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Tests required by outsourcers:I have a feeling
Thread poster: Maya Fourioti

Maya Fourioti  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 01:31
Member (2010)
English to Greek
+ ...
Jul 14, 2012

Dear All,

Many outsourcers often write to me to ask for collaboration.When I have sent all the documents required, NDAs occasionally... the crucial question arises: "Could you possibly do a small test for us?" In the beginning I sent tests as required thinking it was part of the whole procedure.However, I have rarely heard from those agencies or got any feedback about the translation test. I believe it is becoming a sort of common practice to get free translations.
Therefore, I refuse to send tests because I believe it is a matter of politeness to reply to the translator, even if their test was not a pass.What do you think?


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:31
Russian to English
+ ...
I don't know Maya. Jul 14, 2012

I don't know Maya. I think there is nothing wrong with short tests, like 100 words, no more, and they should be a part of the translation you are about to do. I think the clients have the right to see what the translation will look like. If they are asking you for 500 words of any text, don't do it. They just want some free translations, most likely.






[Edited at 2012-07-14 20:13 GMT]


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Maja Źróbecka, MITI  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 00:31
English to Polish
+ ...
Hi Maya (check out my name ;) Jul 14, 2012

Yes, I have had the same "issue". I do a test and then I never hear back from them. After a few such cases, I started to state beforehand that I do free tests provided that there is post-review feedback.
At least, if I never get any work from a said TC, I can benefit (or not) from the reviewer's comments. However, I am inclined to agree with what has been said here, on forums often - clients who really need your services, will very rarely bother you with sending a free test to do. In my case, this is true in 90% of cases.
So I suggest that if you want to do free tests, state that you are happy to do them as long as there is feedback provided. I find it to be fair.

Hope this helps.
Maja


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Nikita Kobrin  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 01:31
English to Russian
+ ...
Feedback is a must Jul 14, 2012

Maya Fourioti wrote:

What do you think?

In 95% of the cases I refuse to accept free tests. For those 5% that I do a feedback is a must.

Nikita Kobrin


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Maya Fourioti  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 01:31
Member (2010)
English to Greek
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I do Jul 14, 2012

I do write that feedback is a must, but my request is disregarded.Besides, I saw one of my "free" tests in a website and that is why I got really suspicious.
Thank you for your hepl, Maja

Maja Zrobecka wrote:

Yes, I have had the same "issue". I do a test and then I never hear back from them. After a few such cases, I started to state beforehand that I do free tests provided that there is post-review feedback.
At least, if I never get any work from a said TC, I can benefit (or not) from the reviewer's comments. However, I am inclined to agree with what has been said here, on forums often - clients who really need your services, will very rarely bother you with sending a free test to do. In my case, this is true in 90% of cases.
So I suggest that if you want to do free tests, state that you are happy to do them as long as there is feedback provided. I find it to be fair.

Hope this helps.
Maja


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Maya Fourioti  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 01:31
Member (2010)
English to Greek
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I could not agree more... Jul 14, 2012

Any test over 100-150 words is an attempt to a free translation.
Thank you, Lilian


LilianBoland wrote:

I don't know Maya. I think there is nothing wrong with short tests, like 100 words, no more, and they should be a part of the translation you are about to do. I think the clients have the right to see what the translation will look like. If they are asking you for 500 words of any text, don't do it. They just want some free translations, most likely.






[Edited at 2012-07-14 20:13 GMT]


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Maya Fourioti  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 01:31
Member (2010)
English to Greek
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The right decision Jul 14, 2012

Nikita, I think I will follow your example.Many thanks


Nikita Kobrin wrote:

Maya Fourioti wrote:

What do you think?

In 95% of the cases I refuse to accept free tests. For those 5% that I do a feedback is a must.

Nikita Kobrin


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Nikita Kobrin  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 01:31
English to Russian
+ ...
Negative feedback Jul 14, 2012

Maya Fourioti wrote:

I do write that feedback is a must, but my request is disregarded.

If my request of this kind has been disregarded I may feel free to post a negative feedback for the outsourcer in question.

Nikita Kobrin


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Maya Fourioti  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 01:31
Member (2010)
English to Greek
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Good Idea! Jul 14, 2012

Yes, why not.Thanks a million.

If my request of this kind has been disregarded I may feel free to post a negative feedback for the outsourcer in question.

