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How many tests for the same agency?
Thread poster: Nesrin

Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:24
English to Arabic
+ ...
May 25, 2007

A couple of weeks ago an agency approached me with a translation test in one of my specialist subjects.
Checked the Blue Board - the agency has very good ratings (straight 5s) and seems to be quite respectable.

The test, apart from being very specialised, was very long (800+ words), so the agency kindly agreed to pay me for the test. Anyway, a few days later I heard back from them, and was delighted to know that the proofreaders thought my translation was excellent (that's the exact word they used).

Today, this agency told me of an upcoming project, again on the SAME specialist subject, but because they don't want to take any risk (because it's a prestigious client), they want me to take another test, this time shorter (370 words) and unpaid.

Is that acceptable? I said I could do it probably later next week, but now I'm thinking - that's not fair, is it? If the prestigious client is worried, shouldn't they be able to throw in a good word about me and tell them that they've already tested me and that I was found to be suitable? Or am I making a big deal out of this? The test, by the way, is not part of the actual forthcoming job.


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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 20:24
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
They should pay for the second test as well May 25, 2007

800 or 400 words doesn't really matter, does it? It's still a job. Why don't they agree to pay for the second one? I mean, they will be paying someone to review your test... It's something they pay for, so why not pay YOU? Argh...

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Marcelo Silveyra
United States
Local time: 10:24
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
I agree with Mikhail May 25, 2007

This is an opportunity cost issue. If you keep doing sample tests for them, they are not only using up your valuable time, but also the time that you could have spent doing paid work. Theoretically, they should definitely pay you; especially if you've already done a translation test for them. Moreover, the client should be satisfied with excerpts from your work (instead of unpaid tests that don't have to do with the upcoming project...if they were part of it, you would at least be 300 or so words ahead of the game)!

But then again, it's all a balancing issue between being a pushover (no offense meant, of course) and making the agency angry. Does the tone of their communication give you any idea about how tolerant they would be to you asking for payment? How important is this agency's work for you? If it seems very plausible that they would agree to it, I would personally ask (politely) for some sort of payment and explain my grounds for the request.


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Trudy Peters  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:24
German to English
+ ...
I think one test is enough, Nesrin, ... May 25, 2007

...especially since it's on the same subject. I would politely tell them that. And there probably is still no guarantee that you will get the job.

Trudy


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 20:24
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
If its a test sample from the client May 26, 2007

If the client wants to see the result for a specific text-sample you cannot avoid it, otherwise they will ask another translator. You should get paid though, if the job does not realise for you.
Cheers
Heinrich


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 14:24
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Maybe it's a test with the actual job May 26, 2007

Mikhail Kropotov wrote:
800 or 400 words doesn't really matter, does it? It's still a job. Why don't they agree to pay for the second one? I mean, they will be paying someone to review your test... It's something they pay for, so why not pay YOU? Argh...



Maybe the agency wants to show the end client how THIS particular job will look if you do it, so they are sending you a snippet of the real thing.

If everything is on the up-and-up, you may say that if you actually get the job and use this test sample in the whole translation, you'll deduct whatever you charge for it from the total price, as you will have already translated it. It will be just a matter of finding that piece, and then doing a simple copy&paste on the right place.

This shows total honesty from your side and, if they are honest too, they'll agree.


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Martin Wenzel
Germany
Local time: 19:24
English to German
+ ...
Send the test May 26, 2007

I do get the sinking feeling that these agencies exploit translators as much as they can...

I got several so-called tests, where I am absolutely positive, they sold them, they never came back to me to report.

In one instance, the lady got cocky when I wanted a feedback. From then on I decided I wouldn't do any free test translations any more...

You see, I think they want to sell this test translation because they had to pay you for the first test (which stingy agencies would not do, unless they are paid by their final client...), so they are now getting money back from you...

Can't you read between the lines if they are honest...

In another situation, a final client asked me to do a test translation. I told them that I had to ask a minimum charge. They never came back to me. When I asked for some feedback, they said the translation was excellent, but they decided for somebody else, who did not charge for the test...

So, perhaps trust them a last time for 300 words...just for the experience you'll gain...


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Clara Duarte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 18:24
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Maybe... May 26, 2007

... the agency will give you a sample to translate, then another translator an another text to translate, and so forth, and pay a proofreader to check all the texts. They will have a full translation at the cost of a proofreading.

Clever, isn't it?

I said "maybe", but I have read many comments from other translators on situations such as yours, and now I tend to feel suspicious about long samples. 100 words is OK, 200 is acceptable, but more than that I believe the agency should pay the translator, even if only a reduced rate.


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Andrea Pate-Cazal  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:24
Member
English to German
+ ...
It is unpaid work for them. Check the website of the client. May 29, 2007

Maybe you will find your translation there, soon... If this is the same reputable agency I did some "tests" for, I have the bad feeling that they are using the "tests" from some good translators and deliver them to the client.

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