I have never really understood this concept. So, an agency requires you to do a translation test. They usually give you a couple of days, you can do it at home, you can use whatever resources you need…. including a more experienced translator who could actually do the translation for you. So…. what purpose does such test translation serve?
I have been thinking about this for a while. And I think there are basically 3 answers:
1) The translation agency people are just too stupid to realize this.
2) The translation agency people think translators are too stupid not to take any advantage of such an option.
3) The translation agency people think translators are honest and would do the translation tests themselves.
I think the option 3) is the most probable. But then, this gives me some additional thoughts: Why do the translation agencies actually bother with such tests?
Imagine, you are an agency. Wouldn’t the reasonable approach be this?: You start working with a translator, you order some 1000-2000 words just for starters. You let your reviewer review his/her translation… and based on the results, you deside to continue in this cooperation, or not.
Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case with most of the agencies. They just require you to do a translation test free of charge.
Well, imagine this: For instance me – I am a pretty seasoned translator with some 13 years of experience. So, a typical translation test of some 300 words would take me some 30-60 minutes to complete. Because yes, I do provide some extra attention to translation tests, as I want to make sure their quality is more than acceptable.
But here it comes: Such a test typically takes some 30-60 minutes. When recalculated to money I could make if this was a standard paid job, this would be more than equal to a very good dinner at a fine restaurant here in the Czech Republic including wine, desert and coffee.
And here is the question: Would you have the guts to go to such a restaurant and ask for a “test” dinner free of charge? I would really love to see the face of the waiter…. and then the bruise on your butt, when they kick you out.
So, why do translators provide translation tests free of charge? I have also given this some thought and I honestly think that’s because we are mostly too weak, we just don’t have the guts to say: “You can most kindly pay for this lovely test… or you can just p*ss off”.
Well, of course, this depends on your seniority. If you are a rookie, you will most probably happily take whatever test they throw on you… in order to just land whatever job they might have.
But when you grow more experienced, translation tests just become a pain in the a*s. It just becomes really tedious to deal with an agency idiot who just cannot see that your 10+ years of membership on Proz/TC are just pretty much a guarantee that you are probably not a total loser in this industry.
But, well, yes, 2020 was the year of the communist flue so there only were so many translation jobs…. and I was nervous enough to have recently taken 2 translation tests. Both of them went well, no major issues… but they said they had selected someone else, because “your test was quite good, but the other person was a bit more fluent”. Well, f*ck it.
And this brings me to yet another topic. Who does actually evaluate such translation tests?
Is it a fellow translator? Probably someone they have selected on a “best-price” basis? Or is this the end customer themselves who know something about their business, but they know an absolute sh*t about the grammar, ortography and style of their own language?
Because I have already seen it in the styleguides: The end customer defines some rules that actually go against our Czech grammar/style, but they would still insist they want it this way. So, are they actually evaluating my test translation against their flaw-infested styleguides?
Honestly, I don’t know. At times, this can be a really bizarr industry niche.
So, in the end, I think there are basically just 2 reasonable uses for translation tests:
1) you are looking for an absolute beginner to cut the costs. You want to test the absolute beginners to see if they have got actually something that you could still somehow use and sell to your end customer…. or potentially build on in the future when you provide some training to your translators to bring them to a more professional level of expertise.
2) you are a son of a b*tch and you want to actually get a translation free of charge to sell it to your end-client as a service. Well, in such a case, your carma will get you pretty soon.
But personally, to me, a translation test required free of charge is a big NO NO. Sorry guys, I have made my share of money, I have my steady customers…. and if I can get 1-2 new customers every year from my Proz/TC/ATA/webpage… subscription, that’s pretty much OK for me.
So, if you ask me for a test translation free of charge… you can just most kindly pay for it …. or you can just f*ck off.
