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An invoice as a sample test??
Thread poster: Taylor Kirk

Taylor Kirk  Identity Verified

Local time: 13:00
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Mar 6, 2008

I received a sample test from a reputable agency, and it was a PDF invoice with lots of handwriting, stamps, company logos, illegible text and less than 100 actual words that would be translated. This seems like a Microsoft Word formatting test and not a test of my translation ability. I have never gotten anything like this before as a test, and would immediately reject it except for the agency's decent Blue Board rating. It seems that a good agency would send me such a test because that is the type of job they would be sending me, one-page PDFs with messy copy, which I won't take in any case. They have also requested three references in just one of my language pairs, which seems excessive. What to do?

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:00
English to German
+ ...
Decline Mar 6, 2008

It seems that a good agency would send me such a test because that is the type of job they would be sending me, one-page PDFs with messy copy, which I won't take in any case.

It seems that you have just answered your question.

Best regards,

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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:00
Dutch to English
+ ...
Decline (but I'd also briefly tell them why ...) Mar 6, 2008

Sounds like you've just been handed a job under the guise of a test they can't offload on one of their regulars.

[Edited at 2008-03-06 17:03]

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Marie-Céline GEORG  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:00
English to French
+ ...
What does the agency expect? Mar 6, 2008


Did you ask exactly what the agency wanted you to perform as a test? Maybe they just expect you to send back a simple Word file with the 100 words translated and none/basic layout?
If not, make it clear with the agency that you're doing the translation test for free (or the agreed fee if any) but you're charging your usual hourly rate for DTP work if you have to create the file layout.
Maybe they've sent you the wrong file ?

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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:00
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Two kinds of translators Mar 6, 2008

Some translators like formatting, and some don't. Some offer DTP services and others don't. In some jobs, formatting or DTP is as important or more important than translation. The translator's attitude can be either:

1) I'm a translator, and translation is what I do. Wasting my time and energy on formatting distracts me from doing what I do best.

2) I'm a solution provider, and I do (or delegate) whatever tasks are necessary to provide the client with what they need.

I don't believe that one attitude is better than the other, and I don't suggest that it is, but rather that it's a good idea to be clear about which one you are. If you enter into jobs of type #2 when you're type #1, both you and the agency may end up frustrated.

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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:00
Swedish to English
+ ...
Complete document Mar 6, 2008

Most people who have answered Taylor in this thread have commented on whether or not DTP should be part of a test translation.

What about the fact that test translating a whole document (invoice) for free makes is possible for the agency to get a free translation (OK, they might still have to do some DTP themselves).


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Local time: 19:00
Highly unlikely Mar 13, 2008


I find it highly unlikely that an agency would try to disguise a project into a test translation, just to avoid paying for the DTP work that it would involve.

In my experience as a Project Manager I have never done this, nor would I ever consider cheating a supplier, or the client for that matter, in this way.

DTP projects are usually assigned to people who have been thoroughly tested -no agency would risk commissioning such a project to a supplier who isn't in the list of accepted suppliers.

Therefore, my assumption is that they either wanted to test your expertise in the filed of Accountancy, or this was just a mistake on their part.

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