Demands for test translations, diplomas and applications
Thread poster: Norskpro
Norskpro
Sweden
Local time: 09:57
Member
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Jan 9, 2015

Having been contacted by an agency who has a possible job coming up for me, I am wondering what experience others have of the procedure required to be considered for the potential job. I usually do not reply to e-mails where my name and e-mail address are not used, and this was addressed to Proz lists. The person said she had checked my Proz page and I seemed to be what she was looking for. She wanted me to send a CV and diplomas, do a test translation and fill out an application online.

I replied that although I would be interested in translating the subject matter in question, I usually do not do test translations and I asked if she had actually seen my Proz page, since she addressed the mail to Proz lists.

I had a reply eight days later, which said that although the mail was sent to several people, she had checked out my Proz page, so it was not as if the mail was sent out to anyone. She went on to say that the normal procedure for working with this agency is to fill in the application online. She also asked if I could specify what kinds of technical projects I have translated and give the names of clients.

I have never sent diplomas before unless I am applying for a job, which is not the case here, as I am selling my services. The qualifications on my CV can be checked. References from other agencies can be seen on my Proz page (WWA).

The time taken to fill in an "application" online and doing a test translation for free (apparently the client demands this) are not done in five minutes.

It would be interesting to know how other translators would deal with this.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:57
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Norsk Jan 9, 2015

Norskpro wrote:
I usually do not reply to e-mails where my name and e-mail address are not used...


If you can afford that attitude, then good for you. I tend to evaluate e-mails from potential clients based on other aspects than whether they had addressed it to me personally or not.

She also asked if I could specify what kinds of technical projects I have translated and give the names of clients.


Many agencies seem to want information about specific projects (and I understand why... some translators might mention a subject field even if they don't really have experience in that field but are very willing to give that field a try). Giving names of clients is generally a no-no, but some people are happy to give names of end-clients, if they are large, well-known companies (e.g. Coca-Cola, Ford, Microsoft).

I have never sent diplomas before unless I am applying for a job, which is not the case here, as I am selling my services.


Yes, but your diploma does help sell your service. It's more difficult to fake a diploma (it's also more effort, which requires a bigger liar) than to be untruthful on a CV.

The time taken to fill in an "application" online and doing a test translation for free (apparently the client demands this) are not done in five minutes.


Online application forms can be time-wasters, but the information requested in them are often all quite similar, so once you've completed one (and saved the information in a document), you'll be able to fill in others more quickly. Yes, test translations take time, but if you don't do too many of them, and only for clients that look potentially good, I think they are a valid businss "expense".


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Anna Sarah Krämer Fazendeiro
Germany
Local time: 09:57
Member (2011)
English to German
+ ...
Depends how much you want to work with them Jan 9, 2015

I have to agree with Samuel. There are more factors involved than just being addressed personally. Although it is true that most of the time generic emails turn out to be from clients I wouldn't want to work with anyway, I at least read all emails to find out whether I am interested in finding out more about the agency in question.

I then check the BlueBoard entry and the website of the agency.

Do I comply with all demands?

I have provided references very few times (of course after asking my references whether they agree with it), but most of the time I decline.

I used to provide test translations and still do it sometimes - if I am really interested in working with the agency.

I have no problems with sending a copy of my diploma.

Online application forms can sometimes be annoying to fill out, but I can understand agencies that prefer them because they then have all the necessary information in one place without having to enter them manually.

In short: It depends. If the agency looks good, I will go to greater lengths, if I am not sure, I just delete the email.

Many times people compare this with how we choose doctors and lawyers - we wouldn't ask them for references and copies of their diploma. However it is not quite the same - I rarely hire a doctor over the internet. And fake doctors setting up an office anywhere to receive patients are rare. On the other hand, there are plenty of people online that call themselves translators and I imagine it can be challenging for agencies to find a competent translator. I have been doing reviews of new applicants for an agency lately and I can confirm that about 80% of the applicants should never, ever receive a translation job, because they simply have no idea what they are doing.


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Norskpro
Sweden
Local time: 09:57
Member
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
More than an e-mail address Jan 9, 2015

Thank you for your input @Samuel and @Sarah. This is not simply about how I am addressed in an e-mail, it is the whole package that they want. With what goes on with the theft of CVs, it could also happen with diplomas.

I appreciate all your comments, and your opinions are helpful, as some of this is new to me.


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Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Why not Jan 9, 2015

Unless you have good reason to be concerned that your diplomas will be “hijacked” by potential impersonators, I see no reason in holding back on sending out my diplomas.

I spent five years to graduate as a lawyer and another three to get LLM in EU law. I am about to receive my MA degree in institutional translation, which took me another two years. Now that I spent that many years studding translation and subject matter, at least I can share it with companies who intend to hire my services, cannot I?

On CV I can indicate that I am an engineer, but if I have to produce a proof of it, I will fail (because I am not an engineer).

Now, degrees and diplomas cannot guarantee anything and this is the reason agencies ask for test translations (which I always accept, so long tests are limited to about 300 words). Some agencies actually pay for it, which I do not refuse either, but the rule is a “gratis test”. There is nothing wrong about asking people: “show me how good you are”, so long it is reasonable amount of time you have to dedicate to the task.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 09:57
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
CV and diplomas yes, references no Jan 9, 2015

I have a zipped file with my CV and diplomas that I can attach to an e-mail in a few seconds.

I check out the client first, so I don't send them to everyone who mails me, but if reputable agencies want to see them, fine.

References, no. I am a member of the CIoL and have been vetted for that. I have signed their code of conduct and ProZ.com's. I do sign clients' NDAs if reasonable.
I have some WWAs on my profile, and that has to be enough. Tests depend on the kind of text.

I get more offers of work than I can take on...


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Preston Decker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:57
Member (2013)
Chinese to English
Not good signs Jan 9, 2015

I disagree with the above commentators. I've found that late replies, excessively long online applications, and unusual demands (the diploma) are usually not the sign of agencies in a rush to use my services, and that more often than not I waste my time in going through their applications.

Most of my good clients were quite the opposite: they had a project ready to go, and we took care of all of their procedural requirements on the fly.

That's not to say you shouldn't go through with their application--I usually do, even if I know the odds aren't good. But I also wouldn't have this at the top of my to do list. From the information you've given, it sounds like you will end up as just one of the thousands of translators in this agency's database.

[Edited at 2015-01-09 12:24 GMT]


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Maria Teresa Pozzi  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:57
Member (2006)
German to Italian
+ ...
Generally Jan 9, 2015

when I send diplomas and signed collaboration contracts I don't get any job. This is surely not a rule, but to me it happens often.
I don't see nothing wrong in asking for a short (200-250 words) test translation. An agency has the right to check the quality of your work.
If an agency asks for references, I contact the customer and ask him if I can pass on his mail address or phone number.

Tea


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Sarah McDowell  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 11:57
Member (2012)
Russian to English
+ ...
Could you add a watermark to your diploma and CV? Jan 9, 2015

If you're worried about CV theft, could you make a watermark and say something like "For client information purposes only" or something along those lines?

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Anna Sarah Krämer Fazendeiro
Germany
Local time: 09:57
Member (2011)
English to German
+ ...
Adding a watermark Jan 10, 2015

Adding "For client information purposes only" is useful only if you include the name of the client you are sending this to - I don't know if there are any applications that could do this. But it could be an option.

But it is probably better to send CVs and diplomas only to trustable persons, and usually it is not too difficult to tell who can be trusted.


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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:57
French to German
+ ...
Agree with Preston Jan 11, 2015

I entirely agree with Preston Decker.

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