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Something that happened to me with a translation test
Thread poster: Sheila Díaz de Cerio Ezcurra

Sheila Díaz de Cerio Ezcurra  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:47
French to Spanish
+ ...
Feb 20, 2009

Hi,


The other day I made a short translation text for an agency.

They gave me 3 paragraphs to choose from and gave the official Web page of the client as help.

My surprise was when I entered the Web page (first thing to do) and I found all the paragraphs already translated in the Web page.

I wrote a note for the revisor about it and told me they would answer about the test in the next two weeks...

what do you think?

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-02-20 19:01 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:47
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
What do you mean? Feb 20, 2009

Hola Sheila. I can't see anything inappropriate in what you describe. It has happened to us in the past, but instead of reporting the matter we did the test translating to the best of our knowledge and only checking the translation in the Web to become aware of customer preferences in terminology. If anything was wrong in the website (which indeed happened), we took our translation as the right one.

Do you mean you see something strange in your experience? In what sense?


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Claudia C.
Italy
Local time: 10:47
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
Same experience Feb 20, 2009

Hi Sheila,

I've had exactly the same experience this week, so I guess we've done the test for the same agency, but in different pairs, though.

At first I thought it was weird to give us a text we could easily find on the internet, but then I thought that they wanted to test us on the actual texts that we would get in case we pass the test. I just took the on-line version for terminology, and nothing more.

Good luck,
Claudia


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Sheila Díaz de Cerio Ezcurra  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:47
French to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
graciasssss Feb 20, 2009

I just thought it was a bit strange and was never in a case like that, that´s all.

I´ll just wait for the results.

Thanks!!!


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whither has fle
France
Local time: 10:47
French to English
surprised at "no surprise" reaction! Feb 20, 2009

Hello Sheila,

Just to say that I would have felt exactly like you did. After all, either it is a test or it isn't. Personally, I would be very interested to know what happens next! Anyway, I do hope it all works out nicely for you.

Yours sincerely mystified...

Joan.


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:47
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Good luck Sheila! Feb 20, 2009

Sheila Díaz de Cerio Ezcurra wrote:
I´ll just wait for the results.
Thanks!!!


I just wanted to wish you luck with the test... and a lovely weekend!
Saludos desde Guadalajara,
Tomás


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Rod Walters  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 17:47
Japanese to English
Not worth your time Feb 21, 2009

Agencies that do that aren't worth bothering with.

First of all, they should assume that you will do online research to check terminology, tone and similar things. Of course you will find the text if it is online. Once you've found it, there are a number of dilemmas.

If a client wants me to translate a document and I find there's already an adequate translation available, I feel honour-bound to point that out to them. But if you were to ignore your real-world reaction because it's 'a test', you're still left in the rather stupid position of having to pretend that you haven't seen a perfectly good translation (assuming it's OK).

If the translation is crap (as it often is), you then realize that the buyer isn't a fit judge anyway. There's then the dilemma of whether to imitate the crap because you know that's what they like and accept, or produce something better which they might reject because they don't know any better (thereby wasting your own unpaid time).

An agency that can't think through these things and is prepared to waste a translator's time and effort in this way is not worth bothering with.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:47
English to German
+ ...
It's done on purpose. Feb 21, 2009

Two of my recently acquired direct clients did exactly the same thing. On purpose.

Both asked me to provide paid test translations. Both tests involved press releases that could be found online within seconds.

Your job is to rewrite the text and make it sound better because they want to fire their current provider.

Agencies might use the very same strategy. It's all about comparing quality and there is nothing wrong with that.


Addendum:

They also might build in tiny changes to the original text and they want to see if you noticed them or if you simply rephrased what you found online. So beware, test translations aren't so stupid after all.



Edited for typo

[Edited at 2009-02-21 00:50 GMT]


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Rod Walters  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 17:47
Japanese to English
Really? Feb 21, 2009

Nicole Schnell wrote:

because they want to fire their current provider.


Or because their current provider fired them.


They also might build in tiny changes to the original text and they want to see if you noticed them or if you simply rephrased what you found online. So beware, test translations aren't so stupid after all.


If you want to work with tricky, uncooperative clients, that's fine. My best, most productive clients never asked for tests of any sort. I think it's not a coincidence.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:47
English to German
+ ...
Rod - Feb 21, 2009

I actually only did three tests during all those years: For my very first customer who is still a regular client, the other two a few weeks ago for direct clients.

I declined tons of stupid tests. Example: Why bother with companies who are interested in marketing translation and then send me a piece of medical text, which I would never touch. Those are the clients that nobody needs.

The tricky tests however make sense. In fact, they are checking your IQ.

So, what else are we angry about today?



Forgot to mention: I learned about this strategy years ago from my instructor at NYU (translator's certification)

[Edited at 2009-02-21 04:02 GMT]


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Nadejda Vega Cespedes  Identity Verified

Local time: 10:47
Spanish to Russian
+ ...
Not that I was surprised by the lack of logic, but still... Feb 21, 2009

Rod Walters wrote:

I feel honour-bound to point that out to them.


So if you tell the client you know an acceptable translation is already available online, the problem is...?

If the translation is crap (as it often is), you then realize that the buyer isn't a fit judge anyway.


Exactly why do you realize that? Do we know anything about whether the translation was done or endorsed by that agency?

you know that's what they like and accept


You do? How?

your own unpaid time).


Who said it was unpaid?


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Rod Walters  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 17:47
Japanese to English
And giving their own IQ away at the same time Feb 21, 2009

Nicole Schnell wrote:

In fact, they are checking your IQ.



It's actually extremely difficult to devise an IQ test that matches real-world situations sufficiently well to make them worthwhile. The real-world test of IQ in an outsourcer is their ability to judge a translator's likely performance from their entire profile. Testing and evaluating should be a two-way street.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:47
English to German
+ ...
Aha! Feb 21, 2009

Rod Walters wrote:

Testing and evaluating should be a two-way street.


And what makes you think that it isn't? Have you never declined to work for a company?


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Rod Walters  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 17:47
Japanese to English
Made my point Feb 21, 2009

I'll leave it to the original poster to judge the 'illogic' or not of my opinion, and go outside in the sunshine to paint my shed.

I wish you all a pleasant weekend.


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Sheila Díaz de Cerio Ezcurra  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:47
French to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I should´ve called Feb 21, 2009

Now, after all opinions, I think logical should have been to call the agency or write an e-mail or something and talk about it (that´s one of those I SHOULD HAVE...) We are actually supposed to ask the client when we have any doubt, right?

I did write a note saying that the translation was in the Web page. And I do think it´s tricky, but I´m not that sure that they want you to translate it your own way, because in the mail they did say they wanted you to find the vocabulary in the page.
Some things were not translatable, according to the Web page (should be left in English), so until where should you translate in that case?

I translated it my own way and then left those "topic lines" in English, like in the Web page (Spanish version)

As I´ve said, maybe just asking would have been easier. Knowing if the agency is crap or not would probably depend on the way they answer to your questions and deal with the topic.

Oh, and by the way, it was not paid, like in many other agencies. Actually, I don´t think I´ve had any paid ones...

I believe there should be some communication before receiving a test, and if they still send you a medical translation you are not interested in, just saying you don´t translate on that topic is enough, I guess. They should ask for your specialisation. It´s like for example translating into another language when you´re not completely bilingual. I think it´s a way of not being professional from the beginning: Why would you do that if you know the quality of the translation is not going to be as good as translating into your REAL mother tongue???

THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THE GOOD LUCK YOU SEND ME, VERY KIND OF YOU!!!


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