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translation unpaid test: 900 words
Thread poster: fenny1991
fenny1991
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:10
English to Italian
+ ...
Apr 22, 2015

Hello!

I was recently offered to join a translation agency upon successful completion of a 950 word UNPAID test translation.
They claim they are aware that this is a long translation but due to the technical nature of their translations and clients, they need a longer test to assess the abilities of the translator. Personally, I think it is too long and the ability of a translators can be assessed in a shorted text anyway.
What do you think? Is this true or is it a scam?

Thank you very much for your help and your time!

Silvia


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Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:10
Member (2009)
French to English
Long test? Maybe - Unpaid? No. Apr 22, 2015

fenny1991 wrote:

Hello!

I was recently offered to join a translation agency upon successful completion of a 950 word UNPAID test translation.
They claim they are aware that this is a long translation but due to the technical nature of their translations and clients, they need a longer test to assess the abilities of the translator. Personally, I think it is too long and the ability of a translators can be assessed in a shorted text anyway.
What do you think? Is this true or is it a scam?

Thank you very much for your help and your time!

Silvia


It might be true that they need a longer test, but then if they are working with more technical documents, they should be charging their end clients more and... if this is the case, they can afford to pay you for the translation test. I would respond to them as if they were being truly honest about their needs, but also be firm about your need to be paid for a test of this length.


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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:10
French to German
+ ...
No Apr 22, 2015

I think you should not do more than 300 words for free...

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Vladimir Pochinov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 14:10
Member (2002)
English to Russian
Paid and unpaid tests Apr 22, 2015

Jenn Mercer wrote:

It might be true that they need a longer test, but then if they are working with more technical documents, they should be charging their end clients more and... if this is the case, they can afford to pay you for the translation test. I would respond to them as if they were being truly honest about their needs, but also be firm about your need to be paid for a test of this length.


The can offer to do a 100,000-word test, if they like, provided that they pay for it. Generally, I pay my potential subcontractors their regular rates for any tests, and in my experience a 150-200-word test piece is sufficient for testing purposes. You just choose your test material carefully, as it must be difficult enough


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Jitka Komarkova (Mgr.)  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 14:10
Member (2013)
English to Czech
+ ...
See my recent forum thread as well... Apr 22, 2015

http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/284776-fake_test_translation.html

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:10
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
What comes afterwards? Apr 22, 2015

fenny1991 wrote:
. . . 950 word UNPAID test translation.
They claim they are aware that this is a long translation but due to the technical nature of their translations and clients, they need a longer test to assess the abilities of the translator.

If their current employees can't assess ability, or lack of it, in 200-300 words, then they need to find someone who can. It certainly isn't your fault that they're incompetent.

Is this true or is it a scam?

It may be a scam, but it could just be plain old incompetence.

I was recently offered to join a translation agency

This is what really makes me see red. So, THERE IS NO JOB at the moment! They see the need to test you at length on your knowledge of specific technical terminology, yet they presumably have no idea if that particular terminology will ever be required in the future. What's that if it isn't total time-wasting? And time equals money to a professional, of course.

Have they explicitly accepted your rates and terms of payment? The agencies I've been in contact with who want long, free tests invariably try to squirm out of promising anything. In the early days, when I was still doing free tests just to be put on a database, I'd state my terms, they'd congratulate me on my test, and then months later they'd offer me work at half my stated rate. It was always a case of "restricted budget on this one, I'm afraid; the next job will pay better". There's a limit to the number of times you can fall for that one!


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:10
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
The subject of free tests ... Apr 22, 2015

... is discussed frequently in this forum, most recently in two threads last week and early this week. Most freelancers seem to agree that a maximum of 300 words is quite sufficient for an unpaid test, especially just for the privilege of being included in an agency's databse, rather than for a specific, actual job.
Politely request a shorter test and ask them if they accept your rate and payment terms before you agree to do it - that's my advice.


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fenny1991
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:10
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
job Apr 22, 2015

No, Sheila, they haven't offered me the job yet and they haven't commented on rates and method of payment so I assumed they accepted them but I am not sure about it.

I wrote them that I will not do the 900 word test but I will gladly do a shorter unpaid text or if they really want me to translate that whole text, I would like to be paid my standard rate.


Thank you very much to everyone for your help!


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Peter Zhuang  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:10
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
My limit is around 300 words Apr 22, 2015

and here's why:

I don't have a problem with taking test translations, it is one of the ways for agencies to quickly assess the skills of someone with a relatively small portfolio. However, even being quite new to translating, I've never been asked to complete a test with more than 400 words. From my personal experience, test translations usually contain between 250 and 350 words.

Keep in mind that agencies need to assign test translations to proofreaders (in-house or otherwise). That means: every extra word adds to their operational costs, so agencies would do well to avoid needlessly long test translations.

One of the ways I use to weed out shady offers is to request for an evaluation of my test translations. If an agency is able to return a detailed (and correct) assessment of your translation, then the test translation is probably legitimate.

On the other hand, if an agency gives you a pat on the back and nothing else (i.e. no concrete offers), then you probably should walk away.



[Edited at 2015-04-22 14:09 GMT]


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Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:10
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Agree Apr 22, 2015

fenny1991 wrote:
I wrote them that I will not do the 900 word test but I will gladly do a shorter unpaid text or if they really want me to translate that whole text, I would like to be paid my standard rate.


Exactly what I was about to advise you to do. If they need a test that is that long, they should pay for it. It's always best to make sure they are OK with your rate before you do any kind of test too.


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Esther Dodo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:10
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
It happened to me the same way.... Apr 22, 2015

Dear Silvia,

Chances are that we are talking about the same agency because I faced a similar situation a couple of weeks ago. The PM wrote if I would mind doing an unpaid small translation test and when he sent the material was about 900 words. He used the same words telling that they deal with technical translations and that they needed this amount of words to better evaluate, etc, etc,...
I wrote back telling that requiring a translation test so big was unusual but he was extremely kind telling that there was no deadline to deliver the translation and he even gave me some glossaries. I was touched by his kindness and decided to take the test.
The result? He completely vanished!!! I sent him several emails but I never heard from him again. No question I was a scam victim.

Never again!


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ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 15:10
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
I would send them an invoice right now. Apr 22, 2015

Yes, I would.

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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 14:10
Member
Italian to English
Incompetence Apr 22, 2015

A competent agency has the ability to choose a short text which shows how well a translator does his or her job. If they need a longer text to determine this, it is their problem, not yours.

900 words = too long for a test translation.


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Paulinho Fonseca  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:10
Member (2011)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I would not do it Apr 22, 2015

Do they claim it to be technical? They should find other ways to get references from translators.

See other opinions:

http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/284776-fake_test_translation.html


Just copying Fiona:

Incompetence 14:23

"A competent agency has the ability to choose a short text which shows how well a translator does his or her job. If they need a longer text to determine this, it is their problem, not yours.

900 words = too long for a test translation."


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 15:10
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
There is no free lunch Apr 23, 2015

because someone has to pay for it at the end anyway.

I personally got tired of those scams with their bed-sheet registration databases where god knows what I have to fill, I do not disclose any of my clients (as "references"), and do not do any free work. If they really cautious about the quality, they will always have professional and trusted people to proofread the translation, esp. received from a new translator. Let alone - the whole QA system. I also think that a page or two of a test translation does not show anything about quality.

Forget them, ignore them, or ask them for a test money transfer. Non-refundable. You need also to know their accountant is a real professional, don't you?


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