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Translation test: 1200 words
Thread poster: Violaine Mézière

Violaine Mézière  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:13
English to French
+ ...
Apr 7, 2011

Hello to all of you,

I just got a translation test to do and it's 1200 words long (three totally different documents, roughly 400 words each). This has to be done in 24 hours. Now I think this is a lot for just a simple Test. 1200 words is the equivalent of a small contract, and I find it almost rude to ask this from a translator. I don't mind doing small tests, but this one seems to long. What do you think?
Kind regards,
Violaine


 

Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:13
Member (2004)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Should be a paid translation Apr 7, 2011

My general policy is that anything over 250 words must be a paid test. There are certain fields where longer tests are habitual (e.g., literary translation), but for most types of work 250 words should be enough.

These people are asking for half a workday of your time free of charge, and you may get nothing in return at all... not even future projects. Just say no.


 

Manticore (X)  Identity Verified

Local time: 17:13
English to German
+ ...
Forget about this type of "client" Apr 7, 2011

Do you really want to do business with that type of "client"? If they ask for a free of charge translation now, what are they going to do to you in six months time?

 

Signe Golly  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 17:13
Danish to English
+ ...
a test that I declined to take Apr 7, 2011

Last month, I received a test from an agency in the Philippines:
736 words split up into six different subjects (including ones that I make no claims to work with) - no option to "pick 3" or whatever.
In addition to the completed translation test (to be returned within 24 hours), they wanted:
bilingual/TTX/uncleaned file
TRADOS log
the exported translation memory in *.txt format

From the format, it seemed clear that this was a real "test" (i.e. not an attempt to make me complete an actual job for free). But it really seemed like a lot to ask, so I replied that surely this was a paid test? When it turned out (not surprisingly) that it was not, quite frankly, I never got around to replying to the PM again...


 

Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 15:13
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Negotiate Apr 7, 2011

Violaine Mézière wrote:

Hello to all of you,

I just got a translation test to do and it's 1200 words long (three totally different documents, roughly 400 words each). This has to be done in 24 hours. Now I think this is a lot for just a simple Test. 1200 words is the equivalent of a small contract, and I find it almost rude to ask this from a translator. I don't mind doing small tests, but this one seems to long. What do you think?
Kind regards,
Violaine


Depends on how desperate you are. Even if you're desperate, it's not proven that passing this test will lead to work. And will they even give you any feedback?

If you're not desperate at all, tell them you'll do the first 100 words of each test. That will be 300 words total, which is about right. If they want any more, they should pay for it.


 

Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:13
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Beware of unreasonably long Apr 7, 2011

tests, especially from a company/person you don't know. Some tests have turned out to be a scam of sorts: The client has several translators doing different parts of a document as a "test", and then ends up with a full, free translation while the translators end up with nothing for their work.

 

kenny2006woo (X)

Local time: 23:13
English to Chinese
Probably a scam Apr 7, 2011

I am not sure if this is one but I’ve heard from my colleagues that some agencies would split a whole text into many smaller pieces which they present as a free translation test to a number of translators so that they can profit from the free service. Some 120 words is acceptable, but 1 200 is absolutely WAY too long assuming it’s not literary translation as Steven said. I would never regret refusing such a potential client.


[Edited at 2011-04-07 08:21 GMT]


 

kmtext
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:13
English
+ ...
It sounds suspicious Apr 7, 2011

It's quite a lot to translate as part of an unpaid test.

Would you say it appears to be a standard test the company sends out or are the texts just extracts from three random documents? The reason I ask is that I've been sent tests before by companies/agencies hoping for a free translation rather an assessment of my abilities.


 

Jaroslaw Michalak  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 17:13
Member (2004)
English to Polish
It's business Apr 7, 2011

There is no "right" or "wrong" here. It's not even a question of manners, in my personal opinion.

It is a business proposition: you have to determine for yourself if it makes sense from the business point of view. If it is a client you would very much like to add to your customer base, then the investment might be worth it. If you suppose that you might receive work soon from this client, the "free" work will pay off pretty quickly.

On the other hand, if it is just another "test and forget" agency which just likes to expand its database, but will probably never contact you again, then it is just a waste of your time.

