Free Translation Tests Survey
Thread poster: bilal671
bilal671
United Kingdom
May 31, 2016

Hi Guys,

I've created a survey and the purpose of this survey is to establish what freelance translators are losing out on, in terms of opportunity costs while taking free sample translation tests from potential clients. Your input is highly valued and totally anonymous. The outcome of this survey will be published in the interest of promoting freelance translators' interests.

http://goo.gl/forms/1obdGVPcbcDFcF5p2

Thanks



Bilal


Direct link Reply with quote
 

B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:44
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Question Jun 1, 2016

Where will it be published?

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:44
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I thought surveys were supposed to come before the conclusions Jun 1, 2016

bilal671 wrote:
I've created a survey and the purpose of this survey is to establish what freelance translators are losing out on, in terms of opportunity costs while taking free sample translation tests from potential clients. Your input is highly valued and totally anonymous. The outcome of this survey will be published in the interest of promoting freelance translators' interests.

The part I've quoted in bold rather supposes that you've already decided what the findings will be and you just want fuel for your fire. Particularly in the light of the first question. So I won't be completing it. Anyway, I never have any idea about actual numbers of anything I do each month - I just don't have the sort of brain that keeps tabs of numerical information that way.

I do the occasional free test (I actually always refer to it as providing a sample of my work) if I deem it to be a worthwhile investment in the client. I think they have a very valuable part to play in the marketing sector, where terminology and accuracy are not the main issues and where 10 translations may all be "correct" but read very differently. The marketing client has to like the way a translator treats the copy, and 250 words can be useful for them to judge your style.

Of course, I never accept a free test unless we've already agreed on terms and conditions. If there's a strong possibility that I'll be losing out by doing it, then I don't do it. Simple as that! Not every test results in getting the job, of course, but I do find that far more than 50% come my way, and they generally become regular clients.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:44
Member (2014)
English to German
Lots of free tests? Jun 1, 2016

You seem to assume that translators are doing a lot of free tests each month. I was missing the 0 option in your survey.

And how would the results show that one is loosing out?

[Edited at 2016-06-01 14:36 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:44
Spanish to English
+ ...
Same here Jun 1, 2016

Sheila Wilson wrote:

I do the occasional free test (I actually always refer to it as providing a sample of my work) if I deem it to be a worthwhile investment in the client. I think they have a very valuable part to play in the marketing sector, where terminology and accuracy are not the main issues and where 10 translations may all be "correct" but read very differently. The marketing client has to like the way a translator treats the copy, and 250 words can be useful for them to judge your style.


Very good point - and marketing clients often don't appreciate just how hard it can be to make something sound/look/feel right for the purpose/target audience.

As for the survey, I found that at least 3 of the 5 questions lack a "0" zero option, as I don't usually do freebie 'tests' and can't recall the last time i did one, maybe it was 3 years ago?...


Direct link Reply with quote
 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:44
Member (2008)
French to English
No zero Jun 1, 2016

Gabriele Demuth wrote:

You seem to assume that translators are doing a lot of free tests each month. I was missing the 0 option in your survey.

And how would the results show that one is loosing out?

[Edited at 2016-06-01 14:36 GMT]


I agree, my answer to most of the questions would be zero, but zero is not an option.

Sheila Wilson wrote:

The part I've quoted in bold rather supposes that you've already decided what the findings will be and you just want fuel for your fire. Particularly in the light of the first question.


I agree with this as well. While I don't do free tests now, I used to when I was just starting out. Far from "lost opportunity costs" they let me begin to develop a clientele. The survey doesn't seem to consider this possibility.

[Edited at 2016-06-01 21:44 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Texte Style
Local time: 10:44
French to English
thank you Sheila! Jun 2, 2016

Sheila Wilson wrote:

bilal671 wrote:
I've created a survey and the purpose of this survey is to establish what freelance translators are losing out on, in terms of opportunity costs while taking free sample translation tests from potential clients. Your input is highly valued and totally anonymous. The outcome of this survey will be published in the interest of promoting freelance translators' interests.

The part I've quoted in bold rather supposes that you've already decided what the findings will be and you just want fuel for your fire. Particularly in the light of the first question. So I won't be completing it. Anyway, I never have any idea about actual numbers of anything I do each month - I just don't have the sort of brain that keeps tabs of numerical information that way.

