Poll: In comparison to a paid job, how much time do you usually spend on an unpaid sample translation?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 20:54
Sep 19, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "In comparison to a paid job, how much time do you usually spend on an unpaid sample translation?".

This poll was originally submitted by Mykola Khandoga. View the poll results »


Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
I don't do unpaid tests but... Sep 19, 2014

... if I did I would definitely spend LOADS more time than usual.

I've checked a lot of test translations over the years, and most of them have been disappointing.

[Edited at 2014-09-19 08:15 GMT]


Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:54
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I don't provide unpaid sample translations to agencies ... Sep 19, 2014

... but I will sit for a test given by an international organization, since they pay a lot more than most agencies. Those tests are timed, so the question doesn't apply.


Teresa Borges
Local time: 04:54
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I don't provide unpaid sample translations or tests Sep 19, 2014

All potential clients are more than welcome to contract me for a small-sized job in case of any concerns or doubts about my qualifications or services before committing to a larger project.

Anyway, the amount of time spent on a translation assignment is related to its difficulty or complexity. When I work pro bono I give exactly the same attention to that text as I would to a paid job.


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:54
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
More or less the same as usual Sep 19, 2014

I try to give a representative sample of my work, and I do not give references, so if clients look promising, I make an effort to 'catch' them.

I sometimes spend a little extra time polishing a sample, but often I am busy with other jobs, and have to fit it in when I can.

There is no point in spending a lot of additional time on 250 - 300 words. I do my best, as always, and perhaps read it through once more, or look for special issues included to see how I tackle them, and give them some thought. That is what I would do 'in real life' too. I reckon that WYSIWYG is the best policy, rather than promising more than I will be able to provide when real jobs come!

If I haven't frightened the client off with my rates, it works quite well.

[Edited at 2014-09-19 08:53 GMT]


Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:54
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
As long as it takes Sep 19, 2014

Translation takes as long as it takes. I don't translate faster for some people and slower for others.


Thayenga  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:54
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
I don't provide unpaid test translations Sep 19, 2014

All potential clients are welcome to contract me with a "test" translation of a couple of 100 words, paying my normal rate or at least pay 75 %, if it is not a document they need to have translated.

There is also the option to view my sample translations, well, 1 translation and 1 editing sample, on my ProZ.com profile - which also displays the number of years as a translator.icon_wink.gif

Regarding the time spend on any given translation (or proofreading/editing) project, this largely depends on the type of translation, the quality of the source text and the subject.


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Sep 19, 2014

I don't USUALLY do sample translations any more. I might consider doing one if a job came up that I was really interested in for some reason, but nowadays clients tend to approach me without too many demands, as I usually come recommended by word of mouth. This month for example, I've got more work coming in than I can comfortably deal with, and the colleagues who I would usually pass it on to are either busy themselves or not available until October...


DianeGM  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:54
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Other ... Sep 19, 2014

I am not currently actively looking for new clients - so I tend to meet new clients by referral and by them approaching me. When they do approach me, they tend to do so with a job not a request for a sample.


Kay Denney  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:54
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
more time Sep 19, 2014

I'll spend more time (if I think the client is worth it of course). Not because I want to lure them in then deliver rubbish when they choose me, but because they are new to me, I need to do research to translate it properly.

I'll similarly spend more time on a first paid translation for a client, it'll come in handy when they start sending me more.


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Poll: In comparison to a paid job, how much time do you usually spend on an unpaid sample translation?

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