Getting the same sample test from different agencies
Thread poster: Li-chuan Yen

Li-chuan Yen  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:45
English to Chinese
Aug 8, 2002

Dear translators,

Recently I was contacted by an agency asking me for a sample test. I finished the test and returned it.

Yesterday I sent my resume to a job poster, and they sent me a sample test which is almost identical to the first one.

It seems the same client has asked the two agencies to look for translators.

Will doing the test again increase my stakes for working for a prestigious client? But I\'m not sure if any ethical issue is involved. Please share your opinion.

By the way, I\'m not getting paid.

Thanks in advance.

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Chinoise  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:45
English to Chinese
+ ...
Never do the same sample test again! Aug 8, 2002

Personally, as an experienced translator, I am sick of all sample tests. But many times, only after we fulfill a piece of satisfactory sample work can we possibly be rewarded a paid assignment. Since I have never been asked to do the same sample twice, I don\'t have any experience to share with you. However, what I would suggest is that never do the same sample twice, because if the client is pleased with your first one, he/she will definitely contact you soon.

Good luck, Laurie.

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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:45
English to German
+ ...
Point it out Aug 8, 2002

Generally, I don\'t believe sample translations are helpful in gauging a translator\'s qualities, but that\'s a different issue.

Recently, we were asked to do a sample of extracts from an annual report - yet the company had posted the very translation on their website. What we did was to tell them we realised this, but suggested some improvements.

In terms of your case, I would point out that you did this one before (without identifying the other agency, of course).

Hopefully you\'re using a translation memory...

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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:45
French to English
Let the second agency know Aug 8, 2002

I agree that this is not necessarily easy. I think the only way to handle this is quite simply as others have suggested. Explain to the second agent that their sample is very similar to one you have done for another agency recently.

As to this increasing your chances of doing the job, I\'m not sure it makes any difference. If it is the same client \"testing\" a couple of agencies, then unless there are great price differences in the prices and range of services in the quotes the agencies submit, then if your translation is the one they like, you may well get the job.

Let\'s hope they go for your version and that it\'s the highest payer !

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-08-08 07:08 ]

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Li-chuan Yen  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:45
English to Chinese
Thank you very much! Aug 8, 2002

I\'m not against sample tests unless they are used as unpaid translation. I used to work in a company and we were doing a few every week. But, it\'s true that a good sample doesn\'t guarantee the translator\'s quality. I was reviewing like ten every week from new applicants, and only very few of them performed well on real jobs.

In this case I mentioned in my post, I am really eager to get the chance because the source client is a big big one. I know it\'s a necessary process to contact a number of vendors before they sign the contract. Of course I hope to be on the winning team.

I see myself as a start-up and I am still taking sample tests in hope of winning new clients. It can be very time-consuming, but I\'m also having the chance of seeing different subjects.

It\'s really nice to hear your opinions after all. Thank you very much for sharing with me!

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Hans-Henning Judek  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:45
German to English
+ ...
First come - first served Aug 9, 2002

This is my rule for narrations.

Customers shop around - that is a fact. I do German voiceovers in Japan, and as there are very few German narrators here (as are narration jobs as well) and I am the most experienced and widely known with agencies, I frequently get inquiries from various parties. I have told all my customers that for me \"First come - first served\" is the rule, and this is accepted practice. But these are long-standing relationships.

If both agencies are customers of you, doing the trial for both could create problems, but if you don\'t have any relation and offer the same price to both, I cannot see any conflict of interest. Asking and doing trial translations is a topic by itself, well discussed on this BBS.

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