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Agency avoids sending results of a translation test
Thread poster: macimovic
macimovic
Netherlands
Local time: 08:30
English to Serbian
+ ...
Feb 7, 2014

Hi everybody,
In December, I applied for a translation project advertised by an agency here at Proz. I was asked to do a sample translation and I haven't received the results until 20th of January 2014.

They thanked me and politely informed me that the client wasn't satisfied (to my big surprise since the project is in my area of specialization), adding that the results aren't disclosed (another surprise). I was really curious about client's remarks.

Part of the mail I received:

Your application and test were reviewed, however it did not pass the requirements and benchmarks of our client. Please note that test results are not disclosed.


I tried to politely ask for the results, despite this notion, but since then, I haven't received any reply. I waited few weeks for an answer but now I've decided to bring the subject to the forums.

Even though I avoid doing tests, I still wonder if this is a regular practice. Have you ever had a similar experience?

[Edited at 2014-02-07 03:15 GMT]


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Radian Yazynin  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:30
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Just some explanations Feb 7, 2014

Hi Milica. I don't know whether that project was "potential" or real. If potential, they probably were not selected as a service provider by the client and are finding a polite excuse, but if that was a real one and your test piece was perfect, in your opinion, they might have selected another candidate with a "better" price. Was there an express promise to provide you with test results? They are clearely unwilling to come into the open.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:30
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
If you want feedback, ask for it beforehand Feb 7, 2014

Milica Aćimović wrote:
They thanked me and politely informed me that the client wasn't satisfied ... , adding that the results aren't disclosed. I was really curious about client's remarks.


I can understand that you're curious to know why your test was rejected. But the agency may not have any control over the test procedure used by the end-client, and may not necessarily receive any feedback from them except "pass" or "fail". If you want to get feedback on your test, you have to ask for it before you do the test, so that the agency (and client) knows that you expect to get feedback.

You may also need to be more specific in what you want. You say that "the results" weren't disclosed, but in my opinion there was only one result and it was disclosed: FAIL. But you probably use the word "results" to mean detailled feedback or commentary on exactly what the client's reviewer didn't like or didn't agree with. When asking for feedback or results, make sure the agency understands that you want to be able to see specifically why you failed, if you fail.

If you did not agree with the agency beforehand that you deserve this information, then the agency can't be obligated to provide it, even if the test is free.

I have passes a number of tests and have also failed a number of tests, with and without feedback. In the cases where I had received feedback, I can't think of a single case where I thought that the reviewer was right in that I should have failed the test. Failing a test in my field of specialty is often due to stylistic differences.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:30
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
You don't know what those requirements and benchmarks were Feb 7, 2014

Milica Aćimović wrote:
Your application and test were reviewed, however it did not pass the requirements and benchmarks of our client.

It might have failed on quality (terminology, style etc) but it's also quite possible that the client came back to the agency with a short-list of acceptable translations and they started negotiating; by the time they'd arrived at an agreed rate, yours had 'failed the test'.

Time to move on and be even more reluctant to do tests in the future unless you're sure they're prepared to accept your rate.


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macimovic
Netherlands
Local time: 08:30
English to Serbian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Feb 7, 2014

Thank you all for your comments!

@Radian: That's what I thought. At one point, I started wondering if it was a scam since a simple explanation "We don't have the power/rights or we are not able to provide the results" would work just well. Compared to dead silence.

@Samuel: Yes, I was referring to their feedback since the result was rather obvious. That reminds me of a situation in which my sample was once reviewed by a person whose native language wasn't even Serbian (which is my native language). Go figure.

@Sheila: Exactly. That's why I was curious about it. At least I could have learned from my mistakes, if there were any! Regarding the price, it's the same old story.


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Andy Lemminger  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 00:30
Member (2002)
English to German
Scam possible as well Feb 7, 2014

There are also agencies that get clients by using good tests from expensive translators, and then outsource the work to cheaper ones.
That always results in a "Fail" if you're at the expensive end.


