful information and, quite possibly, lead to a valid answer.

For example:

  • What does the patent describe? And if it's a revolutionary ion engine for spacecraft, change the fields to Tech/Enginnering - Space/Aeronautics - Ion engine design.
  • What is the purpose of the list? There's a big difference of context between a list of engine parts and a list of tools used to assemble an engine.
  • What are the adjacent items in the list? Very often lists contain related terms, and to an expert the meaning of the obscure term may well be clear when seen along with the other items.
  • What is the country of origin of the text, and/or of its author? Words are often misused by non-native speakers.
  • Does the overall quality of the source text suggest the problem term is 'just another typo or scanno' in a text riddled with rubbish or is it, on the contrary, a real term that's probably being used correctly.

Armed with that meaningful context we have a new question, such as:

Question: quolly
Fields: Tech/Enginnering - Space/Aeronautics - Ion engine design
Context: It's in a list of tools used in the assembly of spacecraft engines, mentioned in the patent for a revolutionary ion engine. The rest of the text seems to be well-written by a native English-speaker (from a well-known manufacturing company in the UK), so I don't think it's an error in the source text.

Of course, this doesn't guarantee there will be a valid answer, but at least that will not be for "no context".