Me pretending some work… I have been a professional technical translator since 2007, ... Read More
Learn how to use Bohemicus with Crowdin I am going to show you how you can very effectively use... Read More
What's new: improved machine-translation-marks remover, now removes also the AMT marks... Read More
If you are a translator, I am sure, you want to make more money. Just like everyone. But well,... Read More
You can use Bohemicus to keep track of your business records, and to issue invoices. Before you... Read More
This feature can be very helpful when you need to preview the content of a Trados package. For... Read More
You can very easily remove those light-blue AT or NMT marks in machine-translated... Read More
This has happened a couple of times to me: I just forgot to do a job! This usually happens to me... Read More
This post can especially be useful to users of older SDL Studio versions. If you are using newer... Read More
What's new Support for online CAT tools (SmartCat, Crowdin, XTM, Coach...) has been... Read More
The PDF format is truly ingenious - documents in the PDF format will appear exactly as... Read More
Before I explain the basic idea behind all CAT tools, let me consider the naive approach to... Read More
This post is only for those interested in hard-core deep-level computer programming. It was... Read More
Translating a webpage is a very easy task... if you know how to do it. Definition of a... Read More
Yes, this is indeed possible. I remember those times 13 years back when translating 5000... Read More
This is a short video on how you can configure the Across CAT tool (made by Across GmbH, Germany) ... Read More
These are a few tips I would give to every aspiring translator trying to start his/her career... Read More
(from the translator's perspective) This article is based on my 13 years of experience... Read More
The raison d'etre The Ctrl+Alt+Space shortcut was originally conceived to deal with the... Read More
The new version of Bohemicus is out! What's new: 1) added support for Memsource 2)... Read More
These are the 10 features of Bohemicus I use every day. You can watch this video to see... Read More
Unit conversion is something you will definitely encounter when working as a... Read More
What are they? As soon as you try to machine translate just about anything in any major... Read More
Definition of a clipboard manager For those who don't know what a clipboard manager is.... Read More
So, this is the core idea of Bohemicus: Let's create an interface between you and your CAT... Read More
This is the story of how I became a professional translator. The beginnings I certainly... Read More
So, I suppose, the original idea of a CAT tool was something like this: Let's create a... Read More
And why do some people seem to utterly hate it ...without even trying it out? Am I getting... Read More
I have never really understood this concept. So, an agency requires you to do a translation... Read More
Why is file extension rename useful? You can very easily rename a file extension. This... Read More
You can very easily and conveniently send large files up to 100 MB through the Bohemicus... Read More
What are hotkeys? Hotkeys are the heart of Bohemicus. They are simply combinations of... Read More
If you want to use the speech-to-text feature, you can connect your Android phone/tablet also... Read More
What is it good for? You can very quickly and easily open your pre-defined folders just by... Read More
Setting it up Machine translation is very easy in Bohemicus. First, you need to set it up -... Read More
You can very easily and conveniently launch the Windows Snipping Tool to make screenshots by... Read More
What are hints in hintboxes Every time you press the Ctrl key, a couple of semi-transparent... Read More
Activating Bohemicus is easy. You will need your activation code that you received upon your... Read More
Prerequisities 1. In order to receive a Google API translation key, you will need a Google... Read More
You should set up Bohemicus before you run it for the first time. Set up the machine... Read More
If you want to work with online CAT tools, such as SmartCat, XTM, Crowdin, Coach, etc..., just... Read More
Converting metric/imperial units is very easy with Bohemicus. You can set up 3 hotkeys to... Read More
Now, let's see how to connect your Android phone to your Windows and then to Bohemicus. If... Read More
Why you should use Bluetooth Bluetooth is the preferred way of connecting Bohemicus both in... Read More
In Bohemicus, you can very easily transfer files and folders between 2 or more local computers... Read More
Why do translators and writers take notes Note taking is an important task for all... Read More
How to work with translation memories in Bohemicus Use your own translation memories...... Read More
What is it good for? You can use this function to e. g. distinguish various folders from... Read More
What are they good for? Non-breakable spaces are an important text element in case you want... Read More
We have all been there: you need to google someting, so normally you would just select your... Read More
Quotation marks can be a hassle Different languages use different quotation marks. The... Read More
Make more money as a translator If you are a translator, I am sure, you want to make more... Read More
Bohemicus offers a bunch of text editing features that can be really handy. It is... Read More
Speech recognition, or speech-to-text functionality, or just voice dictation, is... Read More
You can use Bohemicus to interactively search in online dictionaries. How it... Read More
While working with Bohemicus, you can plug-in 2 local offline dictionaries. This can be very... Read More
Voice dictation (speech-to-text functionality) is an extremely important feature of Bohemicus. Why... Read More
Attention: Bohemicus is now available on a montly subscription basis of EUR 9.99! Learn... Read More
Machine translation can greatly increase your translation speed, there's no doubt about it.... Read More
What is a clipboard manager? As you probably know there is this very useful feature in Windows: the... Read More
Here is a video presentation of the Bohemicus Imperial/metric unit conversin... Read More