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Poll: How often do you agree to perform sample translations free of charge?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 08:00
SITE STAFF
Dec 6, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How often do you agree to perform sample translations free of charge?".

This poll was originally submitted by Anne-Sophie Cardinal. View the poll results »



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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 18:00
Turkish to English
+ ...
Always Dec 6, 2013

For potential new clients, always, provided the test text is of an acceptable length and they can wait until I have some free time to do it in. I do not simply expect people to take my word for it that I am a top-notch legal translator from Turkish to English; I am happy to demonstrate that I am.

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Anna Spanoudaki-Thurm  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:00
Member (2009)
German to Greek
+ ...
Me too! Dec 6, 2013

For me, sample translations are simply a good investment of time.

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Markus Perndl
Austria
Local time: 17:00
Italian to German
+ ...
Always... Dec 6, 2013

... provided that I receive a "test payment" free of work!

A new collaboration is always a risk for both parties, for the client and for the supplier. So why should a translator with a proven experience of several years be treated like a little school boy?

I think that we translators should be more self-confident and meet our clients on an equal footing.

[Bearbeitet am 2013-12-06 09:23 GMT]


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 01:00
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
I used to reply 'Always' Dec 6, 2013

They are are good opportunity to showcase your skills.
However, after 30 years of trial translations, I am beginning to get weary of them.

These days, it really does depend on how I feel about the other party. If they seem sincere and serious and just as cautious as I am, I will be willing to do a short piece.
If, on the other hand, the request is coming from someone who I feel really doesn't care and understand that even trial translations take up my valuable time and wants it asap, and who insists on starting e-mails with "Hi, Julian" -- I just hate that! -- then the e-mail is heading straight for the rubbish bin.

In either case, I always ask what their rates are before we go through the 'courtship process' all over again for the umpteenth time to eventually find out that we are incompatible. It just saves time!

A few small edits



[Edited at 2013-12-06 10:43 GMT]


[Edited at 2013-12-06 11:05 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-12-07 01:51 GMT]


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:00
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I' stopped doing it Dec 6, 2013

For the last 4 years I haven't had the time; I've been too busy translating for my existing clients. However, since I'm losing my best client for "organizational" reasons (an international organization - I'm guessing that they started farming work out to an agency), I may have to consider adding a few new ones to my list.

But I will be picky. For starters, I charge a lot, so I will only be doing tests for the ones who are willing to pay my rates.


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Alexandra Schneeuhr  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 18:00
Member (2012)
English to Russian
+ ...
'Rarely' (nearing to 'Never') Dec 6, 2013

I long stopped doing those general "let-us-check-your-linguistic-skills" free tests because most of them are waste of time and effort, especially when there are numerous samples of my work available, both in my ProZ.com profile and all over the net.
If new or existing customers approach me for a sample test that is a part of the actual project, usually they are happy to pay my regular rates. Why would a serious client ask his translator for freebies?

[Edited at 2013-12-06 11:46 GMT]


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Not any more Dec 6, 2013

Luckily I don't need to any more.

I always objected to doing test translations as a matter of principle until a customer asked me to check other translators' test pieces, the standard of which was generally shocking.

I'd hate to be an all-languages all-subjects agency and have to rely on blind faith.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:00
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
I used to Dec 6, 2013

At the beginning of my freelancing I did short test translations free of charge.

Nowadays, I only do paid test translations, if any at all. And, of course, I apply my normal rate. After all, a translation is a translation - test or not.


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Steve Kerry  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:00
German to English
Now and then Dec 6, 2013

In fact, I'm doing one this weekend! A bit annoyed with myself for agreeing to it as it is 400 words, which is on the large side for a test. Then again, the last test translation I did was followed by a 1,000 EUR job, so who knows? I'll just suck it and see...

Steve K.


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Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:00
Spanish to English
+ ...
Never Dec 6, 2013

If an agency wants me to do a test translation, I always assume that they have too much time on their hands. And personally, I'm always short of time for all the things that I need to do. These agencies are usually Spanish, so they can't assess my work anyway. So I just tell them that I only do test translations in August and ask them to send me their test translation then. I must admit if it is September or November, I can't help laughing a bit when I say it. Just paid work throughout the year, I say. And they never send me the test in August, so I never end up doing them!

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Alexandra Schneeuhr  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 18:00
Member (2012)
English to Russian
+ ...
Why, that's a good one! Dec 6, 2013

Thanks for a laugh, I'd love to "borrow" this excuse one day if you don't mind ))

Tatty wrote:

So I just tell them that I only do test translations in August and ask them to send me their test translation then. I must admit if it is September or November, I can't help laughing a bit when I say it. Just paid work throughout the year, I say.


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Barbara Carrara  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 17:00
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
Yes, but... Dec 6, 2013

Two of my best clients 'chose' me after a free test translation, so I am still happy to do them, provided the potential clients agree to my rates before I start. And in any case, like Julian (Hi, Julian!), I sound them out before deciding if it's worth my while...

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Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:00
Spanish to English
+ ...
Very rarely Dec 6, 2013

I have examples and references available to those who need them. Too often free tests lead to "you're translation was excellent, but your rate is still too high so we're going with this other guy instead. We'll keep your information on record!"

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Jean@LA  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:00
English to Chinese
+ ...
Rarely, but as a rare investment for landing a worthy new client Dec 6, 2013

I’d do a free translation test, if
(1) the agency agrees to my higher-end rates for my language pair upfront;
(2) the agency agrees to send me either a “marked-up” test or an assessment report if I don’t pass their test;
Otherwise, I’d ask them to pay a minimum or per-word fee.

An organized, efficient and effective agency that agrees to my above terms is most likely a worthy client in the long run. I’ll then treat my free service as an investment, instead of an expense.


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