ethical issue - found a whole test translation posted as a sample text on ProZ.com
Thread poster: Veronika Wagner

Veronika Wagner  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 11:26
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Jul 2, 2007

Dear All,

I have been contacted by an agency which claimed that they urgently require freelancers in my language pair. As requested, I have sent them 2 samples of my previous works, although I do not really like this approach. I clearly stated that I specialise in legal and EU-related texts. They have just sent me a test file for further consideration, which is entirely an IT text. I like challenges so I gave it a try. However, I need a lot of research for such stuff and - believe it or not - I have found the whole text translated into Hungarian posted as a sample project on Proz. Now, the temptation is too big to copy but I hate cheating. Of course I will tell the agency that this is not really my speciality field. Still, I am curious to know your opinion as to whether I should tell them that the reason why I do not want to complete the test file is that I have found it. It might embarrass the person who posted it, however, I do not want to seem like someone who just gives it up. What would you do?

Veronika

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2007-07-02 20:26]


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Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:26
Italian to English
+ ...
ethical issues Jul 2, 2007

Veronika Wagner wrote:

I have found the whole text translated into Hungarian posted as a sample project on Proz.

Veronika


Hi Veronika,
Do you mean you found a translation in a profile portfolio? Could you please clarify?

If I were in your shoes I'd stand my ground and ask the agency for some legal or EU material to work on. Would you take on IT work if the agency offered it to you in the future? If not, then doing the test in IT sounds like a waste of time to me and might not show you in your best light. If the agency can't come up with a suitable test, I'd be tempted to end the relationship. Chances are that if they can't work with you now, they will never be able to. If you would take on IT work in the future, then that's a different story (you don't say whether this is an area you work in), but the ins and outs of the IT test don't really come into it--who says that the translation you found is the "correct" translation, anyway? I've found some brilliant howlers in portfolios on ProZ, mwah hah...

I hope this doesn't sound harsh. I admire your dedication and (potential) honesty!
Best,
Amy

[Edited at 2007-07-02 16:50]

[Edited at 2007-07-02 16:58]


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Veronika Wagner  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 11:26
English to Hungarian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
to Amy Jul 2, 2007

Hi Amy,

yes, exactly that is the case. I have already heard that some people post test files in their portfolios but this is the first one I have actually found. Although that translator might have done it as a real project. Anyway, I should do it as a test now.


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Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:26
Italian to English
+ ...
ethical issues Jul 2, 2007

Thanks, Veronika. I've posted more in my edit above.
Best,
Amy


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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:26
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
If it is not your specialty, think twice Jul 2, 2007

Hi Veronika,
I think there are two issues here.
1. You are considering venturing into a field that is new to you. You have no previous training in IT, but you like challenges.

2. You found an existing translation of the text that you were given as a test.

As for 1, what you need to think about is the risk you are taking: you can fail miserably, either at the time of the test, or at the time of the actual project. You may end up either hurting your own reputation - by producing a weak translation which will be torn into pieces by the editor or the end client, or hurting your wallet by spending much more time on the project than you are actually getting paid for. (Nobody is going to pay for the extra time you may need to develop terminology.) So, you need to make your decision while you keep this in mind. You can decide to decline the test altogether and tell the agency that this is not your field - you can mention that you are planning on studying more about IT and will include this field in your portfolio in the future. Or, you can try your best at translating a test and send it back with a note saying that this is not your specialty.

As for 2, I think you can gain a lot of respect by being honest and telling the agency that you do not want this particular piece because you found an existing translation on the internet. If I were you, I would definitely not do this particular text, instead, would ask for another one (if I still wanted to be tested for this field). You cannot be sure that the translation you found is good, or was accepted by the client, but once you read it, it will influence you no matter what. The agency should have another test piece at hand.

I hope this helps.

[Módosítva: 2007-07-02 16:44]

[Módosítva: 2007-07-02 16:44]


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Veronika Wagner  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 11:26
English to Hungarian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks for your tips Jul 2, 2007

Hi Amy and Katalin,

your remarks have been a great help with drafting my reply to the agency. It is really not worth undertaking a lot of extra terminology work if I have enough to do in fields that I know better. And most probably they need IT experts if they require us to translate this kind of test files. Perhaps some time in the future.

Veronika


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Katerina Fragkiadaki  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 12:26
German to Greek
+ ...
why not test translations? Jul 3, 2007

As far as I've read you all seem to disagree with the test translation usage. First of all I would like to mention that it is a good sign that the agency has given you a text they have sent others too. This means they probably won't use it for commercial reasons so you wont end up translating for them for free something they will get paid for.

Second I chose to put a test translation in my portfolio and I will put more in the future. The reason is that this way I am sure I won't break any confidentiality clauses, even though I think my best translations are the ones I am not supposed to show.

Last but not least: You should definetely ask for a sample in your own field of specialisation, as mentioned by others. Thus you can show them your skills. Or alternatively dig into IT in order to specialise in the future. I am pretty sure we have all translated some time something out of our specialisation, putting a lot of effort in order to deliver a qualitative product. It's up to you to decide whether it is worth the fuzz.


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Veronika Wagner  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 11:26
English to Hungarian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
confidentiality Jul 3, 2007

Hi Katerina!

I have nothing against test translations, the thing I do not like is when an agency asks for samples to be sent in general, and my objection is precisely on the ground of confidentiality.

As for posting test translations on the web, I do see your point, I just do not think that any agency would be glad to find their test files translated and available to all, even to potential future candidates. I agree with you that it is rather difficult to find projects that you can post without breaking any confidentiality rules. I have never said that any solution should be regarded as correct, still it does help when you find some which are considered to be good by a fellow-translator and most probably by the agency as well - otherwise you would never post it, would you?


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