I do the occasional free test (I actually always refer to it as providing a sample of my work) if I deem it to be a worthwhile investment in the client. I think they have a very valuable part to play in the marketing sector, where terminology and accuracy are not the main issues and where 10 translations may all be "correct" but read very differently. The marketing client has to like the way a translator treats the copy, and 250 words can be useful for them to judge your style.

Of course, I never accept a free test unless we've already agreed on terms and conditions. If there's a strong possibility that I'll be losing out by doing it, then I don't do it. Simple as that! Not every test results in getting the job, of course, but I do find that far more than 50% come my way, and they generally become regular clients.


You're spot on as usual.

I also ask to be paid for tests as a matter of course, especially when it's an agency I work for already. I always promise to waive that payment if the agency can prove that they didn't land the project they were bidding on because my translation was poor. Never had to waive payment.

Other than that, I sometimes offer new clients a "sneak preview", delivering a portion of the translation before they give me the go-ahead for the entire thing. However I do then bill for the entire translation. This shows them that I'm confident they'll like my translation and I often get the impression they barely bother to look at the sneak preview portion, because they answer with the go-ahead very quickly afterwards.

[Edited at 2016-06-02 11:00 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Anne Raffolt  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:44
Member (2013)
English to French
+ ...
I concur with Sheila Jun 11, 2016

and would add that the Survey doesn't ask how many of those tests result in paid work. It also doesn't seem to take into consideration whether the test takes away from time that would otherwise be paid, which is odd considering that it purpots to "establish what freelance translators are losing out on, in terms of opportunity costs". It doesn't ask what I would have been doing, had I not taken the test. Both information seem essential to assess whether I lost out in terms of opportunity cost. You have to look not only at what I invested but also at the results it yielded and at the alternative investments I could have made with my time, and their results.

I do free tests of a reasonable length (300 words) and request payment for longer tests. However, my free tests always come after my paid projects, at times when I am not busy, so I am never doing a free test *instead* of paid work. Like Sheila, many result in actual work so I do not believe that I am losing out.



[Edited at 2016-06-11 04:36 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-06-11 04:37 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:44
Member (2014)
English to German
I agree Jun 11, 2016

I wouldn't do a test when I have other things to get on with.

I work with a couple of agencies for which I did a test, but I think it is important to try and judge who is asking for such a test and would I really want to work with them - and it seems I am still falling into the agencies' traps.

Last week I did one such test, the agency agreed to send no more than 300 words and the fee (rather on the low side) was agreed beforehand. I received proper feedback which I appreciated. Then I was sent a registration form and a password to log on to their system ... only then it became clear that they apply a rather unfair CAT scale, asked me to work through the manual in order to work with their system, free training manuals to use their own CAT tool were also available, but often I would be able to use Trados.

Then a few more things that made me wonder, e.g. I would only be paid if I raised the invoice in their system correctly, I needed to accept jobs within their system, keep my availability up to date, an indemnity clause in the contract (I don't like these) and a few other things.

The first job arrived promptly the next day, but by that time I was busy again, I sent an e-mail letting them know, and that I have had no time to look at their system and "work through their manual", so they "kindly" cancelled the job for me on their system.

Really, I do try to accommodate the agencies' ways, but this seems just a step too far and I feel I have wasted my time on that test.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:44
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Another one for 0 Jun 11, 2016

I do at most two or three free tests a year on an average. Some years I do four or five, some years none.

There is also no distinction between free tests for agencies in the process of being approved for their project managers and free tests done for an agency customer to help them win a new account. I think there is a clear difference between the two sitations: in the former, a free tests is one of the options we have when it comes to marketing and advertising; in the latter, the agency is the one who is advertising and it is them who IMHO should bear the cost.

[Edited at 2016-06-11 06:26 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 03:44
German to English
+ ...
impossible to fill out due to missing zero option Jun 11, 2016

In 25+ years I have done about three tests, all in my first year, and none since. Bilal, it would be interesting to find out what you think we are missing out on, and at which end (by doing such tests, or by not doing such tests).

Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Free Translation Tests Survey

Advanced search







BaccS – Business Accounting Software
Modern desktop project management for freelance translators

BaccS makes it easy for translators to manage their projects, schedule tasks, create invoices, and view highly customizable reports. User-friendly, ProZ.com integration, community-driven development – a few reasons BaccS is trusted by translators!

More info »
Wordfast Pro
Translation Memory Software for Any Platform

Exclusive discount for ProZ.com users! Save over 13% when purchasing Wordfast Pro through ProZ.com. Wordfast is the world's #1 provider of platform-independent Translation Memory software. Consistently ranked the most user-friendly and highest value

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search