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Is 400 words too long for a test translation?
Thread poster: Maria Rosich Andreu

Maria Rosich Andreu  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:37
Member (2003)
Dutch to Spanish
+ ...
Feb 4, 2003

I\'d like to know if you think that this is too long for a test translation from an agency or if it is an average length. Thanks!

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Marina Zinno  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:37
French to Italian
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too long Feb 4, 2003

In my opinion is really too long.

A good translation test is about 150 words, max 250 I would say!



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Herbert Fipke  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:37
English to German
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It is a bit long Feb 4, 2003


It is a bit long in my opnion, but still acceptable. It all depends...

It is far too long for a general text, but it can be OK for a very special sector text.

Have fun


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Myron Netchypor  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:37
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...

it depends... Feb 4, 2003

Common practice - 250-300 word test translation. but there is not a big difference 300 or 400. If the client is reliable, and you feel, you can get the assignement, then go on.

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Sven Petersson  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:37
English to Swedish
+ ...
Yes, 400 words too long! Feb 4, 2003

Did your car mechanic service your car for free once to prove his competence?

Did your lawyer draft one contract for free once to prove his competence?

Did your doctor treat you once for free to prove his competence?


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Jane Lamb-Ruiz  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
Nyet, don't do it. Feb 4, 2003

They probably can figure out you are new to the game and are taking advantage....

400 words is too much, especially if you have a translation diploma....

Believe me,,,bitter experience with this sort of crap.

Good luck to you

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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:37
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Too long Feb 4, 2003

I only do test translations when they are short (maybe 150 words or so) and there is exceptional promise of having the job awarded to me. Some nebulous future collaboration doesn\'t hack it.

Also, is the text out of context? Sometimes that happens too and you can\'t win.

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Alexander Chisholm  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:37
Italian to English
+ ...
Too long Feb 5, 2003

I agree its too long unless its an initial assessment test for an agency who is looking for new translators for their records. But if its a test for the particular job they want you to bid for, then I agree with many of the others that this is far too long.

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xxxTService  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:37
English to German
A different view: Feb 5, 2003

I think 400 words is not too much, because it enables you to check out if that kind of job is really your cup of tea:

If you find translating that 400 words a tedious task - hands off from that job.

But if you can do the sample without any problems and in a short time - that job\'s made for you.

Some months ago I did a short sample, got the job - and ran into a mess of technical terms I never expected after the ease of the sample.

I delivered quite a bad job; I never charged the client for that, because I knew that my work wasn\'t worth the price.

If the sample had been larger...

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monitor  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:37
English to German
+ ...
I think it really depends Feb 5, 2003

Hi Maria

If you are doing this just for a one-off job it is by far too much. I would rather tend to say you should not be asked in such a case. Mind your CV!!!

However, let\'s say, a direct client or an agency is looking for a long-time collaboration with a translator in a specialised field (e.g. medecine, pharmacy, IT, finance etc.) a test piece of up to 200 words is O.K.

It also gives you the opportunity to find out how they are dealing with your work (feedback and the like).

Kind Regards


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George Hopkins
Local time: 13:37
Swedish to English
Not for nothing Feb 6, 2003

Doing a translation free of charge should always be avoided.

Suggest instead that you are willing to translate the text suggested, eg, translate half and send it with an invoice. If the prospective customer approves then he will order the remaining half.

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ntext  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:37
Partial member
German to English
+ ...
A tad long, but ... Sep 8, 2003

It is on the lengthy side. However, I did a test translation of about this length a while ago, and the people I did it for have been a major source of income since then.

So if they seem legit and you have reason to believe that they'll actually give you work, go ahead and do it. (Or if you really don't want to, translate the first 250 words and tell them "That's all you get.")

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