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Do you charge clients for test translation?
Thread poster: Joanna Wang

Joanna Wang  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:12
English to Chinese
Oct 16, 2013

There are some clients who ask translators to perform test translation. These test files sometime > than 500 source words. Do you charge clients for test translation? If so, how much per word?

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Srini Venkataraman
United States
Local time: 11:12
Member (2012)
Tamil to English
+ ...
No Charges Oct 16, 2013

I do not charge for WC>500 if the BB rating is good- of course 600 max ( 2 pages). More than 600, will not do- rather than asking them to pay. Avg. is 200 normally.

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:12
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
>500 Oct 16, 2013

More than 250 - 300 words of unpaid test translations is, IMHO, not acceptable.

If a client is truly interested in a collaboration with you, they offer to pay for a test translation. I've seen this happen several times.

I've also seen it happen that large test translations were sent to multiple "applicants", resulting in a free translation. Hopefully, these "bad apples" are rare, but they do exist.

You might want to check back with your potential client.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:12
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I refuse Oct 16, 2013

I would never do more than 250 words as a test - that's enough. I'll do it for free as long as the client has already accepted my rate, I'm happy we could work together and the text is in one of my specialisations.

More than 250 words isn't a test, IMO; it's a job that attracts my normal rate.


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564354352  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 18:12
Danish to English
+ ...
No, I don't do test translations Oct 16, 2013

As a general rule, I don't work for free. If potential clients want to 'test' my skills, I am happy to do a small JOB for them at my standard price.

Instead, I recommend building a good portfolio of translation examples and posting it here on ProZ.com. I started doing this myself and intend to add more examples when I find the time. The source texts that I choose to translate and include under my profile are readily available (but not previously translated, as far as I am aware) on the Internet, and my intention is to keep my portfolio updated with current examples within my chosen specialities.

Any professional client should be able to assess the standard of my work based on examples that I consider representative. If agencies would just take the time to read people's profiles in full, i.e. do a tiny bit of research before contacting any number of translators, they would save a lot of busy people a lot of time and hassle.

Test translations are mainly a waste of time, in my opinion.


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EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:12
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
No Oct 16, 2013

500 words as a test would be quite long for one text, but often there are several short bits from various fields, and - where I live and work - different language pairs (we also translate native to foreign or foreign to foreign in Eastern Europe). So yes, there can be a lot of text, but it would seem ridiculous to ask for payment. The last test I did involved about 17 pages of text - but in 8 pairs and 2 fields for each of the main languages, so that each individual test was reasonable in itself. If you want the job, this is the price to pay.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:12
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Charge the same as for paid jobs, or... Oct 16, 2013

Joanna Wang wrote:
There are some clients who ask translators to perform test translation. These test files sometime [have more] than 500 source words. Do you charge clients for test translation? If so, how much per word?


1. If you're going to charge for a test translation, you should charge for it the same as you would have charged for a normal paid job of the same size. I see no reason to give discounts (or charge surcharges) for it.

2. You don't have to charge for test translations, if you can justify it to yourself. If a test translation takes you 1 hour, you can compare it to the amount of marketing or administration that you would have done in 1 hour, for which you don't get paid either, but which are vital for business.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:12
Member (2008)
Italian to English
The trouble with test translations..... Oct 16, 2013

...is that they are often requested by agencies that are bidding for translation contracts.

They pick out the best test translation and submit it as part of their bid - but the person who did the test may never get any of the work.

Honest agencies don't do that. I work with an agency that occasionally asks me to do a test, paid at my standard rate.


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Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:12
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
This conversation crops up Oct 16, 2013

about once a week.

If you look in the archives you'll find thousands of (conflicting) opinion on test translations.


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Giovanna Alessandra Meloni  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 18:12
Member (2012)
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
500 words? Oct 16, 2013

I think 500 words test is too long if it is an unpaid test.

But if the agency didn't mention the possibility to pay for the test, I think they presume you'll do it for free.

If you want to try to be paid, I think you should apply your standard rate.

But maybe the best is to say "No, thanks"


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:12
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Depends Oct 16, 2013

Old, trustworthy customers who want to enter a new field or win a bid for interesting work with a new end customer? No, I do not charge them.

New interesting customers? I charge them, but propose to discount the cost of the test from the first actual translation (provided that the test is part of actual translatables).

New not-so-interesting customers (not so interesting because of doubtful Blueboard record, not a very interesting rate...): I charge them at my normal rate (not their rate), with no option to discount that from the first job.

[Edited at 2013-10-17 03:20 GMT]


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KKastenhuber  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 18:12
Russian to German
+ ...
slightly OT: Do you ask for permission before you add a translation to your portfolio? Oct 16, 2013

Gitte Hovedskov, MCIL wrote:

The source texts that I choose to translate and include under my profile are readily available (but not previously translated, as far as I am aware) on the Internet, and my intention is to keep my portfolio updated with current examples within my chosen specialities.


Out of curiosity, because I've been thinking about uploading sample translations for a very long time as well: Do you ask the author or institution who put up the text for permission before you use it as a source to demonstrate your translation skills?

[Edited at 2013-10-16 18:07 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:12
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
You should Oct 17, 2013

KKastenhuber wrote:
Out of curiosity, because I've been thinking about uploading sample translations for a very long time as well: Do you ask the author or institution who put up the text for permission before you use it as a source to demonstrate your translation skills?

I think you should... Maybe this could make a good topic on its own. By publishing it as a new topic, you might get a wider opinion from the community.


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564354352  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 18:12
Danish to English
+ ...
New thread on copyright infringement Oct 17, 2013

In response to KKastenhuber's and Tomás' comments, I have started another thread on the issue of displaying translation examples here on ProZ. based of texts found on the Internet.

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Nikita Kobrin  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 19:12
Member (2010)
English to Russian
+ ...
* Oct 17, 2013

Joanna Wang wrote:

Do you charge clients for test translation? If so, how much per word?


In 95% of the cases I don't accept free tests. For tests I charge about 30% of my average per word rate. The paid test should meet the following requirements:

1. The volume of the test translation shouldn't exceed 200 source words per one subject area and 350 source words as a whole.

2. The test translation should be professionally composed (i.e. it should include general description of the source text the test fragment was taken from, the target audience, preferable language style, etc.).

3. After test evaluation the results should be sent to me irrespective of their positive or negative character.

BEFORE performing a test I discuss possible rates because if the rates my potential customer is ready to pay are lower than my usual rates performing a test is obviously senseless.

Nikita Kobrin


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