EU Standard Lengths For Samples etc.
Thread poster: Moofi

Moofi  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:56
Polish to English
+ ...
Oct 22, 2011

So I've been given a sample text to proofread by an agency I don't quite trust (terrible communication, reputation for being dunder-heads, and personal experience of a terrible piece of over-priced work done for a family member). In these hard economic times though, I'm willing to try everyone even once.

The spiel from their agent is that they're bidding on a large EU tender which, if successful, will provide a year's worth of work and fill the sky with rainbows and unicorns, all that good stuff. The text itself is 8 pages long and appears to be a self contained file, i.e. it's not a few pages broken off from a larger file.

The thing is, in the fourteen years I've been proofreading and editing, I've never (as far as I can recall) seen such a large sample. I can also count on one hand the number of times I've had to even do a sample proofreading, which is why I'm asking here - this is a new situation for this old dog.

So, given everything I've said so far, is this reasonable for an EU job? Do we think or know that a self-contained, 8 page sample file is standard practise for our European overlords? Or am I being led up the garden path to the house of pain?


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:56
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Standard size Oct 22, 2011

though not governed by any EU-Regulations (to my knowledge) is 200 to 300 words.

Everything exceeding the 300 words "smells" like cheap, rather free labor.

If you really want this job, then just send them 300 words, explaining to them that this is the regular amount of words in a test translation or proofreading.

Just be prepared that the job will not be yours.

Personally, I think they are sending out files to several translators and so get their job done without paying a single cent.


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Donatella Semproni  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:56
Member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
I agree with Thayenga Oct 22, 2011

Beware. These are hard times ...

I also heard of agencies that, after requiring my colleagues to supply all sort of documents to prove their reliability, never sent them jobs, as they found lower rates elsewhere.

EU contractors must be able to supply translations in 22 languages. Every cent they spare on the work of one of us is an asset for them...

IMHO, this is not a sample ...
Donatella


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Damian Harrison
Germany
Local time: 22:56
German to English
Name your price Oct 22, 2011

If the agency that you are dealing with is in fact putting together a bid on a project on the scale which you have described, they won't have a problem paying your standard fee for the translation. This would be a normal investment for any company with a genuine interest in winning a tender.

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Hazel Underwood  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:56
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
EU tenders Oct 22, 2011

I have translated several test pieces for EU tenders and have never had to do more than one page and have generally also agreed a special rate for such pieces, i.e. half my standard rate or something similar.

I think any decent agency should be willing to spend some money on getting good test pieces if the tender is really that important to them.

I agree with other comments here - offer to do the entire piece for a reduced rate or a smaller amount (up to 300 words) for free.

You could always try and check the EU tender website to see if it really is a valid tender?


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Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:56
Romanian to English
+ ...
No way! Oct 23, 2011

Hazel Underwood wrote:

I have translated several test pieces for EU tenders and have never had to do more than one page and have generally also agreed a special rate for such pieces, i.e. half my standard rate or something similar.

I think any decent agency should be willing to spend some money on getting good test pieces if the tender is really that important to them.

I agree with other comments here - offer to do the entire piece for a reduced rate or a smaller amount (up to 300 words) for free.

You could always try and check the EU tender website to see if it really is a valid tender?


I suppose it's the upcoming tender (legal, technical) I'm participating in with several agencies. Not one of them asked for a sample!!! Not even the ones I've never worked for. They only requested my CV (Europass form) and a copy of my university degree in all the tenders I participated in during the past few years.

Edited to add:
In these tenders, agencies bid with several translators for each language pair, so even if one of them turns out disappointing (or sick, or unavailable at a certain time for various reasons), they always have a backup.
I hear they usually include an expensive translator with a fancy-schmancy CV and a cheaper one too, because after winning, EU approval is required for changing team members....

Even if they proofread the alleged tests in-house, it's a LOT of effort. In the tender I'm familiar with, the bidders must cover 462 language pairs!!! And the deadline is 28 Oct 2011. They physically don't have the time to proofread the tests.

I wouldn't do this test even at a reduced rate. I've translated tons of bids for non-translation companies, and they always paid the full price for every translation they needed. They have to run the risk of bidding after all.

[Edited at 2011-10-23 08:15 GMT]


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
My immediate reaction Oct 23, 2011

I suspect it may be a duff translation by someone unqualified and therefore cheap, or an automatic mishmash served up by a troupe of monkeys with a typewriter.

Wouldn't touch it with a bargepole.

PS: I wonder if anyone else is bothered by the number of agencies or individuals posting "potential" projects on proz, i. e. recruiting translators for something they haven't even been awarded yet? Pie in the sky.

[Edited at 2011-10-23 13:34 GMT]


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:56
French to German
+ ...
Oh yes... Oct 23, 2011

neilmac wrote:

I suspect it may be a duff translation by someone unqualified and therefore cheap, or an automatic mishmash served up by a troupe of monkeys with a typewriter.

Wouldn't touch it with a bargepole.

PS: I wonder if anyone else is bothered by the number of agencies or individuals posting "potential" projects on proz, i. e. recruiting translators for something they haven't even been awarded yet? Pie in the sky.

[Edited at 2011-10-23 13:34 GMT]


And I'd really like to see the percentage of potential jobs that remain so. It could be an eye-opener.


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Moofi  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:56
Polish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Oct 23, 2011

Thanks for all the feedback, colleagues! I guess we'll see what happens tomorrow when 007 opens my email and sees that I've only done 3 pages of sample (with the analysis even!). In truth it wasn't a bad translation at all, but there were a handful of deeply-seated odd phrasings and so on. But this is beside the point anyway.

Generally speaking, it does seem that the economic hard times are causing our beloved agencies to behave with a lot more trepidation than usual. Lots of bets being hedged, lot of "potential" work, lots of requests for updated CVs and proofs of knowledge and experience etc. And the Number One Sign That Agencies Are Feeling The Pinch - LOTS more requests than usual for Trados (must count those fractions of pennies!).

Oh well, back to the coalface!


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