Translation tender: is it normal that an agency is required to send samplesof work
Thread poster: Isabel Barbosa

Isabel Barbosa  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 00:08
Member (2015)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Jun 14, 2014

Hi:

I have been contacted to provide a sample of proofreading work because an agency/individual is participating on a translation tender in the UN:

Is it normal they ask for samples of work? They say that they will use this sample to participate on the tender?


Thanks


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 01:08
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
It happens. Jun 14, 2014

However, given that often an agency will get a translator to do it for free but then use cheaper translators once they've won the bid, I would say that I'll do it at my normal rate. If they insist, I'll say that it's rarely because of the quality of my translation that they don't win the bid and that I'll refund them if they can prove that it was the only reason.

 

Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 08:08
Japanese to English
+ ...
Yeah, they'll use it Jun 14, 2014

And if they somehow end up winning the tender, they will find a bunch of low-quality translators that charge a third of what you do to actually perform the work.

That is, if there really is a tender................

Of course, if this is an agency or individual that you know well and have worked amicably with in the past, you can disregard my (overly??) cynical comments.

On the other hand, if this individual contacted you out of the blue about this, and seems even the least bit on the shady side, I would follow this advice.


 

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Do it Jun 15, 2014

But charge your normal rate.

 

Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:08
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Do it Jun 15, 2014

amber10 wrote:
I have been contacted to provide a sample of proofreading work because an agency/individual is participating on a translation tender in the UN:

Look at it from the agency's point of view. They want to produce a winning tender, and it helps to have good evidence in the form of samples. Whether it is normal or not is irrelevant - what matters is what the agency wants from you in order to win the tender.
They say that they will use this sample to participate on the tender?

Do you have any reason to doubt this? If so, follow Orrin's advice. But it is unlikely that they are going to all this bother for fun. And if they want this UN business long-term then they will want high quality translators.

If you can persuade them to pay for this, fine. At the end of the day it is your commercial decision whether to take part, whether to demand payment, whether to impose your conditions. If you want the business, ignore the cynical comments and bad advice, and go for it, if necessary on their terms.


 

Michelle Kusuda  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:08
English to Spanish
+ ...
Good companies pay for "samples". Jun 15, 2014

If they are a serious company, they will pay for the sample. Unpaid samples is a dead giveaway that you want to stay clear of them!

Good luck!


 

Suzanne Smart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:08
Italian to English
+ ...
You may wish to read this... Jun 16, 2014

http://lingocode.com/12-newbie-traps-1/

 

Michelle Kusuda  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:08
English to Spanish
+ ...
Absolutely correct! Jun 16, 2014






Another trap is sending them a list of your clients for references. Newbies do that all the time and they are just handing out a list of direct clients to companies!


 

Michelle Kusuda  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:08
English to Spanish
+ ...
Paid samples. Jun 16, 2014

amber10 wrote:

Hi:

I have been contacted to provide a sample of proofreading work because an agency/individual is participating on a translation tender in the UN:

Is it normal they ask for samples of work? They say that they will use this sample to participate on the tender?


Thanks



A serious outsourcer is willing to invest in you if they are looking to develop a long-term relationship with you. Otherwise, they are only trying to use your "free" samples for them to get work that they do not intend to share with you.

It is sad that there are some agencies like that around.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 01:08
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
The UN does require an enormous amount of vetting Jun 16, 2014

Once, - and only once - I did a series of translations for a client who sent them on to the UN. There were several thousand words altogether.

I was able to follow some of the story in the press and there was plenty of background reading on the Internet.
You can ask for information and check things like that, although some may be a lot less public. Still, certain details are available and you need to consider whether the job is within your subject area etc.
If the client is willing to give you details, then they are probably fine. And it would not be worth going to all the trouble of tendering to the UN, just to hire cheaper translators - there are far easier ways to make a quick buck...

They paid quite a good rate per word, but there was an enormous amount of administrative work on the side. It was good experience, but I did not earn a lot on it!

I don't remember delivering a sample translation on this occasion, but I did deliver a LOT of documentation about my qualifications, credentials, you name it. There was a fair amount of law involved, but they wanted an English native, and possibly style was not too important. The client seemed OK, so I took her on, and continued until that part of the case was closed. They paid as agreed, no problems there.

I would check the client carefully, but assume good faith unless I actually found evidence to the contrary. I would probably also provide a small test if asked - I do this several times a year, and sometimes gain a good client that way.

Remember, 50% of the time you spend on marketing is wasted. The problem is that you do not know which 50%...


 


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Translation tender: is it normal that an agency is required to send samplesof work

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