"Stop working for free" - about submitting free samples
Thread poster: Jan Willem van Dormolen

Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:09
English to Dutch
+ ...
Jul 4, 2012

This video is about designers, but is very much on topic for translators too. Note the comparison to chefs and lawyers:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsstOs-K7gk&feature=youtu.be


 

Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 18:09
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
I am not a chef Jul 4, 2012

or lawyer, I am a translator. But providing free samples is a common part of many businesses (just visit any fair) and I see no reason to give up a business tool, owing to which I gained several good clients in the past and I hope to gain others in the future as well.

Sample translation is a TOOL, same as profile at Proz or credentials from professional associations. You can accept it or reject at your own discretion. For me, it proved to be benefial.

Jan Willem van Dormolen wrote:

This video is about designers, but is very much on topic for translators too. Note the comparison to chefs and lawyers:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsstOs-K7gk&feature=youtu.be


 

Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 18:09
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
By the way Jul 4, 2012

restaurants are often providing free meals (or meals for reduced price) and preparing a "sample meal" is quite common requirement at hiring a chef (at least as claimed by Anthony Bourdain). But substance is that each profession has its own QA methods and, in translation business, sample translations are one of them. I am totally fine with it.


Jan Willem van Dormolen wrote:

This video is about designers, but is very much on topic for translators too. Note the comparison to chefs and lawyers:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsstOs-K7gk&feature=youtu.be


 

Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:09
Yep Jul 4, 2012

Jan Willem van Dormolen wrote:

This video is about designers, but is very much on topic for translators too. Note the comparison to chefs and lawyers:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsstOs-K7gk&feature=youtu.be


Fully agree.

From my experience, a real good and serious client (whether agencies or private individuals) would ask you for a sample translation and they would pay you for taking the time to do it.


 

Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 18:09
English to Czech
+ ...
It's more complicated than one would think Jul 4, 2012

Vladimír Hoffman wrote:

restaurants are often providing free meals (or meals for reduced price) and preparing a "sample meal" is quite common requirement at hiring a chef (at least as claimed by Anthony Bourdain).

Well actually I'm originally from the hotel and catering industry and I can't remember to cook something for free just to prove my competence as a cook for a catering event or so.

But substance is that each profession has its own QA methods and, in translation business, sample translations are one of them. I am totally fine with it.

I'm fine with it when a client looks for a translator for some really long-term cooperation, i.e. not for a one-off job, in which case I am prepared to submit about 250 words for free.

It's different, however, when I am to submit a sample each time a client, be it a direct client or an agency, needs to assign a 2,000 words job. Let alone cases where a job is divided among several translators as "free samples". In these situations, I use a standard set of samples of my previous work. Either it's enough for the prospect, or I'm not interested.

[Upraveno: 2012-07-04 14:32 GMT]


 

Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 18:09
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
Well, Jul 4, 2012

I saw it in Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares and read about it in Anthony Bourdain's books. Of course, it was about hiring a chef as an employee, ie. something equivalent to long-term cooperation.

As for one-time jobs - Maybe there is a cause of misunderstanding - I am, of course, talking about sample translation as a marketing tool used for long-term cooperation or for really big job, such as a project lasting several months. I have seen a requirement to make sample test for one-time jobs on Proz, but the tests were so short and so easy that their proving value was close to zero. Actually, I made only one of them, then I realized that taking a part in auction-type bids on Proz (whether or not a sample translation is required) is simply a waste of time.

As for compiling translation from sample test - It is either pure urban legan or clear manifestation of a client's idiocy. On several occassions, I was a part of translation teams involved in big projects. We intensely communicated with one another, there was constant surveillance by PMs, there were prepared and pre-agreed glossaries and style guides, the translations were proofread, Trados was used etc. And, still, it is quite questionable if a good translation can be made of the works prepared by more than 2 or 3 translators.
I can't (do not want to) imagine quality of translation made of dozen sample tests (moreover, provided by unverified translators). In my opinion it is absolutely stupid method with high probability of a big trouble.


Stanislav Pokorny wrote:

Well actually I'm originally from the hotel and catering industry and I can't remember to cook something for free just to prove my competence as a cook for a catering event or so.

But substance is that each profession has its own QA methods and, in translation business, sample translations are one of them. I am totally fine with it.

I'm fine with it when a client looks for a translator for some really long-term cooperation, i.e. not for a one-off job, in which case I am prepared to submit about 250 words for free.

It's different, however, when I am to submit a sample each time a client, be it a direct client or an agency, needs to assign a 2,000 words job.

[Upraveno: 2012-07-04 14:32 GMT]


[Edited at 2012-07-04 19:52 GMT]


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:09
Russian to English
+ ...
I think there is nothing wrong with translating 100 words for free Jul 4, 2012

I think there is nothing wrong with translating 100 words for free, as a test, but no more than that. The excerpt also has to be a part of the text you are about to translate not something else. It might be even beneficial for the translator since he or she will be able to see if they can translate the text. Some texts are so badly written that they don't mean anything in any language.












[Edited at 2012-07-04 18:58 GMT]


 

Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 18:09
English to Czech
+ ...
Replies Jul 4, 2012

Hi Vlado,
some replies for you:

I saw it in Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares and read about it in Anthony Bourdain's books.

Don't know; I don't watch food porn broadcasts.
Of course, it was about hiring a chef as an employee, ie. something equivalent to long-term cooperation.

Yes, hiring an employee also means to test one's skills and competence. But even when I work on a large project, I'm not an employee of an agency. I don't get regular salary from them. I don't get any vacations from them. I am a supplier and as such set the terms. These can be subject to negotiation sometimes, sometimes they can't.

As for one-time jobs - Maybe there is a cause of misunderstanding - I am, of course, talking about sample translation as a marketing tool used for long-term cooperation or for really big job, such as a project lasting several months.

Okay, this explains a lot.

As for compiling translation from sample test - It is either pure urban legan or clear manifestation of a client's idiocy.

Many clients are quite ignorant when it comes to our profession. They know nothing about it and in many cases they know nothing about the result either. And many agencies from – you know where – exploit this fact.

The agencies you are talking about
On several occassions, I was a part of translation teams involved in big projects. We intensely communicated with one another, there was constant surveillance by PMs, there were prepared and pre-agreed glossaries and style guides, the translations were proofread, Trados was used etc.
are a different case.

And, still, it is quite questionable if a good translation can be made of the works prepared by more than 2 or 3 translators.

It can, but it requires skilled translators, skilled PMs, good QA tools and quite some time.

I can't (do not want to) imagine quality of translation made of dozen sample tests (moreover, provided by unverified translators). In my opinion it is absolutely stupid method with high probability of a big trouble.

It is indeed; yet various job boards are full of such "sample tests", unfortunately enough.


 

ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 19:09
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Cheap Labor Jul 5, 2012

Yasutomo Kanazawa wrote:

From my experience, a real good and serious client (whether agencies or private individuals) would ask you for a sample translation and they would pay you for taking the time to do it.


I agree, and support that idea. Making a free sample translation is a derivative of "cheap labor". I am completely against cheap labor, and all its derivatives. There have been times I did free sample translations in the past but I no longer do them.


 


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