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530 words translation test acceptable?
Thread poster: milena ferrante
milena ferrante  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:23
Member (2006)
English to Italian
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Apr 26, 2008

I was wondering if the volume of the translation test is acceptable or is it a way to get translation done.

What do you think?

thanks a lot

Milena


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theangel  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 09:23
Swedish to Italian
+ ...
Too long Apr 26, 2008

In my opinion it's too long. I never accept tests longer than 250 words (if ever).
The only time when I did a longer test it was for a subtitling company and the test was divided in several parts with very different tasks.
You can see if they are serious about it offering them to translate 250 words as a free sample and the rest at your full rate.


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milena ferrante  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:23
Member (2006)
English to Italian
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TOPIC STARTER
test and target language Apr 26, 2008

thanks very very much!! Since I am just beginning with foreign agencies I am actually wondering about lots of things.

I have lots of other questions about testing but maybe I will ask them later on..

I don't know for example how these tests are actually evaluated.

Does the fact that a translator have experience in a certain field automatically guarantees that he is actually able to provide a good translation in the target language?

is it not mainly is ability to HANDLE the target language making him a good translator??

or maybe it is my fault to think that...

thanks again!

milena


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Spencer Allman
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:23
Finnish to English
Too long Apr 26, 2008

unless they are paying - it is worth asking

spencer


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milena ferrante  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:23
Member (2006)
English to Italian
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TOPIC STARTER
thanks Apr 26, 2008

thanks a lot!

Spencer Allman wrote:

unless they are paying - it is worth asking

spencer



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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:23
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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Yes to both your questions Apr 26, 2008

milena ferrante wrote:
I was wondering if the volume of the translation test (530 words) is acceptable, or is it a way to get translation done.


You're asking two distinct things:

* Is the volume within normally acceptable limits?
* Could this be an attempt to get a larger translation piece-meal for free?

The answer to both questions is "yes". Would you have thrown caution to the wind if the test was only 200 words? Even with 200 words the client could still have split up his text among X number of translators.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 05:23
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Test rating Apr 26, 2008

milena ferrante wrote:
I don't know for example how these tests are actually evaluated.


Ciao, Milena,

I can tell you a bit about test rating, as I'm asked to do it now and then.

There are some different methods.


1. Let's start with a simple one. A client sent me very short (some 6 lines) translation samples of the same source text by 5 different translators, and asked me which one I'd choose to translate his web site. I recommended translation by, say, #2 and proofreading by #4, and gave him the reasons/comments for each one.

He hired #2 alone to do the whole job, asking him/her to pay special attention to the "qualities" I had mentioned for #4. I saw it done, and it was really good!


2. The agency has a standard test it has been using for years. You'll find all its parts scattered in the Proz Kudoz. Each candidate is entitled to a preset number of errors of any kind. Another translator checks the test and counts the errors. If that number is exceeded, it's a "fail"; if not, it's a "pass".

One such agency uses some 4 or 5 totally unrelated texts in their test. In one of them, all sentences are separated by two or more spaces after the period. Any translator who fails to cut these down to one will be rejected, even if they are no other errors.


3. There is a table, the first column listing criteria like grammar, meaning, omissions, spelling, punctuation, numbers, dates, style etc. Three more columns offer space for counting "flaws" in three different categories, according to their seriousness. These categories are weighted, and the candidate is allowed a number of points they are allowed to lose.



A lot of it depends on the nameless, unknown, appraiser of the test. Some agencies, actually very few, send the candidate feedback on their test. Quite frankly, from what I saw in one of these, I wouldn't hire the appraiser who passed me to do a technical translation.

The bottom line is that generic tests for mere inclusion in an agency's translator database involve too much luck to be reliable. While I'd fail miserably in a one-liner medical translation test; I'd pass with flying colors in a 100-page test if it were e.g. a personnel policies manual. And yet I know colleagues who would do exactly the opposite.

IMHO if an agency wants to be sure about hiring the best translator for a large job, they should pay candidates do the first page of it, screen out the really bad ones, give the remaining tests to the end client, and ask Which one do you want?.


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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 02:23
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
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Too long. Apr 26, 2008

It's too short if we consider one collegue received a proposal of 24 pages.....

...for free.


250 is still too long. I think 100 words is enough. The provider should select 100 representative words , which can describe the general matter of the text.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:23
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
I think 100 words is too short Apr 26, 2008

Yaotl Altan wrote:
250 is still too long. I think 100 words is enough. The provider should select 100 representative words , which can describe the general matter of the text.


If the number of words is too small, the client will likely give a very difficult piece of text that is more difficult than the most difficult you're likely to encounter in a real job. A text of 250 words is easier to booby-trap. In a text of 100 words, the catches are either stacked too close together or they do not represent an adequate range of likely translation errorrs.


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:23
English to Dutch
+ ...
300 words Apr 27, 2008

I agree to free tests as long as they are no longer than 300 words.
Long enough to have a decent text (with context!), short enough to make sure it can be done in a reasonable amount of time.


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milena ferrante  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:23
Member (2006)
English to Italian
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TOPIC STARTER
conclusion Apr 27, 2008

thanks to all of you it's been a very interesting debate and thanks especially to josé. the description of the evaluating process reveals that this is a weird weird world!!!

I understand it's most of all luck and being there at the right time, then. quality counts but I see that it's not like that all the time.

also, if the tests are spread out on proz to be done by established translators what's the point of testing??

thanks again,

milena


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Egil Presttun  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 09:23
English to Norwegian
Wolves and sheep out there Apr 27, 2008

Normally you can tell out of the content whether this is a test or part of a real text that someone needs translated.

About the 530 million dollar question: If this is a well known translation company with offices in more than 50 countries, and you have asked for a test, don't worry. If this is a potential customer, who is supposed to give one assignment to the lucky winner, and the company is totally unknown, don't even think of doing that translation test. The only thing you can prove by doing it, is that you're dumb, deaf and desperate.


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Luka23
Spain
Local time: 09:23
Spanish to Finnish
+ ...
Too long Apr 28, 2008

I think it is too long. I just did a similar test, and I feel that I was getting fooled with it. Next time I will add to the sample translation warning in my language saying that it is just a test. I also thought of sending them in pfd opcion no copy, no printing. If I do any from now on.

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Carolin Haase  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:23
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Try to negotiate Apr 28, 2008

Margreet Logmans wrote:

I agree to free tests as long as they are no longer than 300 words.
Long enough to have a decent text (with context!), short enough to make sure it can be done in a reasonable amount of time.


Same here.

If you are asked to do longer test translations, you can still politely decline and say that you will do the test - but not more than those 200-300 words.


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Corinne O'Connor
France
Local time: 09:23
English to French
Length of translation test... % May 1, 2008

Hello,
I know I'm replying to a topic probably closed, but who knows..... I'm asked to do a 300 word test.... for a 1000 word assignment, for a large company in the UK. It is the kind of work I'm already specialised in and so I think that a test accounting for a third of the actual paid work is quite a lot!!!??
This is a new potential customer...who is NOT a Proz member, apparently
What do you think??? Should I limit myself to 100 words at most??
All the best to you all
Corinne


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