Pages in topic:   < [1 2]
Unreasonable tests and other complaints.
Thread poster: Barbara Gutierrez Teira

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
M!ssundaztood Feb 20, 2017

Melina Kajander wrote:

I fully agree with you on this, and am contantly amazed by the totalitarian attitudes of some people here (like for example Chris S above). The fact of the matter is, if you flat out refuse to do any (obviously unpaid) tests, ever, you will not get any work. Period.


Lol. That's a new one. I've been called many things, but never totalitarian. I'll file it between special and unique.

But in this case Pol Pot is innocent. I didn't actually say that all translators should refuse to do all tests. The thread is about *unreasonable* tests. I don't have a problem with reasonable tests.


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:22
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Not leagues apart Feb 20, 2017

Texte Style wrote:
Doctors and engineers are less likely to offer freebies", but translators are not in the same league much as we'd like to kid ourselves.

I know quite a few engineers and a couple of doctors. They are just well-educated and reasonably intelligent people. It seems to me that, in many professions, qualification is largely a test of stamina rather than out-and-out intellectual horsepower.

This would be very hard to prove either way, but it seems to me that translators in the top quintile, particularly those working in a complex specialisation, are displaying a level of competence within their discipline at least equal to that shown by the average engineer or doctor in their respective disciplines.

The very important difference (and it may be, Texte, that you were actually alluding to this) is that professional accreditation for doctors, engineers and lawyers is both unavoidable for those who wish to practice and widely accepted by clients, so clients can and do take a lot more on faith. Hence no tests.

I cannot proclaim myself to be a doctor without the proper accreditation, unless I want to see the inside of a jail. Anybody can set themselves up as a translator, without any professional qualifications whatsoever. And they do.

This will not change until accreditation for translators is as stringent and all-encompassing as it is in other professions i.e. probably never. There are positive aspects to this, of course.

Regards,
Dan


 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 11:22
English to Croatian
+ ...
Hum, hum. Feb 20, 2017

Dan Lucas wrote:
The very important difference (and it may be, Texte, that you were actually alluding to this) is that professional accreditation for doctors, engineers and lawyers is both unavoidable for those who wish to practice and widely accepted by clients, so clients can and do take a lot more on faith. Hence no tests.


Yes, but I do have professional accreditation and credentials specifically for translation work. That still doesn't make my clients take a lot on faith and I am regularly asked to do tests?

If they have faith in professional accreditation for doctors, why they don't have the same faith in professional accreditation for translators?

And TexteStyle is right. I translate in very specific medical fields (PhD level), and need to know concepts at that level. But I will never enjoy the same respect (or pay) as a PhD doctor. Actually I need to know these concepts at the same level and in TWO languages and pertaining to TWO cultures.

I used to do free tests but even when I passed, it never led to any work or a few times just resulted in a tiny one-off project. So why would I resume doing something that proved to be so futile and pointless? Just because situation obviously varies in different language pairs and we are all taking from our own experience and position, it's not a reason enough to call people totalitarian? My best and biggest projects came from clients who relied on my profile, samples and references - and of course our initial communication/tone and arrangements - for these clients I would consider doing a small free test, if they asked for it at some point, but guess what - they never do? They just have this "I need to pay for someone's work" attitude?

And no, I don't have a golden and safe pool of regular clients, but that will still not make me or intimidate me into accepting free translation tests.






[Edited at 2017-02-20 10:50 GMT]


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:22
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
One qualification to rule them all Feb 20, 2017

Lingua 5B wrote:
Yes, but I do have professional accreditation and credentials specifically for translation work. That still doesn't make my clients take a lot on faith and I am regularly asked to do tests?

For the reason I just stated above. A translator, in most countries at least, does not NEED accreditation. Certification is not compulsory. If you are not qualified you can still practice as a translator.

There are dozens of competing qualifications and memberships through which translators can attempt to show that they have a certain level of competence, but how is a client supposed to make a judgement between all the different voluntary qualifications that exist? Better informed clients may have opinions on this for certain countries and for the pairs in which they do most work, but it's still a complex issue.

That is a very different thing from having one, industry-wide qualification that must be obtained by anybody and everybody wishing to practice in that profession. In the case of the UK for example, the General Medical Council sets standards for doctors and is in charge of registering and, should it be necessary, striking off doctors. If the GMC says that you are not qualified, you cannot practice as a doctor. They set a minimum, hopefully high, level of competence.

If the medical profession were organised like the translation industry, a patient would potentially be faced with doctors holding dozens of competing qualifications every time they went to a health center or hospital. How would a patient decide which doctors are appropriately qualified?