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macimovic
Netherlands
Local time: 08:30
English to Serbian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hmm Feb 7, 2014

Andy Lemminger wrote:

There are also agencies that get clients by using good tests from expensive translators, and then outsource the work to cheaper ones.
That always results in a "Fail" if you're at the expensive end.


Lame, lame, lame. Also, the agency I'm talking about is a well-known one.


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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:30
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
My, my, what eye-opening comments! Feb 7, 2014

I was not the topic starter, but I still thank you for the feedback as you also opened my eyes on why certain agencies send you tests- I had to point out to some that 250-300 at most was my limit as a test- but never hear anything from them again. i suspect that these tests are sometimes the real text to be translated, but fear not accepting to do them when I have the time, i.e. after other work to which I give priority. I can certainly see things from the agency's point of view thanks to your contributions, as I always thought the agency would examine my test results, not the client sees my translated texts.

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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:30
Russian to English
+ ...
You should request a copy of the graded test Feb 7, 2014

with all the remarks. You have the right to it, and always request it. Some agencies may not even check your test, if they find someone they need after just a few of them are checked--which is outrageous.

I think thy might be obliged by the law to end you the results of the test, along with the remarks.

In the uS for ure-- in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.

[Edited at 2014-02-07 15:40 GMT]


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macimovic
Netherlands
Local time: 08:30
English to Serbian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No reply Feb 7, 2014

LilianBNekipelo wrote:

with all the remarks. You have the right to it, and always request it. Some agencies may not even check your test, if they find someone they need after just a few of them are checked--which is outrageous.


Hi Lilian, I did ask for it two times, but after the second time I didn't get any reply anymore. No explanation, no nothing. I do save all my mails though. I would really like to mention the company's name but, unfortunately, I would break the rules of Proz.com.


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 08:30
English to Polish
+ ...
Makes me wonder too Feb 7, 2014

I once caught a household name red-handed lying about not having the time (!) to disclose the results to me. Told them that was curious since they'd had the time to mine social media for contacts (it was they who had approached me, not the other way round). I always wonder what makes those guys not want to show the evaluated samples. A fear of embarrassing themselves with ignorance would probably require too much self-awareness, but I can't come up with a plausible cause otherwise.

[Edited at 2014-02-07 18:30 GMT]


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macimovic
Netherlands
Local time: 08:30
English to Serbian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
ehhh Feb 7, 2014

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:

I once caught a household name red-handed lying about not having the time (!) to disclose the results to me. Told them that was curious since they'd had the time to mine social media for contacts (it was they who had approached me, not the other way round). I always wonder what makes those guys not want to show the evaluated samples. A fear of embarrassing themselves with ignorance would probably require too much self-awareness, but I can't come up with a plausible cause otherwise.

[Edited at 2014-02-07 18:30 GMT]


An image comes to my mind:
http://www.quickmeme.com/img/26/2604c8c350d537bb08322a3ea7a94a0fcf8606b56e39ba1f62301224aa417e84.jpg


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M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:30
English to Polish
You're not the only one Feb 7, 2014

I know exactly who you're talking about, because I received the same "rejection email", word for word.

However, I look at it as a "standard reply", which can mean anything, including "the test was fine but we chose another translator and didn't bother with writing to each candidate a personal email".

After being quite disappointed (the project looked interesting), I moved on to other things.


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macimovic
Netherlands
Local time: 08:30
English to Serbian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Ugh Feb 7, 2014

@M. Anna Kańduła: I wonder how many more received the same reply. Indeed, moving on!

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:30
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Move on! Feb 7, 2014

Welcome to our industry! Even if you are specialised in some area, the end customer examining your test can have a different perception of what is a correct language and wording. They do not necessarily have to be linguists, but their opinion is what matters. The fact that your translation was not what they wanted does not mean it was not perfect work.

My advice is that you move on, let it lie, and go on with your life.


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