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Is there really a requirement under ISO for free test translations?
Thread poster: MariusV

MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 10:21
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Nov 26, 2008

Again about test translations And again one quite an interesting situation. A serious (at least it appears to be so, and ISO-certified) translation agency wrote an email to me offering cooperation. And AGAIN - we need you to complete a test. Said a clear "No" - I do not do unpaid tests, have all my priorities for paid work. Proposed another way of quality test - a small PAID job (with PO, of course). If there is someone to revise the TEST, why the same person(s) cannot revise a JOB??? And got an explanation "Unfortunately we have to request test translations to be compliant with our ISO quality certification, and I'm not allowed to issue payment for these, which is a pity...". I fully understand that ISO can set certain (and rather strict) QA and other standards and procedures, but is there an unconditional requirement under ISO to do those free test translations? Is there something I do not quite get???

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nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:21
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
excuses excuses ... Nov 26, 2008

This is a joke

Ask them to show you the article in their ISO certification stating that they are not allowed to pay for test translation.




[Edited at 2008-11-26 13:43 GMT]


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Niina Lahokoski  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 10:21
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Misunderstanding? Nov 26, 2008

I think there might be a misunderstanding here. The writer probably meant to say that the agency has decided not to pay for tests (and this decision has nothing to do with the ISO requirement).

[Edited at 2008-11-26 14:19 GMT]


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 10:21
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
:) Nov 26, 2008

I think so too. It is a very small probability that ISO shall set a separate requirement that "the translators shall pass ISO testing procedures on the basis of unpaid tests" I think that ISO is one thing, and procedures of the agency is another thing where ISO defined some general guidelines, and all the rest - depends on the procedures of the agency. But, you know, such serious words, like "required under ISO", "under the EU regulations", etc. sound really "serious".

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xxxVerse 5B
Local time: 09:21
English to Serbian
+ ...
... Nov 26, 2008

MariusV wrote:

I think so too. It is a very small probability that ISO shall set a separate requirement that "the translators shall pass ISO testing procedures on the basis of unpaid tests" I think that ISO is one thing, and procedures of the agency is another thing where ISO defined some general guidelines, and all the rest - depends on the procedures of the agency. But, you know, such serious words, like "required under ISO", "under the EU regulations", etc. sound really "serious".


Next time I go to a dentist's, I'll ask him to do a test job on my tooth, FOR FREE. If he wants me to be his patient, he will have to pass the test.

Sounds silly?



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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:21
French to English
+ ...
misunderstanding Nov 26, 2008

MariusV wrote:
"Unfortunately we have to request test translations to be compliant with our ISO quality certification, and I'm not allowed to issue payment for these, which is a pity...".


This is the key sentence, and I think you have misunderstood it a little. They are indeed required under the ISO certification to have test translations for their freelancers, and the decision not to pay for these was made by the agency (by implication, by someone more senior than your contact) and is not an ISO requirement. They are not saying that ISO certification means that they are required to obtain *unpaid* tests from their translators.

This is my interpretation of what they are saying about ISO, and is not based on any particular knowledge of ISO certification.


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Ken Cox  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:21
German to English
+ ...
With Angela Nov 26, 2008

The 'and' here does not mean that there is a causal relationship between the two parts of the sentence -- it simply means that in the speaker's mind, these are two related items-- and here the common factor is that they both relate to the request for a test translation. It's true that some people use 'and' to express a causal relationship, but this is generally (or at least formally) regarded as incorrect or inferior usage.

A similar construction is 'I have to deliver this job tomorrow, and I don't have time to finish it.' There is no causal relationship here -- only a statement of circumstances, from which one can conclude that the job will be delivered late.

[Edited at 2008-11-26 16:23 GMT]

[Edited at 2008-11-26 16:25 GMT]


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:21
French to English
What Angela said Nov 26, 2008

Seconded. That is exactly how I understand what the agency said. I was just mentally composing the reply as a scrolled down the page, when I saw there was no need.

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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:21
English to French
+ ...
Sorry to disagree with Angela et al Nov 26, 2008

Funny, that's not how I interpret it. My understanding of the sentence quoted by Angela is:

Sorry, but since we are ISO certified and thus have to satisfy stringent quality requirements, we cannot work with people whose work we haven't seen beforehand. We therefore routinely request test translations, which I am afraid my boss doesn't authorize me to pay for.

