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Agency continues to ask for "sample translations" for "big upcoming project" which never happens
Thread poster: Pamela Avalos

Pamela Avalos
Chile
Local time: 22:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
May 22, 2014

I don't know if this is an actual scam or not, and unfortunately I can't ask directly about this company because of Forum Rule no. 8. However, I have been contacted by the same South-Korean company four different times since 2013, always saying they are bidding on a large project, and that they need a sample translation. Anyways, I am slow to be suspicious and I did look this company up on Proz (it's on the Blue Board with recommendations) but I still think it's pulling a scam.

I leave you the latest email I received from this company. What do you think??

Hi

I am Goeun from XXX XXXXXXX, a translation company located in Seoul (South Korea).

Our company will try to start a big project.

To get to the big project, we need to a sample test.

Then, I’d like to require you a sample translation from ENG to SPA. Are you willing to take it?

Please check the attached test file and send the translated file to me.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Please reply to me and if you have any issue, feel free to contact to me.

Thank you

Best regards,

Goeun


 

Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 23:41
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Translation tests May 22, 2014

They don't want a sample, they can get samples from your profile page.

It seems they want you to take a translation test. That's a very delicate issue. If it is a reliable agency and the word count is around 100 words, that would be ok.

But watch out. Sometimes the "translation test" is 300-400 words, a free job. Or they send different pieces of a whole long text to different translators as tests, and so they get a whole long text translated for free.


 

Pamela Avalos
Chile
Local time: 22:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
you're right, sample test May 22, 2014

They did ask for a test translation. They were all long (300 words or more) and I really have the feeling they're taking advantage of inexperienced translators so they can get documents translated for free. I am not a naturally suspicious person, and when I received the first of these emails I looked the agency up on the Blue Board, found it to have "rave reviews", and decided to give it a go. But now I'm sure I've been scammed. I just wish I could give out the name of this agency.

 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:41
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Sample translations May 22, 2014

Well, just provide them with the link to your profile page here. There are samples available.

If this company is trustworthy, then you might want to suggest that they'd pay you for the test translation. If they are seriously interested in a collaboration with you, they'd be willing to pay. Do they have a Blue Board record? Have you checked their reputation on the web?

Should this be a scam of the "let's get several free translation tests to get a free document translation" nature, then at least you were paid for your work.

It's better to be a little cautious than end up having been scammed.icon_wink.gif


 

bhimasena  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 09:41
Member (2011)
Indonesian to English
+ ...
frustrating May 22, 2014

its alwayas frustrating sending your cv and never get any reply.

 

jotranslator  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 05:41
Russian to English
+ ...
agency probably using your test to bid for job to client May 22, 2014

Pamela Avalos wrote:

They did ask for a test translation. They were all long (300 words or more) and I really have the feeling they're taking advantage of inexperienced translators so they can get documents translated for free. I am not a naturally suspicious person, and when I received the first of these emails I looked the agency up on the Blue Board, found it to have "rave reviews", and decided to give it a go. But now I'm sure I've been scammed. I just wish I could give out the name of this agency.



I don't think its a scam, it's just not a great way of doing business (for translators that is).

I have done a similar test and I got the job eventually, so it was OK. Also the text I translated was part of the job so I got paid for it eventually -- had I not won the job of course I would not have been paid.

It seems from what I learned in this process that the company was bidding on the job themselves to the source client and had to submit a sample translation so the client can assess they will do the job properly. So that's why they cannot use your samples.

It's really up to you. I agree that these tests are really too long, and the agencies should pay at least something-- but they are probably getting as many translators as possible to do the test so paying them all would cut into profits.


 

jotranslator  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 05:41
Russian to English
+ ...
company probably using your test to bid on job with end-client May 22, 2014

Pamela Avalos wrote:

They did ask for a test translation. They were all long (300 words or more) and I really have the feeling they're taking advantage of inexperienced translators so they can get documents translated for free. I am not a naturally suspicious person, and when I received the first of these emails I looked the agency up on the Blue Board, found it to have "rave reviews", and decided to give it a go. But now I'm sure I've been scammed. I just wish I could give out the name of this agency.



I don't think its a scam, it's just not a great way of doing business (for translators that is).

