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Poll: To you sample translations...
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 16:05
SITE STAFF
Oct 1, 2010

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "To you sample translations...".

This poll was originally submitted by boostrer. View the poll results »



 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Oct 1, 2010

To me, they are often a way for unscrupulous agencies to get a free translation. I no longer do them, nor ask for them from prospective collaborator/colleagues.
My point of view is that any client or agency who engages my services should consider themselves lucky.

Oh, and in 99% of cases, samples are a waste of my precious time since I have rarely if ever received any work from the people who ask for them.

[Edited at 2010-10-01 08:35 GMT]


 

Sara Bollati  Identity Verified
New Zealand
Local time: 12:05
Italian to English
+ ...
agree Oct 1, 2010

with neilmac. could not have put it better myself!

 

Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:05
Member (2008)
English to Italian
TRUE!! Oct 1, 2010

neilmac wrote:

To me, they are often a way for unscrupulous agencies to get a free translation. I no longer do them, nor ask for them from prospective collaborator/colleagues.
My point of view is that any client or agency who engages my services should consider themselves lucky.

Oh, and in 99% of cases, samples are a waste of my precious time since I have rarely if ever received any work from the people who ask for them.

[Edited at 2010-10-01 08:35 GMT]


I totally agree


 

Interlangue (X)
Angola
Local time: 01:05
English to French
+ ...
Other Oct 1, 2010

I do not remember ever doing a "free test" or "free sample" - of course, I have been asked to do soicon_smile.gif
Unlike others, I often get the job after a test/sample; actually the end customer wants to find out what the agency is worth!

What I do not like is when agencies ask me to do the sample/test even though they know I have no time to squeeze in new customers...


 

Michaël Temmerman  Identity Verified
Costa Rica
Local time: 17:05
English to Dutch
+ ...
filters out the worst Oct 1, 2010

Sample translations filter out the worst translators, but how can the agency or customer know that it was the translator himself who made the translation? So in the end, they're useless.

I'm not opposed to test translations though, as long as they're paid.


 

Marc Cordes  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 01:05
English to German
+ ...
Hmmm.... Oct 1, 2010

such samples cannot be deemed unnecessary or necessary per se as it is always in the eye of the beholder. I agree with neilmac that there are black sheep out there who only try to get their job done by putting all the "sample translations" together like a puzzle but I know of and had contact with several agencies who really seem to use this method to get a capable selection of translators from such sample results.

In the end one should be cautious. Make sure to check the BB entries (if available) and perform the rest of your due diligence as you see fit.

@neilmac: "...any client or agency who engages my services should consider themselves lucky." - This may be true for you but translators who just started will have a difficult time getting new assignments without a built reputation on proz or any other platform or paper recommendations for that matter.

The first presentation during yesterday's virtual conference actually addressed this quite brilliantly and pointed out perceptions of both the client and the one who delivers a service. There are thousands of translators out there who could use the exact same phrase above BUT it is our job to differentiate ourselves from the masses. Clients/Agencies do not have unlimited possibilities to screen a potential assignee for a job so a sample translation is one of the ways to get a clearer picture IMHO. I personally prefer business based on trust but we all know that this can be tricky while swimming in a free market...

Having said all that there are several solutions which you can apply to respond to sample requests:

1. Offer several sample translations in your profile which refer to your specialised or working fields and send such agencies to that section in your profile. After that they will have to make the decision and you saved your prescious time.

2. Offer only to provide a sample translation if the agency can demonstrate that this sample will not be used for the job at hand and is needed since it will be send to the client for acceptance.

3. Call the agency and talk to the PM (This will also give you a good chance to sell yourself instead of assuming that everyone on this planet knows that you have done your homework already).

My 2 cents.


 

Umang Dholabhai  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 04:35
Member
English to Gujarati
+ ...
To filter the worst Oct 1, 2010

I keep wondering if the reviewers are "tested"as frequently as the translators are. Recently I had an occasion to take a test (paid). I was fortunate enough to get the reviewed copy of my work. I started to wonder at that point since the assessed file contained quite a few "corrections" which needed to be "corrected". I did provide them the details along with references and reasons. Also, there is always a chance that subjective alterations may not be justified.

I should add here that I do take care to be as much objective that is possible when I am asked to "assess" someone's work - but then I have absolutely no idea how I qualified to "assess" when I was never "tested" to prove my abilities to do so.

It is a strange world!


