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Translation test of 750 words. Yes or no?
Thread poster: Emilie Gervais

Emilie Gervais  Identity Verified
Canada
English to French
+ ...
Oct 27, 2011

I've recently reply to a job post from a new Blue Board member that does not have any feedback from translators. They sent me a test of 750 words to do within 3 days. Since it's much more than I usually do, I wrote back to them with my rates and ask them to confirm if they would be willing to offer me the rates I am requesting before doing the test. They replied saying I needed to do the test first before we could start speaking of rates. How should I handle this situation?

Thanks for your help!


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jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:44
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
my 2 cents Oct 27, 2011

Emilie Gervais wrote:

"I needed to do the test first before we could start speaking of rates".
Thanks for your help!


If this is what they literally said, decline it. It is a very rude statement. You won't be happy with a rude PM. You can tell them that your rate must be agreed upon before you could take any translation test.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:44
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
A definite NO! Oct 27, 2011

Hi Emilie,

the general rule for test translations is: 200 to 300 words. Period. Unless they offer to pay you for those words exceeding 300 words - which they are obviously not interested in.

750 words can almost make up an entire project, depending on its length.

Their insistance on you doing this nearly "imprudent" test bears the signs of someone looking for a free translation job getting done.

If this agency or direct client sends this "test" out to several translators, getting the job done won't cost them a single cent.

In regard to him/her having a BB-Record, well, if someone registers with proZ.com as a company, they can create a BB record. But what exactly does an empty BB say about the legitimacy of this outsourcer? Nothing, really.

If I were you, I'd delete the email and write them off to experience.

Best,
Thayenga


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:44
Hebrew to English
Run a mile Oct 27, 2011

A unpaid translation test of almost 1000 words? No way.

These so-called "tests" are becoming more and more frequent. And even when they are perfectly legitimate, they always smell "scammy" to me. Especially from an outsourcer with no feedback on their BB.

Another word of warning. As I noticed from another post today, if you went ahead and did the test and then the agency messes you around, you still won't be able to post anything on the BB about them, as apparently this is not "commissioned work". (Another translator was having a similar problem with a paid test). - but as this seems to be an unpaid test, you wouldn't even have a leg to stand on.

The choice is ulitmately yours, personally I wouldn't do any test over 200 words, presuming I'd do one at all, which I'm strongly inclined against doing.

Seems to me they are already being a bit curt with you (from what you have said), which doesn't bode well for future interactions with these people.

Listen to your instinct.


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Katherine Mérignac  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:44
Member (2004)
French to English
Don't bother Oct 27, 2011

Don't bother!

Say thanks but no thanks. Maybe they'll change their mind, and if they don't it probably means they wouldn't pay your rates anyway. And I'd agree with everyone else, 750 words is a lot for a test...


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Laura Bissio CT  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 17:44
Member (2008)
English to Spanish
+ ...
offer a partial test Oct 27, 2011

Hi Emilie,

As everyone just said, 750 words to start speaking about rates doesn't sound good. I also believe they are asking for a free translation rather than a test.

I wouldn't invest time in an agency with no BB record and without knowing how much they are willing to pay.
If you are still interested and want to go on negotiating, maybe you could offer a partial test, say 250 words. This should be enough to evaluate your skills. If they don't accept this, I'd say you better walk away from them. They will always impose they terms in the future too.

Good luck!

[Edited at 2011-10-27 12:29 GMT]


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Ashutosh Mitra  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 02:14
Member (2011)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Why 750 words....? Oct 27, 2011

I don't understand! If you can't judge me by a sample of 100-200 words, then you can not judge me by 700+ words. It is lack of confidence on the part of evaluator, or there could be a hidden objective....! I agree with Thayenga- 200 may be 300 can be considered as sample but not beyond that.

You can ask the outsourcer to reduce the size to 200 or 300, it may work.

[Edited at 2011-10-27 12:43 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-10-27 12:44 GMT]


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Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 20:44
German to English
+ ...
Test is too long Oct 27, 2011

As others have said 200-300 words for a test is long enough to judge anyone's translation ability and style.

But let us take a moment to understand what is going on here: The agency wants you to take, say, two hours of your time to do something for nothing, but is not prepared to spend five minutes of their time telling you whether your rate falls within the rate range they usually pay in your language pair?

This is definitely not a level playing field! I would decline the test on that basis, and look for other agencies who operate transparently.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:44
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I'd wipe them from my mind Oct 27, 2011

Allison Wright wrote:
This is definitely not a level playing field! I would decline the test on that basis, and look for other agencies who operate transparently.


I doubt very much that anything good would come of this. Even if they accepted for you to do a free 200-word test, I doubt that any decently-paid work would be attributed to you. They've shown their true colours. Up to you to decide if you want to wear them.

Sheila


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Ashutosh Mitra  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 02:14
Member (2011)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Hmmmmmmm.........100% Agreed Allison.....! Oct 27, 2011

Allison Wright wrote:

As others have said 200-300 words for a test is long enough to judge anyone's translation ability and style.

But let us take a moment to understand what is going on here: The agency wants you to take, say, two hours of your time to do something for nothing, but is not prepared to spend five minutes of their time telling you whether your rate falls within the rate range they usually pay in your language pair?

This is definitely not a level playing field! I would decline the test on that basis, and look for other agencies who operate transparently.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:44
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
NO! Oct 27, 2011

First an agreement about the rates, even if only rough (with a range of +/- 10%), then (eventually) the test. I have been caught in that trick too many times.

Also, the test is too long. 250-300 well-chosen words are more than enough to confirm the qualities of a translator. I don't quite grasp how companies insist in making you work half a day for free to test your abilities. Don't they read CV's and qualifications?


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:44
French to German
+ ...
Agreement upon rates? Oct 27, 2011

An agreement upon rates sounds like a joke to me.

Eventually, and even if the agency "agrees" to them, they will still have a back door open by stating for example that this and that project will exceptionally have to be translated at a lower rate.

Make them pay, because and as I said elsewhere: we do not have to bear the costs incurred by agencies when they search for suitable translators.

It is a part of their business expenses, which are not *OUR* problem in the slightest.


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Katherine Mérignac  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:44
Member (2004)
French to English
Don't bother II Oct 27, 2011

And the chances are that even if you jump through all of their hoops and your test is successful, they won't ever offer you any paid work anyway. I'm speaking from experience...!

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Olly Pekelharing  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:44
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
Well, maybe Oct 27, 2011

I seem to recall one of my clients got me to do a 900+ word test. At the time I didn't have a lot of work and was quite happy to do it. They're now one of my best clients, both in terms of the kind of jobs they offer and the communication with them. So if you have the time on your hands and you have reason to believe something good may come of it, well then maybe... Though having said that, their reaction to your request doesn't bode very well...

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Emilie Gervais  Identity Verified
Canada
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
They replied Oct 27, 2011

Based on some of your recommendations, I replied to them saying the test was way to long for me and I wish no long to go on with the selection process. They replied saying I could do less than 300 words. But by the way they have been behaving, not wanting to talk about rates makes me think it not worth spending time on them.

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