Poll: If you do test translations, how often do you get the results for them?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 23:48
SITE STAFF
May 13, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "If you do test translations, how often do you get the results for them?".

This poll was originally submitted by Djana Surkovic. View the poll results »



 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 07:48
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other May 13, 2016

I’m not very often asked to do a translation test, but if I’m really interested in that job I’ll be happy to do a short translation test, providing we have already agreed on price and payment terms and there is no deadline set. I would rather do a translation test than sending diplomas, references and the like and having to fill endless forms. When I do a test, two things happen:

1. If it's a free test, I almost never get the results!
2. If it’s a paid test, I always g
... See more
I’m not very often asked to do a translation test, but if I’m really interested in that job I’ll be happy to do a short translation test, providing we have already agreed on price and payment terms and there is no deadline set. I would rather do a translation test than sending diplomas, references and the like and having to fill endless forms. When I do a test, two things happen:

1. If it's a free test, I almost never get the results!
2. If it’s a paid test, I always get the results and that’s how I got some of my best clients (direct clients and translation agencies) and some of my highest-paid assignments
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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Other May 13, 2016

I don't do them any more because the quality of my translations is so high it causes all the PMs to swoon and the evil big bosses get so cross they whip them raw and I just feel so guilty for putting them through that

 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:48
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other May 13, 2016

I don't usually do free tests. My experience is that if the test is easy, it doesn't say very much about me or the prospective employer, and if it's difficult the criteria may not be fair. I did do one test for pay 5 years ago that gave me the best client I've ever had - that was the only feedback that counts.

 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:48
French to English
Rarely May 13, 2016

Good agencies, the serious ones, tend to use the same text(s) to test potential freelancers. It enables them to measure the quality more accurately, at least that is what I have been told. Obviously they are not going to start sending out corrections as it means that the texts will circulate with the corrections they are looking out for. One other agency explained that they did not provide corrections as if the freelancer was not taken on, the freelancer would often initiate a series of discussi... See more
Good agencies, the serious ones, tend to use the same text(s) to test potential freelancers. It enables them to measure the quality more accurately, at least that is what I have been told. Obviously they are not going to start sending out corrections as it means that the texts will circulate with the corrections they are looking out for. One other agency explained that they did not provide corrections as if the freelancer was not taken on, the freelancer would often initiate a series of discussions by mail or telephone explaining why they thought the agency was wrong. The agent understandably said that if we had decided not to take someone on, talking about it would waste their time and ours. I can actually understand that. Also, if you are taken on, then you will generally receive some feedback about one or two points they considered worth discussion.

Way back, I did a test for one large agency who sent me comments on my test which had been corrected in-house. I had not passed the test. When I got my corrected test back, I saw that "magistrat" in French, which I had translated as "judge", had been "corrected" to "magistrate" in English. You do not need much knowledge about the FR and EN legal systems to know that is a false friend. I was glad they rejected my application ; we could not have got along.

I work almost exclusively with direct clients who come to me through word of mouth. I've never been asked for a test in those circumstances.

[Edited at 2016-05-13 09:07 GMT]
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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 08:48
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I chase them up, so always May 13, 2016

I rarely do tests, and when I have, they have not always led to paid work, but it can be difficult to know in advance.

If the test is not accompanied by a lot of administrative hassle, it may be worth it. If clients accept my rates and content themselves with a realistic standard NDA and the necessary questions about subject areas, how to pay me and suchlike relevant details, it is encouraging. If clients want to look at my style, fair enough, because style is important for a lot of
... See more
I rarely do tests, and when I have, they have not always led to paid work, but it can be difficult to know in advance.

If the test is not accompanied by a lot of administrative hassle, it may be worth it. If clients accept my rates and content themselves with a realistic standard NDA and the necessary questions about subject areas, how to pay me and suchlike relevant details, it is encouraging. If clients want to look at my style, fair enough, because style is important for a lot of the work I do.

When I do a test, I always chase up the results if I don't hear from the client fairly promptly.
Some have resulted in good clients, and at least one convinced me, like Nikki, that it was not a client I wanted to work with anyway!

Tests can be useful both ways... I have checked and commented on them for clients too. They can be quite revealing!

