Typical sample
Thread poster: Xiamin
Xiamin
Local time: 18:57
Chinese to English
Aug 2, 2007

What is the typical length of material a prospective client sends you for a sample of your work? 50-100 words? More? Does it depend on the project? ( I guess translating a book or research paper might require more ). Still new to this and trying to figure out what to expect....

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 07:57
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Not more than 400 words Aug 2, 2007

This is considered the maximun length for sample translations.
Cheers
Heinrich


Direct link Reply with quote
 

megane_wang  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:57
English to Spanish
+ ...
Mostly around 200 words Aug 2, 2007

... for technical.

For literary translations it could be a little more, but be careful with requests above 400.

In fact, once I did a 550 word test for an agency... and they paid for it (a really uncommon thing).

Ruth @ MW


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Xiamin
Local time: 18:57
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Aug 2, 2007

You say be careful with samples over 400 words....why? what to do if a potential client sends a longer 'sample' and insists the whole thing be done? I'm not in a position to turn away (potential) work, but I also still work another full time job, so all freelance endeavors have to take place in the evenings/at night....

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Angela Arnone  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:57
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
Because they may be getting you to do a job without paying you Aug 4, 2007

Sadly there are unscrupulous agencies who farm out short jobs as tests and then charge the end customer for them. In fact, they can even go so far as to get several unsuspecting translators to do a couple of pages each and put together a whole manual or whatever, simply patching it all together and re-reading inhouse.
They will then tell you that the work was not up to scratch and you never hear from them again.
I've fallen for this twice in the last couple of years because the approach came from "reputable" outsourcers ... and I have many years of experience! When I asked for explanations as to why they were unhappy with the work, I got no reply. So that is self-explanatory.
I now only do tests if I am paid or if it can be shown that the same piece has been sent to other people (which is how it should be) so is probably not being "sold" to anyone.

That said, 50-100 words is not sufficient and about 250 is about right.

Best of luck
Angela

Xiamin wrote:

You say be careful with samples over 400 words....why? what to do if a potential client sends a longer 'sample' and insists the whole thing be done? I'm not in a position to turn away (potential) work, but I also still work another full time job, so all freelance endeavors have to take place in the evenings/at night....


[Edited at 2007-08-04 07:20]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Xiamin
Local time: 18:57
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Unfortunately Aug 4, 2007

I first discussed this with my even though he has no freelance experience, common sense led him to descibe your scenario as a possibility...i really hope this is not the case.

which makes me wonder...what is the typical response time?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 07:57
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
10 000 words can be normal Aug 9, 2007

...as long as they pay your usual rate

Seriously - I suggest not bothering yourself with those free test translations whatever volume these can be. If the clients are so quality-cautious and serious, they will check everything they get from you even without telling you they do it - serious agencies/clients have their own system to check and proof what they get from translators (well, it would be most stupid to send the translation done by a new vendor to the client without even reading or seeing what is written in it). And those who prepare kilos of pages of those "please register at our database and maybe we will offer you some jobs" (where you do not even understand when to fill in - I had a question from one USA agency in what bookstores I buy dictionaries - as if it makes a difference to then what bookstore is that if they do not know the country where I live?).

And do not waste time for those who actually need a free translation (without the word "test"). Are you a charity organization? You can do even the quality no one will do in the world, but your translation will appear as "not accepted" without any reason (because their policy is "such"). Most often - your test translation will go "into the water" (no one will even bother to reply to you). And how such an agency can check the quality if they do not know the target language? Hire someone else (whom they do not know) to proofread your test. And of course, the one who does the proofing will use all his/her imagination to find as many "problems" in your test as possible just to show that "that translation was a total scrap - do not work with him/her - work with me as I can do it much better and much cheaper"...And when (if lucky) you can get the indications of "grammar mistakes" your did and you will explain in a polite manner that there are really no mistakes, BUT their proofreader inserted at least a dozen of school grammar errors, you will explain why it is not a mistake where the the proofreader indicated, and that the proofreader distorted the text, you will get a classical reply "Sorry, but we do not understand the target language and we trust our proofreader" (the one who washed out the brain of the vendor manager about his/her super duper quality)...

And for conclusion - WHAT can be seen or judged from a small 1-2 page test translation piece? Maybe it is super duper but you asked your friend to do this test and that friend has over 300 years of translation experience...Test is of a fantastic quality, but the translator illiterate in reality. Who can check if it was done by John or Peter? A colleague of mine has a agency - a translator did a super test (he even offered to for that on a full rate whatever the quiality will be), and he ordered a big job then "convinced about the quality". When he got the whole job (over 200 pages), he almost had a heart attack when he started to read what he got.

I wonder what sense do these free test translations make and who invented such a nonsense? Better ask them to make a test money transfer to see if their accountant is a real professional.



[Edited at 2007-08-09 22:20]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Xiamin
Local time: 18:57
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Marius! Aug 10, 2007

You make some good points....

LOL @ Test money transfer!!!

Well, I haven't heard back so I guess I just have to look at this as a learning experience...


Direct link Reply with quote
 

MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 07:57
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
:) Aug 13, 2007

Yes - do not take up all that "free test stuff" - earn yourself a piece of respect (in the eyes of the agency

Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Typical sample

Advanced search







CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »
Across v6.3
Translation Toolkit and Sales Potential under One Roof

Apart from features that enable you to translate more efficiently, the new Across Translator Edition v6.3 comprises your crossMarket membership. The new online network for Across users assists you in exploring new sales potential and generating revenue.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums