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Test translation not considered because late
Thread poster: Mike (de Oliveira) Brady

Mike (de Oliveira) Brady  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2008)
Portuguese to English
Oct 14, 2010

Perhaps there was good reason to be suspicious of this test translation. It was part of a FAQ-type list, but the items on the list were numbered 2 and 3. Did someone else receive numbers 1, 4, 5 etc, I wondered?

There was a 4-day deadline with two of these days being the weekend (which I don't work). This seemed odd as the Proz.com posting said the agency was looking for professionals to add to its database of translators in a wide range of fields. Why be in a rush?

I emailed back saying I couldn't meet the deadline as I was occupied with paid work, but would send it the following week. I received no response to this and sent the translation two days after the deadline. I only translated the first item on the list and explained I found it to be too long for a test translation and hoped the amount I had translated would be enough for them to consider.

The reply said it didn't matter that I hadn't translated the full document as they wouldn't consider it for being 'late'. As they hadn't replied to my email explaining it would be late, they had wasted my time. Quite possibly I would have invoiced them for it if I had spent several hours completing the full translation. As it is, I'll chalk it up to experience and be careful of this agency in future.

I can see that an agency may wish to set a short deadline as part of the exercise or because it has to forward test translations to a potential client. But this agency stated it was seeking to build its database. In my experience, serious agencies know professionals are busy and can't drop paid work just to do a test. Their priority is on finding competent translators, not receiving a free translation by a deadline.

It may have been genuine, but it is not an advisable way to go about setting and responding to test translations, especially given the stories of scammers on Proz.com. Certainly, it is unlikely I will do any further test translations for this agency. Should the situation arise, perhaps I'll send them the test translation already done and see what happens!

[Edited at 2010-10-14 11:04 GMT]


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Dhiraj Khati  Identity Verified
Nepal
Local time: 03:42
Member (2009)
English to Nepali
+ ...
That's why I have stopped giving test translation Oct 14, 2010

I used to give test translation to every potential project that were asked me to do, that was few years back. I was fooled many times with these test translation. One time I have translated around 800 words full questionnaire. Wow!! Nowadays I have almost stopped giving time to these test translation. I ask them whether my sample from old translation will work for them or not. If not, that's all.

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Simone Linke  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:57
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Same here (almost) Oct 14, 2010

Just had a similar experience (but not from the same agency).. I sent out a standard application to an equally standard offer a few days ago. 5 days later I receive a test translation without any further announcement. They simply say, "you have 24 hours from now on, otherwise we won't consider it." For some reason I don't feel like pursuing this job any further...

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Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:57
Romanian to English
+ ...
They should have responded Oct 14, 2010

They are reasonable in that they want test translations/jobs to be delivered punctually. But given that you did warn them you would not be able to meet that deadline, and they did not answer, I don't think you are responsible for being "late".

Don't be upset, move on. Just imagine how much more uncomfortable this would have been if it had been a real job from them. It is very likely that they do not respond to important inquiries of translators, and then blame them for being late or not following other (unclear) instructions.


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Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:57
German to Spanish
+ ...
Test translation not considered because late Oct 14, 2010

Mike (de Oliveira) Brady wrote:

Perhaps there was good reason to be suspicious of this test translation. It was part of a FAQ-type list, but the items on the list were numbered 2 and 3. Did someone else receive numbers 1, 4, 5 etc, I wondered?

There was a 4-day deadline with two of these days being the weekend (which I don't work). This seemed odd as the Proz.com posting said the agency was looking for professionals to add to its database of translators in a wide range of fields. Why be in a rush?

I emailed back saying I couldn't meet the deadline as I was occupied with paid work, but would send it the following week. I received no response to this and sent the translation two days after the deadline. I only translated the first item on the list and explained I found it to be too long for a test translation and hoped the amount I had translated would be enough for them to consider.

The reply said it didn't matter that I hadn't translated the full document as they wouldn't consider it for being 'late'. As they hadn't replied to my email explaining it would be late, they had wasted my time. Quite possibly I would have invoiced them for it if I had spent several hours completing the full translation. As it is, I'll chalk it up to experience and be careful of this agency in future.

