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Poll: Some outsourcers use test translations in their translator qualification process. Is this wise
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
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SITE STAFF
Jan 17, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Some outsourcers use test translations in their translator qualification process. Is this wise?".

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A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Alpár-László Krecht  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:30
German to Hungarian
+ ...
Yes! Jan 17, 2006

But must have a very good and trustfull proofreader or even proofreaders. Otherwise the whole thing is just wasted time and angry.

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French Foodie  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:30
French to English
+ ...
Yes, BUT... Jan 17, 2006

they must be willing to pay for them!

This ensures that outsourcers examine profiles and CVs ahead of time and weed out applicants that they never intended on using anyway (saving everyone a lot of time and grief), and narrowing the playing field, so to speak. Translators feel they are being treated like the professionals they are and will put the appropriate time and effort into their work because they are being paid for it - thus providing the outsourcer with a better reflection of what they will actually produce.


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Pilar T. Bayle  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:30
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not sure... Jan 17, 2006

I've seen people who have hired translators to do tests that entailed jobs. I personally prefer to start out with short paid translations and build up from there. The agency gets a text they need, a proofreader checks for quality, and you start building a relationship of trust with the agency. That's a win-win situation.

P.
www.pbayle.com/blogs


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Fred Neild  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
+ ...
No Jan 17, 2006

I don't think this is serious or necessary.

Experienced translators always have examples of their work or they can provide good references, so there is no need for tests.


Pilar T. Bayle wrote:

I personally prefer to start out with short paid translations and build up from there. P.
www.pbayle.com/blogs[/quote]

This is a professional approach and implemented in various industries.

Fred

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Alpár-László Krecht  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:30
German to Hungarian
+ ...
Hidden test? Jan 17, 2006

[quote]Pilar T. Bayle wrote:

"I personally prefer to start out with short paid translations and build up from there."

In my point of view this is a test too. Maybe is not called test, but is a test. No one said that the test must be paid or not.
And you have right, is important to build up a good working relation. And a test is a way in this direction, or, maybe is The Way.

Best regards

Alpár


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Stephen Rifkind  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 15:30
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
French tests Jan 17, 2006

I have the impression, maybe not justified, that agencies look for French to English translator have a high tendency to ask for tests. Is that because there are so many?

Stephen Rifkind


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 14:30
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I'm happy to do short tests Jan 17, 2006

It does depend somewhat on the kind of text to be translated.
There are always different ways of saying things, and the translator has to fit in with the client's image in publicity, or use terminology that fits their house style or whatever.

No translator is totally chameleon coloured. We can learn a lot, but some areas of language and technology come with a concentrated effort, while others never feel natural or sound right, no matter how hard you work at them.

Luckily, it takes all sorts to make a world. I enjoy jobs that some of my colleagues hate, and vice versa.

If I have time, I don't mind translating a couple of hundred words, but if there is more than an hour's work it should definitely be paid for.

I do tests for agencies I know and trust as part of the goodwill between us - or for promising clients (with good BB ratings) that I would like to work for, as a sort of advertising.

I am happy to get to know new subject areas etc. but would not want to take on a job if the client was simply not my 'type' and I did not suit them.


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Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:30
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
+ ...
It depends Jan 17, 2006

If they need to choose one translator only, I do not see why they need to do a test based on the following:

If they need to choose one translator, they must have another good translator to check the sample translation. However, if they already have a good translator, why are they looking for another one?

If they do not have a good translator, then the checking process would be useless.

I do see the testing process useful if they need more than one translator and they already have a great one.

Monika


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Emmanouil Tyrakis
Local time: 15:30
French to Greek
+ ...
No Jan 17, 2006

Who can guarantee the outsourcer that the test will be performed by the translator who will undertake the project and not from another person...

Translators are the only professionals who are asked to performe a test. Have you ever asked a surgon to perform a "surgery test" just to see if he is a good doctor. Have you ever asked a lawyer to perform a "trial test" just to see if he is a good lawyer...

It's like going to the restaurant and ask for a free meal and if you like it you can order some more...

Well, I know most of you desagree with my point of view but at least when you do translation tests get paid for your work and time...

Regards
Emmanouil


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Peter Bouillon  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:30
French to German
+ ...
Let's put it this way: Jan 17, 2006

It is a lot wiser for an agency to carefully keep a pool of tried and true translators that they trust than to give translations to the next best translator that happens by.

Just _how_ one builds up a well founded trust relationship to a given translator might be a matter of personal style, but it should certainly involve a trial of some sorts (handing out a small job first; asking for a test translation which might be paid or not, evaluating samples of previous work, etc.).

