Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Passing translation tests and then never hearing from agencies again
Thread poster: Mark Sanderson

Mark Sanderson  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Local time: 06:49
Chinese to English
Oct 7, 2015

Hello,

It's quite common for an agency to ask a translator to complete a short translation test before they put them on their books. That seems fair enough to me. However, what doesn't seem fair is when a translator completes the test, meets the agency's requirements and goes through all of the rigmarole of signing up only to never hear from them again. It's infuriating.

I guess it's all part of the game and you just have to hope that they contact you one day. And also just keep plodding with another round of translation tests.


 

Alexey Alekseev
Israel
English to Russian
Yes Oct 7, 2015

You are quite right. It is easier to think that the test is a part of your resume.

 

EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:49
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
Your language pair is a common one Oct 7, 2015

and I suppose agencies have many established translators for it - PMs tend to address requests to translators they already know. If you have a specialization field that is rare, it could help. It also happened to me that agencies got back to me 2-3 years after the test, when I already had plenty of work and didn't need them. For a start, your chance is better with agencies where a computer manages most of the allocation - sending offers to all translators in the relevant language pair and field and the first one accepting the job (at the price offered, which is often not very good in such circunstances) gets it.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:49
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
It pays to be a bit choosy Oct 7, 2015

I'm sure that some time spent signing on with agencies who ask for free tests is worthwhile for inexperienced translators who don't yet have a solid client base. It may seem like a waste of time, but any one of them may stay silent for a year or more before suddenly becoming your top client. I'm sure almost all of us have experienced that. But I'd advise limiting your cooperation to those that 'smell' good. I'm not alone in thinking that it's the agencies who ask you to jump through endless hoops before any concrete offer of work is provided that are the ones most likely to pay peanuts and/or delay payment and/or unilaterally reduce the payment due for a variety of suspect reasons. Things that can put me off in some (not all) cases, particularly when several cases apply:
- insisting on a long free test when most agree that 250 is quite long enough
- insisting on tests in each specialisation
- not giving feedback on tests
- giving a deadline for a test (highly suspicious, I'd say - why would there be one, unless it's a real job for a real client - that you're providing free?)
- asking you to give an hour or more of your time when they won't even declare that your rates are acceptable to them
- insisting on signatures on long service agreements and NDAs just to be registered
- insisting on seeing all sorts of proofs - qualifications, ID, experience...
- insisting on receiving other clients' personal information (email address, phone number...), aka references, while not accepting WWA entries (this gets a 100% refusal from me)
- ...

I'm sure there are loads more. You do need to learn to sniff out the time-wasters and the downright scammers. And once you've sniffed them out, you need to be strong enough to break off all contact, even to the extent of insisting that they remove you from their database. It may seem like cutting off your nose to spite your face, as it guarantees you won't get a job from them, but it's actually a way to avoid a lot of heartache along the line.

I would always advise very selective use of directories, lists etc and prioritising those agencies that specialise in your pairs and/or specialisations AND who have a good reputation. And a lot of patience.


 

Lorena Croci  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:49
Member (2014)
English to Italian
How do you recognize them? Oct 8, 2015

EvaVer wrote:

For a start, your chance is better with agencies where a computer manages most of the allocation - sending offers to all translators in the relevant language pair and field and the first one accepting the job (at the price offered, which is often not very good in such circunstances) gets it.


Hi,
I am just in this situation. I am quite new in this job and I am contacting many agencies. How do I recognize and agency with a computer manager?
I have made for an agency a test for every field of specialization. It is already passed a month and they are still under review.. I think they won't be neither read nor considered and it is not fair.


 

Robin Joensuu  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:49
Member
English to Swedish
Is that not the regular way? Oct 21, 2015

- insisting on a long free test when most agree that 250 is quite long enough
- insisting on tests in each specialisation
- not giving feedback on tests
- giving a deadline for a test (highly suspicious, I'd say - why would there be one, unless it's a real job for a real client - that you're providing free?)
- asking you to give an hour or more of your time when they won't even declare that your rates are acceptable to them
- insisting on signatures on long service agreements and NDAs just to be registered
- insisting on seeing all sorts of proofs - qualifications, ID, experience...
- insisting on receiving other clients' personal information (email address, phone number...), aka references, while not accepting WWA entries (this gets a 100% refusal from me)
- ...


Most of these apply to most of the agencies I have worked for and have registered for - including two of which market themselves as the world's largest localization/translation companies.

[Edited at 2015-10-21 07:26 GMT]


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:49
Member (2008)
Italian to English
English? Oct 21, 2015

Lorena Croci wrote:

EvaVer wrote:

For a start, your chance is better with agencies where a computer manages most of the allocation - sending offers to all translators in the relevant language pair and field and the first one accepting the job (at the price offered, which is often not very good in such circunstances) gets it.


Hi,
I am just in this situation. I am quite new in this job and I am contacting many agencies. How do I recognize and agency with a computer manager?
I have made for an agency a test for every field of specialization. It is already passed a month and they are still under review.. I think they won't be neither read nor considered and it is not fair.


Are your test translations from Italian to English?


 

Eileen Cartoon  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:49
Italian to English
I have found that this does happen all the time... Oct 21, 2015

I have done a lot of tests for companies that file it away and, when I have completely forgotten about them, particularly during the summer Holiday period (whenI work and practically no one else does) I get the call. At that point, if I am free, I do the first job and then they keep coming back for more.

Put yourself in the shoes of the poor project manager. Of course, first choice is the "old failthful", the translator you know you can rely on. Then if they are not free you go down your list and, when you run out of options, then you try someone new.

Don't be surprise but be ready when they call you over Christmas, Easter or the Summer Holidays. In my experience that is when the first contacts are made.

