Ever done a test translation of 800 words?
Thread poster: Gudrun Wolfrath

Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:13
English to German
+ ...
Mar 29, 2011

I would - against advance payment.

 

mrippa  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 14:13
English to Italian
Affirmative or dubitative? Mar 29, 2011

You are very reluctant to give us details on this test. I am not sure even if you are calling for advice on this particular issue or just this post of yours is to communicate to the proz.com community your point of view.

Nevertheless, in case some future user will search for the same key words, I'd like to share my previous experience:
Yes, I have accepted to do test translations of more then 1.000 words, in the past.
Usually, these tests required me to translate 4/5 different texts for various contexts: there was a 200 words marketing, test, a 250 words IT test, a 100 words creative test, etc. in different contexts.
Everybody can evaluate if proposing themselves to such evaluations could be worthwhile, especially considering if the agency reputation shared between translators is worth the effort.

Best Wishes.


 

Ricardo Gouveia  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:13
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Test Translation Mar 29, 2011

I think 800 words are too much for a test translation, I have read somewhere that behind 500 words would be exaggerated. Maybe you should have with you a sample translation that you can present in a multitude of situations.
On the other hand, if you are not very loaded and feel this could be a good opportunity, and you wouldn't lose much time/productivity if you took this test, maybe you should go for it.


 

George Trail  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:13
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
Vorning Mar 29, 2011

This is a clear case of what I call vorning - the act of getting a bigger text to be translated done for free by sending the various sections of it to different translators who will do it for free under the guise of it being a "test translation". Trust me, this is too many words for a test, and it would usually take me more than an hour to do that many!

 

Kroz Wado
Japan
Local time: 21:13
Japanese to English
Depends on the size of the project... Mar 30, 2011

It's a bit much for a test translation for an agency, though I think for a good agency that is looking for a long-term relationship up to 500 words is highly reasonable to have a good shot at assessing ability.

On the other hand, a test translation as part of a bid for a large project could easily hit 800 words, no problem.


 

Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:13
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for your answers. Mar 30, 2011

I think George is right, therefore I asked for advance payment.

In my opinion the text (one document) is just too long to do it for free.

Just wanted to hear your points of view.


 

Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:13
French to English
+ ...
Well... Mar 30, 2011

Gudrun Wolfrath wrote:
I would - against advance payment.


Well, if they *pay* me the price I'm asking, then I'll translate whatever number of words they want. I'm not quite sure what precise distinction you're making between "a job" and "a test with advance payment".

For a genuine test, I would stand back from the problem. The idea of the test is that the client is extremely close to contracting me, i.e. they've considered my profile and expertise and decided that I'm almost certainly the person they want to contract, but maybe for administrative reasons or just to "make absolute sure", they're asking me to do a test to confirm this. Now, under those circumstances, I would really expect 100 or so carefully chosen words to suffice. If they're practically sure they want to contract me, then what's the big issue that requires me to do an entire morning's work for free?

If the issue is that they don't think I'm the right person for the job and are just "firing random shots into the dark" at a multitude of translators, then I'd rather just work for somebody else who genuinely thinks I have unique knowledge and skills for their particular project.


 

Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:13
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Conspiracy theories Mar 30, 2011

George Trail wrote:
This is a clear case of what I call vorning - the act of getting a bigger text to be translated done for free by sending the various sections of it to different translators who will do it for free under the guise of it being a "test translation".

People love conspiracy theories, and this is the most popular one in the translation industry. I'm not saying it never happens, but I find it hard to believe that this is a viable business model for any agency. The poor quality of the finished result will quickly give the game away.

Much more likely that an agency is seriously trying to find good translators. There is almost no other way to do this. So it boils down to whether you trust the person or not, and how badly you want the work. Think of the test as part of your marketing activities. I have done very few tests, but they have brought in work.


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:13
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Exactly Mar 30, 2011

Peter Linton wrote:
George Trail wrote:
This is a clear case of what I call vorning - the act of getting a bigger text to be translated done for free by sending the various sections of it to different translators who will do it for free under the guise of it being a "test translation".

People love conspiracy theories, and this is the most popular one in the translation industry. I'm not saying it never happens, but I find it hard to believe that this is a viable business model for any agency. The poor quality of the finished result will quickly give the game away.

I could not agree more! Indeed our society has a serious problem believing in good faith. We have probably been lied too many times!


 

Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:13
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting comments, guys. Mar 30, 2011

The agencies I work for never asked for a test translation apart from one, which paid for it.

This outsourcer had to be contacted via direct mail. I am not even sure whether an angency 'hides' behind the name.

Besides, I was addressed by 'Hello' (no name, nothing else) - not the best impression I got.


 

Alison Sabedoria  Identity Verified
France
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
It depends on what's at stake Mar 30, 2011

I don't do many free or large tests, and have never done one just to get on an agency's database. In my experience, the likelihood of getting any serious work is in inverse proportion to the amount of form-filling/testing required up front.

I would be sceptical of a test of 800 words, other than for a very large and complex project, and I would certainly want to know more about both the client and the project before proceeding. I have done a paid test of this size, as a "trial" for both sides, which led to a long-term collaboration.

On the other hand, for a large job it might be appropriate to make a speculative investment. I recently did a 500-word test for a job of over 70,000 words. The test will be paid as the text was part of the document I am now working on.

But only you can decide.


 

Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:13
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Wordeffect Mar 30, 2011

"In my experience, the likelihood of getting any serious work is in inverse proportion to the amount of form-filling/testing required up front."

This is also my experience up to now.


 

mrippa  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 14:13
English to Italian
Intersting. Mar 30, 2011

Intersting.
I hope that more will adopt your marketing attitude and that more will use your same standards for evaluating potential customers.


Best wishes for your business


M.


 

Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:13
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Good morning, Mar 31, 2011

Meanwhile I was offered a traveler's cheque, not exactly the usual means of payment for work. Fishy.

 


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