And imagine what would happen in this scenario if anybody could call themselves "Dr", regardless of how much experience or technical ability they had. How much faith in the medical profession do you think patients would have? Do you think patients might start demanding some proof of ability, such as a test, from their doctors? (Such tests would likely be ineffective, but that's a different issue.)

The scenario outlined above is what we have today in the translation industry: a smorgasbord of pieces of paper, the value of which is not immediately clear to third parties. This situation puts the burden of discovery on the client and clients are, understandably, reluctant to accept voluntary qualifications alone as proof of competence. Their reputations are on the line as well.

Dan


 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 11:22
English to Croatian
+ ...
I can't really. Feb 20, 2017

Dan Lucas wrote:
If the medical profession were organised like the translation industry, a patient would potentially be faced with doctors holding dozens of competing qualifications every time they went to a health center or hospital. How would a patient decide which doctors are appropriately qualified?


Example: If I need to visit a dentist, I will probably ask for recommendations and reviews regarding dentists in my community (they are all certified by a unified system). This is theory and certification system. In practice and reality, I will visit one dentist, and if I am not happy with their work, I will surely try the second, the third one and so on. You may view this as "tests", it's just that I can't have free tests. Therefore, your point that I, as a client, will have faith in their certification only is not completely true. When taking about "faith", I have faith they are all certified by one standardized body, but I definitely do NOT have faith that they all perform equally well in their day-to-day practice. Therefore, their refusal to do a free test for me is not based on objective parameters and lack of need for such tests, just because they are certified by a unified system, it is based on their attitude, self-respect and thought process - that was reflected in the overall professional and social system.



[Edited at 2017-02-20 12:34 GMT]


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:22
Member (2018)
French to English
level of competence Feb 20, 2017

Lingua 5B wrote:

I translate in very specific medical fields (PhD level), and need to know concepts at that level. But I will never enjoy the same respect (or pay) as a PhD doctor. Actually I need to know these concepts at the same level and in TWO languages and pertaining to TWO cultures.



So translators working at your level should be very much be in the same league as doctors and engineers.

Unfortunately for every one working at your level of competence, there are thousands of others translating other much less important or taxing stuff, from a secretary who'll translate a quick e-mail along the lines of "please find attached..." to the tech translator who doesn't bother to research the product they're translation the manual for because nobody will ever actually read it, because it's usually just gobbledegook. And so you get lumped in with these people, which is not fair of course.

The solution, I suppose, is simply to remain confident in your abilities and project that confidence so that potential clients feel they can trust you.

Sometimes, I will offer to translate a small portion of the text to be translated if it's for a new customer. I tell them that I'll bill whatever I translate for them whether they decide to give me the job or not. Once they see that what I've produced is good, they give me the go-ahead for the rest.


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:22
Member (2018)
French to English
accreditation and certification Feb 20, 2017

Dan Lucas wrote:

Texte Style wrote:
Doctors and engineers are less likely to offer freebies", but MOST translators are not in the same league much as we'd like to kid ourselves.

I know quite a few engineers and a couple of doctors. They are just well-educated and reasonably intelligent people. It seems to me that, in many professions, qualification is largely a test of stamina rather than out-and-out intellectual horsepower.

This would be very hard to prove either way, but it seems to me that translators in the top quintile, particularly those working in a complex specialisation, are displaying a level of competence within their discipline at least equal to that shown by the average engineer or doctor in their respective disciplines.

The very important difference (and it may be, Texte, that you were actually alluding to this) is that professional accreditation for doctors, engineers and lawyers is both unavoidable for those who wish to practice and widely accepted by clients, so clients can and do take a lot more on faith. Hence no tests.

I cannot proclaim myself to be a doctor without the proper accreditation, unless I want to see the inside of a jail. Anybody can set themselves up as a translator, without any professional qualifications whatsoever. And they do.

This will not change until accreditation for translators is as stringent and all-encompassing as it is in other professions i.e. probably never. There are positive aspects to this, of course.

Regards,
Dan


I was indeed alluding to accreditation as well as certification. Just added a word to the sentence you quoted in light of Lingua 5B's next comment


 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:22
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
In agreement with Dan Feb 20, 2017

I agree with Dan on two important counts: that truly professional translators are not some kind of third class citizens in terms of their general cognitive skills and, most importantly, that there is a dire need for regulation in order to better sort the wheat from the chaff.

 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:22
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Unintended consequences Feb 20, 2017

Robert Forstag wrote:
there is a dire need for regulation in order to better sort the wheat from the chaff.

Ah, Robert, I'm not sure I yet agree that more regulation is the right solution. It would certainly raise the standard of translation and give more clients confidence in our services if there were only one, unified qualification in each major country, and if translators had to be qualified.

