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Test, Agreement, Training, then NO Job!
Thread poster: Abdelhalim Zeid

Abdelhalim Zeid  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 01:47
Member (2010)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Jun 10, 2010

Hi,

Few weeks ago, a translation agency posted a job that they need translators to work on a sports project. I have contacted them, then they have sent me a test of 320 words and they have asked to return the translated test within three hours. Since I am very passionate about sports' translations, it was OK with me. I have managed to complete the translation test on time. Later on, they told me that they have received a very positive feedback on my translation and they listed me in their database as an EN>AR translator with extensive experience in sports translations. They have asked to sign their freelance agreement and send them a scanned version, I did!

Two weeks after, they sent me a user guide for their online tool and I have completed the training with no problems at all. They said that the project will start on Monday.

Now, after two Mondays they did not get back to me. I sent them a message to follow up with them. Guess what! The project has been already started and the client is very happy with the my pair languages' translators and they will include me when the real project starts. Real work and the World Cup will start tomorrow?

Now, I think it was a waste of time. After all this time I have spent on the translation test and the training, they did not send a real job. I am very upset, indeed. I think they put me on the bench for any urgent changes or conditions. I have warmed up too long and it is time to hit the target, or something else!

What should I do?

[Edited at 2010-06-10 11:52 GMT]


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Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 02:47
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Some projects never materialize Jun 10, 2010

Sorry to hear about that, Abdelhalim.

This just goes to show that some jobs never materialize. As long as you did not receive any POs, and the preliminary steps required to perform on the 'real project' were marked as such (i.e. test, training, etc.), there is NO 'job.'

It seems as though the agency misled you, whether on purpose or not, and that's unfortunate. There's not much you can do at this point. Also, for the reasons stated above, I don't think that you can leave a Blue Board entry.

Just let it go and focus on other opportunities.

[Edited at 2010-06-10 12:03 GMT]


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Abdelhalim Zeid  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 01:47
Member (2010)
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
:( Jun 10, 2010

Mikhail Kropotov wrote:

Sorry to hear about that, Abdelhalim.

This just goes to show that some jobs never materialize. As long as you did not receive any POs, and the preliminary steps required to perform on the 'real project' were marked as such (i.e. test, training, etc.), there is NO 'job.'

It seems as though the agency misled you, whether on purpose or not, and that's unfortunate. There's not much you can do at this point. Also, for the reasons stated above, I don't think that you can leave a Blue Board entry.

Just let it go and focus on other opportunities.

[Edited at 2010-06-10 12:03 GMT]


Thank you for your reply, Mikhail.

A BB entry will not compensate me for the wasted time, so I did not think about it. I think they did not include me because of my rate. If they have other translators who translate in the same pair with lower rates and they could pass the test, why would they include me?

This is my rate and this is my quality and they have the option to say yes or not but not to waste my time for nothing. They should appreciate people's time but who cares since it is for free.

Yes, it is time to focus on other opportunities.

Thank you again, Mikhail.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:47
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Abdelhalim Jun 10, 2010

Abdelhalim Zeid wrote:
Guess what! The project has been already started and the client is very happy with the my pair languages' translators and they will include me when the real project starts. Real work and the World Cup will start tomorrow?


1. Some projects don't materialise.
2. Some projects change, and the PM has little or no control over it.
3. The fact that the WC starts tomorrow doesn't mean the project had to be finished before tomorrow. I also get WC related work, and I keep getting it, even though the WC starts tomorrow.
4. The client did nothing wrong to you, yet. Don't be so quick to judge. Wait at least a year.


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Abdelhalim Zeid  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 01:47
Member (2010)
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@ Samuel Jun 10, 2010

Samuel Murray wrote:

Abdelhalim Zeid wrote:
Guess what! The project has been already started and the client is very happy with the my pair languages' translators and they will include me when the real project starts. Real work and the World Cup will start tomorrow?


1. Some projects don't materialise.
2. Some projects change, and the PM has little or no control over it.
3. The fact that the WC starts tomorrow doesn't mean the project had to be finished before tomorrow. I also get WC related work, and I keep getting it, even though the WC starts tomorrow.
4. The client did nothing wrong to you, yet. Don't be so quick to judge. Wait at least a year.



