Long-term co-operation, but speedy test required
Thread poster: Roy OConnor

Roy OConnor
Local time: 20:23
German to English
Oct 14, 2015

Hi, folks,

I have just received an enquiry for long-term co-operation with an Italian agency in the field of patents. They ask however "whether you are available and interested in taking a short free test for today by UTC +1 Rome". The language pair is DE>EN.

It sounds a bit strange to me. What do you think?

Roy


 

Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:23
Member
French to English
+ ...
Might be legit, but seems odd Oct 14, 2015

In my experience, it is unusual for agencies to want a test translation to be completed that quickly (in fact I've never been asked to do one on the same day), but recently I did a test that had to be completed by a certain date because it was for a translation tender, and unusually, not for an EU institution. It was paid, so I didn't mind. However, if your test is for a tender, I would have expected the agency to mention that, so it does seem a little odd. Perhaps you could say you'd expect to be paid for such an urgent test (if you haven't said that already)?

 

Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2008)
German to English
Got the same inquiry Oct 14, 2015

Pretty much stopped at "best rates" and "Italian agency".

My experience is that Italian agencies can't pay anywhere near what German agencies do, and I already charge more than many German agencies claim to be able to pay.

If you really want to explore this opportunity, my advice is to talk about pricing up front before doing *anything* else ...


 

Andrea Garfield-Barkworth  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:23
Member (2015)
German to English
Never been asked to do that Oct 14, 2015

Most agencies I have done a test translation for have specifically told me to take my time and that there's no rush. After all, genuine paid work needs to take precedence over an unpaid test translation.

If you can't manage it in time then tell them you can only deliver on a different day. Any serious agency would allow you to do that, even if it is supposedly for a tender, as there should be other opportunities.


 

Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:23
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Absolutely not Oct 14, 2015

I would never do a test translation for free if there's a deadline involved. If they want it by a certain time, they can pay for it.

And same day turnaround? Sounds to me like they're trying to pull a fast one and get a quickie for free.


 

Roy OConnor
Local time: 20:23
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
No mention of a tender Oct 14, 2015

They make no mention of a tender and I agree with Angela in that they just wanted a quick free job doing.

I did ask them why they needed a quick test, but I have not had a reply.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:23
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Not necessarily dodgy, but quite likely to be Oct 14, 2015

I have had it happen, and with a very good outcome, too. However, in the very few instances where I've complied it's been because an actual job was waiting to be done, by me, if the end client liked my work. This assumes that the end client is in a position to determine a good job of course, but there are quite a lot of end clients out there who can evaluate an into-English translation of their own marketing texts, even if they couldn't produce the text themselves.

I can only advise you to base your decision on the whole package:
- what's been said and how it's been said (fairly informal but respectful communication (i.e. you're a person, not a number)? requesting your rates rather than imposing theirs?)
- their BB record and everything else you can find out about them
- what you stand to gain (high rate? large volume actually waiting for you, not just promised?)
- the length of the test and whether you have enough free time
- the general vibes you're getting.

I find the last one in that list to be an extremely good judge, though it does take years of experience to develop a flair for sniffing out the time-wasters, a.k.a. learning the hard wayicon_frown.gif.


 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:23
Member
Italian to English
My experience Oct 14, 2015

I have had an excellent agency (who liked my work and who I still work for) ask me to do a test within a timeframe of 48 hours - they often need complex jobs turned around fairly quickly and obviously want to see that a similar text won't take a week to do!

I felt it was a reasonable request, and indeed it paid off. But it's never bad to trust your instincts.

I have pretty much given up working with Italian agencies - with a few exceptions, terrible rates and payment practices.


 

Roy OConnor
Local time: 20:23
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Italian agents Oct 14, 2015

@ Fioana - It's interesting what you say about Italian agents. I had payment problems with an Italian when I first started in the translating business. He worked as an agent here in Germany. It was the pre-Internet time when good rates were available working honourably, but he still had to bend the rules.

They say once bitten, twice shy which makes me "look before I leap" to take this opportunity. As Sheila says, it's sometimes best to take notice of bad vibes.


 

Roy OConnor
Local time: 20:23
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Clarification received Oct 14, 2015

The agency has replied to my query saying that the request for a test is their standard procedure when contacting new translators. I don't think they realise the doubt that the short time limit produces for the recipient.

The trouble is that those agencies that rip us all off muddy the waters for the others who are playing it straight.


 


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