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Translation test
Thread poster: Julie BEILLE - FOLTZ
Julie BEILLE - FOLTZ
France
Local time: 14:46
English to French
+ ...
Oct 8, 2008

I have been given a translation test by a company. The word count is 1,150 words.

My question was "what is the normal and reasonable word amount given by the client to the translator?"

The rate offered is 0.07$ per word, saying that the rate would be negotiable according to the quality of the translation test.

Thanks for your views and opinions.

Julie


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Hepburn  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:46
English to French
+ ...
No time for lengthy tests Oct 8, 2008

I saw the job offer and this I what I wrote to that person:(her name beginning with C...)

"A test of over 1000 words is not a short test translation!
I am sorry but my maximum is 300 words, which is ample sufficiency to
test someone, particularly in gaming and localising, unless your test is paid
at the announced rate, of course.

Remember, our time is precious."

Can you imagine six different translators applying and sending off their six different test translation: that is the whole thing done!
And even if it was not such a dishonest trick, can you imagine six or more translators spending their time on that lengthy test? Crazy...

I truly usually ask for 300 words, no more. I have better things to do, fortunately.

Needless to say, I got no reply.

Let's not bear and grin but be firm about such practices.

Claudette (angry and flushed again, now)


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Lany Chabot-Laroche  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 08:46
Member (2009)
English to French
Quite a lot Oct 8, 2008

Is the test paid? I'm assuming it is not.

I would never accept an unpaid translation test of more than 500 words unless it is in a field in which I am very interested. Generaly speaking, a translation test should not take more than 2 hours, past that, it's an assignement and I would ask to be paid for it.

Then again, I would never accept a rate of $0.07 per word, no matter the field.

If the rate offered is $0.07 and your translation is excellent, I would not expect it to increase much, or at all, I think it is mostly a way to tell you that the rate might be lower if the translation was subpar or not exactly as wanted.

Hope this help/doesn't sound too bleak


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:46
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Good deal, if... Oct 8, 2008

Julie BEILLE wrote:
I have been given a translation test by a company. The word count is 1,150 words. The rate offered is 0.07$ per word, saying that the rate would be negotiable according to the quality of the translation test.


You mean, for the test they pay 1150 words x USD 0.07 = USD 80.50, and depending on how much they like it, the rate for future jobs can be negotiated from USD 0.07 upwards? Sounds like a good deal.

Or, you mean, for the test they pay nothing, and for real translations they pay maximum USD 0.07? Nope, no go. Offer to do a test translation of 300 words for them, and give them your rate, and say that they are either satisfied with the test or they are not, and if not, then that's that, but if they are, then such and such is your rate.


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Robin Salmon  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 22:46
German to English
+ ...
Stay in the driver's seat Oct 8, 2008

I am interpreting the conditions as follows:

You do the test at a fixed rate of 0.07 € per word.
They return the test result (I would definitely ask to see a copy of their corrected version, as you are supposed to negotiate on the basis of the test) and offer, say, 0.08 € per word for future projects. You decide whether to accept this rate or ask for a higher one (if they offer a lower rate than that for the translation I definitely would not work with them as this means that they want to put you in a subservient position).

Remember that you are a freelancer and must make your own business judgments . 200-300 words is enough for an agency to decide on a translator's ability and there is the possibility that they are charging thier customer a high amount in this case for a full translation that you will do relatively cheaply. You can walk way from anything before you are fully committed, if you choose to.

It is important to enjoy what you are doing and not to be in a position of tolerating inferior practices from agencies. If an agency is rude, for example, I do not work for them any more even if they pay me the same day I deliver.

You are a FREElancer, remember!


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M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:46
English to Polish
No negotiations Oct 9, 2008

Julie BEILLE wrote:

The rate offered is 0.07$ per word, saying that the rate would be negotiable according to the quality of the translation test.


If I get a proposition like this I always write:

"My rate is not negotiable. I am sure you would not accept half good translation, just as I would not accept half of my rate."

Either your test translation is good and they like it, or it is not good and they don't want to hire you for a job. I don't see any shades of grey here.

Usually the co-operation with such a client does not start, as I'm too "expencive". But I always make it clear about the rate, BEFORE I start test translation and waste my time for someone not willing to pay my rate.


Anni


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:46
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Too long for a test Oct 9, 2008

Can you tell us whether this is a test between you and the agency, or between the agency and a client, with you as the translator?

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Julie BEILLE - FOLTZ
France
Local time: 14:46
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Oct 9, 2008

Thanks for your comments. It confirmed what I thought that in business people can be crafty and dishonnest in some way.

Your comments and reactions helped me to find the right way to answer to this person.

To say it clearly this company wanted me to do an unpaid test of 1 150 words and after the base rate would be 0,07$ per word and it could change according to the test results. It's true that this "play" on the rate implies many possibilities and I guess not the best.

Have a good day.

Julie


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 13:46
Dutch to English
+ ...
Sounds like a lousy deal, if you ask me Oct 9, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:

You mean, for the test they pay 1150 words x USD 0.07 = USD 80.50, and depending on how much they like it, the rate for future jobs can be negotiated from USD 0.07 upwards? Sounds like a good deal.


Even if this is what was meant, they are hardly going to double the rate afterwards - which would be the minimum a competent French-English-French translator can expect to earn and live on these days (i.e. EUR 0.10).

