The length of sample texts
Thread poster: Helena Chavarria

Helena Chavarria  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:48
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Dec 15, 2011

Four days ago I received the following message in answer to a quote I had submitted a few days earlier:

"Hi Helena, Can you please translate this into English so I can see the quality of your work? I need this ASAP in order to be able to assign you the job. I have around 130 of such newspaper extracts to deliver on Wednesday. Thanks,"

The sample was a newspaper article with 311 words. Although I was thinking about going to bed - it was after 11 o'clock at night - I did the translation because I thought the quicker I sent it in, the more time I would have to do the remainder of the work (the post said the job was around 12,000 words and I was already thinking that I would have to work through the night). Before I started on the translation I saw that the post had been closed and I suppose I imagined I had been assigned the work. Anyway, the text wasn't difficult and I was quite pleased with the result.

It didn't occur to me until 24 hours later that I had been cheated. If enough people submitted similar sample texts, then outsourcers would have a translation completely free of charge!

I'm not going to bother getting in touch with the guy; I tell myself that the money I deserve has been spent on learning to be more careful in the future.

We live to learn!

[Edited at 2011-12-15 11:15 GMT]


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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 06:48
English to Czech
+ ...
Remove the job poster, please Dec 15, 2011

Hi Helena,
although I'm not a moderator, I'd like to ask you to remove the job poster's details from your post before it is hidden by a moderator.

Please refer to http://www.proz.com/siterules/forum/8#8 for more information.


[Upraveno: 2011-12-15 11:13 GMT]


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Helena Chavarria  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:48
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Dec 15, 2011

Actually I posted this because I sent a message to the support centre and it was them who suggested I visited the forum to ask for the opinions of other translators.

I suppose that up until now I've been very lucky in my translating career and this was my first "negative" experience, although I'm perfectly aware that it's nothing compared to what some translators experience.


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Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:48
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
You learn something every day Dec 15, 2011

... I normally don't do any free tests, but one think I always ask first is: what is the budget for actual translations... this way I'm sure I don't do any free tests for people who cannot afford me - -

And I always check if the test already exists on the Internet, or it's something that the potential client cannot sell,

And I generally propose a later date for the test (+2 days) to make sure any possible deadline has long passed...

Ed


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Rolf Kern  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 06:48
English to German
+ ...
Free test Dec 16, 2011

I often do free tests, when I have the time, but not, when there is a strict delay. This sounds like free translation.
Rolf


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:48
French to English
+ ...
Don't submit full articles as "tests" Dec 17, 2011

Helena Chavarria wrote:
It didn't occur to me until 24 hours later that I had been cheated. If enough people submitted similar sample texts, then outsourcers would have a translation completely free of charge!


There's no reason to submit a full 300-word article as a "test". I personally think that 300 words is too long for a test, particularly for an overall job as short as 12,000 words (though I know others might differ in opinion on this from discussions in the past).

Anyway, I would personally suggest just picking out 100-150 words (or a bit more if you feel like it), or at the very least leaving off the last couple of paragraphs rather than submitting a complete article.


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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 06:48
English to Czech
+ ...
It depends Dec 17, 2011

Neil Coffey wrote:
I personally think that 300 words is too long for a test...


I believe this largely depends on the scenario you're involved in. To give an example, a VIP direct client of mine produces a number of different machines and devices (titrators, moisture analyzers, pH analyzers, x-ray product inspection systems, retail scales, precision analytical balances, road and rail scales, calibration weights and many more).

As part of the tender that I won two years ago they sent a test translation of about 200 words from each of the sectors they're involved in. The total number of words exceeded 1,000 words, but IMO was perfectly justified.

Sometimes things are not just black or white.


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