Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Test translations & prices
Thread poster: Elke Fehling

Elke Fehling  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:56
Member (2005)
English to German
+ ...
Aug 9

Hello all!

I am actually not getting established, but I thought my question might fit into this forum.

I was just asked by a potential client to do a 400 words test translation. I am not used to doing test translations anymore, but I'm ok with doing a test. I think, however, that 400 words are a bit too much. What is your opinion? They also say it's for "their client" and also for their own quality management.

I told the client that I would like to agree on prices before I do the test, because what's the point in putting all my energy in a test when we cannot agree on a decent rate later on? Anyway, the client came back to me saying that my rates "should be ok", but that it would also depend on the test results. That actually means they would be willing to send me jobs even though they know my translations aren't up to their standards, but that they would pay a smaller amount of money for them?! That doesn't really convince me... What do you think about that?

The client has an ok Blueboard rating (4,6 in the last 5 years).

Elke


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:56
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Very much a 50/50, IMO Aug 9

Elke Fehling wrote:
I think, however, that 400 words are a bit too much. What is your opinion?

I would baulk at that. I always say 200-250 but I'll accept 300 as an absolute maximum if it's contiguous text that doesn't have a clear break earlier.

I told the client that I would like to agree on prices before I do the test, because what's the point in putting all my energy in a test when we cannot agree on a decent rate later on? Anyway, the client came back to me saying that my rates "should be ok", but that it would also depend on the test results.

I absolutely agree with you about agreeing rates. Their reply is very woolly and implies that they aren't really guaranteeing anything. I think you have to follow your nose on this one. Is it worth the investment? Let's face it, there's never any guarantee of good jobs after a test. For me, it sounds such a 50/50 that I might do up to 250 words if things were quiet, but if I had anything at all better to do with my time I'd pass.

The thing is that even if they do send a few time-wasting emails in the early days, you could end up becoming their "preferred supplier" and more able to get them to do what you want - at your price. Or they might just spam you with unsuitable and/or low-paid "offers" until you tell them to get lost. Which is your nose telling you is the case here?


Elke Fehling
Teresa Borges
Annamaria Sondrio
José Henrique Lamensdorf
Robert Forstag
Ra in Kim
Kuochoe Nikoi
 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 12:56
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
My 3 cents Aug 9

As I’ve been translating full-time since 1985 I always find amusing when I’m asked for a free test, though I understand that sometimes it might be useful to see how a translator treats this or that particular sentence (in literature or journalism, for instance). If I’m really interested in that job I'll be happy to do a short unpaid translation test (300/400 words maximum), providing we have already agreed on price and payment and there is no deadline set for the test, so I can do it at my own pace. I would rather do a translation test for free than sending diplomas, references and the like and having to fill endless forms. Anyway, that’s how I got some of my best clients (direct clients and translation agencies) and some of my highest-paid assignments.

Valérie Ourset
Kay Denney
Kuochoe Nikoi
Tiina Linnamaa
 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:56
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Can they acrually 'see' it? Aug 9

Teresa Borges wrote:

... I understand that sometimes it might be useful to see how a translator treats this or that particular sentence (in literature or journalism, for instance)...


Most of these testing prospects are not savvy in: a) either one of my working languages; b) translation techniques; or c) both. So they'll have to rely on some other translator's opinion, while this presumed expert will have been selected via exactly the same procedure.

Long ago, a translation agency sent me a test divided in five different areas. Incidentally the 'technical' translation test was on a subject I was very familiar with. For three years I had the one and only final word translating all the tech docs for similar products in that very same language pair, as a full-time employee in a division of a Fortune Top 10 corporation. They were kind enough to send me my graded test. Whoever scored that part of it should not be allowed to touch technical translation with a barge pole! q.e.d.

Most prospects require tests merely for the sake of testing. They don't care if the applicant actually took the test or outsourced it. If any translation is rejected on account of poor quality, they'll say they've done their due diligence by testing; it's not their fault.


 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
ever-starting catch 22 Aug 9

If one's (substantiated) minimum is lower than the other's, it's high time either to negotiate, or kiss goodbye. That's why I also think at best many middlemen (agencies) seem to habitually demand infamous 'free tests' as a ploy to make sure a translator is flexible (read "needy and tied to their chariot") enough, surrendering his or her dignity. They very rarely assess the translation, because it does require time and efforts, let alone usually they provide no style-guides beforehand)
And at worst they just abuse such a malpractice, separating projects into 'free tests', alas.

Meanwhile, online and paid tests are pretty ok, whereas a relevant portfolio (samples of previous works) should do nicely for assessing the skills, not to mention socialization with someone from an interesting company, who could go to bat for you, sharing a couple of words with colleagues.


 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:56
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
My view Aug 9

In terms of how Elke (or anyone else) should respond to requests, I generally agree with Sheila (especially about limits and needing to agree on a working rate prior to taking an unpaid test).

Personally, I now usually reject requests for unpaid tests because my experience has been that they do not typically lead to paid work (i.e., even in those instances when I have been informed that I have “passed”).

