Am I too much suspicious ? (email concerning a job)
Thread poster: xxxLionel_M

xxxLionel_M
Local time: 05:19
English to French
+ ...
Aug 7, 2009

Dear colleagues,

I don’t know if I put this discussion in the right topic; If I’m wrong, I hope moderators will move it as it should.

Anyway, this is to report a “strange” story that happened to me today.

This morning I got the same message 4 times; all in English, same message and the sole difference was the target language in the header and in the text for target language.
BTW, languages I’m not working with …

I got these messages through ProZ direct contact.

Here’s the text:

Hello,

We are a localization company located in Seoul, Korea.
We have some short English documents that need to be translated into French. It's about advertizing a laser toothbrush, so it has a few words related to dental health, but the overall content is not heavy. But we would like to work with someone who has some translation experiences in the medical area.

The two documents that we currently have are about 1,800 words, which need to be translated by next Wednesday, Aug 12. And we will have a lot more new content soon and it'd be great if this could be an opportunity for us to build a stable & trustworthy relationship with a new translator.

Our budget for translation for these two documents are USD 0.10 per word.
You can download and have a look at these two files at:
www.XXX..... (where XXX is an agency, hold by a ProZ user, based in Korea)

Please let us know if you would be interested in working with us.
Then we would like to ask for a sample translation first.

Thanks.

Best,
XXX

Since the two documents where simple, the deadline OK and the offer “fair”, I decided to accept and asked for the “test translation”

Here’s the answer:

Dear Lionel,

Many thanks for your quick reply!

Could you see the attached text and provide us the sample translation?
It is very important for you to maintain the color and size of the original font and layout. Please keep that in mind.
Do not leave any English in your return file, all we need is matching translation for all content. J Lastly, please change the file name with your name when you send it back to us.

Could we expect you to finish the sample by today?
Many thanks!

Best,
XXX



Now, the point is that the test to translate was basically the first paragraph of the first document to be translated for the following Wednesday, and the last paragraph of the second file !!!!

Of course I asked them if they were “cheating me” ?

That’s the answer:

Hi Lionel,

We are using the "same" file for sample translation. And we will receive sample translation from other translators for the SAME PARTS. We are using the part of the actual translation materials because we wanted to lower the work load of the translator we are going to work with, and it's coming from a good intention.
What you mentioned is "CHEATING" and we DO NOT CHEAT.

We are not paying for the sample translation, but if you can't trust us and don't want to do this, that's fine with us.
I'm sorry for the trouble.

Best,
XXX


I really appreciate that they care about my workload, but I’m just wondering how a test can be based on an unknown files still to be translated.
And I should also respect colours, headers…..so that it’s “ready to go” !!!???

My opinion is that many of us, in many language pairs got this job through direct contact on ProZ and that the parts assigned were not the same. So that “for free”, they can have the job done in a very short turnaround (they say TODAY !!!!) and in many languages.

Am I too much suspicious ?

Kindest regard,

Lionel




[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-08-07 23:11 GMT]


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:19
French to English
Alternatively.... Aug 7, 2009

We can never fully know other people's motives, of course.
And you could be right.
However....

It is very important for you to maintain the color and size of the original font and layout. Please keep that in mind.
Do not leave any English in your return file, all we need is matching translation for all content. J Lastly, please change the file name with your name when you send it back to us.

That could simply be a "test" in its own right, to see if you can follow simple instructions.


So that “for free”, they can have the job done in a very short turnaround (they say TODAY !!!!) and in many languages.

Or they might want to review all the tests over the weekend, and allocate the work on Monday, giving lots of time for you to do a good job by Weds.
Who knows? There are many explanations for almost everything....

I'm not saying you are wrong and I am right. And you don't say how long the sample/test is, which can also be an indication. I don't much like deadlines for tests. Except this is clearly a specific test for a specific field, so could be justified....


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Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 01:19
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Me too Aug 7, 2009

Lionel,

I received the same email today, but for the English to Spanish pair. Budget was USD 0.07/word, they said. They also said there was going to be an unpaid translation test.

I didn`t reply. I just deleted the email.


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xxxLionel_M
Local time: 05:19
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
To Charlie Aug 7, 2009

Charlie Bavington wrote:

I'm not saying you are wrong and I am right. And you don't say how long the sample/test is, which can also be an indication. I don't much like deadlines for tests. Except this is clearly a specific test for a specific field, so could be justified....