I can see that an agency may wish to set a short deadline as part of the exercise or because it has to forward test translations to a potential client. But this agency stated it was seeking to build its database. In my experience, serious agencies know professionals are busy and can't drop paid work just to do a test. Their priority is on finding competent translators, not receiving a free translation by a deadline.

It may have been genuine, but it is not an advisable way to go about setting and responding to test translations, especially given the stories of scammers on Proz.com. Certainly, it is unlikely I will do any further test translations for this agency. Should the situation arise, perhaps I'll send them the test translation already done and see what happens!


Imho, serious translation agencies do not make translation tests to add translators to a database. I guess it is not very useful to send us a translation test about «aerostatic balloons» if we specialise in «sausage machines»...

Serious agencies send a bit of the real job and pay it. If they are satisfied, you get the job. And if not, you do not hear anything else. And that's all.




[Edited at 2010-10-14 21:35 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:57
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
So you wasted your time? Oct 14, 2010

Mike (de Oliveira) Brady wrote:
I emailed back saying I couldn't meet the deadline as I was occupied with paid work, but would send it the following week. I received no response to this and sent the translation two days after the deadline.

Personally if a company does not reply to my offer of dealing with the test later on, I should not be doing the test. In my opinion, you plain wasted your time with this test...


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:57
French to English
Tests cut both ways, to an extent Oct 14, 2010

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Mike (de Oliveira) Brady wrote:
I emailed back saying I couldn't meet the deadline as I was occupied with paid work, but would send it the following week. I received no response to this and sent the translation two days after the deadline.

Personally if a company does not reply to my offer of dealing with the test later on, I should not be doing the test. In my opinion, you plain wasted your time with this test...


And they failed to communicate with you regarding a relatively simply matter. This does not augur well for the future. Like Tomas, I would have stopped there (and have done during previous test procedures). You just wasted some time. Lucky for you that the email they ignored was just about a test, and not about unpaid invoices, eh?


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Mike (de Oliveira) Brady  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2008)
Portuguese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Yes, communication breakdown Oct 14, 2010

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Mike (de Oliveira) Brady wrote:
I emailed back saying I couldn't meet the deadline as I was occupied with paid work, but would send it the following week. I received no response to this and sent the translation two days after the deadline.

Personally if a company does not reply to my offer of dealing with the test later on, I should not be doing the test. In my opinion, you plain wasted your time with this test...


I agree, Tomás. Though not too much time.

My annoyance is more at being told after sending it that it would not be considered. Building a database of translators is really for the agency's benefit to save it time in the future when it has work to offer, so I am surprised in this case that the agency was not more accommodating. I'll be sure to chase up an answer if it happens again.

I'm generally happier quoting and doing sample translations for jobs that actually exist and will result in a contract. However, I have ended up with regular work from some agencies that have followed this approach of essentially pre-approving translators so I think it is worth doing test translations in accordance with other demands on my time.


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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not the target Oct 14, 2010

An easy way for a bottom-feeding agency to identify translators who are desperate for work is to send a blanket mailing with a long text and a short deadline. Anyone responding is likely to be an under-employed newbie, and extremely flexible on rates, fuzzy discounts, and payment terms. They might even be the sort of translator prepared to pay to use an agency's own proprietary on-line system!

So Mike - if you were unable to respond in time because you had work, then you were probably not part of the agency's target audience.


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Neil Cross
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:57
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
There's the rub Oct 14, 2010

John has identified the key problem with test translations (and arcane "application" procedures, ridiculously long-winded forms etc.) – the best translators will generally be too busy to bother with them.

On the other hand, I'm probably in a minority of one here in that I don't really mind doing test translations. I have the – no doubt deluded – belief that I am better than most of the other translators out there, and relish the opportunity of proving it. It has, however, to be on my terms and I will fit in any test translations around my real work. If a company tries to impose a tight deadline on me for an unpaid test – fuhgeddaboudit!

