Translation test found on the internet
Thread poster: Liny
Liny  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:12
English to French
+ ...
Jul 26, 2016

Hi there,

I agreed to complete a small free translation test for an agency I’ve never worked with yet.
So… I receive the test and start working on it. And as I browse the internet for terminology search purposes, I come across a website where I can find, here and there, entire sections of the translation test I’m supposed to complete, as well as a high quality translated version in my target language.

It’s somehow a bit disconcerting...
Why would an agency want to assess me on a test that can be so easily found on the internet?

It feels like cheating to just copy and paste the ‘official’ translated version.
I could, of course, tell the agency that the content of their test can be fairly easily found out there... but they must surely be aware of it, no? So what’s the point of this test?

I don’t quite know what to do. And I am curious to know your views on this situation.

Many thanks!
Liny


[Edited at 2016-07-26 10:10 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-07-26 10:11 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-07-26 10:11 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-07-26 10:12 GMT]


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Luciana Jesus  Identity Verified
Brazil
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Just be honest Jul 26, 2016

I would just tell them the truth and how I came across the translation and just make comments on it, suggesting improvements, if there is any, or mentioning good choices the translator made. If I were outsourcing, I would be pleased to know that you check terms, that you can evaluate a good translation and be honest about it all. As you said it yourself, they might know it is pretty easy to find the translation online.

[Edited at 2016-07-26 10:18 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:12
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I totally agree Jul 26, 2016

Luciana Jesus wrote:

I would just tell them the truth and how I came across the translation and just make comments on it, suggesting improvements, if there is any, or mentioning good choices the translator made. If I were outsourcing, I would be pleased to know that you check terms, that you can evaluate a good translation and be honest about it all. As you said it yourself, they might know it is pretty easy to find the translation online.

[Edited at 2016-07-26 10:18 GMT]


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Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:12
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes, maybe they know ... Jul 26, 2016

... but they just want to see how resourceful you are. A lot of translation involves research, and sometimes you can be lucky enough to find the exact whole shebang out there.

Mervyn


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David Lin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:12
Member (2013)
English to Chinese
+ ...

MODERATOR
Same here Jul 26, 2016

Hi I've the same experience before when doing a test on a fashion brand piece. I gathered that many other translators did the same piece before me hence there were many different language versions already available on the Internet. But as to how they showed up in the Internet, nobody really knows.

For that piece I managed to edit it to my liking and style, but the job could not materialize at the end coz the agency could not form a team to handle the project even though they accepted my translation.

David

Liny wrote:

Hi there,

I agreed to complete a small free translation test for an agency I’ve never worked with yet.
So… I receive the test and start working on it. And as I browse the internet for terminology search purposes, I come across a website where I can find, here and there, entire sections of the translation test I’m supposed to complete, as well as a high quality translated version in my target language.

It’s somehow a bit disconcerting...
Why would an agency want to assess me on a test that can be so easily found on the internet?

It feels like cheating to just copy and paste the ‘official’ translated version.
I could, of course, tell the agency that the content of their test can be fairly easily found out there... but they must surely be aware of it, no? So what’s the point of this test?

I don’t quite know what to do. And I am curious to know your views on this situation.

Many thanks!
Liny



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Christina Baier  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 14:12
Member (2014)
French to German
+ ...
I agree with Luciana Jul 26, 2016

Just be honest, if it's a serious agency, they will appreciate it.
Give them your opinion about the translation you found and ask for another test.


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Michelle McBride  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:12
Japanese to English
I also totally agree! Jul 26, 2016

Luciana Jesus wrote:

I would just tell them the truth and how I came across the translation and just make comments on it, suggesting improvements, if there is any, or mentioning good choices the translator made. If I were outsourcing, I would be pleased to know that you check terms, that you can evaluate a good translation and be honest about it all. As you said it yourself, they might know it is pretty easy to find the translation online.

[Edited at 2016-07-26 10:18 GMT]


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Anna Marchesi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 14:12
German to Italian
+ ...
Same experience Jul 26, 2016

Something very similar happened to me too, but the translation I found online was the official datasheet translated into my target language.
I assumed the agency was well aware that the official translation was out there and they would compare any test to it to spot cheats. I read it of course, but I didn't copy any of it.

