Messy test translation
Thread poster: Christina Baier

Christina Baier  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 03:00
Member (2014)
French to German
+ ...
Nov 17, 2015

Dear colleagues,
some time ago, I was contacted by an agency for a bigger project (translation of website content). I agreed to do a test translation and after sending some paper back and forth, they sent me the test. At first sight, it looked normal: Excel file, about 200 words, short descriptions of products, pictures of the products.

When I started translating, I realized that something was wrong: The details shown on the picture of product 1 made me think of a subtype-A-product, the text said it was a subtype-B-product. I thought the client or the agency had put in the wrong picture (or the wrong text) intentionally, to test the translators knowledge of the subject and I was proud I had not gone into that trap.

Then I discovered that the whole thing was one big mess:
Text 2 said: This is a x-product, produced by company A, its part of the special edition named aaa.
The picture showed a y-product, produced by company B, while company C was the only one who had a special edition named aaa… and so on…

I translated the parts that were ok and sent back the translation with a comment.
I never got an answer… The end client (big company, selling expensive products) still has a poor machine translation on the website.

So what was that about? Have you experienced something similar?


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:00
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Clients are very inventive sometimes Nov 17, 2015

Christina Baier wrote:
I thought the client or the agency had put in the wrong picture (or the wrong text) intentionally, to test the translators knowledge of the subject and I was proud I had not gone into that trap.

Then I discovered that the whole thing was one big mess

There are no end of ways to encourage us to give our time for free in totally absurd go-nowhere situations. As soon as I feel I've encountered the daftest, someone comes up with a "better" time-waster. All you can do is put it down to experience - yet another trap to avoid next time, Christinaicon_frown.gif.


 

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 08:00
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Chinese web sites Nov 17, 2015

Many Chinese websites localize texts for products with MT e.g. Baidu and Alibaba. Their English usage is terrible and downgrade the English quality for Internet searches.
Many translators use such bad English translations in their own jobs.
Be aware of this!

Soonthon L.


 

Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:00
Member (2014)
English to German
Question the mess? Nov 17, 2015

Maybe you should have asked about this before spending time trying to sort out the mess and wondering whether it was some clever trap ... or just careless on their side?

 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
overqualified Nov 17, 2015

Christina, in this case, I guess, you just went deeper than mere translation, while it was neither asked for, nor welcome: you almost accused them and/or their providers of forgery! Hard times.

 

Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 02:00
Lithuanian to Portuguese
+ ...
Common practice Nov 17, 2015

It's quite common to ask for test translations and then never appear again. Various reasons may be behind it, I'll not start guessing all of the here. Just learn to be more picky for whom you do tests no matter how appealing the initial contact seems.
I've done various tests and have sent various forms filled in, sgned and scanned I don't know how many times.
One agency that actually aprroved my test gives me "job" from time to time: please do agree to participate in this (and that, and another) tender, please send ypour documents... No a single order, though.
Another one, also with the test approved, send out their inquiries to a number of translators. The first to grab wins. Sorry, but I'm not a stray dog to be in such pack. Maybe wrongly, but I view such policies as humiliating.
For those who ask for the forms as the first step, I tell I would send them with the first order. They reply they can assign anything after the official registration only... A vicious circle.
Yet that's a part of the game. Try pre-select who is worth your time and effort.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:00
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Forgery? Nov 18, 2015

DZiW wrote:

Christina, in this case, I guess, you just went deeper than mere translation, while it was neither asked for, nor welcome: you almost accused them and/or their providers of forgery! Hard times.

I can't imagine where you found any indication of (almost) accusations of forgery. Unless of course you have access to more information than the rest of us.


 

Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A test "crafted" by the PM? Nov 18, 2015

Christina Baier wrote:

When I started translating, I realized that something was wrong:


And you can imagine e what the actual work would look like if you accepted to collaborate with them.


 


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