As I said, it is a business decision. Only you have the relevant information to make it.


 

Marie Arlette  Identity Verified
Cameroon
Local time: 16:13
English to French
+ ...
Cheaters, Scammers, this what is! Apr 7, 2011

Dear colleague,

I will also say "forget about tbhis client". He is the type who makes us work for nothing. I have been confronted to such client just of recent, at the end, his response was that the end-client did not appreciate my style after I had done three different tests of almost 450 words for them.


 

leroym  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:13
Spanish to French
+ ...
Also forgot about him Apr 7, 2011

Especially when this person sends you a test of 1200 words at 4 pm and asks you to send it back the next day, before 6 pm, firmely stating "without delay".

Frightening is such a bad habit!


 

IrimiConsulting  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 17:13
Member (2006)
English to Swedish
+ ...
Translate only a part of it Apr 7, 2011

If you want to work with the client for whatever reason (small workload, interesting clients etc) you could always translate the first 200 words or so. Return it and explain why you do so. If the client is reasonable he/she should be satisfied.

And don't provide any CAT files (TM, unclean files, TM exports etc). They are not needed for a test. If the client wants them, sell them.


 

Violaine Mézière  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:13
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Apr 7, 2011

I sent them an email telling them I couldn't translate 1200 words if it was just a free test, but that if they had a smaller, more reasonable, sample, I would be happy to translate it so they could assess my abilities.
To answer to your questions, I don't know them, they might be one of these agencies that never call back, the samples look pretty random (ie, not part of a bigger project), and no, I'm not that desperate.
Thanks y'all, this has been helpfull.
Violaine


 

LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:13
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
CAT files and tests Apr 7, 2011

thelanguageguy wrote:

If you want to work with the client for whatever reason (small workload, interesting clients etc) you could always translate the first 200 words or so. Return it and explain why you do so. If the client is reasonable he/she should be satisfied.

And don't provide any CAT files (TM, unclean files, TM exports etc). They are not needed for a test. If the client wants them, sell them.


Well, in (diabolical) defense of this particular part of the request, I don't view it as unreasonable to see whether a candidate understands the practical rudiments of, say, Trados. Surely people make all sorts of fanciful claims about their abilities in this regard, only to receive a job and ask the PM, "Hey, I can't open this [ttx] file in Word, what's up with that?" or "Unclean file? What's that?".

Of course, the length and deadline are still highly presumptuous, making the CAT file request more than a bit suspicious in that particular context.

[Edited at 2011-04-07 11:40 GMT]


 

Vladimir Morozov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 17:13
Member
English to Russian
+ ...
Free testing should be banned once and for all as an illegal practice. Apr 8, 2011

Please bear in mind: when you agree to do a free test, you agree to be a slave, even if just for an hour or a day. For when you are coerced, by whatever means, to do unpaid work, without the right to demand compensation, it is nothing else but turning you into a slave. While slavery has long been forbidden by law in the civilized world.

Neither is it a business proposal. In what other business or profession do clients require free tests? Not any I can think of. How far will you be advised to go if you require that a dentist fix a couple of your teeth as a free test? Or if a taxi driver is required to drive you for free to three different locations as a test of his driving abilities?

It is high time freelance translators raise their voice against this abusive and illegal practice, which is used on an increasingly wide scale by scammers of all kinds all over the world. While there are dozens other ways available to the client to assess freelancer's abilities. Even if the client is not a scammer and is genuinely checking on translator's skills, it is still a huge waste of valuable and non-renewable resources on a global scale, when hundreds of thousands of freelancers worldwide are made every day to do free tests, most of which are not even read in the majority of cases.

My suggestion is that all freelance translators should pool up against this illegal and abusive practice. We have our national and international professional associations, such as FIT, ATA, etc., for implementing this goal. As a board member, I personally intend and promise to raise this issue with the Union of Translators of Russia and our representative in FIT and I call all colleagues to follow suit.

The ban on free tests should be inscribed on all LSP's codes of conduct, starting with that of ProZ.com! Let's launch a world-wide anti-free-test campaing! Say no to free tests!


 
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