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Agency will not discuss fees before test is done!
Thread poster: Louise Dupont

Louise Dupont  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:19
English to French
May 13, 2005

2 weeks ago I received 3 separate e-mails from an agency looking for new translators.
I responded, like I always do, by sending my CV so the Agency (based in India) can see my fees and determine I they can "afford" me. Not that my fees are enormous, but I know for a fact that certain agencies in certain countries don't pay very much. So if there is a major difference between what they can offer and what I charge, usually the agency politely replies that we cannot do business together, and that's OK by me.
But in this case, the agency request that I do a test (1000 words)and send it back within a week.
Before I waste time on that test I ask the agency about the payment they offer. I saw on the Blue Board that they had low payments and wanted to see how low they were.
Here's the reply they sent:
According to company guidelines, the tariffs are only discussed once the test is passed.
And here's mine:
Well I have to decline your offer then.
I simply will not do a test if I don't know what you have to offer.

Louise


[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2005-05-13 15:16]


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Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:19
German to English
+ ...
Good for you. May 13, 2005

The agency does not sound like the sort of agency you will really want to work for.

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Lindsay Sabadosa  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:19
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
Translator Beware... May 13, 2005

A thousand word test sounds like a free translation for them before they told you that you were too "expensive." Good for you refusing them like that!

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Andy Lemminger  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 20:19
Member (2002)
English to German
1000 words May 13, 2005

Even knowing their rates I would never agree to a test of 1000 words. No free lunch.

Andy


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 22:19
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Agree with Andy May 13, 2005

1000 words is outrageous. How can they not reveal their fees to you, since naturally a 1000-word test is a paid test?

Forget them.

Nancy


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Valeri Serikov  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:19
Member (2003)
English to Russian
+ ...
A test is 250 words long May 13, 2005

And this is known to everybody here. I, too, was offered to translate 1000 words as a test. More than that, I was told that it was a client's demand. Rubbish.

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Channa Montijn  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:19
Member (2003)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Same experience May 13, 2005

They contacted me a while ago with same request... I also informed them about my rates and their reply was the same as your reply.
I declined the 'potential' job, of course!
I wonder how many translators they contacted this way...


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xxxsonja29
Spanish to English
+ ...
Same here! May 13, 2005

Hi Louise,

I had the exact same experience a few days ago with - I suspect - the very same agency. They wanted me to pass a 1,000-word subtitle translation test before they even deigned to disclose their tariffs. My response was identical to yours. They emailed me right back with a snide remark to the effect of "you don't know what you are missing but best of luck with your miserable career anyway." I did not even bother to address their remarks: they are trouble and good riddance!

Sonja


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:19
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
1000 word test? Crazy! May 13, 2005

I wonder how many of us can go into a shop and ask to "test" their goods to the sum of $100...this is simply a joke.

Their behaviour only confirms that this is not an agency to do business with.

Well done!


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cendrine marrouat
English to French
+ ...
Reminds me of a similar experience May 13, 2005

A long time ago, I replied to an offer through Proz. The potential client wanted a short test but would not disclose his/her rates. Before qtarting anything, I always ask for rates and deadlines. The person answered right away : 0.04 US dollar a word (a joke considering they were in the US). When I wrote that I asked for at least 0.10 a word, the client answered something like : "Go to Hell!"
Isn't it nice?
I like it when people want you to work for free...


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Rina LS  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 04:19
Member
English to Serbian
+ ...
Some translators request a minimal fee even for the test translations! May 13, 2005

Dear Louise,

You are not the only one who had such an experience. I absolutely agree with Andy, Valery and other colleagues on the volume of test-text. 1000 words is a free translation and if you and several other colleagues translate 1000 words one at a time, they get the free translation of the large project. It is great you refused their offer.

The average volume of the test is around 250 words, and some translators request a minimal fee even for the test translations!

Unfortunately, this agency you mentioned is not the sole case.
There are many such agencies in the translation market, but we all have to be aware that they are at least unprofessional, if not (if I am allowed to say) cheaters and this offer may be a pure fraud.

Well done, Louise!

Regards,

Rina


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Federica Masante  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:19
Member (2003)
Italian to English
+ ...
I wouldn't jump to conclusions like that May 13, 2005

Hi Louise,

I know exactly which company you are talking about (no names mentioned here obviously) and I don't think it's fair to make such a rash judgement on the basis of the fact they didn't want to discuss their rates prior to completing their test. I have been working for this company for a while now and I can tell you that, although their rates may be on the low side, they are a nice company to work with and the projects are very interesting (documentaries and films).
As for the test, I doubt that they were trying to get a free translation because their proficiency test, which admittedly is a tad long, is standard for every translator.
In any case, I am not questioning your decision, it's a free world and thank God we always have the choice to accept or decline offers as we think fit.

Peace to all

Federica


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giogi
Local time: 03:19
That's reminds me May 13, 2005

Konstantin Kisin wrote:

I wonder how many of us can go into a shop and ask to "test" their goods to the sum of $100...this is simply a joke.


what my butcher told me a couple of weeks ago.
An old lady asked him if she could smell a steak before buying it!!!!!

A 1000 word test is crazy...Thell them to get lost!


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xxxtazdog
Spain
Local time: 04:19
Spanish to English
+ ...
rash judgment? May 13, 2005

Any agency that won't be up front about rates is potentially wasting a translator's time, and as others have said, a 1,000 word test is out of line--especially if that's the standard test for everyone. It might be a different story if they had a specific job with very specific terminology in mind for a specific client, but as a general test it's far too much.

I once sent an agency my rates in response to a call for translators, and was sent a selection of tests (all about 250 - 300 words, each on a different subject). I did 3 of these tests, as they were in my specialty areas--only to have the agency come back to congratulate me on passing them and inform me of the rates offered, which were much lower than my own. I was furious that they'd wasted my time by even sending me the tests, knowing what my rates are, as I will never work for their rates and would never have done the tests if I'd known them in advance. Not making things clear from the start is, in my book, just plain unprofessional, no matter how nice they may be.

I would have done exactly the same thing as you did, Louise, especially in light of my own experience.


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Louise Dupont  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:19
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Dear Federica, May 13, 2005

Maybe it's a very good company, but I wonder why they won't discuss fees before the test. My suspicion comes from that part, I cannot imagine another good reason that would justify this reaction.
No one has time to lose over a test (doing it or correcting it)or anything else for that matter.
Let's forget about the size of the test, if I do it and they verify it and after that we cannot find a suitable agreement for the fees, we both lost precious time. That's the only thing I wanted to prevent.


[Edited at 2005-05-13 19:34]


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