Test translations: how to educate the outsourcer?
Thread poster: Olga Simon

Olga Simon  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:55
English to Russian
+ ...
Feb 28, 2004

Not sure whether I am posting this under the right topic, but how should we respond to a job advertisement like this:


/Quote/Large (750 000 words) project that is going to last several months
Starting with a a first batch of 3000 words as a test.
Rate: USD 0.06 / source word.
Field: Electronic /Unquote/.

The rate for a technical translation deserves special attention, but this has already been discussed zellions of times. What I am interested in is 3,000 words to be done as a test (no mention that the test will be paid, so I assume the worst - free labour).
We all know that a standard test varies between 150-300 words. My personal experience is based on an average of 200-250 words (unpaid), the rest IMHO should be paid.

How should we respond? E-mail the outsourcer? Ignore the ad? Keep fighting the wind mills or go with the current?

Have a good week-end

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Trudy Peters  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:55
German to English
+ ...
3000-word test Feb 28, 2004

Olga, I wouldn't necessarily assume that the outsourcer is looking for an unpaid test. It is possible that THEIR client is looking to have a chunk of the job translated (paid or unpaid) to evaluate the capabilities of the agency.

But then, of course, I could be wrong)
I would email the client and ask. If indeed they want an unpaid 3000-word test, start to "educate"!!


P.S. Also check the BlueBoard!

[Edited at 2004-02-28 13:25]

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Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:55
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
large test? Feb 28, 2004

With a bit of imagination you can also read it like this:
The first text (3000 words) is paid at 0,06 and is just a test from the client to the agency to see if they want to give the rest to them...

or is that just me being silly...

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Laura Gentili  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:55
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
paid test Feb 28, 2004

From the phrasing it is clear it is a first "test" for the agency against the client, and not a test for the candidates.

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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:55
French to English
assessment Feb 28, 2004

agree with Ed and Laura - my understanding is that the first 3,000 words will be assessed or evaluated for quality before the remainder of the project is done.

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mk_lab  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:55
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
See Blue Board Feb 28, 2004

Please, see Blue Board entries about this outsourcer. I guess, no more questions.

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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:55
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Check the Blue Board Feb 28, 2004

I agree that any agency posting here on Proz should be checked out on the Blue Board (and other sources, if possible) before accepting work from them. Although the norm in the industry is collecting after sending the work, you might insist getting at least half (all?) up front from certain ones.

As I find myself outsourcing more and more work, I also find myself annoyed by my disreputable peers who undermine business trust in the industry with their unethical practices.

All I can say is by far most outsourcers do pay up. But do always be careful for the bad apples.

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Ildiko Santana  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:55
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...

extensive "test" projects Feb 29, 2004

Olga Simon wrote:

How to educate the outsourcer?

Hi Olga,

I'm not sure of the effect on the outsourcers but one way to do it is explain to them a) your limit on test translations (e.g. 200 words or so for free), and b) why translation is a professional service where we all charge for our work just like in any other business.
Extensive translation for free is simply not done, period.

I just recently sent a response to an agency's ridiculous email, with the attachment of 832 (!) words as a "test":
"...Since I limit test projects to 200 words, the translation of the 632-word document -- your instructions, of course, have been subtracted -- could be with you within two business days at a rate of $0.12 per word, for $75.84 total.
Looking forward to hearing from you,

Surprisingly, they did reply, repeating themselves as in "when we say for free, we do mean it.." Well, this is the end of the story for me. Their loss, not mine. ;^)

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shfranke  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:55
English to Arabic
+ ...
Releasable samples of earlier work or referrals Mar 1, 2004


When faced with such a demand for a "free" test translation, a customary response in normal business practice in our collegial circle of freelance translators here is to offer that requestor either:

1. Releasable samples of translated products done for previous clients

2. Referrals to satisfied previous clients with their contact data (and having insured beforehand that they permit their citation as references)

(Would a patient ask for sample surgery from his/her MD? or ask an architect to build a test home?)



Stephen H. Franke
(English Arabic,
Kurdish, and Farsi)
San Pedro, California

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