Nikita Kobrin [/quote]


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Vincent Zhou  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:31
English to Chinese
+ ...
I met the same case. Jul 15, 2012

Thank all of you for sharing your experience in this issue. I met the same case. Most cases are that nothing happened after delivery of the free sample. Last Friday I declined an outsourcer to do a free test of about 500 words. To sum up, I think we can do the following before a free sample translation:

I - For a translator already has a number of clients and constant workload , she/he may simply refuse to do a test free of charge.

II - For those who want to expand their translation business, they tend to accept a test FOC. But before doing so, some issues should be clarified:

(1) The sample will not exceed 200 words.
(2) Rate for potential projects should be determined in advance.
(3) Request the outsourcer to provide a post-review feedback.

Upon consent to the above, we can start translation. After delivery, there will be three results:
(1) No feedback from the outsourcer within a reasonable period, then we can give negative feedback in BB.
(2) Post-review feedback but a negative comment is received. Although we will lost the opportunity to work with the outsourcer, feedback may be helpful to improve our translation.
(3) A positive comment is received and new projects arrive. That's a good news. On the other hand, it is possible that nothing happened in one year or more. I met such case...


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nikoniko4649  Identity Verified
Japan
Japanese to English
Why O' Why! Jul 15, 2012

Maya Fourioti wrote:
Therefore, I refuse to send tests because I believe it is a matter of politeness to reply to the translator, even if their test was not a pass.What do you think?


Thanks Maya for starting this thread....I totally agree with what you have mentioned above.Even I think it is just a matter of courtesy to let know that we have not made it through!

In the past month, I have come across a similar situation from a particular agency, and I have done work for them only once. I think they are on the Blue Board, and I chose to work for them as they had a good rating! And, finally when it was payment time, I had to send a couple of mails as reminders, and I was told that they have some system problem!

Sorry for digressing....but I wanted to say that the same agency has been sending e-mails almost every week stating that a new client wants to see a sample before handing over a large project. I did almost 2-3 tests for them only because I thought the first-time delay was just a one-time occurrence. And, they told they would get back to me soon. But what do you know! They don't respond to that e-mail, and even after I send e-mails requesting for feedback, they keep sending completely different mails for translation test!!!

Now, all I have chosen to do is ignore their e-mails ! And, I am not sure I will even work for them again! I would like to better focus on the clients I have in hand.

And, I have noticed that other posters have mentioned here that they request for post-feedback.....In some cases where I did not make it through, I asked them for feedback. Some agencies were polite enough to reply that although they do not share the results, they are doing so in my case. I think that is much better than no response.

However, I would like to know in general if agencies do respond if we ask for feedback, and is it ok to ask? Sorry to trespass this thread, but I felt it is related to sample tests....If required, I will post separately.....

Thanks...

[Edited at 2012-07-15 04:27 GMT]


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Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:31
Member (2003)
Greek to English
+ ...
They are not "tests"... Jul 15, 2012

...in the traditional sense.

For example: You can test a car for free for a few miles, but then you have to return the car to the dealership.

The only tests that are for free, are the "taste tests" - you eat a small piece of cheese at a supermarket.

For all other "tests" that I know, you must return the product back to the store.

This can't happen with translations. You can't give a product and have it back. They copy it. You can't tell your plumber "fix my sink, as a test, and if you' re good, I will let you fix more things".

That is why:

a) This is one of the cases where a service is provided, which service can't be returned to the translator, therefore it would be reasonable to charge the agency for it.

b) An agency that says "you wrote 100 words correctly therefore you are good" is not a serious agency.

Solution: since a small test is no indication of your abilities, and since a large test would be a service that you can't take back, the only way to avoid abuse of this practice is to charge for each test.

Otherwise, you guys are giving the opportunity to the agencies to find resources for free.


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Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:31
Member (2003)
Greek to English
+ ...
Limited quantities (and bad habits) Jul 15, 2012

Also, you have to consider this:

If all translations go down to 0.001/word, this does not mean that the volume of the product (translations) in the market will increase.

For example, if t-shirt go down to 10 cents/t-shirt, people will buy more t-shirts.
However, if translations go down in price, nobody will say "ah, they are cheap, let's just translate everything we got in the house and the office".

Translations are ordered when someone needs to translate something. I have never seen a person saying "hey, translations are cheap, I'll take everything I have in my office and translate it into 20 languages just for fun".

So, when you offer "favors" or "lots of tests" for free, you are giving away:

a) a resource that is limited in quantity

b) your only resource.

