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"test translation" turned into a paid job
Thread poster: Kyle Moore
Kyle Moore  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:35
Member (2014)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sep 1, 2008

Consider this summarized chain of events:

1. I send my message. "Hi, I'm a translator..."
2. Outsourcer e-mails back "Oh, translate this 6-page document")
3. Me: "Umm..okay, is this paid?" (I start the translation.)
4. Outsourcer: "No, it's not paid, but there's more where that came from if you do a good job."
5. Me: "Here's the first page as a test. I'm not doing 6 pages for free. If you want the rest, pay for it."
6. Outsourcer: "I do want the rest, so finish it."
7. Me: "Are you going to pay for it?"
8. Outsourcer: "Yeah, I'll pay for it"

Considering the first page is part of the translation that the outsourcer is presumable going to turn around and charge per word for, do I bill for the first page, or just the last 5?


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 01:35
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Of course you bill for all Sep 1, 2008

You did the whole job, didn't you?

Uldis

PS. Myself being an outsourcer I consider it unethical to ask for any "free tests" at all- all jobs must be paid. As to me, I sure can afford to pay for a test even if I myself am not paid for it - the more reason for me not to make tests 6 pages long

U.

Orgullomoore wrote:
Considering the first page is part of the translation that the outsourcer is presumable going to turn around and charge per word for, do I bill for the first page, or just the last 5?


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 18:35
English to French
+ ...
Thanks for clearing that up Sep 1, 2008

Uldis Liepkalns wrote:

Myself being an outsourcer I consider it unethical to ask for any "free tests" at all- all jobs must be paid.


Thanks, Uldis, for clearing that up. Translators regularly debate whether tests should be paid or not. However, outsourcers are never taking part in such discussions, and we therefore never have their opinion to have a complete picture of the issue.

In my mind, paying for a test is an investment. A company, no matter what industry they work in, needs to invest to find the best suppliers to work with. If they care at all about the quality of their product, they need to make sure that their human resources can pull that off. Most companies invest money to find the right employees - it pays back in the end. It is even illegal in many countries (Canada included) to "test" employees free of charge before hiring them. Why should it be any different for translation?

As for Orgullomoore's question, well, I believe you should have worked that out with the client before accepting the job. You are not supposed to figure out how much you charge something once you have accepted the job - those details are normally part of the negotiation and of the PO, both of which precede the commencement of work. Your client may be surprised to find out you charged six pages when it may have been his understanding he was only going to pay for five pages. He may find it a nasty surprise - and decide never to work with you again, or worse, never to pay even for the five pages.

I think the ethical approach here would be to bill the client for five pages, and then to let him know that the sixth page you didn't bill for is a complementary service you offered them just this once. Then, you can explain that your test translation policy is to get paid for all of the translation. Make sure you add the sixth page on your invoice and mark it no charge (don't use the word free - the client just may take it for granted). That way, it will be clear to the client that this is a one-time deal - but the client will also understand that you use ethics in your work and that you are not an abuser.

Otherwise, I fully agree with Uldis - you normally should charge all six pages. Your mistake is that you didn't settle this with your client before accepting the job. I think now you have to give him the benefit of the doubt.

And please, do negotiate and put in writing the details (and prices) of the jobs you accept before you start working on them. This will spare you a lot of headaches.

[Edited at 2008-09-01 18:19]


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 01:35
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Right so Sep 1, 2008

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
In my mind, paying for a test is an investment. A company, no matter what industry they work in, needs to invest to find the best suppliers to work with.


As from Agency's viewpoint- we ask for paid tests only if our clients ask for a test. If not, we just order some one page job to a new translator and pay for it whatever the result. If the job is good, we give more work to that translator, if it is not- we just pay him and forget about him. To start disputing payment for a small, though substandard job is just not worth while for an agency- you'll loose time, will be defamed on the Internet- just not worth the trouble.

Actually I do not believe in a test jobs at all- when ordered a test job, the translator will use all available Internet resources plus 30 dictionaries, which all may not be the case with the actual job. Not to mention that we have no way to verify that the test was done by him himself at all...

Uldis

[Rediģēts plkst. 2008-09-01 18:42]


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:35
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Bill for 5 pages, and let us know if you got paid Sep 1, 2008

My suggestion is to bill for 5 pages, and then let us know if the client pays at all...
Somehow the exchange you quoted raises doubts for me whether you are going to get paid at all...
Have you checked the BB for this outsourcer?


