Test translation as a scam?
Thread poster: Slobodan Kozarčić

Slobodan Kozarčić  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 04:34
English to Serbian
+ ...
Feb 13, 2017

Some time ago, I applyed for a technical translation job posted by an Indian agency with a gmail email.
The poster answered after a couple of days, saying that I have to do a small test (300-350 words), and then the client will decide who will get the job.
The job wasn't easy, it was some technical manual with images, but I did it successfully and sent it.
Three weeks passed and I didn't get any answer. I sent an email to the poster, and got the answer that they (she) will check with the client and then it will be all clear.
Another 11 days passed, and again I didn't get any answer.
Should I be worried?
I checked the agency on the Internet, and they have their site inside one foreign schools general site.
And yes, they have no entries on the Blue board.

[Edited at 2017-02-13 19:43 GMT]


 

Tony M
France
Local time: 04:34
Member
French to English
+ ...
No real way to know, but it does happen! Feb 13, 2017

Some unscrupulous agencies have been known to cut jobs up into small chunks and then pass them off as "tests" — but you have no real way of knowing, unless you are lucky enough to find the whole document and your translated chunk of it published somewhere on the Internet. Certainly worth trying a Google search for an extract of the 'test' text, to see if you can at least identify, for example, the source company, so that you may have a better chance of finding your translation if subsequently published. Sometimes KudoZ is handy: on a number of occasions, I have found KudoZ questions from people clearly working on the same or a very similar 'test' to my own, which has enabled me to confirm that the test text sent to everyone was (or was not!) the same.

It is a sad fact that translation agencies are often too busy to be able to let everyone know about the outcome of a bid, so you have to resign yourself to the fact that "no news is no job" — especially after the length of time you have already waited.

This is one of the reasons why I refuse to do translation tests as a matter of principle; if you are prepared to do a test, then you must also be prepared to lose that amount of work; if you're not, then simply don't do them.

I would say put it behind you, and use this as part of the learning experience — with what you say about the company (gmail address, no BB entry, dubious www), I personally wouldn't even have entertained the idea of working for them in the first place.

It might be wise to report it to site staff — even though you have no proof of dishonest intentions, should other people also report the same company, it might enable them to put together evidence to prove the scam — in particualr, they will be able to see if other bidders on this job submitted the same or different test texts.


 

Slobodan Kozarčić  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 04:34
English to Serbian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
To Tony Feb 13, 2017

Tony, thank you for your clever remarks, especially the one saying I should try to find other translators of the same test in my language pair.
I was actualy all the way aware this test might be a scam, especially when they had offered me 20% higher rate than mine was, and when I saw that my test part didn't begin from the top, but from the middle of the manual. But, I thought, "It is just 300 words. Why not?"
Since Serbia is a small country, there might not be too many users of my test manual. I will certainly try to find my test on the Internet and will threathen the abovementioned Indian agency of my copyrights possible violation.
I will give them another week, then I will act.


 

Walter Landesman  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 00:34
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Gmail account Feb 13, 2017

No legit translation agency would correspond from a gmail account. That sould have been your first red light. I am sorry, but it looks you have been scammed.

You may read more about these issues on this forum.


 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:34
English to German
+ ...
Act now Feb 13, 2017

Slobodan Kozarčić wrote:

Tony, thank you for your clever remarks, especially the one saying I should try to find other translators of the same test in my language pair.
I was actualy all the way aware this test might be a scam, especially when they had offered me 20% higher rate than mine was, and when I saw that my test part didn't begin from the top, but from the middle of the manual. But, I thought, "It is just 300 words. Why not?"
Since Serbia is a small country, there might not be too many users of my test manual. I will certainly try to find my test on the Internet and will threathen the abovementioned Indian agency of my copyrights possible violation.
I will give them another week, then I will act.


I wouldn't wait, Slobodan, they are already way too late regarding their response. Do I understand you correctly that they had promised a higher rate than your normal rate for the actual job but didn't offer/pay you anything for the test?
I only once worked with a very reputable translator from India who was also an outsourcer. First and last time. All other offers since were purely a joke. 5 Cents and less per word. So I don't know how much they offered you, but if it seems high for an Indian company, it could very likely be a scam. An end client gives a translation job to an agency, that agency gives it to another agency and that one to an agency in India which then will do pretty much anything to get the job done somehow - it does happen and maybe there are lots of great Indian agencies but I haven't seen them.
As far as test translations are concerned, I charge for them if I at all decide to do one - only for agencies I can find info on that makes them look professional. Actually, professional agencies will never ask for unpaid tests anyway.
Hope this helps. And yes, go act now!

Bernhard


 

Slobodan Kozarčić  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 04:34
English to Serbian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It's just two hours of my life :( Feb 14, 2017

I wouldn't wait, Slobodan, they are already way too late regarding their response. Do I understand you correctly that they had promised a higher rate than your normal rate for the actual job but didn't offer/pay you anything for the test?

Yes, they promised me a higher rate for the translation, but they will pay the test only if accepted by the client.

I only once worked with a very reputable translator from India who was also an outsourcer. First and last time. All other offers since were purely a joke. 5 Cents and less per word. So I don't know how much they offered you,

They offered me 3 euro cents, which is my real rate, but I decided to lower it at that offer. It was a slow month(s).
You should be aware that in Serbia experienced movie translator and a subtitler (and I have translated 700 movies over the last 5.5 years) can't get more than 0.5 euro per minute, although I was paid more than that. So, divide 45 euros for 90 minutes movie with 5,000 or 8,000 words... See the problem?


As far as test translations are concerned, I charge for them if I at all decide to do one - only for agencies I can find info on that makes them look professional. Actually, professional agencies will never ask for unpaid tests anyway.
Hope this helps. And yes, go act now!

Bernhard

OK. Thank you for your support and the advices.
Btw: I've already asked my friend to snoop around her faculty for my test manual origin.

[Edited at 2017-02-14 00:13 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-02-14 00:14 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-02-14 05:56 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-02-14 05:57 GMT]


 

Slobodan Kozarčić  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 04:34
English to Serbian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Surprise... Feb 18, 2017

Slobodan Kozarčić wrote:



OK. Thank you for your support and the advices.
Btw: I've already asked my friend to snoop around her faculty for my test manual origin.

[Edited at 2017-02-14 00:13 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-02-14 00:14 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-02-14 05:56 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-02-14 05:57 GMT]


Surprise, surprise, the job poster finally responded today after I threatened her I would announce her agency's name on the Internet and her scam. And, of course, my test translation was declined by the client who was to
blame for delay. Yes, right.


 


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