What I hear in that sentence is that test translations are a requirement. They are not an ISO requirement, they are rather an agency requirement to help them comply with ISO.

I can't confirm it, but the way I know ISO, trust me, they wouldn't impose any kind of test upon any business. ISO certification means you are professional. How professional is a free test translation?

Marius, the e-mail that agency sent you is a neatly worded NO. That's all. Time to move on...


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xxxVerse 5B
Local time: 09:21
English to Serbian
+ ...
... Nov 26, 2008

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:

How professional is a free test translation?



It is as professional as the translation agency requesting it.



[Edited at 2008-11-27 01:55 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 05:21
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Questions about ISO Nov 26, 2008

I've heard all kinds of excuses for many things, blaming it all on ISO. Maybe it's about time ISO set up an ethics committee which would de-certify immediately, voiding future re-certification attempts, any company making false statements about ISO requirements.

For instance, one agency wrote me that had a job* that they wanted me and nobody else to do because of what they had read on my CV. But... they needed sine qua non three verifiable references' contacts, to preserve their ISO certification. Very well, I called three of my most loyal clients, they gave me a green light, so I passed this information to the agency. In less than one hour all three received a lengthy questionnaire on me, plus... a message offering their translation services, that were allegedly faster, better, and cheaper than mine!!! Btw, my clients immediately phoned me, laughing and asking if these guys were really that good, if they ran this kind of a racket.

Next, ISO-required translation tests. I am certified/sworn as a translator bt the Brazilian government. No matter how good or bad the government is, I passed their exam, and so they believe in my translations. Other colleagues are certified by ATA, ITI, whatever. Does ISO imply that the agency-generated translation tests are more reliable than these entities'?




*Later it dawned upon me that they probably didn't have any job whatsoever, but were just desperately trying to steal clients from anyone who had them. I made it a point to forget that agency's name and location.


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 10:21
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
a test or a free test? Nov 26, 2008

Let's see the context:
1) they offered/requested me to do a free test;
2) I said a clear "no" to that free test AND offered them a couple of other alternatives (if they really wanted to test);
3) that means I DID NOT refuse to get through their mincing machine and all those "procedures" - ONLY refused to do an unpaid test;
4) in this context - what do the ISO requirements/standards have in common with free test translations?




[Edited at 2008-11-26 20:40 GMT]


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 10:21
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
:) Nov 26, 2008

Verse 5B wrote:

MariusV wrote:

I think so too. It is a very small probability that ISO shall set a separate requirement that "the translators shall pass ISO testing procedures on the basis of unpaid tests" I think that ISO is one thing, and procedures of the agency is another thing where ISO defined some general guidelines, and all the rest - depends on the procedures of the agency. But, you know, such serious words, like "required under ISO", "under the EU regulations", etc. sound really "serious".


Next time I go to a dentist's, I'll ask him to do a test job on my tooth, FOR FREE. If he wants me to be his patient, he will have to pass the test.

Sounds silly?



Well, I am not sure about the dentists. I think there can be a better solution - to go to a bar and order several free "tests shots" of a drink (because it is required so on the basis of an UFO organization regulation 11.01.A of May 21st, 1905). And then one can say "sorry, but this drink seems to be too strong/not very tasty as expected" (and an independent "reviser", i.e. my friend, can confirm that). Then we go to another bar to test other "applicants" for the position of our service provider. You know, our requirements can be VERY strict

[Edited at 2008-11-26 20:49 GMT]


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Daniel Bird  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:21
German to English
Simple answer is no Nov 26, 2008

There is no QA standard that demands that suppliers must provide free samples. If a company makes the provision of free samples a condition of doing business, then that is a matter of company procedure. What that procedure might achieve with respect to a QA standard is open to question.
Apply the same scenario to a manufacturing company: the engineering department might be interested in samples of a material for evaluation before specifying it on a product. Would the company's QA system be compromised if the material supplier refused to provide samples FOC? Emphatically not.
Would the QA manager give a hoot? Same answer.

The laws of unintended consequences apply without limitation to every QA standard ever formulated. Unsophisticated phishing scams like this included.

Just one chap's opinion.
Best
DB


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Translation-Pro  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:21
Member (2007)
English to German
+ ...
With Angela - a misunderstanding Nov 27, 2008

Hi Marius,

This has to be a misunderstanding, as I recently did a paid test translation for an ISO certified agency.

Best,

Christa


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