Poll: What do you do if a translation test is reviewed mistakenly by the client's reviewer?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 14:53
Sep 11, 2017

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What do you do if a translation test is reviewed mistakenly by the client's reviewer?".

This poll was originally submitted by Alex ST. View the poll results »


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Sep 11, 2017

This rarely if ever happens with my regular (direct) clients.
Apart from them, I only work with one agency these days, on an occasional basis, and their reviews are usually spot on, so I either just agree with the changes suggested, or explain and defend my own lexical choices, or turns of phrase, or whatever they aren't happy with.

PS: I was in a hurry and didn't notice the word "tests" in there. I no longer do translation tests, and any potential new clients would have to pay my new cliente rate, 25% higher than the old rate for my long-standing regulars.

[Edited at 2017-09-11 16:10 GMT]


Teresa Borges
Local time: 22:53
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I don't know, it hasn't happened yet! Sep 11, 2017

I no longer do translation tests as a rule! Most of my potential clients come either by word of mouth or through my website and translation portals (like Proz or TC) and I get plenty of new clients without taking tests. Anyway, I would rather do a translation test than sending diplomas, references and the like and having to fill endless forms. If that was to happen I would complain to the client and provide evidence of the mistakes made by their reviewer.

[Edited at 2017-09-11 08:54 GMT]


Peter Simon  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:53
Member (2013)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Other - Doesn't happen! Sep 11, 2017

The most obvious answer, to my mind. I'm quite sure one rarely if ever receives feedback on a test translation, it has never happened to me. I try to avoid doing yet another test, but then I couldn't develop into new areas, which is necessary in my pair. With a small language, one has to accept that while I'm certified, I'd need to prove I can translate legal, medical, literature or film texts as well as other specific areas, which is not usually taken for granted - I wish it were. But feedback? Only congrats or the occasional sorry.


Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Nuke 'em yugely Sep 11, 2017

But tbh I'd be more concerned if it were reviewed mistakenly by the client's dog.


Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:53
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
Complain to the client Sep 11, 2017

But a bit like Chris, I had to read the question a few times to decide what was meant


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:53
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Proud to have failed Sep 11, 2017

I think only 3-4 prospects ever bothered to send me my scored translation tests. If they sent me NO assignments whatsoever afterwards, I think it makes no difference whether I passed or failed. Nevertheless, I don't indulge in test-taking so often.

One 'fail' case was particularly interesting.

The test was divided by subject into five relatively short parts. While I expected to fail the 'medical' section, I passed. However I failed the 'engineering' section, where the specific subject was something quite familiar to me: for three years I had been the person in charge of translation employed by a world leading manufacturer in that area of technology. Later, while working for another company, I was chairman of the Technical Committee assigned by the Brazilian National Standards Association (ABNT) to develop the norms for a closely related matter.

I could safely be presumed knowledgeable in that area. However this shouldn't be extended to that reviewer. Considering the 'errors' s/he found in that part of my translation test, that person shouldn't be allowed to touch technical translation, not even with a barge pole.

So if that was the 'quality' they expected in such translation, let them have it! I was proud to have failed.

On another occasion, I was approached by a small local agency owner with an urgent proofreading job. I was quite busy, so I declined. He became quite insistent, until it dawned upon me that it would take me less time to do it than to brush him off. The subject was automotive mechanics, and the translation was really awful. After I delivered it, he told me it was his own test - as he was a translator too - for a huge job from an agency overseas!

A really smart client (I had done a few jobs for him) asked me to translate his company's web site. I can't recall the reason, however I wouldn't be the right person to do it. So he sent me the 5-liner tests submitted by five prospective translators. Though the test was short, the answer was pretty obvious, and I gave it: "Hire #5 to translate and #2 to review." He said that while he could pay a generous rate to the translator, he couldn't afford a second pair of eyes. So I told him to hire #5, tell him/her that their output would be final, so s/he should pay close attention to detail. The translated web site came out great!

I failed the recent Netflix test, in spite of my 13 years' experience in subtitling corporate video, plus occasional feature films (only about a hundred of these so far) and TV series. Later I learned about more old hands in subtitling having failed it, while several newbies - who had never done it before - passed. Last news is that apparently there is something wrong with that test, and some new strategy is expected.

I know a list of subject areas where I should fail miserably any reliable translation test. On the other hand, I know what are the areas where I should be proud to have failed a test, if and when I do.


Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:53
French to English
It has happened Sep 11, 2017

It has happened in the past and my reaction depended on the agent's policy. Some didn't give feedback in the form of a copy of the "corrected" test. When they did not, I soon realised that it was wasting energy to try and obtain it. When they did provide a copy of the "corrections", if there is something I did not agree with or wish to discuss, I soon found out also whether that was possible. If it was not, I was not going to be abale to work with them anyway so I didn't pursue it further. How can you work with those who are not willing to discuss language?

[Edited at 2017-09-11 10:48 GMT]


Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:53
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
Comment/provide evidence of the mistakes Sep 11, 2017

Nikki Scott-Despaigne wrote:

When they did provide a copy of the "corrections", if there is something I did not agree with or wish to discuss, I soon found out also whether that was possible. If it was not, I was not going to be abale to work with them anyway so I didn't pursue it further. How can you work with those who are not willing to discuss language?
You made the point, Nikki. I had such a case. A new Swiss client approached me and required a test translation. They paid for it, so it was fine. I got some feedback: the test was rated 'satisfactory' - but not 'good'. Some of the changes made were nonsense and I pointed this to the client. They didn't want to hear and said it was "probably due to Swiss specifics" (which it was not - and note the "probably", showing they were not even sure themselves). As you say, Nikki, I understood working with them would only be a pain in the neck, and I decided not to do so. Quite surprisingly, they were willing to work with me and did offer me work many times.


Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:53
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Very rare, but I only ignore now Sep 12, 2017

It's a very rare thing in our market to receive any feedback of that kind in sample translations. We only get the "good job, you were selected" or "sorry, you didn't pass" sort of message, if any.
But in the rare occasions when it happens, I used to make comments and show they are wrong. But experience taught me to ignore it. That same reviser will proofread your translations if you work for that client, so it's trouble for sure. It's better not to work for that person anyway.


airmailrpl  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:53
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
translation test reviewed mistakenly by the client's reviewer? Sep 12, 2017

I received a request from an agency to take a test - and after sending in the translation of their source text - I was then notified that I did NOT "pass" the test.

Several months later I received a request from the same agency to take a test - I took the same test (I just sent in the exact same test translation of the same source text as before - and I was then notified by the agency that I had "passed" the test.


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