Test translation or free scam?!
Thread poster: Assem Mazloum

Assem Mazloum  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:03
Member (2007)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Sep 24, 2008

Ever received a test translation and felt like being taken advantage of, or discovered the bold truth of being used?

Received an “alleged” test from an outsourcer, delivered, just to receive an urgent message from the outsourcer asking me to send the numerals in Arabic asap (urgent request)!
The test was rather small; however, it’s more like a small project (patent).

What do you make of it?
Any advice?

Best wishes,


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:03
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Give them your price per hour and a budget... Sep 24, 2008

...nothing more to add I reckon!icon_smile.gif


Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:03
French to English
+ ...
Play innocent Sep 24, 2008

I'd be tempted to say something like the following: 'I was under the impression that this was a short test that you administered in order to find out whether I could translate to the required standard. If this is to be submitted to a client, I will invoice you for this job at a rate of XX per word or XX per hour. Do please let me know what the situation is.'

Their reaction will tell you what you need to know about their business practices.


Deborah do Carmo  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:03
Dutch to English
+ ...
Ditto Sep 24, 2008

Tomás Cano Binder wrote:

...nothing more to add I reckon!icon_smile.gif

There is no reason for a test translation to be urgent - unless it's from a trusted client who is under time constraints for a bid and who would in all likelihood be paying you in the normal course of business anyhow.

Call their bluff and tell them you're busy with paying work (rush job for a valued client that has just come in) and will attend to their 'test' after working hours sometime this week.

If they come back in a panic, you'll know you've been duped.

Angela's suggestion is also good.

Or better still ... stop doing unpaid tests altogether!

Good luck

[Edited at 2008-09-24 14:55]


Allesklar  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:33
English to German
+ ...
another option Sep 24, 2008

from another recent forum post


Dear translation agency,

I am a translator from Europe and next week I have a very big gap in my schedule coming up. To fill this gap I need five translation agencies that can pay me at least 1.000 euros. Of course I need to test if you are able to pay this and therefore I kindly ask you to do a small payment test. In this test you pay me whatever you would normally pay for 250 words. After payment, you will be included on my list of potential agencies I will work for (if you pay enough and it arrives quickly enough). If you pay more than 50 euros for this test, I will certainly get back to you and my payment editor will let you know when the money arrived and how much arrived. Thank you for doing this payment test,


Ayman Medarwash  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:03
English to Arabic
+ ...
That's Immoral! Oct 4, 2008

I like the thing Allesklar posted; it is more like "well, you wanna test if I can play the role, I also wanna test if you can pay for it".

I simply check their existence, reputation and feedback given about them in differen forums on proz and other than proz and if I ever feel uncomfortable, I would rather sleep the week than work for free.

If the test is not a reasonable one like a page at most, I do one paragraph of it and tell them that is enough to show you my quality and it is true, so I would rather be on the safe side.

Good luck with scammers, non paying clients and hardly paying ones.


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