Eileen


 

Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:49
Member (2014)
English to German
Same Oct 21, 2015

Often they seem very keen with tests and signing papers and then I don't hear any more.

Recently I asked an agency for whom I did a free test, then a paid test and the rest, whether I had not passed their test (which wouldn't have surprised me because it was quite technical and it took me a long time).

But they said it was fine and they would get in touch, a week later the PM contacted me via LinkedIn (with no job though) ... who knows, its a contact ...

What I do not like though (and many of the better agencies seem to be keen on that) is give references, meaning names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers of clients. I am happy to direct them to some of my work, however, I would not appreciate my clients being contacted repeatedly by agencies asking for a reference, I would consider that quite annoying if I was a client.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:49
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
That's the worst type, IMHO Oct 21, 2015

Robin Joensuu wrote:
Most of these apply to most of the agencies I have worked for and have registered for - including two of which market themselves as the world's largest localization/translation companies.

I did once have a fairly successful collaboration with one of those (although it wasn't translation they wanted from me). I did a short free test, a very low-paid training/testing period, followed by extremely interesting work at the lower limit of what I was prepared to accept. That went on happily for a couple of years before the pressure on my hourly income just got ridiculous. They wanted as much as ever (i.e. perfection) but simply weren't prepared to pay even the low starting rates. It was a real shame to part company, but I doubt that I'll ever do any translation for them.

I registered for a couple of the others when I was wet behind the ears, thinking that they'd at least provide SOME work at my rates. Not a chance! They spam you with ridiculous 'offers', normally way outside your comfort zone and yet affording absolutely no time for research, at half the rate you recorded on their database, if that. I've had a battle to be removed from their contact lists, having to resort to threatening to call in the web overseers on account of the spamming.

Nowadays, I either work with translators who've set up small agencies specialising in the areas they themselves know and care about, or with professionals in other areas of business - communications agencies, website developers, publishers, direct clients... They all respect my expertise as much as I respect theirs.


 

Eileen Cartoon  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:49
Italian to English
No one has ever asked me this Oct 21, 2015


What I do not like though (and many of the better agencies seem to be keen on that) is give references, meaning names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers of clients. I am happy to direct them to some of my work, however, I would not appreciate my clients being contacted repeatedly by agencies asking for a reference, I would consider that quite annoying if I was a client.


However, some of that info is in my curriculum so maybe that's enough.

Eileen


 

Dani Karuniawan  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 05:49
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Don't be stupid. It is better to pursue end-user market with your own hands. Oct 21, 2015

Mark Sanderson wrote:

Hello,

It's quite common for an agency to ask a translator to complete a short translation test before they put them on their books. That seems fair enough to me. However, what doesn't seem fair is when a translator completes the test, meets the agency's requirements and goes through all of the rigmarole of signing up only to never hear from them again. It's infuriating.

I guess it's all part of the game and you just have to hope that they contact you one day. And also just keep plodding with another round of translation tests.


They need your translation tests to augment their free TMs!! 300 words x 10,000 translators= 3,000,000 words. Absolutely free!!! They only create an illusion and present it to translators. They will, then, use the free TMs for their translation business or sell them to big agencies who will give them big money.

icon_biggrin.gif

Don't be stupid. It is better to pursue end-user market with your own hands. Then, put your completed latest projects in your Proz profile, collect your working hours, and list your real clients (never provide their contacts to anyone, including agencies asking your CV).

Ignore agencies asking your CV or test, and only take agencies, which offer you real project and dare to pay down-payment. Later agencies never ask your CV, they just come with project(s). It is my experience.

Most agencies put translators in weak bargaining position. Ignore them and take agencies coming with real projects.

[Edited at 2015-10-21 17:13 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-10-21 17:14 GMT]


 

Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Part of normal business setting Oct 21, 2015

A successful test does not guarantee job flow right away. At times jobs may start flowing later. Just make sure you do not accept free test that exceeds 300 words (yesterday an agency was offering me to do not one but three tests totalling a staggering 2300 words).

Get your policy straight and “enforce” it .


 

jensskarpe  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:49
Member (2013)
Swedish to Spanish
+ ...
Availability Oct 21, 2015

My personal experience when trying to gain a new costumer is that you need to be prepared to offer a lot of availability. If you after aproving the test translation say no to the jobs they offer them, even if they are small (new clients normally start with small jobs to confirm your quality). I think that for many agencies availability is very important since short deadlines are very common. Once they are used to working with you things get easier and when they thrust they will turn to you first and give you more and bigger jobs and eventually you may even try to raise your rate a bit.

 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:49
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Need to change the paradigm Oct 22, 2015

To me, we have a wrong paradigm in place. Would you go to your dentist and have a small cavity filled for free, just to make sure they know what they are doing? Or would you ask a lawyer to write a small contract for free just to add them to your list of potential lawyers? You would probably check their diplomas instead and would ask around for references.

Thirty years ago, agencies had to invest a long time finding good translators, and I reckon the industry finds it hard to shake off this compulsive hoarding of CVs and translation tests. However, with our qualification, translation samples, and even customer feedback openly available over the Internet one couple of clicks away, agencies can find good candidates in a matter of minutes, and so choose the ones they want to test for a real or highly probable job at hand.

Many agencies still live in the past and hoard CVs, but that does not mean that newbies have better chances of landing a job with them...


 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Passing translation tests and then never hearing from agencies again

Advanced search







SDL MultiTerm 2017
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2017 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2017 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »
BaccS – Business Accounting Software
Modern desktop project management for freelance translators

BaccS makes it easy for translators to manage their projects, schedule tasks, create invoices, and view highly customizable reports. User-friendly, ProZ.com integration, community-driven development – a few reasons BaccS is trusted by translators!

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search