If you were a supermarket giving away beans, that's just one of the many products they have. Translators are giving away the only product that they have.

Fifteen years ago I was hired by a Chicago agency for an interpretation assignment. First one for this agency. They asked the client about my performance after the assignment, and that was the "testing" part. Of course I was paid normally.
Nobody ever asked me to be a "free interpreter" even for 10 minutes.

So... why are the same agencies pay the interpreters on their first assignment (which is essentially a test for you and them), but they do not pay for translation tests? Here is why: because translators have allowed it, to such an extend that it became "typical".
So, guys, the next time you are bored with your computers, instead of working for free even for 5 minutes (thus establishing and maintaining bad practices for yourselves and the entire profession), better get up and work-out, walk, read a book or a magazine, or surf cnn or facebook.


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564354352  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 00:31
Danish to English
+ ...
Offer sample translations instead Jul 15, 2012

I worked as a full-time translator for a translation agency for seven years before going self-employed, and my work included assessing the work of freelancers who wanted to sign up with us. For a short while, we asked people to undertake test translations within their chosen specialist subject, and these really WERE test translations, not fake ways of getting jobs done for free. Not all agencies are out to cheat you. However, we soon discovered that it was much more useful to us if the freelancer could send us samples of his/her own work. This meant that they were able to present us with what they considered to be their best work, they could send any amount they felt like and we could then assess their actual work, not a small translation of just 100-300 words. Some translators objected to this practice, stating that client confidentiality prevented them from submitting texts to us, and I have to say that such translators never got any further in their application process. Our view was that if they wanted to sign up with us, they would have to prove to us that they were capable of providing top level translations. They could choose any text they wanted and then translate that for us, it was entirely their choice. This worked really well. It was entirely up to the translator to decide what they wanted to submit for our review.

And yes, we always gave feed-back to people who we had asked to submit examples of their work. I must admit that at times, I did so grudgingly, because we received some translation examples that were so awful that it would have taken ages to prepare a comprehensive assessment of the work. At times, I resorted to simply stating that the quality of the work simply did not meet our standards. Assessing the work of many applicants is actually quite time consuming, but if WE had contacted potential co-workers, e.g. via Proz, common courtesy and professional business ethics would, of course, call for us to give feed-back.

Having said all this, nowadays, I tell agencies who ask me to do test translations that I don't work for free, but that I am happy to do any translation at my standard rate and then they can assess whether they want to work with me on that basis. As for end clients, it is a different matter. If a potential client with whom I would really like to establish contact asks me to do a short sample translation, I will accept to do so, as I think it is only fair that they get a chance to see how I will deal with their exact texts, and if I want to work with them, I am willing to go that extra mile.

I don't think this is a black and white issue, or a case of deciding what is right and wrong in the translation business or setting out 'rules and regulations in connection with test translations'. Each of us must decide what is right for us and then simply explain this to potential clients, not feel exploited or stroppy about what they may request. We sell a product, we determine what we want to sell and how.


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Leo Young  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 06:31
English to Chinese
+ ...
Freelancer Test Statement Jul 15, 2012

Maja Zrobecka wrote:

Yes, I have had the same "issue". I do a test and then I never hear back from them. After a few such cases, I started to state beforehand that I do free tests provided that there is post-review feedback.
At least, if I never get any work from a said TC, I can benefit (or not) from the reviewer's comments. However, I am inclined to agree with what has been said here, on forums often - clients who really need your services, will very rarely bother you with sending a free test to do. In my case, this is true in 90% of cases.
So I suggest that if you want to do free tests, state that you are happy to do them as long as there is feedback provided. I find it to be fair.

Hope this helps.
Maja



(1) The sample will not exceed 200 words.
(2) Rate for potential projects should be determined in advance.
(3) Request the outsourcer to provide a post-review feedback.

Upon consent to the above, we can start translation. After delivery, there will be three results:
(1) No feedback from the outsourcer within a reasonable period, then we can give negative feedback in BB.
(2) Post-review feedback but a negative comment is received. Although we will lost the opportunity to work with the outsourcer, feedback may be helpful to improve our translation.
(3) A positive comment is received and new projects arrive. That's a good news. On the other hand, it is possible that nothing happened in one year or more. I met such case...


Thank you for both of your good ideas.

I was encoutering such things these days.I tried to make sure what the client directly contact me through Proz intend to.


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