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260 words legal test in 1 hour
Thread poster: Álvaro Espantaleón

Álvaro Espantaleón  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:13
Member (2015)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Nov 17, 2015

An agency "offered" me this type of test as a prerequisite to get a proofreading job.

When I said that 1 hour was too short for a legal test, the recruiter told me that absolutely all candidates in all languages had managed to do the test in 1 hour and that none of them had objected.

What do you think?

Also, no CAT tools allowed.


 

Shada Salameh
Jordan
Local time: 19:13
English to Arabic
+ ...
Quality Nov 17, 2015

It depends on the quality of the translation.
I believe it is manageable to finish it within an hour if the translation is 75-90% good.
Otherwise you will need more time.

Regards,
Shada


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 18:13
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Three qualities in translation, but you can never have more than two at a time Nov 17, 2015

As one of the Swedish veterans on this site wrote many years ago, translations can be cheap, fast or good.

Possibly two of those at once, but never all three. So I would ask for payment at rushed job rate, and offer to give them the best I could manage in 59 minutes. That would be 1½ times my normal rate for law, so about 48 Euros for the test.

If the PM went along with it, then I might just be able to do it - provided I could spend the hour translating, and not have it eaten into by mailing, negotiating etc.

I sometimes do small tests, but if it is also a rushed job, then it is NOT for free.

Why it should be a prerequisite for a proofreading job is beyond me, but for an hour's work, what is there to lose?!
They would not pay, of course, but I would try it on anyway and then get back to my normal day's work.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:13
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Ridiculous Nov 17, 2015

Alvaro Espantaleon wrote:

An agency "offered" me this type of test as a prerequisite to get a proofreading job.

When I said that 1 hour was too short for a legal test, the recruiter told me that absolutely all candidates in all languages had managed to do the test in 1 hour and that none of them had objected.

What do you think?

Also, no CAT tools allowed.


This is ridiculous. The focus should be on how accurately you can do the translation/correct someone else's translation - not on how quickly you can do it. I would tell these people to go and jump off a cliff. Would you really want to work with people like this?

[Edited at 2015-11-17 13:21 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:13
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Will they send someone to check? Nov 17, 2015

Alvaro Espantaleon wrote:
Also, no CAT tools allowed.

How you arrive at the translation is nobody's business but your own. You must be free (after all, you're a freelancer) to use any resources you see fit. Paper and/or on-line dictionaries, encyclopaedia, websites, CAT tool with your own TMs and glossaries, even MT, and also KudoZ and/or your own contacts if there isn't an NDA issue with those - that's part of how you run your business, and strictly your own decision.

Of course, you'll send a fully-cleaned translation, not output directly from the CAT. So how on earth will they know? Unless you have to do the translation using their on-line interface? Is that the case here?


 

Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:13
Member (2014)
English to German
Silly condiditons Nov 17, 2015

Whether I decide to do a free test often depends on what overall impression I get from the agency, if I get the impression they are professional and respectful then I will do it.

However, if they then send several conditions along with the test I usually don't do it, e.g. we need this back today and the like.


 

Danylo Kravchuk  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 19:13
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
What about scheduling the time? Nov 17, 2015

Did you arrange with them the time when you should do that test?
If not, try to schedule it for some time after a few days. If they will not agree, you will know for sure that this is a part of some job that they want you to do for free.


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Ridiculous? Nov 17, 2015

Doesn't imposing a realistic time limit like this make it a fairer test of your real-world performance?

 

Morano El-Kholy  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 18:13
Member (2011)
English to Arabic
+ ...
You are certainly right. Nov 17, 2015

In fact, I like your replies.

Tom's reply:
The focus should be on how accurately you can do the translation/correct someone else's translation - not on how quickly you can do it. I would tell these people to go and jump off a cliff.


Sheila's reply also is very reasonable:
You must be free (after all, you're a freelancer) to use any resources you see fit. Paper and/or on-line dictionaries, encyclopaedia, websites, CAT tool with your own TMs and glossaries, even MT, and also KudoZ and/or your own contacts....


My dear colleagues you are absolutely right!

Thank you!


 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 18:13
Member
Italian to English
Yes and no Nov 17, 2015

Chris S wrote:

Doesn't imposing a realistic time limit like this make it a fairer test of your real-world performance?


While I agree in part, I think it's an unreasonable method of judging translation ability. Surely it would be more reasonable to focus on quality rather than speed? Although the latter seems to be very popular with certain agencies. While 260 words in a hour in an average working day may not be excessive, anything could happen during that time. Maybe I get an important phone call, or have to leave my desk for whatever reason. I think giving a 24 hour turnaround is reasonable, judging the translator on their quality rather than speed.

A lot depends on text complexity too: a straightforward text may be perfectly doable in the given timeframe. In my experience, however, test translations tend to be rather thorny, to test the translator's capabilitiesicon_smile.gif


 

Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 17:13
Lithuanian to Portuguese
+ ...
Translation or proofreading? Nov 17, 2015

[An agency "offered" me this type of test as a prerequisite to get a proofreading job.]

Were you requested to proofread or translate?
For proofreading 260 words, 1 hour is more than sufficient,
As for translation, I do 260 words per hour (at least half of my texts are legal) but...
We are freelancers, we manage our time as we please, why the timing should matter for the outsourcer?
I notice lately, and hope it's only me, an increasing demand for "call translators", ready to respond immediately at the first call: outsourcers must imagine that translators don't do anything else but wait until they are remembered. Could this be the case - "total availability"?


 

matt robinson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:13
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Prior testing not really necessary Nov 17, 2015

I wouldn't assume that agencies sending out test translations are selling them on as part of a project. There is a limit to how long an agency could survive using this business model. I suggest the reason is that some agencies ask, perhaps during slack periods or as some target-related activity, to get more translators onto the books. You can probably spot them, if not through the initial contact, then by the way you are subsequently treated.
Most of the agencies I work with on a regular basis initially used small documents with relatively long deadlines as a test, without stating that it was a test, of course. That way, if you do the job well they have lost nothing, and if you do the job badly they have time to sort the problem out.


 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:13
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
I can do it for you in 15 minutes,.... Nov 17, 2015

.... only there wouldn't be a person in the world who could read/would understand it.

I like the "let them jump of a cliff" part.icon_smile.gif

So, what I mean to say, is that the proposal is totally unrealistic, even within an hour.

[Edited at 2015-11-17 21:30 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-11-17 21:31 GMT]


 

Sindy Cremer

Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
totally unrealistic? Nov 18, 2015

Robert Rietvelt wrote:

So, what I mean to say, is that the proposal is totally unrealistic, even within an hour.


Surely a lawyer with 6 years' experience in translating legal documents should be able to cough up 260 words of legalese within an hour?



[Edited at 2015-11-18 12:43 GMT]


 

Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 17:13
Lithuanian to Portuguese
+ ...
To some Nov 18, 2015

Sindy Cremer wrote:

Certainly a lawyer with 6 years' experience in translating legal documents should be able to cough up 260 words of legalese within an hour?



To some translators it seems unrealistic, while many others do that with no trouble. In rush times, I do 1,5x to 2x more than that.
C'mon, 260 words is not even a full page in Times New Roman!..
For the test translation, though, most of us ten to take much more time than normally - cehcking every word, double checking and then triple checking.


 
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