Free test translation - you pay the editor's fee!
Thread poster: Tim Drayton

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 09:53
Turkish to English
+ ...
Mar 18, 2009

I thought I had heard it all, but apparently not. An agency has sent out a circular inviting translators to do a free test translation. There is more. You also have to send them the editor's fee for checking your test translation. Is this what they mean by chutzpah?

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Annett Hieber  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:53
English to German
Spam mail? Mar 18, 2009

Are you sure it's not a spam..........

Just ignore it, it's not worth thinking about. That's my opinion.

Instead enjoy the nice weather today!

Annett


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:53
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sounds like spam Mar 18, 2009

Indeed, it does sound like spam: the spammer makes money by asking you for a fee for a review that will not take place. I would personally report this to Proz's staff for further analysis.

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Riens Middelhof  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:53
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
What's next... Mar 18, 2009

- Job application fees
- Invoice handling fees
- Outsourcing administration fees
- Communication fees (for those obnoxious translators who need a clarification from the client or, worse even, a context description)


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:53
French to German
+ ...
Spam or not... Mar 18, 2009

this kind of request would be enough to make me run away from that "outsourcer"! There seems to be no end to money-making schemes, but there are definitively limits to my patience...

Good luck in handling this

Laurent K.


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Mohamed Mehenoun  Identity Verified
Algeria
Local time: 07:53
Member (2008)
English to French
+ ...
!+! Mar 18, 2009

Tim Drayton wrote:

I thought I had heard it all, but apparently not. An agency has sent out a circular inviting translators to do a free test translation. There is more. You also have to send them the editor's fee for checking your test translation. Is this what they mean by chutzpah?


They really think that someone would be that stupid ?!!!


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:53
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Learning from other trades Mar 18, 2009

Lawyers learned from translators a new way to make money: charging by word, and using templates (we call them TMs). So when a translation agency hires them to write a NDA or a vendor agreement, they use the most verbose template they have, adapt the specific date accordingly, and sell it by the word. No fuzzy matches in legal work, they'll say nothing can be fuzzy there.

This agency seems to have learned something from book doctoring outfits. Let's say John Doe wrote his first book and wants to get it published, eventually to become a best-seller. Such an operation will offer John an assessment service package. For USD 70-350 he'll have his book read by some nondescript "expert", and receive guidance for publishing. Quite often this guidance is a PDF file on good writing practices, no more. His manuscript will be shelved, untouched, becoming part of what's known in the(ir) trade as slush pile. They might include sending copies to a certain number of literary agents (i.e. their slush piles), but offer no evidence that these expensive copies and the respective postage were ever true. Other such operations will offer Joe the full deluxe package, that includes everything: competent editing, DTP, cover design and printing X thousand copies that will clutter his garage, so he'll have to leave his car outside for years, until he gets rid of them (possibly by recycling paper).

Of course there are serious services of this kind, just as there are serious translation agencies. But any endeavor nowadays requires the sensitivity to smell a rat up front.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:53
French to English
Standard practice in beekeeping Mar 18, 2009

Tim Drayton wrote:
Is this what they mean by chutzpah?

It is conceivably what they mean by illegal.
If this was in the UK, I would report them to the OFT, as it is illegal in the UK for agencies to charge a fee merely for the promise of potential work, and one could certainly make a case that this is going on here, no matter how they disguise it.


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Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:53
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Do the editing yourself Mar 18, 2009

Tim, I suggest you decline this wonderfully innovative offer, but be innovative yourself - put your name in the hat for that juicy editing function. Suggest what you feel to be a reasonable editing rate (encourage others to do so too), and hope that their editor or editorette gets to hear about it. You can enhance the probability that they do get to hear about it by shamelessly stating EDITING RATE OFFER in the subject line. After that, who knows?

You won't have got the job, but at least it will put a spring in your step this afternoon.


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Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:53
Member (2009)
French to English
Well-established in publishing Mar 18, 2009

José,

I agree with your comment about the book doctors, but the disease goes deeper than that in publishing. Many small presses, mostly for poetry, run contests with "reading fees" as their primary way of finding new books.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:53
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Reading fees Mar 18, 2009

Jenn Mercer wrote:
I agree with your comment about the book doctors, but the disease goes deeper than that in publishing. Many small presses, mostly for poetry, run contests with "reading fees" as their primary way of finding new books.


Jenn,

This would be the opposite trick. We - translators - could charge such reading fees to advise prospective clients about situations like:
- your text is useless to translate; any idiot in the target country knows that
- I can't make heads from toes in your text; limit your shame to the original language borders
- such word play would make no sense in any foreign language.

One rare case where I saw a reader-fee-charging individual making money honestly was in some forum, when after heated arguments from all sides the reader stated:
"Mr. X, when I said your book was unpublishable, I had solid grounds for this assertion. I read the first three - rather long - sentences four times, and was unable to find one single verb in them."


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 08:53
French to German
+ ...
Having to pay a fee for "submitting" a quote Mar 19, 2009

Charlie Bavington wrote:
If this was in the UK, I would report them to the OFT, as it is illegal in the UK for agencies to charge a fee merely for the promise of potential work, and one could certainly make a case that this is going on here, no matter how they disguise it.


As per France, we have at least one so-called translation platform which will ask you to pay a fee or a deposit before you are allowed to submit your quote. Of course, it would be more logical to ask for that fee/deposit after you have been selected by the end client for a given job and to deduct it e.g. from your invoice. But having to pay it regardless of what happens with your quote is what I would call a little bit of exaggerated.

As this is an all-too-often praised "free" market, the only thing we can really do is to keep our eyes peeled...

Laurent K.


[Edited at 2009-03-19 08:10 GMT]


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