However, that would dramatically restrict the supply of translators, at least in the short term. It would push up translator incomes for the qualified, but also raise prices for buyers of translation services. That might have serious negative effects, such as clients pushing harder for non-human translation solutions (MT, basically) to reduce the cost of human translation. Or, in the short term, simply reducing translation by humans to the absolute minimum. Perhaps that only affects those in the lower half of the supplier pyramid, though.

On the other hand, maybe there would be no unintended consequences of a negative sort. Maybe it would be a positive for everybody concerned. After all, it works for some professions. All I'm saying is that regulation, if implemented, could well be a Pandora's box: we don't know what's going to fly out.

Dan


 

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:22
German to English
It would be negative for me. Feb 20, 2017

The most obvious negative consequence would be that it would eliminate everyone who has a degree and/or other credentials in the field in which they translate, but not in the field of translation.

I suppose that all I would have to do is to pass the DipTrans or the German state examinations, but it seems like a lot of wasted time and effort.

And if I needed arthoscopic surgery on my knee, knowing that my surgeon is licensed as a general practitioner would not really ins
... See more
The most obvious negative consequence would be that it would eliminate everyone who has a degree and/or other credentials in the field in which they translate, but not in the field of translation.

I suppose that all I would have to do is to pass the DipTrans or the German state examinations, but it seems like a lot of wasted time and effort.

And if I needed arthoscopic surgery on my knee, knowing that my surgeon is licensed as a general practitioner would not really inspire me with a lot of confidence.
Collapse


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:22
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Til minne om
I can tell you Feb 20, 2017

Dan Lucas wrote:

On the other hand, maybe there would be no unintended consequences of a negative sort. Maybe it would be a positive for everybody concerned. After all, it works for some professions. All I'm saying is that regulation, if implemented, could well be a Pandora's box: we don't know what's going to fly out.


I can tell you about unnecessary regulation.

Of course, sworn translations must be regulated, since society must endorse people who will translate for legal/official purposes. After the grantee has used the powers of a mistranslated PoA and taken a powder with the "loot", it might be difficult to reverse the malfeasance.

Back in the 1980s I was presenting seminars on Time Management, specifically designed for executive secretaries. Did 76 of these. A consulting firm specializing in time management felt the need, as the executives who took their courses were failing to implement what they had learned, due to lack of support from their valued assistants.

Mr. Sarney, who was then unfortunately the president of Brazil, decided to "regulate" the profession of "secretary" as a present to his own secretary, on Secretary's Day (which accidentally coincides with the Translator's Day, Sep. 30th).

After that law was passed, secretaries could no longer be employed under this title, unless they had graduated from a secondary-level technical school for secretaries. Executive secretaries would be required to have a university degree as such.

Exceptions were granted for secretaries having evidence of having worked as such for at least 3 years.

The valuable secretaries who didn't meet the new requirements were renamed as "Executive Assistants", and things went on unchanged.

In one of these courses, a closed one (all participants from the same company), I asked them if the course made any difference. They told me, "Ah, we have one who graduated from the secretarial course. She has the weird habit of having lunch at her desk, so her keyboard is usually covered with crumbles, sometimes ketchup. That's the only difference."

What's the point of regulating the secretarial profession, tying it to a specific course/degree?
The employer is the one who will be at stake, if she has bad telephone manners, misses details and appointments, has poor writing skills, etc. Of course they are always free to replace any of these.

Likewise, if a scrooge has his company's foreign business proposals translated by Google, or by some cheap LSP, it's their problem. They'd actually dislike having to pay more for duly accredited translators. And there is no way to prevent legal stuff being translated by lawyers, medical stuff translated by physicians, tech stuff translated by engineers. Who would control that INTERNATIONALLY?

If, say, the USA implemented such regulation, what would prevent American companies from having their material intended for non-English-speaking countries translated in India or China? What would prevent agencies in these countries from hiring American citizens living in any of the 50 states to do it?

In a nutshell, regulating translation for other than legal/official purposes is aimless and unenforceable.

My 2¢.


 

Melina Kajander
Finland
English to Finnish
+ ...
A senseless comparision Feb 21, 2017

DZiW wrote:

Perhaps, no one is ideal, yet Chris is talking for... How about free "test" goods, products, and services? Free "test" payment, anyone? A "test" wedding, no? Exactly.

Say, a client has a 1000 word project, so some four (4) free test translations for 250 words would do.
If it's about 100K, then whatever the amount of test volunteers--they will dump even further.
Demand meets... missed supply,

Most reliable and fair clients prefer portfolio (examples of previous related works) and references, not freebies.

Your wedding comparison was a really far-fetched one and makes no sense - weddings have nothing to do with paid work...

The topic starter compared test translations to a job interview, which is a comparison that actually does make sense. And have you never known anyone pay (the interviewee) for a job interview? Exactly.


