Samples of previous translation
Thread poster: Sami Khamou

Sami Khamou  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:23
Member (2002)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Sep 24, 2002

Most of my work is done for translation agencies.

When a new translation agency asks for samples of previous translation, how can I satisfy the demands of the new agency, without infringing on the rights of the old ones? Isn\'t disclosing my work to a new agency a violation of the trust?

I would appreciate your help.

Kind regards,



C Greene  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:23
English to French
The following thread might help Sep 24, 2002

Hello Sami - a previous thread dealt with this subject; have a look at:

Hope this helps and have a nice day !


Minna Wood MITI (Purring CAT Ltd.) (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
English to Finnish
+ ...
Ambriosa... Sep 24, 2002

The thread you mention doesn\'t actually reply Sami\'s question.

I would be interested, too, in hearing what other pros think about sending sample texts to a potential client. I was recently approached by an agency who want to see some samples of my work and I was planning to send them some. Of couse, I will delete any company names or any other revealing information from the samples so that no client will be identified from them.

But would I need to ask a permission from my old client if I am using their work?

Any comments appreciated.




Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:23
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
I wrote a word document Sep 24, 2002

choosing extracts from different translations that don\'t show who can be the client. I didn\'t include patents because it\'s a delicate subject, but mentionned I had experience on it. I tried to select my extracts in fonction of the matters I say I know translating. I didn\'t feel the need of asking for permission. I must also say that several are web pages or press articles, so it\'s not secret matter.

I agree with Ambrosia, the thread given gives useful answers.


United States
Local time: 10:23
English to Arabic
+ ...
Sample Translations - Some Ways Sep 24, 2002

Greetings to all in this threda.

I sahre Samy\'s concern about the confidentiality and proprietary rights of previous clients in terms of sending earlier products as samples of a trans;ator\'s capabilities.

There may be two feasible approaches to satisfy such concerns.

1. Get prior approval and release, in writing, by one (or more) satisfied client(s) to use a translation you did for that client(s) as a \"portfolio sample\" which you could provide whenever you are requested to furnish a sample. The client might ask you to delete contact data or other details, but those should be minor changes.

That way, you will have a \'stock\' or \'portfolio\' of sample translations that have already been \"cleared and scrubbed\" for you to submit as samples.

2. Build a registry of satisfied clients (especially repeaters), including their contact data, and offer listings from that registry as references for the requester to contact directly.

Related point: if the requester asks you to send an Arabic-text file via e-mail, insure that the requester has an Arabic-supported OS (such as MS Windows 2000 or XP, of similar Mac set-up). If the requester prefers a PDF, insure that the receiver has necessary Arabic fonts.

(I work in Arabic, Kurdish and Farsi, and a surprising number of requestors lack such basic bilingual technology in their OSs.)

HTH. Regards,

Stephen H. Franke


Richard Flight  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:23
Spanish to English
+ ...
Use 1- or 2-line excerpts only Sep 26, 2002

My samples are usually short - and, I think, at least - snappy one-liners I feel particularly proud of. For one, agencies probably don\'t have the time to review endless pages of full paragraphs, so short and quick proof of your talent is perhaps more persuasive. And second, I don\'t believe such limited amounts of text will hurt anyone\'s interests provided, of course it\'s not explicitly confidential.

If you\'ve done websites, it\'s of course easier - just provide the link. There are other instances too; I would guess anything you\'ve translated that\'s been published in any media is in the public domain, so there\'s no reason you shouldn\'t lay claim to the talent behind it. I\'m thinking of past issues of corporate magazines or press releases, voiceovers, brochures or other text for products that are already on the market, etc.

But you\'re perhaps raising a bigger question here: who has the copyright to your work? For instance, I translate websites for some French restaurants that include their menus, and I sometimes wonder (granted, a tad greedily) if they should pay me more if they decided to copy the website menu onto paper to attract more English-speaking patrons. In other words, when you\'re paid for a translation, are you actually selling the copyright, the right for customers (agencies or the end user) to do whatever they want with it? I wonder if that is actually covered in any law, and if it varies from country to country?

Good luck


Sami Khamou  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:23
Member (2002)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Many thanks for your constructive comments Sep 26, 2002

Thank you Ambrosia, Minna, Claudia, Stephen & Richard.

I appreciate your help.

Kind regards,



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