Is this commonplace? (Successful translation test but no work afterwards)
Thread poster: Tai Fu

Tai Fu  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:12
Chinese to English
Dec 18, 2010

Did some work for company A, the company says that they have more work for me and asks me to wait. A few months later no news. Well actually they said they have work for me and have distributed them to my team except my part was "corrupt" so I have to wait. Never heard from them since (after several months).

Company B contacts me, gives me a test and all and says I exceed their expectation. Tells me to wait for their project manager to give me work. A few months later, not a word and they say they have no work for me.

Is this kind of treatment commonplace among translation agencies or software publisher alike? Why don't they just tell you they are not satisfied with your work/test if that is the case?


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:12
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes, it is normal Dec 18, 2010

Yes, this is very common indeed. Many agencies spend part of their idle time selecting translators. You do a test or a small paid translation, they say that you are fantastic and express that they will give you lots of work soon and that never happens. The most common reason is because they found another translator with a comparable quality and a lower rate.

Don't be discouraged. Keep doing your very best in every test and job and you will succeed in due time.


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Tai Fu  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:12
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
not sure of a good rate Dec 18, 2010

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Yes, this is very common indeed. Many agencies spend part of their idle time selecting translators. You do a test or a small paid translation, they say that you are fantastic and express that they will give you lots of work soon and that never happens. The most common reason is because they found another translator with a comparable quality and a lower rate.

Don't be discouraged. Keep doing your very best in every test and job and you will succeed in due time.


In the case of company B, I asked for 5 cents a word (any less and I would be losing money due to the devaluation of the US dollar), and I can't believe there are people willing to deliver the same quality for less. Most likely Chinese (PRC and ROC) translators who are so used to making less than 20 bucks a day that even 1 cent a word is a lot of money to them...

But I am not impressed with translators from Taiwan or China (I am an exception because I grew up in the US) because I've seen some rather terrible translations out there... sometime google translate looks better than theirs.


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 22:12
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Latest movement in marketplace Dec 18, 2010

I remind of my Internet based job over ten years before. At that time, agencies were "naive" and freelancers were starting to take hold of the big translation markets. Now agencies are learnt business people and demand extraordinary matters out of freelancers. It is freelancers' movement to protect the healthy markets and industry. Now I am laughing at many agency contacts: I can anticipate their further actions.

Soonthon Lupkitaro


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:12
French to German
+ ...
Differentiated approach Dec 18, 2010

I would suggest a differentiated approach.
Outsourcers certainly "must" look for new translators on a large scale, but does this mean that translators/interpreters have to answer each and every query coming from outsourcers? I don't think so.
As an example, I spent about 1.5 hours with an outsourcer searching for a liaison interpreter in the framework of trainings ranging over weeks (I have some experience in that field) who would also translate their material.
I had a face-to-face discussion with them and even did a translation test, as the general direction of the work was "hydraulics", without further details.
However, I did a mistake and accepted this scope without asking further questions. It was "hydraulics", but in the perspective of coal mining which, with its ultra-specialised tools, machines and hence vocabulary etc., would have triggered a negative reply on my side in the first place as I don't know the domain at all.
This outsourcer did a mistake too, because they saw the whole thing in their own perspective, namely coal mining - although I had not mentioned that field in the presentation they had received from me.
I never heard from them after the discussion we had. And with the help of your post, I now also see why.


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Michal Glowacki  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 17:12
Member (2010)
English to Polish
+ ...
Yes, yes it is Dec 19, 2010

Yes, it is commonplace. Basically it looks like this:
1. if an agency just receives a CV or presentation from you and they don't "feel" that they have too many translators and/or they're impressed/happy with your qualifications, etc. They test you (or not) and then add you to their database (Congratulations, you have been added to our database of suppliers). They will also contact you whenever a suitable project/project matching your qualification comes. Which basically means - it may be tomorrow or in 2 years. (Example: I applied to an agency in 2008, did a test, passed, got added to their database. 2 years later when I was again applying to several agencies, I applied to them again and got reminded that I already am in their database. I found the emails and noticed I even lowered my standard rate a bit when they said that this will help me get more projects from them...I've done 1 project for them, which was tiny.).

2. If the PMs in the agency go to their Vendor manager (or whoever takes care of that) and they say "we need another XXX translator because we just had a large project and we struggled to place it" - this means the agency is looking for translators but unless the translator gets lucky, he will be and remain an emergency translator - in case all the usual ones are busy, you will be contacted then.

3. If the agency is looking for people for a particular project, the chances are, if they chose you, that you will get work. But again, if they find someone better, cheaper (but equally, on paper at least, good) there's a chance they will tell you about "technical problems" and that's it.

That's, as far as I can see, common practice. In many respects, if an agency has enough translators but you seem like an attractive addition, they will add you telling you that they will be sending work, but whether they do or don't - that really depends on the PM, not the recruiter who is often not part of any project team.


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Is this commonplace? (Successful translation test but no work afterwards)

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