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(Fake) test translation
Thread poster: Jitka Komarkova (Mgr.)

Jitka Komarkova (Mgr.)  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 12:55
Member (2013)
English to Czech
+ ...
Apr 18, 2015

Dear all, imagine...

An agency seeks translators in multiple languages for (decent wordcount) regular jobs. You submit your quote. When the agency approaches you, they state “everything looks great” and invite you to take a free test, claiming it is “an old file from one of our clients” comprising about 500 words. You agree. Preparing for translation, you surprisingly find out that the copy has some 700 words and contains a recently launched (hot stuff) advertising campaign of a famous high-priced apparel and shoes brand. Neither old stuff nor stuff advisable to be used as a test material.

What would you think? What would you do? Any ideas or experience?
Many thanks for sharing your feelings.
Jitka


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:55
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
700 words too long for a test Apr 18, 2015

Whether or not the test is a fake, I'd politely point out to them that 700 words is too long for a test translation and offer to do not more than 300 words. If it is a scam, you'll probably never hear from them again. If it's genuine, perhaps they'll send you a different, shorter test. Then, having checked their record and their acceptance of your rates, you can decide whether the game is worth the candle.

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Paulinho Fonseca  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:55
Member (2011)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I would not do it with 700 words Apr 18, 2015

Jenny Forbes wrote:

Whether or not the test is a fake, I'd politely point out to them that 700 words is too long for a test translation and offer to do not more than 300 words. If it is a scam, you'll probably never hear from them again. If it's genuine, perhaps they'll send you a different, shorter test. Then, having checked their record and their acceptance of your rates, you can decide whether the game is worth the candle.





I stopped accepting these tests sometime ago as I did not get a reply from 95% of them. As Jenny Forbes stated here 300 would be ok, but more than that should be charged or not worth the risk.

Best of luck.




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Paul Lambert  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 12:55
Member (2006)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Who else offers free test work? Apr 18, 2015

I have done short test work in the past, and it has been legitimate. Even so, I stopped doing it for two main reasons. Firstly, after being almost a decade in the field and being able to supply ample references and samples, I think I am past having to prove myself in this manner. That is not meant to sound snobby or aloof, but if I have repeat customers and I am still in business after so many years, it should be an indication that I at least have some idea of what I am doing.

Secondly, and more importantly, I find that doing test translations only reinforces the notion in the business community that translation is not a real profession where experience and/or initiative and talent count. In what other field of commerce can we ask for free test samples of services? Imagine going to a new dentist and asking him for a free check-up and cleaning. If we like his work, we might consider coming back when we need a root canal. Or even going to a new restaurant and asking for a free starter. If we like it we might order a main course (if we can negotiate the price.)

As consumers, we all take a risk when we contract for a new product or service. That does not mean we do not need to pay for it. If we don't like it, we simply don't order it from the same supplier again. New translators may find it useful to offer small free sample work as a means to get a foot into the door so I don't disparage the practice altogether; however, I find it to be rather poor form for an agency to take it upon itself to ask for free work. The agencies should put the cost of a small translation test down to the costs of finding resources and improving their business. That cost should not be passed on to the translators.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:55
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Test translations Apr 18, 2015

Even a free test translation of 500 words is too much. And there's no way for you, the translator, to verify that the test was indeed taken from an old file.

Actually, I don't do any free test translations. Yet a couple of weeks ago I did agree to doing a 150 words free test translation. It was emphazised that all candidates would receive the exact same file while the actual project was less than 1.000 words. Not receiving any feedback at all has strengthened my decision not to do any free test translations.

This doesn't mean that I don't trust outsourcers when it comes to test translations. In fact, I have secured long-term relationships with outsourcers based on test translations. However, only 1 of those tests was free.


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Sandesh Ghimire  Identity Verified
Nepal
Local time: 17:40
Nepali to English
+ ...
I'd mark the agency and tell them that you only do a paid test! Apr 18, 2015

I'd never do the text with all the knowledge you described or I would ask them to pay for it it the test is more than 300 words.

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Valery Shapovalenko  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 13:55
English to Russian
+ ...
To do or not?.. Apr 18, 2015

Here it goes about: https://patenttranslator.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/to-do-or-not-to-do-a-free-test-translation-that-is-the-question/

I NEVER received a positive reply after having done a free translation test. Otherwise, I ALWAYS received jobs, when doing... paid translations, without previous free tests.

People just do not appreciate something they received for free. Bear this in mind, 4 the next time.


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ChrisGT  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:55
Member (2008)
English to French
+ ...
No tests for me. Apr 18, 2015

I agree with Paul Lambert. No free tests for me, if they can't see from my CV and my experience that I am qualified enough, then it's not worth it.

