Free "trial assignment" after 770-word "translation tests"
Thread poster: Margarida Martins Costelha

Margarida Martins Costelha  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 19:48
Member
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Jul 7, 2014

Dear colleagues,

I’d be interested in hearing your views on this riveting little tale about an Indian agency I recently applied to. They currently have a 4.8 Blue Board score, by the way.

Mind you, I’m in no way claiming victim status. It all smelled pretty fishy from the start, but being between projects and bored, I decided I’d just see how far these guys would go. It all culminated in a fascinating e-mail I’ve just received from them. Read on…

A month ago I replied to their ad "XXX is Hiring Freelance PORTUGUESE TO ENGLISH Translators/Translation Checkers". My application included my CV and a link to my Proz profile, both of which state very clearly that I translate into South African/UK English and European/Angolan/Mozambican Portuguese.

They sent me 2 English>Portuguese (sic) translation tests adding up to 340 words. I thought this a pretty long "test", though I normally have no problem providing (or asking for) translation tests. But, long story short, I went ahead and sent in my translation into European Portuguese.

A couple of days later I was told I’d failed the test because, and I quote, “Brazil is a new market for us hence our evaluators are very strict in their decisions.”

A week on, there was an e-mail though Proz from the same agency with the subject “Hiring Freelance Portuguese to English Translators”.

I got in touch with them, asking if it really was Portuguese>English they wanted this time, and pointing out that my original application had been for this language pair and that I was bilingual. They wrote back that “This is good news that you can translate Portuguese to English as well”, together with another 2 tests, this time round totalling 430 words, one of them the same excerpt I’d already got before to translate in the opposite direction. After laughing a bit at this, I sent in my/their translations of this second lots of “tests”.

This was on the 17th of June and since then all I got was that they’d send the tests to their evaluation team and would let me know the results. Till today… when, lo and behold, they hit me with the beauty I’m copy/pasting below.

If you want to know who they are, just send me an e-mail though Proz.

Here goes the-mail I received today:

Dear Margarida,

Trust you are doing fine!

We have received an enquiry from a very potential client from the embassy of Angola. He will be sending many translated documents to us and has requested us if we can “check” the Portuguese translation against the original English.

I have attached two such files which he has sent us as a trial and has requested us to check the Portuguese against the English. You need to use “Angolan Portuguese” on these files. You can make your revisions directly in the translated file using track changes mode so that we can see your changes.

As a checker you need to make sure that there are no omissions and mistranslations in the translated file as also the right technical terms and language (grammar-spelling- fluency) is used in the document.

Also since this is a trial assignment, we won’t be able to pay you for the same. However if the client appreciates your work then we will certainly get you on board as a freelance translator. Please let us know if you would be willing to cooperate on this prospective venture and by when can we expect to receive your checked files?

Best Regards,


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Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 04:48
Japanese to English
+ ...
... Jul 7, 2014

You need to use “Angolan Portuguese” on these files.


I'm having flashbacks of a thread that got nuked recently.


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:48
German to English
Translation text OK, trail jobs, no Jul 7, 2014

I'd rather not touch on whether there is an Angolan variant of Portuguese ...

Asking for a test translation is common in this business. Asking for a free job isn't. It's a shady business practice. Companies with sketchy practices are likely to be just as sketchy when it comes time to pay.

I realize that with your language combination, opportunities are limited to work with agencies in countries where your languages are commonly used, but you might do well to stick to agencies in the EU, where business practices are somewhat more regulated and there is the possibility to sue an unethical client.


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Margarida Martins Costelha  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 19:48
Member
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting... Jul 7, 2014

Orrin Cummins wrote:

You need to use “Angolan Portuguese” on these files.


I'm having flashbacks of a thread that got nuked recently.



Any idea why it got nuked?


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Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 04:48
Japanese to English
+ ...
It's best to let sleeping dogs lie Jul 8, 2014

Margarida Martins wrote:

Any idea why it got nuked?


Let's just say that the legitimacy of the dialect was called into question.

Anyways, your problem with this agency goes far, far beyond any linguistic quibbling.

1. You respond to an ad for a job in a certain language direction.

2. The agency sends two (!) tests for the opposite language direction.

This right here should have been a big red flag letting you know that maybe this agency isn't one of the best.

But like you said you had nothing pressing going on at the time, so I can kind of understand why you did it anyway.

This whole thing really sounds like a scam to me, but lately I'm starting to believe that fake trial tests are actually relatively rare. I would be much more quick to blame inefficiency, poor management, sloppiness, etc.

It's hard to believe sometimes, but most people aren't dishonest or trying to steal. They are just idiots.


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