Cheers,

Neil


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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
Me too Oct 14, 2010

Neil Cross wrote:


On the other hand, I'm probably in a minority of one here in that I don't really mind doing test translations.


Neil


I agree with you Neil. Many of my best clients sent me tests and I was happy to respond to their requests. These tests were accompanied by emails addressed to me and written by somebody who knew something about me. The texts were generally short and deadlines, if mentioned, were generous.


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A Isagizli
Libya
Local time: 23:57
Arabic to English
+ ...
test translation trap ! Oct 14, 2010

hi every one ,,

i always suspect test translations unless it is just very short , like ..say two lines 30 word ( a job that would take 5-10 minutes ) ..strange but logical !
"cous the agency's main goal should be to receive correct translation of certain project , not to work as a test authority demanding the translator filling tens of question papers ! then suddenly tell you time is up !


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Mike (de Oliveira) Brady  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2008)
Portuguese to English
TOPIC STARTER
This is the way to do it Oct 14, 2010

Here's a message from another agency which has requested a test (summarising my translation of it): There is no rush. Next week is fine. The main thing is to deliver the test as if it was a for a client, without errors in grammar, terminology or translation. You will be classified by the test so it it important to take time and care.

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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 04:57
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
A game to enjoy Oct 15, 2010

I do test only if I prefer. I found that test requesters rarely take serious of our energy and time to do test. Do test to educate yourself, and expect nothing more. This is my standpoint.

Soonthon Lupkitaro


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Jacqueline Sieben  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 23:57
Dutch to English
+ ...
a nice exception to the rule... Oct 15, 2010

Pablo Bouvier wrote:

Mike (de Oliveira) Brady wrote:

Perhaps there was good reason to be suspicious of this test translation. It was part of a FAQ-type list, but the items on the list were numbered 2 and 3. Did someone else receive numbers 1, 4, 5 etc, I wondered?

There was a 4-day deadline with two of these days being the weekend (which I don't work). This seemed odd as the Proz.com posting said the agency was looking for professionals to add to its database of translators in a wide range of fields. Why be in a rush?

I emailed back saying I couldn't meet the deadline as I was occupied with paid work, but would send it the following week. I received no response to this and sent the translation two days after the deadline. I only translated the first item on the list and explained I found it to be too long for a test translation and hoped the amount I had translated would be enough for them to consider.

The reply said it didn't matter that I hadn't translated the full document as they wouldn't consider it for being 'late'. As they hadn't replied to my email explaining it would be late, they had wasted my time. Quite possibly I would have invoiced them for it if I had spent several hours completing the full translation. As it is, I'll chalk it up to experience and be careful of this agency in future.

I can see that an agency may wish to set a short deadline as part of the exercise or because it has to forward test translations to a potential client. But this agency stated it was seeking to build its database. In my experience, serious agencies know professionals are busy and can't drop paid work just to do a test. Their priority is on finding competent translators, not receiving a free translation by a deadline.

It may have been genuine, but it is not an advisable way to go about setting and responding to test translations, especially given the stories of scammers on Proz.com. Certainly, it is unlikely I will do any further test translations for this agency. Should the situation arise, perhaps I'll send them the test translation already done and see what happens!


Imho, serious translation agencies do not make translation tests to add translators to a database. I guess it is not very useful to send us a translation test about «aerostatic balloons» if we specialise in «sausage machines»...

Serious agencies send a bit of the real job and pay it. If they are satisfied, you get the job. And if not, you do not hear anything else. And that's all.




[Edited at 2010-10-14 21:35 GMT]


I know of one serious Dutch translation agency that is always looking for good translators. On their website they have listed a number of translation tests (business/legal). I passed two tests (EN/DU and DU/EN) and although it took a few months to review my translations due to unexpected delays (which were communicated to me later on), my name has now been included in their database and I have been doing translations on a regular basis. I suppose this agency is an exception to the rule of many agencies trying to get away with free translations.


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