 

DZiW (X)
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
worthy, according to one's merits Feb 21, 2017

Violà! Weddings has NOTHING to do with paid work?! And translation? You’ve made my evening)
However, even if I would like free-test a master of ceremony, a toastmaster, or just ANY profession (but translators), they will smile and tell me off–even deeper and further...
Then why it’s supposedly OK in the translation field ONLY? When has “freelancer” become “freetester”?

No, Barbara actually compared a REASONABLE test to a job interview–as an investment t
... See more
Violà! Weddings has NOTHING to do with paid work?! And translation? You’ve made my evening)
However, even if I would like free-test a master of ceremony, a toastmaster, or just ANY profession (but translators), they will smile and tell me off–even deeper and further...
Then why it’s supposedly OK in the translation field ONLY? When has “freelancer” become “freetester”?

No, Barbara actually compared a REASONABLE test to a job interview–as an investment to prospect cooperation. Can you see the difference? The word “reasonable” is not a synonym to “free”.

It goes like this:
1) The more free tests, the less paid jobs.
2) The less paid jobs, the lower the rates.
3) The lower the rates, the more free tests, go to #1.
. . . Natural consequences circularity.
In my opinion, free tests are merely a white-collar abuse.

I believe a portfolio (or a paid test when required) should nicely do–as in OTHER professions!
Sorry to say, most even best translators appear but rather poor businessmen/business ladies.
On the other hand, if translators agree to freetest, why pay higher (if any)?

IMO
Collapse


 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:22
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sense and nonsense Feb 22, 2017

Melina Kajander wrote:

DZiW wrote:

Perhaps, no one is ideal, yet Chris is talking for... How about free "test" goods, products, and services? Free "test" payment, anyone? A "test" wedding, no? Exactly.

Say, a client has a 1000 word project, so some four (4) free test translations for 250 words would do.
If it's about 100K, then whatever the amount of test volunteers--they will dump even further.
Demand meets... missed supply,

Most reliable and fair clients prefer portfolio (examples of previous related works) and references, not freebies.

Your wedding comparison was a really far-fetched one and makes no sense - weddings have nothing to do with paid work...

The topic starter compared test translations to a job interview, which is a comparison that actually does make sense. And have you never known anyone pay (the interviewee) for a job interview? Exactly.


Excuse me, but I truly do not think the comparison you offer bears close scrutiny, given that a job interview is typically for a permanent position that is expected to last for a duration of more than a year, and in many cases multiple years, while translators are typically asked to take tests for the privilege of working on a single project (that usually is not even a particularly large project at that). Yes, further projects might well follow. But then again, they might well not.

Although I sometimes agree to do short tests, the process does not make a great deal of sense to me. Say I take and pass a 300-word test on a larger document (of, say, 3000 words). Does this guarantee that I will be able to flawlessly execute the remainder of the document, which may contain material very different from what I was tested on? And what about the next project (or two, or three, or four) that the agency offers me, which may contain material very different from what I was tested on? You get the point.

With tests or without, the relationship between the agency and the freelancer is predicated on a certain degree of trust, and involves a certain degree of risk - on both sides. More than anything else, testing offers the illusion rather than the reality of reducing risk.


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:22
Member (2018)
French to English
a lot of people translate without being a translator Feb 22, 2017

Let's not forget that our customers are often our competitors too! Sometimes a manager might ask a junior member of staff to translate a document. The junior member of staff might not be all that fluent in the source language, but he spent six months working in a bar in London so it's good enough. What he lacks in translation ability, he makes up for in availability (no need to go through quoting stages, the boss can tell him to put other projects aside etc.) and in-house knowledge: he probably ... See more
Let's not forget that our customers are often our competitors too! Sometimes a manager might ask a junior member of staff to translate a document. The junior member of staff might not be all that fluent in the source language, but he spent six months working in a bar in London so it's good enough. What he lacks in translation ability, he makes up for in availability (no need to go through quoting stages, the boss can tell him to put other projects aside etc.) and in-house knowledge: he probably knows the jargon and also knows exactly why the text needs to be translated. He can thus focus on just the bits that are important to the boss, maybe just summarise, eliminating the waffle.

For the vast majority of translations, this is fine. The same just cannot apply to healthcare and engineering and legal counsel.
Collapse


 
Pages in topic:   < [1 2]


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


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

Unreasonable tests and other complaints.

Advanced search







SDL MultiTerm 2021
One central location to store and manage multilingual terminology.

By providing access to all those involved in applying terminology (such as engineers, marketers, translators, and terminologists), our terminology management solution ensures consistent and high-quality content from source through to translation.

More info »
CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Termsøk
  • Jobber
  • Forumer
  • Multiple search