I have done a similar test and I got the job eventually, so it was OK. Also the text I translated was part of the job so I got paid for it eventually -- had I not won the job of course I would not have been paid.

It seems from what I learned in this process that the company was bidding on the job themselves to the source client and had to submit a sample translation so the client can assess they will do the job properly. So that's why they cannot use your samples.

It's really up to you. I agree that these tests are really too long, and the agencies should pay at least something-- but they are probably getting as many translators as possible to do the test so paying them all would cut into profits.


 

KateKaminski
Local time: 03:41
German to English
Recent experience May 22, 2014

I and several other translators were recently asked by an agency to do quite a large sample translation (1000 words) for a client. If we were successful, we would win a large job which would be ongoing for several months.

But please could we agree on a reduced rate as the agency had to provide this sample translation to the client for free?

Well we agreed to this and heard nothing more about it from the agency. Interestingly enough, though, this same agency posted a very large job on the very same subject here on Proz about a month later. I suspect we did indeed win the project and the agency then went on a search for cheaper translators to maximise their profits.




[Edited at 2014-05-22 08:37 GMT]


 

Anna Sarah Krämer Fazendeiro
Germany
Local time: 04:41
English to German
+ ...
Your decision May 22, 2014

When I started working as a freelance translator a particular agency asked me for this kind of "favor" many times. At first I didn't object to it, but as these favors became more and more, I eventually got upset about it. I sent them an email telling them I would not be able to translate samples for free anymore and that from now on I would have to charge my usual rate. It was no problem, they kept sending me samples and paid my usual rate from that day on.

The thing is, agencies run a business and they will always try to get things for less or for free - and some are more cheeky than others. We just have to state our rules. If the agency accepts, it's good. If not, it's not a problem, as I wouldn't want to work for them, anyway.


 

Katarzyna Slowikova  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:41
English to Czech
+ ...
why don't you ask them May 22, 2014

I have had a similar experience (did several tests and was never chosen for the job) with a big translation company most of you probably know as legit (though lots of people object to their practices).
So I think this alone isn't a sign of scam, though if you have a feeling it is, maybe there're some other signs.
Maybe as a test, you could tell them your objections as you did here an see what happens - their reaction may tell you more.


 

Pamela Avalos
Chile
Local time: 22:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I did send an email May 22, 2014

I did reply saying that this was the fourth time they were asking for free (and rather large) test translations and to please not contact me any more unless they were willing to pay for my services. I have not received a reply, however.

 

changwinnie  Identity Verified
United States
Chinese to English
Similar experience May 22, 2014

I've done some work for a company in HK that asks for a test translation (300ish words, for free) from a group of translators each time they get a new client. Then, the client supposedly evaluates them, and comes up with a few "preferred translators" and "backup translators," and it's up to which preferred translator can log in the quickest and get the job. So, I no longer work for them.

 

xxxAdrian MM.
Local time: 04:41
French to English
+ ...
© - retain the translation copyright May 22, 2014

Add a copyright sign to any sample translations and make sure you keep a record - post back a printout to yourself or your lawyer in a sealed, postmarked envelope. Open only as proof when needed.

An Austrian translator 20 years ago was asked to submit a long 'test translation piece' English into German that was 'not accepted' by a translation agency in Germany. 6 weeks later the translator, quite by chance, saw her 'failed' sample end up reproduced word-for-word in a German trade-fair exhibition catalogue for expensive, heavy machinery produced by a multinational corporation. Blood boiling means go crazy and sue.


 

Katarzyna Slowikova  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:41
English to Czech
+ ...
So they expect you to... May 22, 2014

Pamela Avalos wrote:

I did reply saying that this was the fourth time they were asking for free (and rather large) test translations and to please not contact me any more unless they were willing to pay for my services. I have not received a reply, however.


So they expect you to spend hours doing free work for them but are not willing to spend two minutes in order to reply to your email... I'd forget about them, legit or not, that's just disrespectful... though suspicious too.


 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 05:41
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
They probably sell your free work May 23, 2014

Forget about them and be more careful in the future. An agency that asks for free tests is generally not trustworthy. If it's a sound business they would have money to spend on testing their freelancers.

 
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Agency continues to ask for "sample translations" for "big upcoming project" which never happens

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