[Edited at 2016-05-13 11:21 GMT]
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Katrin Bosse  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:48
Dutch to German
+ ...
Other May 13, 2016

I don't do test translations in the form that I accept, say, 300-400 words to translate after which the [new] client/agency decides whether or not to make further use of my services.

If a client/agency on first contact is not convinced that I am the right woman for the job, I am very willing to let them seek greener pastures, so to speak. But when they have found their way to my door, they usually already are.

What I will do (especially with large volume jobs an
... See more
I don't do test translations in the form that I accept, say, 300-400 words to translate after which the [new] client/agency decides whether or not to make further use of my services.

If a client/agency on first contact is not convinced that I am the right woman for the job, I am very willing to let them seek greener pastures, so to speak. But when they have found their way to my door, they usually already are.

What I will do (especially with large volume jobs and should terminology questions arise) is send a first part to make sure we are all on the same page.



[Edited to correct a typo...]

[Bearbeitet am 2016-05-13 12:39 GMT]

[Bearbeitet am 2016-05-13 12:39 GMT]
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Kristina Cosumano (X)  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:48
German to English
What are these "results" of which you speak? May 13, 2016

If being accepted by an agency which then sends me work is considered a result, then yes, I have gotten results.
I also recently did a test translation where the client wrote a week later to tell me he was going with someone else. That is also a result, albeit a negative one.
No one has ever actually given me an opinion of my test translation, however.


 

Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:48
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
Usually May 13, 2016

When I first started out, I did tests for quite a few agencies. Some gave me feedback, but most just disappeared into the depths of cyberspace. In my opinion, a test translation is a much better guide to a translator's abilities than any references, but I do wonder how many of these 'tests' were actual jobs that someone was getting for free.

Now, I generally only do tests (I prefer to call them 'sample translations') for large projects for direct customers who have not worked with
... See more
When I first started out, I did tests for quite a few agencies. Some gave me feedback, but most just disappeared into the depths of cyberspace. In my opinion, a test translation is a much better guide to a translator's abilities than any references, but I do wonder how many of these 'tests' were actual jobs that someone was getting for free.

Now, I generally only do tests (I prefer to call them 'sample translations') for large projects for direct customers who have not worked with me before, and there is a realistic possibility of work at the end of it. Mostly these are literary projects, and the sample translation generally comes when negotiations are already well underway. Because of the nature of literary translation, clients are usually quite emotionally involved in the process, especially if they are the author of the original, and so they do tend to give some kind of feedback, which can be very useful.
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David GAY  Identity Verified
Dutch to French
+ ...
translation tests=unpaid work May 13, 2016

Many jobs offered on proz could actually be
good translation tests: have a look today
EN>Luxembourgish translators needed for BIG Marketing project
194 words
http://www.proz.com/translation-jobs/1158362
and they seem to struggle to find a translator
the ad has already been posted twice today
They could have packaged it as a translation test
... See more
Many jobs offered on proz could actually be
good translation tests: have a look today
EN>Luxembourgish translators needed for BIG Marketing project
194 words
http://www.proz.com/translation-jobs/1158362
and they seem to struggle to find a translator
the ad has already been posted twice today
They could have packaged it as a translation test
and this one also (just the right volume)


Indonesian Certificates
Envoyé : May 13, 2016 14:59 CEST (GMT+2) (GMT: May 13, 2016 12:59)

Job type: Traduction/révision/relecture
Service required: Translation

Langues : anglais vers français

Description de l'offre :

My apologies, but only the successful candidate will be notified.

Delivery in MS Word without text boxes or columns

Format source : PDF Document
Format de livraison : Microsoft Word

Poster country: Singapour

Volume: 300 words




[Modifié le 2016-05-13 14:24 GMT]
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Erzsébet Czopyk  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 08:48
Member (2006)
Russian to Hungarian
+ ...
SITE LOCALIZER
I am still laughing :DDDDD May 14, 2016

Katrin Bosse wrote:

If a client/agency on first contact is not convinced that I am the right woman for the job, I am very willing to let them seek greener pastures,


I have nothing to add


 

Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:48
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Results? May 14, 2016

It's amazing how the questions in the QP are poorly elaborated.
What is considered a result?
1. A reply saying you were approved? Many times
2. A reply with some comments about the quality of your translation? Rarely
3. A reply with a revision of your translation? Never
4. Any type of reply if you were not approved? Never


 


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