Is this the normal behaviour of good agencies?
Thread poster: Claudia Krysztofiak

Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:25
English to German
+ ...
Jul 2, 2003

Hi folks,
I am a little at a loss.
I did a translation test for an agency marked as "nice people, good to work with" by others in this community and received the answer, that I passed the test, but only "average" and since they only wanted to work with the "best" I was not on their priority list of translators but they would keep me in their database. I should ask no further about the test, since the person sending me the mail had no further information.

I asked them to take me from their database, since I thought this way of treating someone you probably want to work with at some future time sounded neither constructive nor professional to me and was no basis at all for building a relationship of mutual trust and confidence.

Is this just the normal behaviour in the market and me being to touchy? What are your experiences?
Happy to hear from you.
Claudia


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:25
English to German
+ ...
Doesn't sound too professional to me... Jul 2, 2003

Hi Claudia,
From what you have described, I don't get the impression that the agency handles test translations terribly well... diplomatically speaking.

Leaving the issue of test translations aside (I generally don't believe in unpaid tests - they don't tell me how a translator performs in a real project, and under pressure), much of what they want to achieve is bound to get lost if there's no proper feedback mechanism.

But that's their problem - not yours. Whether or not you fancy working for someone who's only bound to call you with last-minute jobs that were turned down by everybody else is your decision. At the end of the day, it depends on how urgent you need the work.

Best regards, Ralf


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Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:25
English to Spanish
+ ...
I was never in your shoes, but... Jul 2, 2003

IMHO, this reflects rather poorly on the translation agency. We all know agencies come with no guarantee of work, so there was no need for them to comment on your "quality" (notice the quotation marks). If they were not impressed with your test, they could have simply told you they would keep you in their database, and leave it at that.

On a personal note, I admire you for your response to them. I agree with you collaborating with an agency entails a measure of mutual trust, and their behavior is hardly conducive to that. Who knows, maybe your note will have made the right impression, and made you stand out from the rest


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xxxPaul Roige
Spain
Local time: 12:25
English to Spanish
+ ...
Ask them why Jul 2, 2003

Turn it into your advantage, don't get offended, ask them to tell you the reasons behind their decision. If they've a point, it may help you improve your skills. If not, well, maybe you wouldn't want to work for them then.
Good communication is the best tool between agencies and translators, we're all in the same boat. Go for it.
Best of luck
P

[Edited at 2003-07-02 21:18]


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Marijke Mayer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:25
Dutch to English
+ ...
some of these ' agencies' are not really agencies Jul 2, 2003

If you know what I mean, just like some translators are not really translators. . . They like to make money over your back and have no regard for you. Don't go for unpaid translations, or tests for more than, let's say, 300 words.

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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:25
Dutch to English
+ ...
Subjective Jul 2, 2003

"Average", "best" and "nice" are very subjective and do not really convey much information. As Susana already said, they did not have to comment on your work but if they wanted to do so, at least they should have sent you back some feedback so that you could see where you went "wrong".

I don't think this is normal behaviour for a translation agency. Usually you either get added to their database or you don't and you either get jobs or you don't.

Don't feel too bad about it, we all have our off days (and I am talking about being confronted with a frustrating experience and not the test assessment). Just chalk it down to experience and move on.


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Klaus Herrmann  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:25
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Lack of common decency Jul 2, 2003

Ralf is gifted in saying things in a diplomatic way. I am not:-) To me, it's plain and easy - lack of common courtesy and common business sense. It's as easy as that. Leaving the issue of test translations aside (I believe in unpaid tests because they are a good way to see whether or not a translator is familiar with a given subject), such behaviour shows disrespect and poor style. As an agency, I would not want work with "mediocre" translators. As a translator, I would want to see the review - after all, the reviewer is only human. Another aspect is that if you are working in a highly specialized field, odds are that the reviewer may not be in a position to evaluate your skills correctly. The more specialized a test is the more it is important to discuss the results afterwards - for the translator as well as for the agency.