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Paulinho Fonseca  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:55
Member (2011)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
People just do not appreciate something they received for free. Bear this in mind, 4 the next time. Apr 18, 2015

Valery Shapovalenko wrote:

Here it goes about: https://patenttranslator.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/to-do-or-not-to-do-a-free-test-translation-that-is-the-question/

I NEVER received a positive reply after having done a free translation test. Otherwise, I ALWAYS received jobs, when doing... paid translations, without previous free tests.

People just do not appreciate something they received for free. Bear this in mind, 4 the next time.



That's it Valery Shapovalenko. you said it all.


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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 19:55
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
I do Apr 18, 2015

Paul Lambert wrote:

I have done short test work in the past, and it has been legitimate. Even so, I stopped doing it for two main reasons. Firstly, after being almost a decade in the field and being able to supply ample references and samples, I think I am past having to prove myself in this manner. That is not meant to sound snobby or aloof, but if I have repeat customers and I am still in business after so many years, it should be an indication that I at least have some idea of what I am doing.

Secondly, and more importantly, I find that doing test translations only reinforces the notion in the business community that translation is not a real profession where experience and/or initiative and talent count. In what other field of commerce can we ask for free test samples of services? Imagine going to a new dentist and asking him for a free check-up and cleaning. If we like his work, we might consider coming back when we need a root canal. Or even going to a new restaurant and asking for a free starter. If we like it we might order a main course (if we can negotiate the price.)

As consumers, we all take a risk when we contract for a new product or service. That does not mean we do not need to pay for it. If we don't like it, we simply don't order it from the same supplier again. New translators may find it useful to offer small free sample work as a means to get a foot into the door so I don't disparage the practice altogether; however, I find it to be rather poor form for an agency to take it upon itself to ask for free work. The agencies should put the cost of a small translation test down to the costs of finding resources and improving their business. That cost should not be passed on to the translators.


If you want to compare yourself to dentists and restaurants, stop offering your services remotely and make your clients visit you on premise. There are plenty of translators with all the credentials and experience in the world and have absolutely no clue what they're doing.

By the way, more than a few law firms do offer the option of limited free consultation before the client makes a committment.

[Edited at 2015-04-18 20:17 GMT]


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SzEdit
Hungary
Local time: 12:55
German to Hungarian
+ ...
Be careful Apr 19, 2015

Sorry for my poor English, I offer only German translations
The case you described happened to me a few times here in Hungary. As I and also friends recieved different parts of the same text as "free samples", we realized, that it was a current translation job. So I decided not to do it. It's a simple trick to get free translations, better than Google...
I agree with Jenny Forbes and Paul Lambert. Ask for a shorter sample or just forget that agency.


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Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:55
Member (2014)
English to German
I do Apr 19, 2015

But no more than about 250 words although I gained one or two clients this way, I am not sure whether it is entirely worth it.

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Jitka Komarkova (Mgr.)  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 12:55
Member (2013)
English to Czech
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for reassurance! Apr 20, 2015

Dear all,
many thanks for your feedback and taking part in this forum. It is of great benefit to me and I do really appreciate it.
Briefly checking the test piece, I initially agreed for two reasons: the topic belongs among my most preferred topics (really tempting) and the deadline was really generous.
However, after reviewing the file carefully and finding out that it is this year's spring advertising campaign, I realized I am very likely being cheated on.
I also appreciate your general comments on providing test translation; in fact, rethinking all the matter all over again, I think my CV, my clients' feedback and references are strong enough to reject free test translations.
Once again, many thanks!
Wish you all beautiful spring time wherever you are on the globe!
Br, Jitka


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Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:55
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
I don't Apr 20, 2015

That is to say, pay me.

I am new to the agency and the agency is new to me. Trust is a 2-way street, so we both want to know each others 'talents'. In this way they can see wether I am a good translator or not, and I can see wether they are a good payer or not. Only seems too fair.


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SitiSingapura  Identity Verified
Singapore
Local time: 19:55
Link to Proz.com PRO when a test translation is required Jul 29, 2015

For one, it is a standardized test, isn't it?

Linking to Proz.com PRO when a test translation is required is a way to stop outsourcers and companies from masquerading spliced real projects as tests.

https://www.linkedin.com/grp/post/40914-106364128

Vote on Proz.com that a standardized test is posted on the ad, with a reasonable word limit:
http://proz.uservoice.com/forums/37455-jobs/suggestions/2752926-always-require-to-post-the-translation-test-along-

Cheers!

[Edited at 2015-07-29 12:12 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-07-29 12:44 GMT]


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