Samuel, the project has already started and they asked to set 2-3 hours on my schedule for the project. I did not say that the project had been finished but I said it has been started. When the PM sent a message to all translators, she said that the client is very happy with the Arabic translation. This means that the project has been already started and I was not included. If you bid for a project and your get rejected from the very beginning, it is fine, but when you get approved with a test and a training which takes a long time, then you get nothing, it annoys.

I did not judge the client, I have just assumed why I was not included in the project. I find my assumption is reasonable because I worked as a project manager before and I know how they think.

Thank you, Samuel.


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Taija Hyvönen
Finland
Local time: 01:47
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Sorry to hear you missed an interesting project Jun 10, 2010

Someone on this forum once said that agencies send you EITHER tests to translate, forms to fill, agreements to sign, more forms to fill online, instructions to read and follow, OR jobs.

I have found this to be quite true. Usually the amount of time and effort it takes to fulfill all the agency's wishes is inversely proportional to how much income working with them will actually generate. I have no idea why.

This is not to say that I would reject any agency with such procedures, just that I wouldn't put anything else on hold for them.


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Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:47
Member
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Free test translation in three hours? Jun 10, 2010

Hi Abdelhalim,

The easy way out is this: do not accept free sample translation assignments. Provide translation samples on your own – I can see that you included one in your portfolio, and if they want to have their own sample translated, let them pay for it.

If you want, you can offer money-back guarantee if the sample is of unacceptable quality and they can substantiate that claim.

That way you are not taken advantage of – and the client if free to get back to you or not with any other assignments. Even if they don't there are no hard feelings.

Tha American Translators Association's Code of Professional Conduct and Business Practices contains the following point for employers:

I further commit myself to the following practices with translators and interpreters:
I will not require translators or interpreters to do unpaid work for the prospect of a paid assignment.


Free test samples – especially with a rush-job-like deadline of 3 hours – fall in this category, in my opinion.

Best regards,
Attila


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Abdelhalim Zeid  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 01:47
Member (2010)
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Will do, in the future. Jun 10, 2010

Taija Salo wrote:

Someone on this forum once said that agencies send you EITHER tests to translate, forms to fill, agreements to sign, more forms to fill online, instructions to read and follow, OR jobs.

I have found this to be quite true. Usually the amount of time and effort it takes to fulfill all the agency's wishes is inversely proportional to how much income working with them will actually generate. I have no idea why.

This is not to say that I would reject any agency with such procedures, just that I wouldn't put anything else on hold for them.


Thank you very much, Taija.

I will reject it in the future because it is more painful than toothaches when you work for nothing.


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Abdelhalim Zeid  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 01:47
Member (2010)
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
My Mistake! Jun 10, 2010

Attila Piróth wrote:

Hi Abdelhalim,

The easy way out is this: do not accept free sample translation assignments. Provide translation samples on your own – I can see that you included one in your portfolio, and if they want to have their own sample translated, let them pay for it.

If you want, you can offer money-back guarantee if the sample is of unacceptable quality and they can substantiate that claim.

That way you are not taken advantage of – and the client if free to get back to you or not with any other assignments. Even if they don't there are no hard feelings.

Tha American Translators Association's Code of Professional Conduct and Business Practices contains the following point for employers:

I further commit myself to the following practices with translators and interpreters:
I will not require translators or interpreters to do unpaid work for the prospect of a paid assignment.


Free test samples – especially with a rush-job-like deadline of 3 hours – fall in this category, in my opinion.

Best regards,
Attila


I think it was my mistake from the very beginning because I showed too much interest to have the job because I have accepted a rush test for free. A translation sample shall be enough in the future. I will never do this again.

Thank you very much, Attila.


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Taija Hyvönen
Finland
Local time: 01:47
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
You just have to figure it in Jun 10, 2010

Well, running any business includes a certain amount of work, which doesn't directly bring you income, but which you just have to figure in... if I go shopping for something, I may take up a salesperson's time for half an hour and end up buying nothing that time. The salesperson won't be looking out the window all day tomorrow waiting for me to come and buy the thing even though I may have said I'd get back on the matter. Because potential clients come and go. I'd be working around the clock if every email I get would lead to actual work.

