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Sample translation of...945 words
Thread poster: Vitals

Vitals  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 10:05
Member (2008)
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
Apr 5, 2013

Dear all,

I do not know if this is common practice in Romania, but after a polite cooperation offer with quite low rates for both translation and proofreading I received samples for translation.

Amazing as it is - the files total to 945 words of technical text...

And the sample is supposed to be free of charge...

They never even batted an eyelash after my email about the cost of this "sample" being worth quite some dozens of Euros. They said it was a standard procedure for high quality requirements.

It's my first experience with a Romanian company.

Are some countries so prone to ask for charity like this? Do you know of any other countries like that (to beware of)? Or am I too strict in overgeneralizing? Would be glad to hear your voice on that.

Have a nice day.

VS


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:05
German to English
Sample too large Apr 5, 2013

Ideally a sample translation shouldn't require more than about an hour to complete. To me that means 200-400 words. Anything more than that is exploitative.

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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:05
Russian to English
+ ...
Labas Apr 5, 2013

No,don't do any sample translations that are more than 100 words. Yes, this may be a common practice in many countries.

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swiss solutions  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 10:05
Member (2006)
English to Romanian
+ ...
Hello! Apr 5, 2013

I represent a translation agency from Romania and I must confess that your comment left me a little surprised. I never heard of such practice before so it's safe to say that it's rather uncommon.
Our agency doesn't assign free tests often, but when this happened (for actual projects), there were not more than 300 words to translate.
Our opinion is that 300 words is more than enough for someone to decide if the translator has the right skills for that kind of text or not. Moreover, this is the general idea among our clients too...

So I can only hope that this is an isolate situation.


I wish you a wonderful weekend!

Regards,
Nicoleta Cadariu
Swiss Solutions Translation Agency


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Vitals  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 10:05
Member (2008)
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for being there Apr 5, 2013

Dear Nicoleta,

Thank you for your feedback. This is what I was wondering about - if this is common in Romanian companies and agencies.

My opinion on test translations is very similar to yours.

Thanks for being out there with fair professional ethics!

Sincerely,
Vitaly


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felicij  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:05
German to Slovenian
+ ...
This is a common practice Apr 5, 2013

but only for translation agencies that offer low or very low prices. I also think that 300 words is more than enough. I did quite a few sample translations in the past but not anymore. If the asker is not convinced by looking at my profile and CV than he/she is not worth my time or effort. Many sample translations above 500 words are actual projects and they never get back to you with a feedback or an actual assignment.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:05
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
You can't generalise Apr 5, 2013

Vitals wrote:
Amazing as it is - the files total to 945 words of technical text...
It's my first experience with a Romanian company.


If you have had this experience with ten Romanian companies, then you would have had cause to generalise. What you had experienced occurs all over the world and for both cheap and expensive agencies. You can generalise on neither price nor nationality here.

If you have a maximum number of words for free test translations, tell that to the client.

In my opinion, a free test translation should take no more than half an hour to complete. If the text is easy, it will be more words, but if the text is difficult, it will be fewer words. That said, I regularly disobey my own rule and do test translations of up to an hour, if I have the time.


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ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 11:05
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
The Solution Apr 5, 2013

I would not do the complete test translation. Instead, I would only do an amount that is fair for you (it may be 300 words, it may be more or less), and tell them that this is all you can do, sorry. If you respect the fact that they give you a test translation, you should expect them to respect the amount that you have done. Case closed.

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Vitals  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 10:05
Member (2008)
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
good wisdom Apr 5, 2013

Actually this is what I originally thought I would do, Atil. But then I doubted if all the rest of their professional ethics would justify my efforts.

Still this idea is practical I can admit that.


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suongmai  Identity Verified
Vietnam
Local time: 15:05
Member (2013)
English to Vietnamese
+ ...
Not all the cases Apr 5, 2013

I often do sample work but most of the time it doesn't take more than 45 minute to finish and not more than 250 words. Also most of the time it is the real sample for the agency to check my skills.
Just yesterday I got a proposal for quite big agency but then they send me a big "sample work" which is more than 450 words and they require to send it back within 2 days, and it obviously was taken out from a big document. I guess that the agency divided the documents they need to translate into many parts and then ask new translator to do sample work. In the end they have to pay only for a small editing. So of course I said no.
Also you can propose to send them your sample work in the filed they require with details of references, and normally that is fine.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:05
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes! Apr 5, 2013

ATIL KAYHAN wrote:
I would not do the complete test translation. Instead, I would only do an amount that is fair for you (it may be 300 words, it may be more or less), and tell them that this is all you can do, sorry. If you respect the fact that they give you a test translation, you should expect them to respect the amount that you have done. Case closed.

Seconded.


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564354352  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 09:05
Danish to English
+ ...
Far too much Apr 5, 2013

As others have said, about 300 words is enough for a skilled reviewer to see whether a translator can deliver professional work in a given language combination.

As a rule, I don't do test translations, although once in a while an unusual collaboration proposal from an agency may make me break my own rule. But that is the exception.

However, I know that any translation that a translator offers within a given specialist field will be adequate to assess their skills, and as I appreciate that agencies would like to be sure that they only assign work to people who they consider match their requirements, I am working on building up a portfolio of sample translations within my chosen fields. I will gradually place these on my ProZ profile and refer to that. If an agency is serious about wanting to collaborate with me, and pay my rates, they will take the time and trouble to look at the samples I have prepared.

My thinking is that what I place in my portfolio will, of course, represent the best of what I am capable of, so if that is not good enough for an agency, there is no point in them sending me one of THEIR texts.

I simply choose recent texts from the Internet and translate them (thus avoiding issues with abuse of client confidentiality), stating the source so that anybody can see this is something I have done quite recently.

In my view, that is all an agency will need to assess my skills. The rest is up to them.


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Alina - Maria Chiteala  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 10:05
Member (2011)
English to Romanian
+ ...
I live in Romania Apr 6, 2013

But I received such requests not only from Romanian agencies, but from foreign ones.
I refuse all unpaid test of more than 250 words.
945 words is an unpaid job. It is not fair to any translator.
Usually, here, we receive such test for books. When I was young I did a 20 pages test for a book and never heard again back. If a book has 200 pages, assigning 20 pages test to 10 translators means a book for free.
Since then I never did a test more than 250 words.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:05
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
250 words Apr 6, 2013

An unpaid test translation shouldn't exceed 250 words.

Last week I received a test translation of 491 words. I did 271 words, but only because I didn't want to break off in the middle of the sentence. And... my "partial" was accepted.

I believe that some agencies or end clients are not aware of the time it takes to do a test translation and which number of words is appropriate/acceptable.

945 words is...looking for an overall free translation. Period.


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 13:35
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
I did exactly that once Apr 6, 2013

ATIL KAYHAN wrote:

I would not do the complete test translation. Instead, I would only do an amount that is fair for you (it may be 300 words, it may be more or less), and tell them that this is all you can do, sorry. If you respect the fact that they give you a test translation, you should expect them to respect the amount that you have done. Case closed.


I was once sent what I considered a rather long text for test translation into Hindi. I returned only about 300 words of it translated with the note that that should be sufficient for evaluating the worth of the translation.

They had an automatic evaluation for the test which failed me on the count that the whole translation had not been done, but the PM came back to me and told me that as there had been no serious issues in the portion I had translated, they would treat me as having passed the test and include me in their database.

This, however, was an American agency and they were agreeable to the rates I had quoted. I am not saying this could be generalized for Romanian agencies, but just that this is one way of tackling the situation you have mentioned.


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