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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:25
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks to all ... Jul 2, 2003

Thanks to all of you for your answers. You saved my day - or at least what is left of it .
I decided not to work for them and take such experiences as a good teaching on: How not to act, if I ever was in their shoes.

I had a number of strange experiences of a similar kind lately, and so it is always good to hear, that there are other people who do not think this is the way it has to be.

Good night and sweet dreams (it's 23:46 here)! Or have a nice day!
Claudia


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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 12:25
French to English
On tests... Jul 3, 2003

I agree with Ralf about tests in general. Having said that, I recently did a test of 200 words for an agency, but we agreed beforehand that I would received detailed feedback on my test once it had been reviewed. I have to say that I was a real pain and my contact person at the agency really worked hard to convince me to do the test. It was part of their internal procedures and the fact that my contact phoned to explain the process showed that they were operating in good faith and that they really wanted to work with me, so I did the test and just a few days later started working for the agency. By the way, the corrections and comments I received about my test were detailed and helpful.
I know that this doesn't happen every day, but this was one very positive experience with an agency that required a test!
By the way, good for you for responding to the agency the way you did!
Regards,
Sara


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xxxtazdog
Spain
Local time: 12:25
Spanish to English
+ ...
find out more Jul 3, 2003

I would definitely insist on seeing what corrections they made on your test. If, as your notification said, the person who sent you the e-mail doesn’t know anything about these corrections, find out who does and contact that person directly.

I had a similar experience when I answered a job post (expanding database) for a Spanish agency given good reviews on the Blue Board. After sending my CV and clearly stating my rates, I was sent a form to fill out (in which I once again stated my rates) and a selection of tests in different areas, all in the 200-word range. I chose to do three of them. I finally received a “congratulations” message that I had passed the tests, with scores of “B1” on the IT test, “A3” on the business test and “A2” on the telecoms test. I asked for feedback on my “mistakes” and was presented with a rather dubious (at best) list that included being downgraded for using American English (excuse me? I AM American, as clearly stated in my CV, and the tests didn’t specify “British English only”), and some “corrections” that were totally out of line (especially in the IT test, and these are quite easy to document, not subjective on my part). The congratulatory e-mail contained several extremely patronizing documents as attachments, one of which dealt with the “economic conditions,” 8 pages of pompous drivel whose bottom line was that absolutely “perfect” translations (“A1,” which can be submitted directly to “even the most demanding client,” with “no need to be proofread”) are awarded the princely sum of 4.4 euros per word—well below what I had specified as my minimum rate. Needless to say, I did the same thing you did, and asked to be removed from their database. Not the type of agency I want to work for!


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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:25
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Checking would be wasting time Jul 3, 2003

Cindy Chadd wrote:

I would definitely insist on seeing what corrections they made on your test. If, as your notification said, the person who sent you the e-mail doesn’t know anything about these corrections, find out who does and contact that person directly.


Thanks for this advice, Cindy. Honestly, I think communicating with them would be a waste of time. I am quite sure I did a good test translation, it is not that I never published something or never got very good feedback from people I worked with. And after all, I discuss test translations with friends who know the topic (not translators) before sending them. What is behind all of this, I think, is , as you also describe, they swallowed hard about my rates, which are above what they usually wish to pay (still being not very high for a professional German translator). This would be no problem, everybody works as hard, good or cheap as possible. What I do not accept, is the kind of unfriendly and non-professional misbehaviour and the attempt to put me down.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:25
German to English
+ ...
Unpaid test - unpaid report Jul 3, 2003

You did a test for free? If they're not going to give you any work, the least they owe you is an unpaid report on your "test" - what mistakes they found, what they didn't like, why, etc. Insist on it, digest it, learn from it, don't get upset about it.

Marc


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Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:25
English to Spanish
+ ...
Here is a link Jul 5, 2003

Claudia, here is a link I thought may be of interest to you:
http://www.accurapid.com/journal/16tests.htm

Cheers,
Susana


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