 

Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:05
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
The test translation is also you testing them Oct 1, 2010

Having formerly been an outsourcer, I don't think the scenario of trying to get a free translation is particularly likely. If you get someone who wants you to do an entire chapter as a sample, that's something else. But as a practical matter, trying to piece together a translation from 500-word chunks done by people who may or may not be competent and who have no obligation to return their tests at all doesn't strike me as a good way for an agency to get its work done. Just as an aside, there was a presentation at an ATA conference about the certification examination practice tests (which the test-takers pay to take). A substantial number of these tests were not returned.

I did get a test once that described a city in Russia. One of the major industries of this city, according to the text, is судостроение, which I translated as "shipbuilding". The client pointed out that his dictionary translated судопроизводство as "courtroom procedure" and asked me to explain why I had shipbuilding instead of courtroom procedure in my translation. I told him that they are two different words with two different meanings. He indicated that he did not consider that a good enough explanation and said he'd look elsewhere to get his work done. My response (not expressed to him) was good riddance. It apparently never occurred to him that the idea of the major industry of a city being courtroom procedure is unusual. (Do people sue each other there often?) I'm glad to find out he's a dolt before I'm dealing with a huge project.


 

ventnai  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:05
Member
German to English
+ ...
With a deadline Oct 1, 2010

I remember an agency in Tarragona, Spain, asking for a rather long test translation once. The woman also gave a date and time for it to be delivered. Needless to say, I did not comply.

 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:05
English to Spanish
+ ...
Useless Oct 1, 2010

Sample translations are probably not very useful.

[Editado a las 2010-10-01 19:42 GMT]


 

Mike (de Oliveira) Brady  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2008)
Portuguese to English
I offer sample translations Oct 1, 2010

I offer a sample translation of up to 100 words and in Pt->En there are often short sections of text posted with the quotation request on Proz.com.

Some of the agencies building up their databases of translators have had a process of completing a short test translation, which I've done when the rates on offer justify joining their database.

Another site I receive quote requests through allows clients (usually end clients, rather than agencies) to upload their document. If I submit a quote for these, I'll usually translate a few sentences whether it has been requested or not.

I think providing a test or sample translation is a useful way to show off translation skills. Sending it back in as short a timescale as possible is also a way to demonstrate efficiency.

It doesn't always lead to work, but I believe this to be a good time investment when I'm in need of new clients.


 

Richard Boulter  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
Lack of Appreciation Oct 2, 2010

On my experience with 'agencies' and agencies that advertise work on ProZ (and on other websites), whether they request a 'test translation' or not they don't stay with demonstrably capable translators. Almost invariably, they accept your translation of the assigned document without complaint and pay for it, then advertise the next project that they get control of on the open market, trolling for the lowest price.

I use this as a qualification of the agency and not of my translation. As our language-services industry recovers from the cut-rate, have-laptop-will-broker-translation, irresponsible slump that it seems to be suffering the above 'agencies' will have exterminated themselves with poor products, and both requirements and sound business practices will return to an operational basis; both for clients and for practitioners.


 

Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:05
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
they are annoying! Oct 2, 2010

sometimes when I'm so pressed for time it's hard to find the time to squeeze one in. I got a request once to do one in a short period of time so they could see if I could meet a deadline. Well DUH. I've been a translator AND a journalist...don't they think after all this time I can meet a rush deadline?
also, I find that I have better success landing clients who don't ask for tests and who instead receive samples of previous translations.


 

Jan Kluczewitz
Local time: 01:05
Help me to show my qualities and to test the agency Oct 2, 2010

First of all I agree that it helps to evaluate the agency itself. I did a few tests and in this process I found out a lot about the working and communication style of the agency. If all works out a test can show if a translator and a client would fit together.

All of the tests I did were obviously tests and not a free translation bit for the agency. I could tell because some of them were already discussed in forums and others were only very short but included selected difficulties to test the translator.

I'm a career changer I don't have a diploma or something similar. I'm always glad if an agency asks me to take a test because I can show them that I'm capable of giving them what they want (and that's what matters, right?). If I only would be chosen by my vita I wouldn't have been able to break into business. My current main client was very satisfied with my test what lead to first small assignments and very fast to bigger ones.

I think if you want to keep a client and want to be successfull in the long run honesty is very important. Cheating on my tests wouldn't have made sense to me. What use is it to get an assignment after the test which I would not be able to handle? (If someone else would have done the test for me I could pass him the assignment and take a fee;)

So all in all for me tests were a good thing so far.


 
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