Hello Charlie,

Ok with all your comments but just tell me how you give, as TEST, part of the document to translate ?
In general, for tests, agencies use texts already translated hundred times and proofreaded two hundred times, so they can see your capabilities, even for a single coma !
If they ask you to translate part of the final job....IMHO....there's something VERY strange no ?

Thanks for your comments


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xxxLionel_M
Local time: 05:19
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
To Walter Aug 7, 2009

Walter Landesman wrote:

Lionel,

I received the same email today, but for the English to Spanish pair. Budget was USD 0.07/word, they said. They also said there was going to be an unpaid translation test.

I didn`t reply. I just deleted the email.



Hello Walter,

I'm pretty sure many of us did receive those files...

Have a nice week-end


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Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 01:19
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Agree Aug 7, 2009

Lionel_M wrote:

... just tell me how you give, as TEST, part of the document to translate ?
In general, for tests, agencies use texts already translated hundred times and proofreaded two hundred times, so they can see your capabilities, even for a single coma !
If they ask you to translate part of the final job....IMHO....there's something VERY strange no ?


You are certainly right. This is a very logical thought.

I agree with your point of view, Lionel.

Walter


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Mohamed Mehenoun  Identity Verified
Algeria
Local time: 05:19
Member (2008)
English to French
+ ...
happened to me once ! Aug 8, 2009

Lionel_M wrote:

Dear colleagues,

I don’t know if I put this discussion in the right topic; If I’m wrong, I hope moderators will move it as it should.

Anyway, this is to report a “strange” story that happened to me today.

This morning I got the same message 4 times; all in English, same message and the sole difference was the target language in the header and in the text for target language.
BTW, languages I’m not working with …

I got these messages through ProZ direct contact.

Here’s the text:

Hello,

We are a localization company located in Seoul, Korea.
We have some short English documents that need to be translated into French. It's about advertizing a laser toothbrush, so it has a few words related to dental health, but the overall content is not heavy. But we would like to work with someone who has some translation experiences in the medical area.

The two documents that we currently have are about 1,800 words, which need to be translated by next Wednesday, Aug 12. And we will have a lot more new content soon and it'd be great if this could be an opportunity for us to build a stable & trustworthy relationship with a new translator.

Our budget for translation for these two documents are USD 0.10 per word.
You can download and have a look at these two files at:
www.XXX..... (where XXX is an agency, hold by a ProZ user, based in Korea)

Please let us know if you would be interested in working with us.
Then we would like to ask for a sample translation first.

Thanks.

Best,
XXX

Since the two documents where simple, the deadline OK and the offer “fair”, I decided to accept and asked for the “test translation”

Here’s the answer:

Dear Lionel,

Many thanks for your quick reply!

Could you see the attached text and provide us the sample translation?
It is very important for you to maintain the color and size of the original font and layout. Please keep that in mind.
Do not leave any English in your return file, all we need is matching translation for all content. J Lastly, please change the file name with your name when you send it back to us.

Could we expect you to finish the sample by today?
Many thanks!

Best,
XXX



Now, the point is that the test to translate was basically the first paragraph of the first document to be translated for the following Wednesday, and the last paragraph of the second file !!!!

Of course I asked them if they were “cheating me” ?

That’s the answer:

Hi Lionel,

We are using the "same" file for sample translation. And we will receive sample translation from other translators for the SAME PARTS. We are using the part of the actual translation materials because we wanted to lower the work load of the translator we are going to work with, and it's coming from a good intention.
What you mentioned is "CHEATING" and we DO NOT CHEAT.

We are not paying for the sample translation, but if you can't trust us and don't want to do this, that's fine with us.
I'm sorry for the trouble.

Best,
XXX


I really appreciate that they care about my workload, but I’m just wondering how a test can be based on an unknown files still to be translated.
And I should also respect colours, headers…..so that it’s “ready to go” !!!???

My opinion is that many of us, in many language pairs got this job through direct contact on ProZ and that the parts assigned were not the same. So that “for free”, they can have the job done in a very short turnaround (they say TODAY !!!!) and in many languages.

Am I too much suspicious ?

