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Poll: Do you generally agree to provide sample translations of over 250 words in length?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 13:09
SITE STAFF
Aug 23, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you generally agree to provide sample translations of over 250 words in length?".

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



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Heather McCrae  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:09
Member (2012)
German to English
No Aug 23, 2013

I am always a bit wary about long test translations.
Sometimes, I have the feeling the outsource in question is just farming out chunks of text to get a translation done for free, which is ridiculous with regards to quality, but it is done sometimes. When I get that feeling, I say no.

Some actually ask you to do way over 300 words, which is a cheek. Do you ask any other service provider for an hours free work first to assess their suitability? Just imagine what they would say to you!! :8

I often check if the text is available on the Internet. Have actually found the text sometimes, together with the English translation.

But, I do not really mind doing a test translation as long as I get honest feedback. In most cases, it does lead to a new cooperation.


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Catherine De Crignis  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:09
Member (2012)
English to French
+ ...
No way Aug 23, 2013

Mmmm...
Just pressed "yes usually" instead of "no never". So I've messed up the statistics ( - ;
Would never do more than 250-300 words. Never too happy to do tests, particularly when they're revised by a non-native who comes back with mad observations... then you have to spend another 30 mins explaining the simplest things.
Noticed that some tests seem fairly relevant, yet others make no sense at all (random basic stuff).


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:09
English to Japanese
+ ...
No and never, Aug 23, 2013

unless they are paid tests.

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tilak raj  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 02:39
Member (2012)
English to Panjabi
+ ...
Yes sometimes Aug 23, 2013

Most of new clients provide sample of 250 words but sometimes I have to compromise with 300-350 words sample. But it depends upon the situations.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 21:09
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, sometimes Aug 23, 2013

There should be other means of demonstrating a translator’s competence without providing free translation samples (whatever the length), but the truth is that I gained several excellent clients after agreeing to a test…

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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:09
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
No ... Aug 23, 2013

... unless such a test is paid, which is why I voted "Other".

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Marjolein Snippe  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:09
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
not usually Aug 23, 2013

I am usually happy to do a test translation for a potential new client and I have gained several good clients that way, but I am not keen on tests longer than 250 words. They don't tend to be, anyway, fortunately.

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Claudia Kuhn  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:09
English to German
+ ...
Other Aug 23, 2013

Sample translation only against payment

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ventnai  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:09
Member
German to English
+ ...
300 Aug 23, 2013

My limit is usually 300 but very wary if the test has a deadline!

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:09
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No, never Aug 23, 2013

Not at this point in my career. I simply don't have the time. I would insist on being paid for it. Actually, I don't need clients right now, I have more than I can handle. Also, as someone else pointed out, the grading criteria can be off-base.

I recently had a funny experience. I told the prospective client that I wouldn't take their test (in Portuguese-English, medical, which I have been doing for decades). They said they couldn't put me on their roster if I didn't take the test, then several days later I received a letter welcoming me to their roster.


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Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:09
English
+ ...
I have sometimes VOLUNTEERED Aug 23, 2013

to do a sample (usually a page or two) and every time, I've gotten the job. In at least one case, I had approached the then-potential client, saying I wanted to translate their book. I offered to do a sample so they could see how I would do it... and got the job. Didn't count the words, but it was maybe 300-500.

If I'm asked to do a sample that is something different. I think in that case, I would need to be paid for my time. (Unless it's a project I really REALLY want to do...then I might do whatever it takes to get it.)


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:09
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
No, never Aug 23, 2013

The golden rule is: sample translations shouldn't exceed 200 words. No exceptions unless the potential client pays for it. In this case I'd be willing to provide even more than 1.000 words as a sample.

This applies also to literary translations since I do have a few samples at hand.

In case of test translations serving the purpose of establishing a translators' pool are an absolute No-Go because I simply don't believe in receiving a job offer that was simultaneously sent to multiple undisclosed recipients.


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Steve Kerry  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:09
German to English
250 would be tops Aug 23, 2013

Which I did about a month ago, grudgingly.

But it did result in a very good order, so I will try to keep my skepticism under control in future... grins.

Steve K.


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:09
English to Spanish
+ ...
Happy to do paid tests too Aug 23, 2013

Muriel Vasconcellos wrote:

Not at this point in my career. I simply don't have the time. I would insist on being paid for it. Actually, I don't need clients right now, I have more than I can handle. Also, as someone else pointed out, the grading criteria can be off-base.

I recently had a funny experience. I told the prospective client that I wouldn't take their test (in Portuguese-English, medical, which I have been doing for decades). They said they couldn't put me on their roster if I didn't take the test, then several days later I received a letter welcoming me to their roster.



Some agencies offer to pay for short tests, which is just fine with me. At this stage in my career, like Muriel, I decline to do unpaid tests unless they are very very short (no more than 300 words). Why do I keep doing them, although selectively? Because it fosters good relationships.

Muriel, I'll be happy to unload some of your extra clients~


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