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How long should a test translation be?
Thread poster: mariangela

mariangela

Local time: 15:26
English to Italian
+ ...
Mar 23, 2010

Hi, everybody. I have just applied for a job as freelance translator and I have been asked to sit a short translation test. It turned out that the test was over 1000 words. I wrote to the outsourcer and I explained that I thought it was a bit too long and it was not fair to expect a translator to do such a long test for free when we obviously translate for a living. I suggested that 250 words test would be fairer and would still allow the outsourcer to assess the quality of the translations submitted. What do you think? Is there an industry standard when it comes to test translations? Thanks for some insight in the business (PS I have been translating for many years, but nobody has ever asked me to sit a test of over 1000 words before! Maybe I haven't lived!)

 

Rifraf
Local time: 16:26
search this forum Mar 23, 2010

You should search this forum on this topic, since there have already been many topics about this subject.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:26
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
To live, you have to earn money Mar 23, 2010

mariangela palazzi-williams wrote:
Nobody has ever asked me to sit a test of over 1000 words before! Maybe I haven't lived!


You wouldn't live long like that, would you?icon_smile.gif

As you say, we translate for a living - if we did it for free, where would we be? All they're entitled to is a "taster", not a meal.icon_smile.gif. My limit is about 100 words personally, although I do know many translators who set their limit at 250-300 words. Of course, there are also very many who just say "No - I translate, you pay".

If they really want you to do 1000 words for free then it would be worth your while wondering if you really want to work for them, IMO. What are they going to want next?


 

Monika Rozwarzewska  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 16:26
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
one of the most important skills Mar 23, 2010

In our profession, it is necessary to have good research skills. This problem was talked over and over many times. See examples:
http://www.proz.com/forum/getting_established/1418-1800_word_test_too_much.html
http://www.proz.com/forum/getting_established/8258-is_400_words_too_long_for_a_test_translation.html
http://www.proz.com/forum/getting_established/9352-should_i_take_the_test.html


 

Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:26
German to Spanish
+ ...
How long should a test translation be? "0 words" Mar 23, 2010

mariangela palazzi-williams wrote:

Hi, everybody. I have just applied for a job as freelance translator and I have been asked to sit a short translation test. It turned out that the test was over 1000 words. I wrote to the outsourcer and I explained that I thought it was a bit too long and it was not fair to expect a translator to do such a long test for free when we obviously translate for a living. I suggested that 250 words test would be fairer and would still allow the outsourcer to assess the quality of the translations submitted. What do you think? Is there an industry standard when it comes to test translations? Thanks for some insight in the business (PS I have been translating for many years, but nobody has ever asked me to sit a test of over 1000 words before! Maybe I haven't lived!)



Read here why.


 

Celine Gras  Identity Verified

Local time: 16:26
English to French
+ ...
Thanks for sharing Pablo Mar 23, 2010

Very interesting!

 

Roy OConnor (X)
Local time: 16:26
German to English
Do not get taken for a ride Mar 23, 2010

Some years ago a manufacturer of chimney sweeping equipment once asked me to do a free test. The test piece was a couple of pages out of a catalogue and was very difficult due to the very specific technical terms involved. Anyway, I got the job which was translating the whole catalogue - yes, of course, minus the pages I had previously translated for free and some others that no doubt the unsuccessful bidders had also translated!

 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:26
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
What matters is how long it takes Mar 24, 2010

mariangela palazzi-williams wrote:
It turned out that the test was over 1000 words. ... What do you think? Is there an industry standard when it comes to test translations?


1. Industry standard? No.

2. How long? Well, it's not the word count that matters, but the amount of time it takes to complete it. How many minutes are you prepared to spend on a test translation? You mention 250 words, but how long does it take you to translate those 250 words?


 

XXXphxxx (X)  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:26
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Offer them a sample translation Mar 24, 2010

I've managed to get around a lot of requests for test translations by having standard sample translations of each of my languages that I can send to out to any new clients. Find good quality texts that are representative of your specialist area, translate those and next time a request comes in for you to sit a test translation tell them you are too busy with your paid work (which hopefully you will be) and ask them if they will accept your sample instead.

 

IreneP
Greece
Local time: 17:26
English to Greek
How long should a test translation be? May 11, 2010

Anything more than 250 words must be paid.
That's a RULE!


 

Erkan Dogan  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:26
Member (2009)
English to Turkish
+ ...
Reasonable amount May 11, 2010

I am not aware of any industry standard. It is always a personal standard. I personally am ok with less than 500 words. Anything more than that is just too much to start a long term cooperation with any agencyicon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2010-05-11 14:15 GMT]


 

Marga Demmers (X)  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 16:26
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Sample text on your profile May 12, 2010

Lisa Simpson wrote:
Find good quality texts that are representative of your specialist area, translate those and next time a request comes in for you to sit a test translation tell them you are too busy with your paid work (which hopefully you will be) and ask them if they will accept your sample instead.


Your Proz-profile gives you the opportunity to include as many samples as you like.


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:26
French to German
+ ...
As well as;.. May 12, 2010

Marga Demmers wrote:
Your Proz-profile gives you the opportunity to include as many samples as you like.



recycling previous test translations which did not lead to a co-operation with the outsourcer who requested them.

Just a thoughticon_wink.gif...


 

Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 16:26
English to Czech
+ ...
A rule? May 12, 2010

IreneP wrote:

Anything more than 250 words must be paid.
That's a RULE!


Hi Irene,
sorry, but that's your rule. I admit that 250 words is a volume that is reasonable for testing purposes, but it sometimes may not be enough. As an outsourcer, why should I pay for something like this: www.preklad.eu/img/screenshot.jpg

Tests are always a two-edged weapon, as any of the parties involved may feel damaged by the other. My 2c...


 

IreneP
Greece
Local time: 17:26
English to Greek
Not my rule, actually but May 14, 2010

Stanislav Pokorny wrote:

IreneP wrote:

Anything more than 250 words must be paid.
That's a RULE!


Hi Irene,
sorry, but that's your rule. I admit that 250 words is a volume that is reasonable for testing purposes, but it sometimes may not be enough. As an outsourcer, why should I pay for something like this: www.preklad.eu/img/screenshot.jpg

Tests are always a two-edged weapon, as any of the parties involved may feel damaged by the other. My 2c...


I will not disagree with you, but here in Greece many (not all) outsourcers tend not to compromise with a test of 300 - 500 words maximum. It is not the work that needs more words to judge your qualifications, but their way to get free translations no matter what!
Unfortunately, if you get a test of 5 A4 pages and ask for a fair price, the RULE (their rule) is you will not get the job.
See what I mean?


 
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