Makes far more sense to negotiate a rate before committing to any tests, rather than go to the effort of translating 1,100 words to be told afterwards, we are happy to pay USD 0.08 (for instance).

If they are happy with the test, they continue to pay the pre-negotiated rate afterwards. If they aren't, they simply pay for the test and that's the end of it.

And as for unpaid tests - don't even get me started ...


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 14:46
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Why a client may pay half price for a test Oct 9, 2008

Lawyer-Linguist wrote:
Samuel Murray wrote:
You mean, for the test they pay 1150 words x USD 0.07 = USD 80.50, and depending on how much they like it, the rate for future jobs can be negotiated from USD 0.07 upwards?

Even if this is what was meant, they are hardly going to double the rate afterwards.


I disagree -- it may well be the case. Remember, an agency does not make a profit on test translations. The cost of the test is for his own account (unless his client had requested it). This could explain why tests are often free or paid at a low rate.

- which would be the minimum a competent French-English-French translator can expect to earn and live on these days (i.e. EUR 0.10).


Veering off-topic here, but I wonder if a competent translator wouldn't have a greater chance of success working for a low rate than an incompetent one would. It's a bit of a paradox, I know.


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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 14:46
English to Czech
+ ...
An opinion Oct 23, 2008

More than 1,000 words is generally too much for a test translation. Normally, 300 words should be enough to prove translator's (in)competence.

As for negotiable rates, I am generally not against them. But I would like to have:
1. The feedback file with all changes tracked
2. The opportunity to comment on possible changes (if any)
3. Enough information on the reviser, especially on his/her linguistic background and professional experience
4. A clear list of the agency's assessment criteria

Otherwise, you might get the following feedback from the agency: "Your test translation was a scrap" (no matter how good it was) "but we will be as generous as to allow you to work for us at the half of your rates".

Not a week ago, I got a message from a UK-based agency saying that considering the worldwide financial crisis they expect a drop in total number of jobs. But considering the fact that I am their major vendor for Czech, the number of jobs could even increase if I worked at € 24 per 1,000 words.
Come on! They sell at € 100! So don't let yourself being pushed where you don't want to be.


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xxxVerse 5B
Local time: 14:46
English to Serbian
+ ...
word count Nov 14, 2008

Julie BEILLE - FOLTZ wrote:

I have been given a translation test by a company. The word count is 1,150 words.

My question was "what is the normal and reasonable word amount given by the client to the translator?"

The rate offered is 0.07$ per word, saying that the rate would be negotiable according to the quality of the translation test.

Thanks for your views and opinions.

Julie


A common test translation word count should NOT exceed 500 words. And I am talking about a test translation free of charge.

[Edited at 2008-11-14 02:45 GMT]

[Edited at 2008-11-14 02:46 GMT]


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 15:46
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
It is a trick, I think Nov 26, 2008

Please translate 1000 words as a test for half of the rate (NOT for free - you should really be happy for that!!). And if you do the test well, you can expect a big/continuous project, permanent cooperation with us, and kilos of gold (you can already start counting the money you WILL earn, so for such an unique opportunity one shall really try hard - ONLY 4 pages and these are paid (soooo generous).

We are also expaning our database of translators as a fast-developing company. Not only we give this test to you, but we will split 40 pages for other 9 persons (4 pages each). Let alone, we need other language combinations and professionals to proof their skils as the same project will be done from, e.g. EN into some other 16 langs...

And, of course, all tests "will fail" (the feedback is already known before you take the test), as there will be "too many grammar mistakes" (you will realize that you do not know grammar, and, of course, no one will explain or indicate at least a single grammar mistake just for your personal curiosity because it will appear that "the strategy of the agency is strict and they do not provide any explanations for the negative feedback").

And do not forget to register at our database of translators (before you accept the test). We need this NOT to contact you again by mistake with the same proposal for the same test translation (just a different text of the test).

Tell them simply - either we work or not. For quality - this is the work of your QA people. And if you do not trust me, why do you offer me cooperation?

In one sentence - DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME. At least for me this does not look serious.









[Edited at 2008-11-26 13:37 GMT]


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xxxVerse 5B
Local time: 14:46
English to Serbian
+ ...
... Nov 26, 2008

Amen, MariusV !

I would also do free test translations in the past, but now I came to my senses.

If they want to test me, fine. But they will have to pay for the translation. That's the only way I will do it.

You listed several regular dirty and unethical tricks " translation agencies" ( not sure if I can even call them that ) use to get translators into a trap.

Recently, I got an email from an agency I registered with asking me to fill in an online survey, and how it will help ME to have more jobs from them, although I had never got any job from them, ever, and they are sorry about it, but it will get better in the future.

So, I opened the first page on the survey, and then a light bulb flashed in my my mind - online surveys are paid for !!!! Her boss is using translators whom he enticed to register by giving big projects/big money promises, so I bet he had thousands of them who registered. And you should know that there are many paid survey projects around the internet, and he found a good way to abuse the registered translators in his data base for this, and earn money while they are filling in surveys.

Dear colleagues, don't fall into traps. Educate yourselves in other fields, such as techniques and methods bad people use to steal our professional energy and time. We aren't Internet slavery !

[Edited at 2008-11-26 17:28 GMT]


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