Article: Whether or not to perform a “short unpaid test”
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 12:44
Dec 24, 2007

This topic is for discussion of the translation article "Whether or not to perform a “short unpaid test”".


Сергей Лузан
Russian Federation
Local time: 23:44
German to Russian
+ ...
a “short unpaid test”" Dec 24, 2007

Absolutely. I remebered the joke from my rugby-youth times - let trains the ones who can't play. When I hear the words a "very-very short unpaid test” I suspect that one wants to get a translation for free (of whatever quality) what is often the case. The topic was discussed in 'translatorcafe' - you may have a look & add some additional points to your article I guess. When some evidences are required I address the potential clients to my profile/\. Not a single failure so far. Your flat-rat idea seems quite fruitful to me, I came to it myself but our Russian market is not so developed unfortunately.


Timothy Wood  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:44
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Thank you for the tip to keep professionalism afloat Feb 1, 2011

I have had similar experiences that the author described in this article. I recently failed a "short unpaid test" for a company that wanted to check my ability. The company sent me the graded test with the reviewer's comments. The grade of "fail" was issued for a petty layout issue related to default quotation mark settings, rather than for the content of the translation.

Your suggestion to weed out unprofessional translation agencies by charging a minimum fee strikes me as a valid and needed approach to "short unpaid tests". Thanks for your article.


José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:44
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Quite an interesting idea (the flat rate for tests) Sep 25, 2011

I tend to compare translator tests with car test-drives at dealerships. If a prospect wants me to do a 2,000 words test for free, I envision a prospect with wife, kids, dog & luggage at a dealership, saying he'll take the chance of that test-drive to visit his mother-in-law in Rio (400 km from here).

Do not feel put down for your 80% failure rate. If a translation agency is 'testing', either they are not busy with any jobs whatsoever for the time being, or they don't have any reliable translators in your language pair, including the one who will be scoring your test. I had a test of mine reluctantly passed, and considering the grounds for that reluctance - which were presented to me as feedback - I'd pointblank fail the translator who scored it.

Sometimes people request a short test, not for nitpicking on your possible typos, but to have a look at your output as a whole. This is quite legitimate, e.g. for subtitling, to check if the translator is at all concerned with coinciseness, or just translating the entire script. Another justifiable reason is to check on style, i.e. if a love scene in a romance won't sound like a police report after translation.


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Article: Whether or not to perform a “short unpaid test”

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