Is doing translation tests beneficial for future projects?
Thread poster: Maria Knorr

Maria Knorr
Local time: 02:01
+ ...
Aug 30, 2002

I would like to ask professional translators for advice. Is doing translation tests beneficial for future projects?

Thanks for advice



Patricia Posadas  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:01
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
My experience ... Aug 30, 2002

Some agencies won\'t add you to their database of translators if you don\'t take their test. You do it and sometimes they will get back to you to say that it was ok and that they will contact you whenever they have something suitable for you (in my case very seldom, I expect it is because of my background which is neither legal nor technical, etc.). Quite often you will never get to know whether they read your translation or not!

If it is you who is addressing agencies, I would choose those that won\'t ask for a test just to be added to the database.

A different case is when an agency has an assignment and asks you to do a test so as to decide whether you are up to their assignment or not. Their customers sometimes ask them to send a sample text translated too. Personally, I do my best to send these tests as soon as possible but I don\'t get 100% of these assignments either icon_smile.gif


Nathalie M. Girard, ALHC (X)  Identity Verified
English to French
+ ...
General *add you to their database tests...* = More or less Aug 30, 2002

I agree that it\'s more like a coin toss to see if you will get assignments or not after performing a test in order to be added to an agency\'s database.

In any case, a test should not be any longer than approx 300 words (some agencies ask for anything up to a thousand words!).

If they ask for a huge test simply to add you onto their roster, then only translate the first 300 words. You can tell them that this is sufficient for a general test, and that you can provide them with your own samples if they require more. It\'s always good to have a few samples ready to be forwarded to anyone requesting this.

Be leery of tests *with a deadline*, as some agencies try to get jobs done for free.

Kind regards,


[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-08-30 09:56 ]


CLS Lexi-tech
Local time: 02:01
Member (2004)
English to Italian
+ ...
The outsourcer point of view Aug 30, 2002

I was a freelance translator who now works as recruiting manager for a translation company.

One of my tasks has been to prepare suitable tests. What I did is tailor the tests to our major clients and fields of specialization. One of the problems that I am facing is finding the resources to grade the tests, considering how busy are both translators and revisors.

Be wary, then, of very long tests because few agencies have the time and resources to devote to such tests. They are often jobs in disguise.

This said, tests do have a purpose if they are specific, short. As was said, often clients ask for tests.

good luck to all

paola l m


Vladimir Dubisskiy  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:01
Member (2001)
English to Russian
+ ...
My word: NO. Aug 31, 2002

With me - when \"tested\" never got any job.

So I stopped doing it offering my samples as a variant...



Ilde Grimaldi  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:01
English to Italian
+ ...
my word: yes ;-) Aug 31, 2002

Hi, I\'ve obtained good jobs from good new client agencies which did not request an unpaid test, but I also received good jobs from serious agencies around the world by submitting those dreadful unpaid tests. I\'m not at my work PC now, so I cannot make a statistic, but I recall I received jobs from at least 8 agencies after completing the test (often not immediately) and one of them was SDL (a highly recommended agency, in my opinion, with sadistic test ()))) that anyway pay the effort.

So, in my opinion, if you don\'t have paid work for some days, you can spend some of that time taking this risk (the risk of just loosing time) with reliable agencies, because in my experience it has _sometimes_ brought jobs for months and steady contacts.

good luck


PS: I\'m not in favour of tests! I just think sometime, if you have nothing to do, you can reasonably accept this compromise. I know for experience that so many translators assure their clients they can do a better job than what they actually will do.


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Is doing translation tests beneficial for future projects?

Advanced search

SDL MultiTerm 2019
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2019 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2019 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »
BaccS – Business Accounting Software
Modern desktop project management for freelance translators

BaccS makes it easy for translators to manage their projects, schedule tasks, create invoices, and view highly customizable reports. User-friendly, integration, community-driven development – a few reasons BaccS is trusted by translators!

More info »

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search