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A request for a sample translation that may be a scam
Thread poster: Tom in London

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:42
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Sep 19, 2011

I've just received an invitation from an agency to send them my details for a job consisting of 4,000 words to be translated and adding that "the chosen Translator will be required to do a sample translation of 250 words."

Call me cynical, but if I split up a text of 4000 words into 16 chunks of 250 words and then invite 16 translators to do each chunk as a "free sample translation" hey presto; with perhaps a little final polishing my job is done!

Am I too cynical?

[Edited at 2011-09-19 13:06 GMT]


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 15:42
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Same here Sep 19, 2011

I feel the same way, Tom. I don't like taking translation tests for that reason. Recently I received an offer to work for a company and they asked for a translation test of over 500 words. I turned them down, and they wrote back saying they would cut the test in half. Highly suspicious.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 19:42
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I feel the same way Sep 19, 2011

and I do wonder what will be the quality of the translation even assuming that all 16 translators are excellent?

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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:42
French to German
+ ...
Probably... Sep 19, 2011

this "translation" will be sold under 0.04 USD/word to the end client.
Teresa Borges wrote:

and I do wonder what will be the quality of the translation even assuming that all 16 translators are excellent?


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George Hopkins
Local time: 20:42
Swedish to English
Never Sep 19, 2011

Don't ever do 'sample' translations free of charge.

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XXXphxxx  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:42
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Not as cynical as I am :) Sep 19, 2011

Tom in London wrote:

Am I too cynical?

[Edited at 2011-09-19 13:06 GMT]


If I contact a new client and they insist on a test translation then I balk. Particularly those who want the test done by a certain date. I don't see that a test translation (which I could pass on to someone else to do - perhaps far-fetched but conceivable) provides any more evidence of skill than my qualifications, number of years of experience and sample translations.


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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:42
English to Japanese
+ ...
How not to be cynical Sep 19, 2011

Tom in London wrote:

I've just received an invitation from an agency to send them my details for a job consisting of 4,000 words to be translated and adding that "the chosen Translator will be required to do a sample translation of 250 words."

Call me cynical, but if I split up a text of 4000 words into 16 chunks of 250 words and then invite 16 translators to do each chunk as a "free sample translation" hey presto; with perhaps a little final polishing my job is done!

Am I too cynical?

[Edited at 2011-09-19 13:06 GMT]


Why don't you charge them for the sample translation?
That would at least solve the cynical part. And if they say they can't pay you, then drop them. I may have lost a few clients due to my policy, but I'm still happy with it, since I know there are still agencies who pay me for the sample translations and don't have to worry when I would get the results, aren't they abusing my submitted free sample, etc.


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Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:42
English to Russian
+ ...
You are not enough practical Sep 19, 2011



Am I too cynical?


but you learn quickly

:0)

[Edited at 2011-09-19 17:18 GMT]


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:42
French to English
+ ...
Do a smaller sample? Sep 20, 2011

For a one-off 4,000 worder, 250 words seems excessive.

Maybe offer to do 50-100 words?

That said, if they're really trying to pull the scam you suggest, I think they're about to learn that the complexity of managing a project with 16 translators won't make it a very worthwhile one...

[Edited at 2011-09-20 14:35 GMT]


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Kuochoe Nikoi  Identity Verified
Ghana
Local time: 18:42
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Correction Sep 20, 2011

Laurent KRAULAND wrote:

this "translation" will be sold under 0.04 USD/word to the end client.


Surely you mean $0.20 USD a word? That sort of agency isn't going to cut their own profits just because they got the work for free.


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Marlena Dobosz
Local time: 20:42
English to Polish
+ ...
a test translation with no response back Sep 20, 2011

Recently, I've done a 560-word test translation for a renown agency. The sample concerned a particular project. Yet, I did not get a reply, even if I sent them an e-mail a week later. The project has ended for sure by now. Personally, I would give the agency a negative rating at Globtra, where they advertised themselves, but they have lots of positive opinions there. I'm planning to turn to them as soon as they post another job ad. Would You give an agency a negative opinion for ignoring Your person after you have done a sample translation for them? Ratings are for preventing other users about bad practices of some translation agencies, aren't they?

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Yolanda Broad  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:42
Member (2000)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Certain conditions must be met before Blue Board entries can be made. Sep 20, 2011

Certain conditions must be met before Blue Board entries can be made. Entries concerning the Likelihood of Working Again (LWA) with given outsourcers are allowed only when (1) commissioned work has been completed in full and delivered on time, and (2) there have not been complaints related to quality shortly after delivery. Entries may not be made on the basis of negotiations, test translations, or other preliminary or non-commissioned interactions.
http://www.proz.com/siterules/blue_board_bb_blueboard/2#2


pirwolus wrote:

Recently, I've done a 560-word test translation for a renown agency. The sample concerned a particular project. Yet, I did not get a reply, even if I sent them an e-mail a week later. The project has ended for sure by now. Personally, I would give the agency a negative rating at Globtra, where they advertised themselves, but they have lots of positive opinions there. I'm planning to turn to them as soon as they post another job ad. Would You give an agency a negative opinion for ignoring Your person after you have done a sample translation for them? Ratings are for preventing other users about bad practices of some translation agencies, aren't they?


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:42
French to German
+ ...
"Actual work" and "tests" Sep 20, 2011

Yolanda Broad wrote:

Certain conditions must be met before Blue Board entries can be made. Entries concerning the Likelihood of Working Again (LWA) with given outsourcers are allowed only when (1) commissioned work has been completed in full and delivered on time, and (2) there have not been complaints related to quality shortly after delivery. Entries may not be made on the basis of negotiations, test translations, or other preliminary or non-commissioned interactions.
http://www.proz.com/siterules/blue_board_bb_blueboard/2#2


pirwolus wrote:

Recently, I've done a 560-word test translation for a renown agency. The sample concerned a particular project. Yet, I did not get a reply, even if I sent them an e-mail a week later. The project has ended for sure by now. Personally, I would give the agency a negative rating at Globtra, where they advertised themselves, but they have lots of positive opinions there. I'm planning to turn to them as soon as they post another job ad. Would You give an agency a negative opinion for ignoring Your person after you have done a sample translation for them? Ratings are for preventing other users about bad practices of some translation agencies, aren't they?


While I mostly agree upon the fact that "tests" are different from "actual work", the fact that the BB does not allow ratings for behaviours such as the detailed by pirwolus is certainly very well known among outsourcers posting on ProZ.com.

As a consequence, unscrupulous outsourcers will not hesitate to ask for such tests, which eventually will be used to tinker a "translation".

Bottom line: don't work for free.


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:42
French to German
+ ...
I don't know Sep 20, 2011

TransAfrique wrote:

Laurent KRAULAND wrote:

this "translation" will be sold under 0.04 USD/word to the end client.


Surely you mean $0.20 USD a word? That sort of agency isn't going to cut their own profits just because they got the work for free.


I don't know. If "translations" obtained by means of assembling tests will cost USD 0.20/word, what is then the word price of paid translations for the final client?


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:42
French to English
Inclined to agree Sep 20, 2011

Neil Coffey wrote:
if they're really trying to pull the scam you suggest, I think they're about to learn that the complexity of managing a project with 16 translators won't make it a very worthwhile one...


My sentiments exactly. I would think that anyone who actually wanted to get that kind of volume done for free would be better off assigning it to a relative newcomer in a distant country and just not pay for it.


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