Kindest regard,

Lionel




[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-08-07 23:11 GMT]


Hello,

It happened to me once ! I accepted the job ! did the test from the same text to be translated and then I was chosen and got paid !

You don't really have to freak out unless the sum is important ! Some compagnies are new and they don't really know how to deal with translations and translators ! And sometimes it depends on the company's culture !

Cheers ;

Moh


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xxxLionel_M
Local time: 05:19
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hello Moh Aug 8, 2009

Thanks for reporting your experience; this is really an interesting one !
In that case, the company is on the market since 2002 (according to the web site), so I doubt they do not know how to deal in this business; is it possible they do not have a test to select translators ?

Kindest regards


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Jaroslaw Michalak  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 05:19
Member (2004)
English to Polish
No, it's not strange Aug 8, 2009

Lionel_M wrote:

Ok with all your comments but just tell me how you give, as TEST, part of the document to translate ?
In general, for tests, agencies use texts already translated hundred times and proofreaded two hundred times, so they can see your capabilities, even for a single coma !
If they ask you to translate part of the final job....IMHO....there's something VERY strange no ?



No, actually it is not strange at all. It happened to me several times that agencies for whom I have already done tests and who accepted me as a supplier sent me short tests taken from an actual document to be translated. These were meant for the end client, not for the company - usually they were reviewed by the marketing people in my country to check whether they fit as far as style, terminology etc. is concerned with their other documents.

One characteristic of those was the length: the samples were really short, one or two small paragraphs. Obviously it was enough for the end client to determine if I was the person for the job. Using such short samples in a real project would not make sense at all - making the text smooth and consistent if it was done by five, six translators would require more effort than actually translating it...


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RichardDeegan
Local time: 23:19
Spanish to English
If testing is OK with you, what's wrong with testing on the job to be done? Aug 8, 2009

I had the occasion recently to seek assistance for the translation of two documents from the same source, written to cover different topics in the same general area. I picked one "typical" (in terms of that document's content) paragraph of about 50-60 words from each document and combined them, with the document name, page and paragraph numbering (for the winner(s) future C & P), in a single document. Those (about 5-6) selected for testing were given the document with the option of doing one or both paragraphs, or submitting a larger sample from a similar translation they had already done (all of which was in the initial job posting, but when I posted I dodn't know if I would be able to take the time to select a sample text).
I was not interested in anyone's translation skills in unrelated fields, or with content written in a different style; all I was interested in was finding out who could do the best job on the work at hand.
All turned in their tests, and I was able to select the one closest to my output (with minor local phrasing issues that were resolved. This task was made much easier by being able to see each test in comparison with the others.
Frankly, I cannot conceive of any other manner in which I could have resolved this without wasting a lot of my own time (if I had time to play reading hundreds of samples, I could have done the job myself).
Just what is so bad about testing based on the work to be done?
I am delighted when I see a fair sample based on the actual test; it lets me know the true nature of the job and whether I'll be able to eat it up or it will be too time-intesive for me.


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xxxLionel_M
Local time: 05:19
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
to Jabberwock Aug 8, 2009

Jabberwock wrote:


No, actually it is not strange at all. It happened to me several times that agencies for whom I have already done tests and who accepted me as a supplier sent me short tests taken from an actual document to be translated. These were meant for the end client, not for the company - usually they were reviewed by the marketing people in my country to check whether they fit as far as style, terminology etc. is concerned with their other documents.

One characteristic of those was the length: the samples were really short, one or two small paragraphs. Obviously it was enough for the end client to determine if I was the person for the job. Using such short samples in a real project would not make sense at all - making the text smooth and consistent if it was done by five, six translators would require more effort than actually translating it...


This is right, and also happened to me, but as you mention "you had already done tests and were a regular supplier for this agency".
Here, we are talking about "selection" of new providers....

I wish also to mention that the sample test also includes adress to be translated !...

Thanks for your contribution
Lionel


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:19
French to English
I have asked for exactly this Aug 8, 2009

Lionel_M wrote:
In general, for tests, agencies use texts already translated hundred times and proofreaded two hundred times, so they can see your capabilities, even for a single coma

Indeed they do, especially when looking for translators in general, to add to their database and so on.

If they ask you to translate part of the final job....IMHO....there's something VERY strange no ?

