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How many words are enough for a literature test?
Thread poster: cendrine marrouat
cendrine marrouat
English to French
+ ...
May 18, 2005

Hello all!
I was offered to do a test of 2 pages for another translator's client (book). At first, I was ok with it, but after seeing the small characters (I couldn't count the amount of words, since it's a PDF document but I would say it's more than 500 words), I tried to talk to the translator. She told me that usually, the regular practice for a literary test is a whole chapter! I argued that I had never heard of that before and that I wouldn't do it for free.
Can someone tell me what's the usual amount of words for a test in this particular case? Thanks a lot!


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Andy Lemminger  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 07:29
Member (2002)
English to German
See other discussion May 18, 2005

Dear Cendrine,

We just had a lengthy discussion about this topic on http://www.proz.com/topic/32330.

Why do you want to do a test for another translator's client by the way? If you are successful only the other translator will benefit.

Take care
Andy


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cendrine marrouat
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you May 19, 2005

Hello and thank you for taking the time to write.
I followed the link and read the messages, and it was very useful.
Take care.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:29
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Literature / book publication tests May 19, 2005

have to reflect style, development AND management of transitions. It's the third element that may lengthen the test.

The juries awarding publication grants generally ask for more than 300 words (you may refer to some grant requirements published in the Professional Development forum). The UNESCO, the Swiss SSA and the NEA have been know to ask for 5 typewritten pages.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:29
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Longer than usual, but not a whole chapter! May 20, 2005

cendrine marrouat wrote:
I was offered to do a test of 2 pages for another translator's client (book). ... She told me that usually, the regular practice for a literary test is a whole chapter!


I can understand why a literary translation text might be somewhat longer, but not a whole chapter, surely. In fact, if it were up to me to text a translator, I'd provide not a single piece of text but rather three or four pieces of text which would allow me to test the translator's style more throroughly. After all, while a technical document can be expected to contain roughly the same kind of text throughout, a literary work often contains many different types of text (narrative, dialogue, etc), which require slightly different skills to translate well.

If you were to be paid for the chapter (even if it were a much reduced fee as a token), then yes.


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