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Kyle Moore  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:35
Member (2014)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Good idea Sep 1, 2008

Katalin Horvath McClure wrote:

My suggestion is to bill for 5 pages, and then let us know if the client pays at all...
Somehow the exchange you quoted raises doubts for me whether you are going to get paid at all...
Have you checked the BB for this outsourcer?


That sounds like a good idea to me, too. I'll send the bill for 5 pages and let you guys know. Thanks.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:35
English to German
+ ...
Spot on, Uldis Sep 1, 2008

Echoing Uldis's view as an outsourcer:

PS. Myself being an outsourcer I consider it unethical to ask for any "free tests" at all- all jobs must be paid. As to me, I sure can afford to pay for a test even if I myself am not paid for it - the more reason for me not to make tests 6 pages long

Very much so - personally, I have found those who offered free tests to lack the qualities I'm looking for. OTOH those freelancers who adopted a professional approach from the very start (to me, that includes charging for the service you provide, with precious few exceptions) always delivered what I expected - there simply was no need to test their abilities.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:35
French to English
and then Sep 1, 2008

Orgullomoore wrote:

7. Me: "Are you going to pay for it?"
8. Outsourcer: "Yeah, I'll pay for it"

Considering the first page is part of the translation that the outsourcer is presumable going to turn around and charge per word for, do I bill for the first page, or just the last 5?


Now, me, had I got in this situation, it would then be:

9. Me: "How much?"


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xxxsavaria
Hungary
Local time: 00:35
English to Hungarian
+ ...
I would do(I mean translate) 1(one) page Sep 1, 2008

I would do(I mean translate) 1(one) page,and ask if they are satisfied with it(content,grammar,vocab,etc.).If they could reasonably justify why they were not happy with it,I would probably resign(I mean reject) any job like this,if not,then I would either not continue working for them,or I would really ask for payment.If they reject your ask for payment,I would stop every communication with this particular company.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:35
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Tests are free, but the licence is different, see Sep 2, 2008

Orgullomoore wrote:
Considering the first page is part of the translation that the outsourcer is presumable going to turn around and charge per word for, do I bill for the first page, or just the last 5?


If you're asking "Should bill for the last five pages simply because the first page will lead to those 5 pages?", the answer is, "No, that's false logic."

But if you're asking whether the client should pay for the test translation if he intends to use that translation commercially, the answer is, yes of course.

When you translate something for a client, you grant him a licence to the translation for commercial purposes, royalty-free. A test translation is not so licensed. A test translation is proof of your abilities. If the client wants to use the test translation as he would use a normal translation, he would have to either pay for it or come to an arrangement with you that the translation of it was a free translation.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 18:35
English to French
+ ...
I hope people read this Sep 2, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:

When you translate something for a client, you grant him a licence to the translation for commercial purposes, royalty-free. A test translation is not so licensed. A test translation is proof of your abilities. If the client wants to use the test translation as he would use a normal translation, he would have to either pay for it or come to an arrangement with you that the translation of it was a free translation.


I must admit that this has never occurred to me. Good point, Samuel! I hope many people will read this - and then put this concept to practice. I will.

Maybe a disclaimer accompanying the free test translation, something along the lines of "this translation may only be used to establish the quality of my work, and it is prohibited to publish it, unless copyright is bought at the amount of $XYZ", would do the trick.


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 01:35
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
my two cents Sep 2, 2008

I think it shall be very clear from the very begining if it is a free test translation, or a real job which is supposed to be paid. In this situation, it is neither fish, nor meat.

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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 23:35
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Welcome back, Marius Sep 2, 2008

MariusV wrote:
I think it shall be very clear from the very beginning if it is a free test translation, or a real job which is supposed to be paid. In this situation, it is neither fish, nor meat.


Haven't seen you in a while. Generally I agree with you, though I think she handled the situation rather cleverly in a language pair which is murderously competitive from what I gather. If someone had sent me a six page "test", I would have told him where to put it (politely perhaps), but she took a potentially abusive situation and turned it into a perfectly legitimate deal. Well done.

As for the billing issue, I'm a greedy SOB, so I'd bill all six pages without a second thought. Viktoria's suggestion for how to handle billing only five pages is good advice, however. I only do such things for people capable of appreciating and perhaps returning a favor, and I don't know if that applies in this case. Maybe you should bill everything and "credit" that page on the next job - and let them know this is the plan. Like with a coupon, the agency will have to "shop" with you again to redeem it.


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