No. I have done exactly that. People claim to know all sorts of things. Sometimes they lie. I have asked people who claim to know about insurance to translate a paragraph of the actual job, just to check their claims.
(Incidentally, this meant that the successful ones were paid for their test, since the test was part of the word count for the actual job.)

And, as has been pointed out earlier today, it is not unheard of for the client to ask to make the final choice of translator, once the agency has sorted the wheat from the chaff.

Re: the address being included in the test - very wise. There have been people on this very website asking whether addresses should be translated and how to do so (of course, there are some circumstances when you may need to use "High Street" instead of "Grande Rue"....).

Again, I stress I'm not saying you are wrong. But there is nothing I have heard so far on this thread that leads me to think immediately and indisputably of scamming or cheating.

For more of my opinion on the subject, please also see
http://www.cbavington.com/Thoughts/FreeTests.shtml


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Armorel Young  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:19
German to English
Jobs posted on Proz .... Aug 8, 2009

often include a few sentences of the actual translation to be done as a "test". On the rare occasions when I've looked for a translator to help me out with a particular job, I've posted (and asked for a translation of) a small portion of the actual text - that's by far the quickest way of identifying someone who is going to do a good job on the text in question. So, provided that the passage is short, the approach seems to me entirely reasonable.

More generally, though, I would want to take steps to establish the reliability and reputation of a company on another continent before working for them, and in particular I would to ensure that all the issues relating to timing and method of payment have been sorted out with complete clarity.


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xxxLionel_M
Local time: 05:19
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
This is not a job posted on ProZ Aug 8, 2009

I would have not been so much suspicious for a job posted on ProZ, with the Test Translation included int he post.
This would have been very "linear"
This job arrived from a ProZ member, who claims to be part of a company (not reported on her ProZ profile....) directly on my email.
This is, to my point of vew, another strange thing !

Indeed, since these two files should be translated in different languages, this means first to select people on ProZ, then to send them the files (BTW, without agreement for confidentiality !!!!! - not pro at all !!!!), then wait for the translator's OK to proceed, send him/her the test, and wait for the test.
A huge work for the selection !

On the contrary, if they would have posted a standard job on ProZ, with the test included, even with the test being part of the final job (excluding confidential data), nobody would have suspect anything. The confidentiality of the text won't have been violated. They could have choose among dozens of tests the "good translator", to which send FIRST, the confidentiality agreement, then the files to translate.
As far as I know, all agencies are working like this with new translators.



[Edited at 2009-08-08 22:23 GMT]


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:19
French to English
The ends and the means Aug 9, 2009

Lionel_M wrote:
This job arrived from a ProZ member, who claims to be part of a company (not reported on her ProZ profile....) directly on my email.
This is, to my point of vew, another strange thing !

I'm not sure what exactly is so strange about it, but if you don't think it "smells" right, then walk away.

Indeed, since these two files should be translated in different languages, this means first to select people on ProZ, then to send them the files (BTW, without agreement for confidentiality !!!!! - not pro at all !!!!), then wait for the translator's OK to proceed, send him/her the test, and wait for the test.
A huge work for the selection !

Why are you concerned about their workload and selection methods? If you don't like it, don't get involved
Incidentally, personally I guarantee complete confientiality and discretion whether or not I have signed a piece of paper or sent an email explicitly stating as much. Perhaps this person/agency is assuming that the people they are contacting are equally honest (which is perhaps a mistake on their part). I have asked for and been sent documents before agreeing to do a first job for an agency, and then gone through all the admin procedures while I was working on that job. These people have a deadline. Sending out NDAs before people see the document they are going to be tested on takes valuable time, which is unecessary if the people they are dealing with are honest and professional anyway.

On the contrary, if they would have posted a standard job on ProZ, with the test included, even with the test being part of the final job (excluding confidential data), nobody would have suspect anything. ....

So they have used a different method to achieve the same result.
But the result is the yardstick by which we determine whether there has been cheating, fraud or scamming. What you view to be unconventional or sub-optimal procedures are not necessarily synonymous with fraud.
To be honest, though, you are far from the only person to make this mistake.
Again, so far, I see nothing at all described here to raise my suspicions.

That said, I strongly believe that if you instinctively or intuitively feel something is wrong, follow that instinct and stay away. Any description of the bald facts will fail to convey to me or anyone else why you just "feel" something is wrong.


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