agency asking for proof of number of words translated
Thread poster: Eva Middleton

Eva Middleton  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:47
German to English
Sep 12, 2006

Hi all,

An agency I have done a little bit of work for in the past have contacted me and asked for various information etc. as they have won an EU tender and particular requirements have to be fulfilled.
I don't mind sending them a copy of my degree certificate, but they're also asking for proof that I have translated 345,000 words.
I'm not sure how to supply that proof. They're suggesting invoices, but I really don't want to let them have copies of all my invoices. My invoices are my private business documents, not there for all the world to see.
I'm thinking of just leaving it - there's always more work from other agencies... On the other hand, I really enjoy EU translation work.


Rosa Maria Duenas Rios (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:47
What about a signed declaration from you? Sep 12, 2006

I mean, it is the only way that occurs to me in which I could provide "proof" of the number of words I have translated.
I would definitively not provide copies of my invoices or of jobs that I have done for other clients.
Have they heard about confidentiality?


Nadia-Anastasia Fahmi  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:47
English to Greek
+ ...
Been there... Sep 12, 2006

Dear Eva,

I have received the same request many times in the past (and still do at times). When I suggest supplying invoices without the total sums and any client contact details, this was refused as vague. But, I agree, my invoices is private information, so I passed these offer.

As you said, there is plenty more work out there (even EU documents without such requests).

Good luck whatever you decide to do.



Eva Middleton  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:47
German to English
Thank you both Sep 12, 2006

Glad to hear I'm not unusual then with my misgivings about this.icon_smile.gif

I'll offer them a signed declaration and if that's not good enough they'll have to find someone else...


Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:47
French to English
Copy of your Tax return?? Sep 12, 2006

Just an idea. I fully understand your reservations about giving them your invoices! But gross income divided by a notional average rate (or the rate you charge this particular agency) would give them an idea of the number of words.

Of course, this assumes a number of things which may not be true (e.g. that translation is all you do, that an average rate is meaningful in any sense in your position, etc.) but it could be a gesture of good faith....

(I'm not sure I'd bother, though...!)


Silvia Silberstein  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:47
Spanish to English
+ ...
have you ever translated a book ? Sep 12, 2006

If you did, and your name is on it, or in any other text, you can send copies of your work (and if they feel like, they can count the words!) Some requests are unusual...


Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:47
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Your information can be misused Sep 12, 2006

Agencies seem to use certificates and other documents to get contracts, but do not necessary use the original freelancer for the work, but cheaper ones.


United States
Local time: 18:47
English to Arabic
+ ...
Strange requirement (re proof of your production of 345K words) Sep 12, 2006


May I add to the good replies already submitted by gracious co-practitioners in the global language services industry.

That particular agency's requirement for some sort of "proof" of your production of 345K words seems very unusual.

Separate from the matter of providing (or summarizing in some sort of declaration, as some other posters suggested) such proof, you might query the agency to clarify why and how that amount of 345K words is a critical number. (That seems akin to asking a licensed limousine driver to show how may kilometers he/she has driven, not how good a driver the person may be.)

That agency's requirement -- presented at the initial stage of your possible engagement to provide the agency with your time, attention and professional services -- implies that you may encounter some more convolutions in that agency's business practice.

Were I in your situation and faced with such a requirement, I would decline that agency's entanglements, and press on to doing business with other agencies in the global language services industry.

Hope this helps.


Stephen H. Franke
English Arabic,
Kurdish and Persian
San Pedro, California

[Edited at 2006-09-12 18:02]


Roman Bulkiewicz  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:47
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
letter(s) of reference from your client(s) Sep 12, 2006

including the number of words you've done for them, along with other info.
Worked fine for me.


Parrot  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:47
Spanish to English
+ ...
Charlie has a point Sep 12, 2006

in that the EU accepts tax declarations as a proof of translation experience for several consecutive years. However, it would take something very special to make me go through that...


df49f (X)
Local time: 03:47
before you do anything... Sep 12, 2006

... you might want to read through this forum thread on agencies and their EU tenders...



June Derlachter  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:47
Dutch to English
number of words Sep 12, 2006

I would make photocopies of the invoices, careful to 'white-out' the confidential part of the invoice. This way there is no dispute on the # of words.


Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:47
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Ask for a suggestion from your prospect Sep 12, 2006

Something along the lines of the following could work:

"Dear X:

As a professional, I value my relationship with my customers, and protect their privacy and the confidentiality of their information.

I would do the same for you and your data and information if we enter in a working relationship.

I therefore cannot provide you with details about jobs I did for other customers, nor, for the same reason, can I show you things such as my invoices to other customers, as that would reveal more information that my customers would like me to divulge.

However, I'm open to your suggestions, provided that my customer's confidentiality is protected."

At that point the ball is in their court.

[Edited at 2006-09-12 20:46]


Eva Middleton  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:47
German to English
problems Sep 13, 2006

The problem with this is the sheer number of invoices required - honestly, it'd take me at least a couple of days, think of the numbers involved. Most of my projects are between 1,000 - 5,000 words long.

I'll offer them a signed declaration and if that's no good I'll let it go. The rate is at the lower end for this kind of work, anyway, certainly not worth bending over backwards for.

junie wrote:

I would make photocopies of the invoices, careful to 'white-out' the confidential part of the invoice. This way there is no dispute on the # of words.


Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:47
Flemish to English
+ ...
Facts and figures. Sep 13, 2006

I had an offer to fill out the documents for a call-for-tender once. The agency is an in-between, who has won the tender. The in-between is responsible for delivering proof of the qualifications and professional experience of their collaborators to the External Translation Services of the E.U and deliver proof that the translator is either a professional specialised in... who has translated say 100000 words or a translator who has translated say 5 times as much (as proof of his expertise). If documents are failing, the agency is in default of its contract and runs the risk not to get that part of the translation.
If the translation is considered "below" standards, defined by the E.U.'s external translation services, you run the risk of not getting paid. If I remember well, there is a quality-control and if that is satisfactory, there is an order for payment.
Such a tender is usually worth a lot of money and means work for a certain period of time.
However, as always they need facts and figures. Only then will you get words.

[Edited at 2006-09-13 14:03]


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

agency asking for proof of number of words translated

Advanced search

PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »
SDL Trados Studio 2019 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2019 has evolved to bring translators a brand new experience. Designed with user experience at its core, Studio 2019 transforms how new users get up and running and helps experienced users make the most of the powerful features.

More info »

  • All of
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search