After all, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The only way to find out whether a given translator translates well is to evaluate some translation translated by that translator (sorry.

Just offering a web form on one's website where translators are asked to enter their data is pointless; one might as well simply use PROZ, which doesn't need maintenance effort. You still need to find out additionally, in a straightforward, down-to-earth way, whether the translators happening by your website do a good job and whether they are worth your trust.

P.


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Dagmar Jenner  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:30
English to German
+ ...
A question of professional respect Jan 17, 2006

I totally agree with Emmanouil! People would never dare ask e.g. a lawyer to prove he or she is good at the job...why do they insist on receiving test translations from translators? I guess because they do not regard us as professionals and they do not respect us enough. It's up to us to change that. I personally refuse to do test translations and offer to show the potential client some of my previous work instead. I find it particularly annoying that clients who approach ME (and not the other way around), still demand test translations.

[Edited at 2006-01-17 18:52]


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Pilar T. Bayle  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:30
English to Spanish
+ ...
Of course it is a test... Jan 17, 2006


In my point of view this is a test too. Maybe is not called test, but is a test. No one said that the test must be paid or not.


They pay you for your work and those short jobs are very much like a test. I have seen agencies that receive tests and they never even bother to tell the translator whether it was good or bad. Frankly, I prefer a small job. They don't make me waste my time and they risk little (if they have a good proofreader that checks my work)... If they don't, we are talking about a different story.
Anyway, I see each project basically as a test. I know a proofreader is going to check my translation and it should be as close to flawless as possible.

P.
www.pbayle.com/blogs

[Edited at 2006-01-17 18:55]


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:30
French to English
Two non-arguments Jan 17, 2006

I am absolutely not picking on Emmanouil T here, but the posting happens to mention 2 points which I thought might be raised, but which I consider as non-arguments when it comes to whether tests are Good or Evil

Emmanouil Tyrakis wrote:

Who can guarantee the outsourcer that the test will be performed by the translator who will undertake the project and not from another person...


In the final analysis, do you think the outsourcer cares who actually did it? The outsourcer gives the work to a service provider. The service provider provides the service, i.e. a quality translation of the source text by the deadline. Ultimately, that is all that is required of us.
Yes, some outsourcers have terms that say "no subcontracting" (and I personally don't subcontract work out anyway) but I don't really understand why. They can't easily check. As long as they get what they asked for, when they asked for it, what does it matter?


Translators are the only professionals who are asked to performe a test. Have you ever asked a surgon to perform a "surgery test" just to see if he is a good doctor. Have you ever asked a lawyer to perform a "trial test" just to see if he is a good lawyer...


Leaving aside abuse of tests (e.g. as a means of getting a project done for free), I believe the idea of tests is to verify that the translator can provide the service he or she claims to provide. Translation is a service which, as luck would have it, can easilly be tested by outsourcers. I believe that if it were hypothetically possible to test lawyers & doctors, we, the clients/patients would do so. But doctors and lawyers do not provide services which can be easily tested, by virtue of the fact that they are often one-off events and irreversible in nature. Translations are not. So they can be tested.


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 14:30
English to German
+ ...
send parts of former projects for quality check Jan 17, 2006

I normally send about 10-20 samples from former projects or tests from similar area of discipline, depending upon the size and the gravity and also how much time I could spare doing a test. This is usually about 200 words for quality check and offer to do a test at a min price. I had to determine ín course of time, that tests are inevitable and a few newly emerging agencies have come to belive that some kind of testing, atleast that reflects to be a test externally(whether they do in internal processing or not) would get them into locus. I could determine in a few such cases, where I did the test for free and asked for feed back. What i came to here after 6 months was that the agency was asking for yet another test free of cost, and I had to refresh the memory, when the agency had tried repeatedly emphasizing on the trade practice and that the agency is not obliged to give any feed back to the translator, to the point of trying to enforce some kind of psychological coercion, aiming that they would report to some kind of authoriy where I am residing and registered and to some union whether ATA or the other in a given country. They had though also admitted that their outsourcer had either dropped the project or they didn´t get the project. I had to reject all that basing only on the fact that I haven´t recd. any feedback for a test I did in good trust (trade practice!!) and I am no more prepared to do any further testing, and the agency may report to any authority of their choice. They were most angry and abused me of bad manners, I just let them go. Mind you while doing any test the cost factor or the earning was not my objective but the feasibiltiy of the project, my time and nerves it takes, above all the seriousness an agency might reflect in their mails and also their legend. I am not then always sure what good a testing would do.Best to all in the New Year. Brandis

[Edited at 2006-01-17 19:35]

[Edited at 2006-01-17 19:43]


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