I also do not think unpaid tests function in the way they are meant to by the agency and/or end client: “Good” performance on a 200 - or even 500 - word translation project does not guarantee a satisfactory result on the larger project on offer.


Elke Fehling
 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:56
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Rates first Aug 9

Elke Fehling wrote:
Anyway, the client came back to me saying that my rates "should be ok", but that it would also depend on the test results.

No. They accept your rate, then you take the test. After all, if you fail, you're not good enough to work for them, right? Any other response is a crude attempt to manipulate you.

I don't work with clients who don't agree a rate in advance, and the lack of clarity from this client is already a red flag.

Dan


Elke Fehling
Robert Forstag
Wioleta Kwiatkowska
Michele Fauble
ahartje
Jan Truper
Teresa Borges
 

Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:56
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
+ NDAs Aug 9

I also add those blessed, long-winded NDAs besides rates. I prefer to see them before than after.

Mirko Mainardi
Teresa Borges
 

Anna B.
United States
Local time: 07:56
English to Russian
+ ...
600 words for test Aug 9

We usually ask to do 400-600 word test translations, but the company usually pays for them (around 20 to 50$).

If I were you, I would write them telling that 400 words can be too much for an unpaid test, but if they are willing to pay for it, you'll be delighted to complete the assignment. Otherwise, 200 word abstract should be sufficient.

[Edited at 2018-08-09 16:18 GMT]


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:56
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
rate Aug 9

Teresa Borges wrote:

My 3 cents

I see you've put your rate up!icon_biggrin.gif


Elke Fehling
 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:56
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
Fishy indeed! Aug 9

Elke Fehling wrote:

Anyway, the client came back to me saying that my rates "should be ok", but that it would also depend on the test results. That actually means they would be willing to send me jobs even though they know my translations aren't up to their standards, but that they would pay a smaller amount of money for them?! That doesn't really convince me... What do you think about that?


This does sound strange. Maybe they want to see if you're good enough to not need proofreading, in which case you might get better paid jobs. Or if your work does need proofreading, they'll deduct the cost of that from your rate so they still get the same margin?

Otherwise they might just be trying to get something for free right now, and see how much you can be bullied.
Or they want you to get to the point where you've invested so much into acquiring them as a client that you'll accept the rotten rate they intend to impose on you.

I regularly do tests that are longer than 300 words, but they are paid. There's an agency that often asks me to do tests when they bid for big projects. They pay me, because after all they know that I have plenty of work, and by paying me they make sure I'll do it in time for them.


 

Murad AWAD  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:56
Member (2007)
English to Arabic
+ ...

MODERATOR
First they accept your rate, then you take the test. Aug 9

My opinion is that first they accept your rate, then you take the test. Also test files got to be betwween 200 - 300 words, not more.

Elke Fehling
Chris S
Robert Forstag
 

Paweł Hamerski
Local time: 13:56
English to Polish
+ ...
Always set the rates first and get evidence that the verifiying peron knows your language better Aug 9

than you - what they cannot do, so no business.

[Zmieniono 2018-08-09 17:02 GMT]


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:56
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
One more thing to consider: bait and switch Aug 10

Elke Fehling wrote:

They also say it's for "their client"


One possible scenario is where the end client requests the agency to provide test translations done by the agency's translators, and they (the end client) assess those samples (oftentimes they don't have in-house experts, they hire someone to do it, that one time).
End client: "OK, we think sample #6 and #15 are the best, let's sign the contract."
Agency: "Hurray, we got the contract! Now let's see which translators are the cheapest, and send them the actual jobs."
In many cases the agency can get away with it, because the end client does not check the quality continuously.
Typical "bait and switch".

I usually ask agencies in such situations what assurance they have that a successful test will result in the actual jobs coming my way at my (previously agreed) rates. In a handful of cases the agencies referred to some legal obligation that they had due to the project being part of a public/government bidding process, but in most cases communication ended abruptly at this point. I guess they did not have a good answer...

If anyone has a good suggestion on how to deal with this situation, I am eager to hear it. Unfortunately, getting paid for the test does not necessarily make a difference. Some agencies are willing to spend money on "client acquisition" up front, which then they recover by using the services of cheaper translators.

Katalin


Elke Fehling
Robert Forstag
Michele Fauble
Daryo
Kuochoe Nikoi
 

Richard Purdom  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 12:56
Dutch to English
+ ...
Nike it Aug 10

400 words is towards the upper limit, but I would just get on with it if I were you, unless you don't want or need the work, or like to select. It's perfectly legitimate for an agency to ask us to do tests, and I think you're being a bit picky about them saying your rates 'should be alright'.

Most of my best clients have come through test translations, and the translations themselves probably take less time than reading through the messages on here.


 
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 »

Test translations & prices

Advanced search







Wordfast Pro
Translation Memory Software for Any Platform

Exclusive discount for ProZ.com users! Save over 13% when purchasing Wordfast Pro through ProZ.com. Wordfast is the world's #1 provider of platform-independent Translation Memory software. Consistently ranked the most user-friendly and highest value

More info »
Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »



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