The way I see it, you shouldn't even be bothered that there are other versions online. Do *your* personal best, because that's what the agency wants to assess. If by any chance it's not good enough, cheating or copying wouldn't help you much in the long run. And the agency knows this too.

But of course, presenting an original translation AND warning the agency you found other versions online might let you win some extra points!


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mag013
Local time: 00:12
Italian to English
+ ...
Very common Jul 27, 2016

This also happened to me in my research for a test.

I did not look at the online version too closely, just went ahead and completed the test.

After making a comparison, I thought my version was better!


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jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:12
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
That action would earn you some extra points on your morality Jul 27, 2016

Anna Marchesi wrote:

But of course, presenting an original translation AND warning the agency you found other versions online might let you win some extra points!
but not on the test itself.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:12
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Great! Jul 27, 2016

Luciana Jesus wrote:
I would just tell them the truth and how I came across the translation and just make comments on it, suggesting improvements, if there is any, or mentioning good choices the translator made. If I were outsourcing, I would be pleased to know that you check terms, that you can evaluate a good translation and be honest about it all. As you said it yourself, they might know it is pretty easy to find the translation online.

Well said Luciana. I totally agree!


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Nadja Balogh  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:12
Member (2007)
Japanese to German
+ ...
A somewhat similar experience Jul 27, 2016

I had a somewhat similar experience, though in my case it was my task to review test translations done by other translators.
I noticed that many of them seemed to send in the same (bad) translation, changed only a little bit here and there, so there was obviously some "cheating source" available somewhere on the internet (I didn't bother to look for it).

Anyway, I told the client about this issue and they stopped using this particular test piece.

This actually resulted in fewer (but all in all better quality) translations being sent my way, probably because those translators who had to rely on a bad translation (most likely without noticing how bad it actually was) were unable to deliver a proper translation all by themselves and stopped trying.


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Texte Style
Local time: 14:12
French to English
point it out Jul 27, 2016

It probably got published on the Internet after the agency chose it. This happened at university, and the mark for the homework was going to count towards our final mark.
I did the homework on the day it was assigned and never found the translation. Those who waited till the last minute found it. The teacher realised and threatened to penalise all those who had simply lifted the translation, then when the students argued that they were entitled to credit for research abilities, she had us do another translation.

I would definitely point it out to the client and ask whether they might prefer to send another file.


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 18:42
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Do the test anyway Jul 30, 2016

The purpose of the test is to evaluate your proficiency level in the target language. Even if you have found a good translation of the source text somewhere, you should still do your own translation. You could mention your discovery to your client, or not, either way is fine, but now the responsibility on you to do a better, or at least equivalent translation becomes greater.

You will also need to consciously keep your translation different from the discovered target text as other wise the client would think you just lifted it from there. The client is probably well aware of the existence of this target text. They usually pick a sampling of text from their existing published documents to prepare the text for the test. It is quite possible that some of this text is already available in the target language.

Don't assume that the discovered target text is the only possible way of translating the test paragraphs. As any good translator knows, there are as many ways of a translating a text as there are translators doing it. Translation is not like Maths where 2 + 2 will always be 4. The choice of words, the use of idioms, the cadence, the imagery, and a million other things can be different in different translations of the same source text.

So don't worry too much about your discovery, and do the best translation of the source text that you are capable of.


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 21:12
Chinese to English
Try not to read the publicly available text Aug 2, 2016

I ran into this exact situation. I don't agree that you should just import the text on the internet. The point of a translation test is to see how good you are at translation, after all.

My solution was to quickly look away from the text online and to do my own translation (honestly). Then I did a comparison of mine against the online version, and wrote a note saying that a version is available online at www.herebetranslations.com, the version here is mine, it differs in ways X, Y, and Z. Also noted that if I found such a thing during the course of a real job, I would immediately report it and request instructions on whether to proceed.

That way, I felt like I covered all bases: 1) I demonstrated my proficiency as a translator (assuming they believed me, of course!) 2) I demonstrated my proficiency as a researcher 3) I tried to demonstrate my integrity by showing that I do the work even when shortcuts are available. That agency did in fact take me on and we worked happily together for a while.


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