Translation tests
Thread poster: Shirley Finkel-Hall

Shirley Finkel-Hall  Identity Verified
South Africa
Local time: 12:47
Spanish to English
Feb 10, 2011

Hey everyone!

Hope you're all well & keeping busy!

Just wanted to know some general opinions about translation tests for companies wanting
to expand their databases.

How objective/subjective/reliable are they?

Thanks!

Shirley


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 17:47
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Work for the weaker? Feb 11, 2011

Translation test is sharing your wisdom with the weaker who just want your output free of charge. Do not take serious of it unless you have spare time and you want to practice extra translation with short texts e.g. 200 words. This is my personal policy.

Soonthon Lupkitaro


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:47
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes but with caveats Feb 11, 2011

I occasionally do tests for reputable companies, but only if:

1) I'm having a slow day and have spare time (which rarely occurs)

2) It's no more than 250 source words

and

3) The potential client has already agreed to my rates and payment terms.

Some of my steadiest customers initially asked me to do a test, so at least some of the requests are legit. But there are agencies out there that use the pretext of tests to get free translations out of people. So proceed with care.


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Shirley Finkel-Hall  Identity Verified
South Africa
Local time: 12:47
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Translation tests Feb 11, 2011

Thanks for your responses!

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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:47
French to English
+ ...
Make sure there's something in it for you... Feb 11, 2011

A test is just one means of verifying your competence, and of the various means available (formal qualifications, previous experience, asking for references), the test is arguably the most time-consuming for you overall. So I would just be cautious that there actually appears to be something in it for you: will it bypass other burdens such as needing to contact people to ask them to be referees, or obviate that need (I personally consider it a breech of confidentiality to disclose details of one client to another and would only generally do so with permission under exceptional circumstances, though I work mainly for direct clients; I can see that maybe among agencies this is more acceptable and expected).

I'd be wary of tests just for the purpose of "expanding the database" when there's no actual concrete job lined up, and/or where you have other perfectly viable means to vouch for your credibility.

Also beware of "tests" that are long or have an unexplained deadline (the 1000-word "test" for the purpose of general "future collaboration" that is mysteriously so urgent that they need it within 24 hours or by midday on Saturday...)


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:47
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Never more than 200 words Feb 11, 2011

Any conscious reviewer will detect a bad translator in under 200 words of a carefully chosen text. Anything over 200 words should be paid as a translation job.

As for doing free tests, yes, I do some of them during the year, but never before establishing that the company is an interesting, reliable partner and confirming that they will be able to pay my rate. Many companies insist that they will discuss the rate with you after the test, and I have lost my time several times in the past, so I now always negotiate the rate first and politely reject the test if I don't agree with the customer's rate level.

Good luck!

[Edited at 2011-02-11 09:16 GMT]


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Alexandra Lindqvist
Local time: 13:47
English to Swedish
+ ...
Normal Feb 11, 2011

As a newbee frelancer my outlook is a bit different from the others commenting. I find it to be normal to do translation tests if the client is an agency. I have never really thought about how long they are I guess most of the ones I have taken have been around 600 words. Only once as an agency payed me to take the test. However I dont let test deadlines interfere with real work if I have other work then I postpone the deadline of the test translation

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Philippe Papillier
France
Local time: 12:47
English to French
+ ...
Here is my standard answer ........ Feb 11, 2011

Dear ...........,

Thank you for your interest in my application.

You will find herewith my resume.

Concerning the translation test, please notice that I stopped to fulfill tests for translation agencies for three reasons :

- I am not confident at all in the competencies in french language of the people who will note the test (even sometimes a non French native !) and consider that, with my 60 years experience in French language, I am in 99% of the cases much more competent than the grader,

- I am not sure at all that successful tests are the best way to get works and projects, as in fact agencies choose the less expensive translator, because they generally privilege the profits compared to the quality, and I willn't change my rate,

- I prefer to work on remunerative translation ........

If needed, I'm ready to send you some example of already realized translation on the wished topics.

Best regards

PP


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:47
French to German
+ ...
Dear Philippe,... Feb 11, 2011

no offence here, but with your work and translation experience, I would have expected a higher rate altogether.

OK, this is off topic - je sors.

And for some cross-posting on tests and rates: http://tinyurl.com/subrateoffer

[Edited at 2011-02-11 18:58 GMT]


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Shirley Finkel-Hall  Identity Verified
South Africa
Local time: 12:47
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Translation tests Feb 11, 2011

Thank you all for your responses, advice & suggestions.
They have all been very helpful!

Kind regards,
Shirley


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Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 10:47
Japanese to English
Feedback Feb 11, 2011

Try to prioritize doing tests for companies that will give you actual feedback on the test instead of just "pass or fail." When you're new, constructive feedback about your strengths and shortcomings can be worth more than money. Companies do have reasons why they may refuse to give feedback on tests, but it always about them, not you. If you're going to waste time and energy on a free test, you might as well get something out of it.

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