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Refuse after a test without any explanation
Thread poster: fellner
fellner
Hungary
Local time: 13:33
English to Hungarian
Sep 13, 2008

I did a rather long test translation (548 words) to an agency in June. I have not got the results for weeks. After continuous asking they responded now (September): "The client has selected their Translators and your sample has not been selected."

So I have not got any detailed explanation about my mistakes and the reason of this decision.
Do I accept this?

Now it looks like that I translated a 548 words long text for free... For example if a client uses this method and divides the text into 3 parts then sends three 500 words long text to three translators as "test" and later the client refuses the translators without any real explanation then this client will get an 1500 words long text (which amount can be a real project) for totally free...


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Liv Fridtjofsen  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:33
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Tired of tests Sep 13, 2008

I got tired of tests that does not lead to anything with no explanation. It is waste of my time. This is why I now reply "Yes, I can do a test as long as you send me the proofreader's comments on my test."

I do not work for free.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:33
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Two points Sep 13, 2008

fellner wrote:
So I have not got any detailed explanation about my mistakes and the reason of this decision. Do I accept this?


A test is your way of showing the client how good you are. It is not an opportunity for free education for yourself, or an opportunity to see how your work ranks among that of your peers.

If there are 100 test translators and your test was 2nd best, then you won't get the job... not because your work was poor, but because someone was just a little bit better than you. You can't always be the best.

For example if a client uses this method and divides the text into 3 parts then sends three 500 words long text to three translators as "test"...


No, you are deceiving yourself. If this was what the test looked like when you did the test, then I would have believed you, but since you did the test without thinking that this might be the case, I don't think it is the case. In my opinion, you're just trying to justify your loss by saying "what if the client was dishonest".


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Spencer Allman
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:33
Finnish to English
Ask to be paid Sep 13, 2008

If I do tests I normally asked to be paid to do them. It is often the case that tests do not come to anything and are therefore a waste of time, so ask to be paid beforehand.

People sometimes agree to this, believe it or not


best


spencer


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 13:33
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Tender bids Sep 13, 2008

You can compare tests to tender bids: the bidders put some effort into it for free hoping that it will win them a lucrative contract. If they lose, they just get a flat "no"... In fact, you are in a better position than most of them - they usually have to pay for the privilege of bidding

I don't mind tests at all - if one test out of four or five gets me a job, then the return on my investment (i.e. my time spent on the tests) is quite acceptable...


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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:33
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
One reason why Sep 13, 2008

At a ProZ conference a few years ago, the representative of an agency was asked exactly this question - why not provide feedback.

The answer was that they had done that in the past, but then found themselves in e-mail disputes with the translators not selected, and some of the unsuccessful translators sent back very aggressive and unpleasant e-mails. So they decided it was better to tell translators as little as possible about their tests.

I agree with the others will point out that tests are to judge your skills, not to educate you. Think of tests as part of your marketing effort.


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Marlene Curtis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:33
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Refuse after a test without any explanation Sep 13, 2008

Hi there,

I only take the test if it is short and contained in the body of the job posting.

If the test is sent to you after you apply, as an attachment to an email, there is reason to believe the text to be translated could have been divided into several short texts and distributed among several translators (a free ride).

Having said that, I do not believe it's common practice by translation agencies.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:33
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
If only in body Sep 13, 2008

Marlene Curtis wrote:
I only take the test if it is short and contained in the body of the job posting. ... If the test is sent to you after you apply, as an attachment to an email, there is reason to believe...


Well, several of the tests I've seen so far had formatting in the DOC file that needed to be mimicked in the translation. If the test is only available inline with the mail or job post, then the client can't test you on your ability to do formatting.

What's more, if a client sends a translator a formatted file, and he gets it back with obvious formatting errors, he can rightly deduce that the translator is likely to be a poor translator, without having to use a target-language reviewer to tell him that.


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fellner
Hungary
Local time: 13:33
English to Hungarian
TOPIC STARTER
Complete text Sep 13, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:

No, you are deceiving yourself. If this was what the test looked like when you did the test, then I would have believed you, but since you did the test without thinking that this might be the case, I don't think it is the case. In my opinion, you're just trying to justify your loss by saying "what if the client was dishonest".



The test was a continuous, complete text. It did not look like a part of a bigger text. It can be a whole project. It was a little suspicious when I did it, but I did not think of any bad thing...


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Marlene Curtis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:33
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Refuse after a test without any explanation Sep 13, 2008

While I believe formatting is important to a good translation (an accessory), the capacity to do a high quality translation well supersedes the formatting aspect of it.

In my 30-year long translation career, I have found that the best jobs come from outsources/customers who don't require you to take any tests.


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Barbara Clark  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:33
Member (2007)
English to French
+ ...
Why would you take a test? Sep 13, 2008

I do not believe in the value of tests. How is a test really revealing my translations skills? I could very well hire someone else to do the job for me... And then submit it! I have never taken any translation test (except at school, when I was a student), that led to interesting projects to work on. I believe that if an agency or a client can not trust the samples that I am submitting as an honest piece of my work, it means that Trust is not established on both sides of the Business partnership negotiated. It is best to focus on the people who are really interested in working with you and know that the experience you have already proven to other customers is indeed genuine.

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Marlene Curtis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:33
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Why would you take a test? Sep 13, 2008

Barbara Clark wrote:

I do not believe in the value of tests. How is a test really revealing my translations skills? I could very well hire someone else to do the job for me... And then submit it! I have never taken any translation test (except at school, when I was a student), that led to interesting projects to work on. I believe that if an agency or a client can not trust the samples that I am submitting as an honest piece of my work, it means that Trust is not established on both sides of the Business partnership negotiated. It is best to focus on the people who are really interested in working with you and know that the experience you have already proven to other customers is indeed genuine.


Barbara

I couldn' agree more !!!


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MariusJacobsen  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 13:33
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Here's an interesting story... Sep 13, 2008

An agency once contacted me about a "potential project", which I thought sounded interesting. They seemed serious, so I had no problem completing a 300 word test. A few hours after I had sent them my test, they informed me that another translator had been given the job. I really didn't think much of it at the time.

A few months down the line, I decided to do a little search for segments of the translation test I had completed. And you wouldn't believe what I found. A reference manual with a paragraph which was identical to my translation - word for word. Now, I'm the type who never throws away or deletes anything work-related, so I had evidence. After having threatened to take legal action against the company, I was actually paid in full for the entire project.

I guess my point here is that this world is full of people who are just waiting to take advantage of you. I know there are honest agencies out there who genuinely want to ensure that their translators can guarantee top notch quality, but I have chosen not to complete any free tests after what I experienced. A sentence or two is fine, but no more.


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xxxAdrian MM.
Local time: 13:33
French to English
+ ...
Bide your time and retaliate Sep 13, 2008

The time may come when the winner of the test proves to be unreliable and the agency comes back looking for you. It may take a week, a month or a year. But, then, it will be up to you to turn the agency down. Erted?

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svenfrade  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:33
French to German
+ ...
I agree with Barbara... Sep 14, 2008

I do not believe in the value of translation tests.

I occasionally agreed to tests in the past , but when I go through the list of my regular and reliable clients there is not a single one amongst them who asked for a free test before I started working for them.


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