issue with paid/unpaid tests
Thread poster: Wouter Vanhees

Wouter Vanhees  Identity Verified
English to Flemish
+ ...
Apr 1, 2009

Hello everyone,

Recently I've been contacted by an outsourcer who is establishing a multilingual translators team for one of their large accounts. They first asked me to perform a paid test, upon which they accepted my rates, and so I went ahead. I finished the test before the deadline and sent them my invoice as agreed, which was accepted.

Today they contacted me again, asking if I could perform two more test translations (total word count: over 1600 words). By the way, I didn't receive any feedback regarding the first test yet. This time however, they asked me to do these extra tests free of charge. This strikes me as quite odd: first willing to pay for a test, and afterwards asking for new tests free of charge. I replied that I can't do tests free of charge, but that I'm willing to do these extra tests paid, and then deduct the amount of my invoice for these two extra tests from my first invoice after acceptance to the project team.

That way I'll be paid anyway if I'm not accepted, and they'll have had the test for free if I am accepted. I didn't get a reply yet, but I think I made a fair offer.

Another odd thing is that they now also informed me about the standard rates they pay, which are quite a bit higher than the rate I first offered (and invoiced for the first test). Of course I'm not going to make a fuss about this, but you'd expect the opposite, right?

Do you think I acted correctly? Any thoughts?



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Maksym Petrov
Local time: 19:39
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
A very smart decision Apr 1, 2009

I've always been thinking of securing myself in such situation and your variant seems to be very simple and smart.
And sure it is fair.

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Jocelyne S  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:39
French to English
+ ...
1600 words seems like a lot! Apr 1, 2009

Hello Wouter,

A 1600-word series of tests seems like a lot to ask. I certainly would not do that much for free and even giving a discount off of your first "real" invoice will set you back quite a lot of money.

If you decide to go for it, make sure that you are confident that the outsourcer is reliable.

It is always a nice surprise to have clients raise rates themselves, but be careful that you aren't being led-on by an outsourcer looking for a free ride.

Do you know any of the other translators contacted by the outsourcer? If so, I would contact them to see what they think and how they have handled requests from the outsourcer.

If you feel confident about the outsourcer and about the potential return on a 1600-word investment - and if you've got the time to spare - it could be a good gamble.

I suppose my advice would be to listen to your gut feeling.


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Wouter Vanhees  Identity Verified
English to Flemish
+ ...
update Apr 1, 2009

Hello again,

Well, I just received feedback from the outsourcer. They gladly accepted my offer.

I do get the feeling this outsourcer is serious and reliable. They are part of an international agency with multiple locations worldwide. Although this particular office doesn't have an entry in ProZ's BlueBoard, a couple of their other offices do, with nothing but praise and positive feedback. So I'm not too worried.

Thanks for your comments!


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