Off topic: Free payment test
Thread poster: Wilmer Brouwer

Wilmer Brouwer
Local time: 22:43
English to Dutch
+ ...
Sep 2, 2008

Dear translation agency,

I am a translator from Europe and next week I have a very big gap in my schedule coming up. To fill this gap I need five translation agencies that can pay me at least 1.000 euros. Of course I need to test if you are able to pay this and therefore I kindly ask you to do a small payment test. In this test you pay me whatever you would normally pay for 250 words. After payment, you will be included on my list of potential agencies I will work for (if you pay enough and it arrives quickly enough). If you pay more than 50 euros for this test, I will certainly get back to you and my payment editor will let you know when the money arrived and how much arrived. Thank you for doing this payment test,

If only tests would work the other way around....icon_smile.gif


Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:43
Italian to English
+ ...
Nice one! Sep 2, 2008



Capesha  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:43
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Hahahaha Sep 2, 2008

Sorry for my "subtle" heading, but you made my day. Do you mind me copying this idea? It would be a perfect tool to fill my gap, too.


Francesca Battaglia
Local time: 22:43
Member (2007)
English to Italian
+ ...
share the results!!! Sep 2, 2008

Please, PLEASE, share the responding agencies with us! ahhahaah....


David Russi  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:43
English to Spanish
+ ...
Very funny... Sep 2, 2008

and as is often the case with good comedy, it unfortunately points out a sad truth in our industry.


Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:43
English to German
+ ...
Payment editor... Sep 2, 2008




Nagme Yazgin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:43
English to Turkish
+ ...
Clever! Sep 2, 2008

That's genius. I think I'll try that too...

I keep receiving "sample translation tasks" from a translation agency, who claims that they just want to "check" if I am suitable for the task. I did the first two, but once I found out that the first part of the translation was sent to ME, and the other part to my friend I found out what they were actually trying to do. They are getting texts translated by people and they keep the money for themselves. Wow... It's a cruel cruel world...

Anywayicon_smile.gif Next time I'll make sure I do the sameicon_wink.gif


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:43
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Are they in Proz? Sep 25, 2008

Nagme Yazgin wrote:
I keep receiving "sample translation tasks" from a translation agency, who claims that they just want to "check" if I am suitable for the task. I did the first two, but once I found out that the first part of the translation was sent to ME, and the other part to my friend I found out what they were actually trying to do. They are getting texts translated by people and they keep the money for themselves. Wow... It's a cruel cruel world...

I wonder: Are they in Proz? Do they have a blueboard? Maybe you could report this.


Therrien  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:43
English to French
+ ...
Bravo Sep 25, 2008

Love it.

A taste of one's own medicine?

Quite a laugh.

- Alex


Ramon Somoza  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:43
Member (2002)
Dutch to Spanish
+ ...
I'll bookmark that one... Oct 4, 2008

... and I'll send it to the next idiot agency that contacts me out of the blue to perform an unpaid test. icon_wink.gif

I promise that if the agency accepts, I'll post it here..... 8)

Very good, Wilmer!


Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 22:43
German to Serbian
+ ...
Nice parody Dec 4, 2008

Exactely, if it could only work the other way aroundicon_frown.gif

However, there are other ways we can control them.

For example, one time I got three project offers same day, and this is what they were like :

Agency 1 : $ 0.05 per word ( Chinese agency)
Agency 2 : $0.12 per word ( UK)
Agency 3 : $ 0.16 per word ( USA)

Naturally, I couldn't work on all three projects simultaneously, as I am not Superman, so I had to make my choice, and it is not hard to guess that I picked the Agency # 3.

Anyway, the PM of the Agency 1 said something like this, after I had thanked her and turned down her offer, explaining how I was offered a job at a much higher rate :

" I am really impressed with your resume, background and references. You must understand that we cannot pay more due to the global economic crisis"

So, basically, she has a translation business that can't afford a translator. Grotesque !

Imagine having a software company that can't afford hiring a software engineer.


Disgraceful price = disgraceful translation.

I doubt that any certified, accurate and experienced translator in his right mind would translate at $0.05 per word.

[Edited at 2008-12-04 19:38 GMT]


MariusV  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:43
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
why not use a machine translation?? :) free shall be free everywhere :) Dec 5, 2008

Free test? That means no obligation from the agency. And, if they think "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" (agencies versus translators), then we should also remember the saying that "no one looks into the teeth of a horse which was given as a present" (at least, a Lithuania proverb goes like that translated into English very roughly). And BINGO! Why not do that test using Such a translation would be, at least, be better compared to the level of revisers who provide a negative feedback (well, a machine can make some logical nonsenses, but not very inventive illogical nonsenses as many hoax proofers make). And I can make a bet that one day a test translation done by google WILL PASS. Or, at least, it will have the same (if not a higher) probability to pass compared to a test translation you done "from the depth of your heart". The best here - it will take several seconds to do (instead of several hours). Both parties will be happy - the quality-cautious agency will receive the test for their strict QA procedures (esp. if they are ISO or UFO certified - makes no big difference), and the translator will save a lot of time. Free tests are not evil - we just have to be more rational and inventive for the technical side of their completionicon_smile.gif

And, Dear Wilmer. Do not be that simple. If 10 agencies send you test payments, you, being a serious translator, should have very strict client selection procedures - only one or two out of 10 agencies can pass. Otherwise it will not look serious. If they complain about something, copy the message of your accountant which should tell something like that "My Accounting Department analyzed your procedure for test money transfer quality and it is a regret, but I have to tell that under our strict CPS (Client Selection Procedures), I cannot cooperate with agencies who are 2 hours slower with paying the test money transfer than the procedures established - and your test payment receipt was late more than 24 hours. Also, my accountant (who is a real professional and whom I trust) told that your accountant makes too many arithmetic errors. Thank you for your money, but sorry, I really cannot cooperate with you". Or, you may opt not to respond at all. That would be like a symbol of a "good tone" (you know, I have hundreds of applicants for my client position and I cannot even thank everyone for test money transfers).

[Edited at 2008-12-05 23:00 GMT]

[Edited at 2008-12-05 23:02 GMT]


Suyash Suprabh  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:13
English to Hindi
+ ...
Funny! Jan 26, 2009

I was shocked when a client asked me if I could translate 10 pages as a free sample!

There are many vultures out there...


eur0tec  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:43
English to German
They are still out there and ... Jan 30, 2009

... against my better judgment one of them just tricked me by answering: "We are a professional organisation trying to establish contacts with
top-quality translators" my initial response to their request of a free test: "If no payment is offered for a test, it most likely is an attempt to get a
free ride and just not a professional way to deal with professional people."

So I ignored the warning signs e.g. a strict deadline, and -surprise- received a 'friendly' standard letter with all features of a mass mailing that "It is therefore possible that some aspects were actually good or, according to our revisor, sufficient, but ..." and, who wonders, without substantiating anything.

After checking their recent postings I found that they did the same thing in various languages and obviously try to stitch together a patchwork of 'freebies'.

I was -of course- stupid enough and deserve no better, but in order to raise awareness and discourage this kind of behavior I'd like to find out if there are more victims of
this agency from Utrecht in Holland and what could be done to teach them a lesson.


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