Taking free tests, though, is another matter. I do them when I have my cleaned my desk, taken my dogs for a walk and watered flowers, but I do hold ANY deadline for them unreasonable.

[Edited at 2010-06-10 13:26 GMT]


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Ricardo Horta  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:47
English to Portuguese
+ ...
A bit OT but... Jun 10, 2010

...I once was contacted by an agency (about seven years ago) to do an in-house test, since they had an opening for a Translator. When I got there, there were three other Translators there to take the test as well.

A few minutes later we were asked to go to a different room to take the test. It was four A4 pages long, which I found unusual, at best.

Then, I whispered to the guy next to me: "hey, what pages do you have?" He answered: 22, 23, 24 and 25. I looked at mine: 26, 27, 28, 29... Then the other guy whispered the same to the girl in front of him: 18, 19, 20, 21. I got up and walked out. The other guy did the same. It was pretty obvious to us that wasn't a test... it was someone getting Translations for free.

I'm not saying that happened to you (you mentioned it was a short test), but this is a lesson I learned. I don't mind translation tests at all... when they're short! But I think twice about it when the test is over 300 or 400 words long. Like others said, a sample should be enough.


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:47
German to English
+ ...
Paid for online tool? Jun 10, 2010

Abdelhalim Zeid wrote:
Two weeks after, they sent me a user guide for their online tool and I have completed the training with no problems at all.


Tell me you did not pay for the training or the privilege of using this online tool? I mean, besides whatever time you ended up wasting with it.


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Susana Valdez  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 23:47
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Thanks, Taija + the best of luck to Abdelhalim Jun 10, 2010

Taija Salo wrote:

Someone on this forum once said that agencies send you EITHER tests to translate, forms to fill, agreements to sign, more forms to fill online, instructions to read and follow, OR jobs.

I have found this to be quite true. Usually the amount of time and effort it takes to fulfill all the agency's wishes is inversely proportional to how much income working with them will actually generate. I have no idea why.

This is not to say that I would reject any agency with such procedures, just that I wouldn't put anything else on hold for them.


Taija, reading your post, I just come to realize the same thing. I believe I wouldn't get there myself, so I have to thank you for it.

To Abdelhalim: Once I heard a story at a conference of a renowned Portuguese translator - he had received a proposal from a company with very low rates and to "educate" the client, he sent an Invoice to him charging him for the time he wasted reading his proposal. From time to time I remember this story always with a smile and I believe that even though we don't profit directly from educating them, we can try to spare others from bad experiences if we do take the time to educate them. Regarding BB, I've seen at least one entry about a translator who had done tests and received no job. Perhaps you could send a support ticket to Proz.com staff to learn more about this.


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Abdelhalim Zeid  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 01:47
Member (2010)
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
NOPE! Jun 10, 2010

Michele Johnson wrote:

Abdelhalim Zeid wrote:
Two weeks after, they sent me a user guide for their online tool and I have completed the training with no problems at all.


Tell me you did not pay for the training or the privilege of using this online tool? I mean, besides whatever time you ended up wasting with it.


Definitely, NO!


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Abdelhalim Zeid  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 01:47
Member (2010)
English to Arabic
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
:) Jun 10, 2010

Taija Salo wrote:

Well, running any business includes a certain amount of work, which doesn't directly bring you income, but which you just have to figure in... if I go shopping for something, I may take up a salesperson's time for half an hour and end up buying nothing that time. The salesperson won't be looking out the window all day tomorrow waiting for me to come and buy the thing even though I may have said I'd get back on the matter. Because potential clients come and go. I'd be working around the clock if every email I get would lead to actual work.

Taking free tests, though, is another matter. I do them when I have my cleaned my desk, taken my dogs for a walk and watered flowers, but I do hold ANY deadline for them unreasonable.

[Edited at 2010-06-10 13:26 GMT]


What if you told the salesperson that you want him to buy something that you will surely buy if it is OK, then he does what you want but you need one more thing from him to add before you buy it. In the end, he applies everything you need but you ask him to wait till you get some cash to buy and you give him a a specific date. In this case, I think he will wait.

I never wait for jobs from potential clients but this was supposed to be a real-time job.

Thank you, Taija.


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