So just a question about conduct from a potential client
Thread poster: Kirsten Bodart

Kirsten Bodart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:23
Dutch to English
+ ...
Apr 12, 2011

This is going to be a little bit long, but here goes. The main question is, is this done or not done?

Imagine, your husband works for an agency as a teacher, he occasionally has done translations for them when they needed them, without any comments returned. It was known that his wife used to do them and he proofread them. Only once they ever complained and that was really their own fault, which they acknowledged. They needed it fast, quality was not important.

Now the
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This is going to be a little bit long, but here goes. The main question is, is this done or not done?

Imagine, your husband works for an agency as a teacher, he occasionally has done translations for them when they needed them, without any comments returned. It was known that his wife used to do them and he proofread them. Only once they ever complained and that was really their own fault, which they acknowledged. They needed it fast, quality was not important.

Now they phone him, asking if he could do a translation. They want to go into translation business, you want to go into translation business commercially too now, so they send you their texts. They contain a date which is already half past, a deadline for payment. You think it must be urgent, you send it off and a reply by e-mail comes back two days later saying that you have failed the test, that they would have liked to work with you, but that they won't be able to on this project at least (dare I think on any other?). They will still pay you for it (hopefully). They do send you feedback, some of which is right, some of which is a matter of opinion.

Is this done? I mean, had we known it was a genuine test, that the deadline in the document wasn't serious, we would have read it twenty times over, would have had other people read it, would have left it for a day and read it again after that etc. before we handed it in. Instead, we feel we have not been given a fair chance. And no, that is not an argument for a bad result, but everyone will admit that they take more care while doing a test, right?

What do you think about this?

Needless to say our self-confidence has taken a serious blow.
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Justas Staniulis  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:23
Member (2008)
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Well, the agency is actually interested in quality of your translations, not your tests? Apr 13, 2011

So it doesn't matter how good a test you could have delivered, if you couldn't provide high quality translation in a realistic situation.
You should always expect that each and every text you translate will be proofread (at least it should be like that, unfortunately, quite often it is not), quality assessed, and based on results you might either receive praise and tons of new jobs or loose a client.
I don't think you should feel tricked or upset, I guess all of us have received ne
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So it doesn't matter how good a test you could have delivered, if you couldn't provide high quality translation in a realistic situation.
You should always expect that each and every text you translate will be proofread (at least it should be like that, unfortunately, quite often it is not), quality assessed, and based on results you might either receive praise and tons of new jobs or loose a client.
I don't think you should feel tricked or upset, I guess all of us have received negative evaluations, some deserved and some not. The best thing you can do here is to evaluate feedback and try to improve your skills.

[Edited at 2011-04-13 11:35 GMT]
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Holly Nathan (X)  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:23
Italian to English
but what can you say? Apr 13, 2011

But what can you say? "OH SORRY! It was a TEST! Well, if I had known that it was a test then I would have done a better job - but, as it was, I thought it was an actual translation job so just rushed it off quickly and didn't pay any attention to detail". Of course the agency aren't going to be too chuffed and aren't going to wish to work with you in future. It was a bit cunning of them to make you think it was a real job, mind you. At least they are paying you for your time though, which is m... See more
But what can you say? "OH SORRY! It was a TEST! Well, if I had known that it was a test then I would have done a better job - but, as it was, I thought it was an actual translation job so just rushed it off quickly and didn't pay any attention to detail". Of course the agency aren't going to be too chuffed and aren't going to wish to work with you in future. It was a bit cunning of them to make you think it was a real job, mind you. At least they are paying you for your time though, which is more than can be said for most agencies that ask you to do tests.Collapse


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:23
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Maybe it was a "real test" Apr 13, 2011

Holly Nathan wrote:

But what can you say? "OH SORRY! It was a TEST! Well, if I had known that it was a test then I would have done a better job - but, as it was, I thought it was an actual translation job so just rushed it off quickly and didn't pay any attention to detail".


I rarely do tests so it would be really nice if they were the only jobs where I really had to do my best work.

It was a bit cunning of them to make you think it was a real job, mind you.


I agree that it never gives you a warm and comfortable feeling to deal with people who started off by lying to you. How can you ever trust them?

On the other hand, I know I have done "tests" in the past that were actually urgent, paid and "real" translations. The test part was that it was just a few hundred words and they were actually having it proofread carefully by someone they trusted who would be there to correct or even retranslate my effort if necessary. Maybe that's what this client was doing, in which case I don't think they really have to emphasise up-front the test element.

As Justas has said, every text we do is a test. Just because we've been accepted doesn't mean that they have to accept each and every translation we produce, regardless of quality.


 

sokolniki  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:23
English to Russian
+ ...
There is no fair chance with agencies - you always get the short end of the stick Apr 13, 2011

Instead, we feel we have not been given a fair chance. And no, that is not an argument for a bad result, but everyone will admit that they take more care while doing a test, right?

What do you think about this?

Needless to say our self-confidence has taken a serious blow.


And our self-confidence and professional self-respect do not really matter.

An account manager (working for a specific client) of a big agency I have been doing a lot of work for, approaches me with a test. I reply that I have already passed a test about 6 months ago and was included into the agency's team of my specialization.

No, she says, this is a different client (another notorious international financial institution) and they require - are you ready? - 1. appro 400 words test 2. translated within 2 hours 3. without pay 4. evaluation results to arrive.

I have free time on my hands and think: I passed the first test, I will be able to pass this one. Wrong!

The results arrive: 1. no inverted commas around one company name as required in Russian - Grammar Error (really?) 2. the year has a typo: 20111 instead of 2011 - Spelling Error 3. one phrase was re-written by the reviewer and instead of Style Error classified as Grammar Error (seriously?). Instead of having 2 Spelling errors and 1 Style Error, I received 1 spelling and 2 grammar - horrible results, I failed the test, ha!

I will not comment on the reviewer weird classification or obvious low qualifications. The reviewer made spelling mistakes in his/her comments, was not aware that another company's name is all in capital letters and did not bother to provide the corrected versions of the phase to be re-written.

Thanks - it helps to vent it out to your colleagues..


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:23
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
It does not matter whether it was a test Apr 13, 2011

I understand your point of view, but in a real world situation you cannot risk failing with an end customer if you are a translation agency, so their point also makes sense: they don't need to say it is a test to obtain the best possible translation.

Yes, of course we all make a special effort when a test comes around, but it will mean just a little extra attention, on top of a text that should be totally usable.

I tend to think that every translator has a single level
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I understand your point of view, but in a real world situation you cannot risk failing with an end customer if you are a translation agency, so their point also makes sense: they don't need to say it is a test to obtain the best possible translation.

Yes, of course we all make a special effort when a test comes around, but it will mean just a little extra attention, on top of a text that should be totally usable.

I tend to think that every translator has a single level of quality, and that any effort (or intentional lack of effort) cannot make the translation substantially better or worse. It will always be within a certain range of quality. Is it possible that the kind of text they sent is not quite the work you are more acquainted with?
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David Williams
Germany
Local time: 21:23
German to English
All well and good, BUT! Apr 14, 2011

While I agree with what has been said already, it doesn't necessarily hold true here, given that this customer had only ever complained once in the past and they needed translations fast, with quality not being important. If that is what they have expected in the past, why would they want anything else (unless otherwise specified) this time? That makes it very unfair for them to spring a test on a translator they have lulled into a "speed, not quality" mindset.

 


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So just a question about conduct from a potential client

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