Business, Linguistics, Translation

Can I have a sample, please?

I had this e-mail since March 2013 in my inbox.

I set-up a very strict e-mail archiving policy for myself. I have a folder for every customer. I only archive my customer’s e-mails, once I created a job for the specific task, mentioned in the e-mail.

I also archive the e-mail, if I responded to a non complete order and am waiting for response.

E-mails from non-customers get into the Offers folder, after I responded to them. (these non-customers get a folder, after the first collaboration)

In this manner I only have e-mails in my inbox, which need further process: me responding to them.

So there was this e-mail since March. It was even interesting for me to respond to it, it was a collaboration offer from an Italian translation agency (usually these requests I sort out even before jobs).

You know, there are so many kinds of translation agencies and offers though. Some of them just give you immediately a small/large job, some just want to include you into their database and ask for your “best rate” – which poorly could be translated into: tell me, how far you lower your rate for me”. They might have a new client for a new language pair/specific field, and don’t want to be unprepared for the event of a large offer.

Some of these agencies want you to do a sample translation, before proceeding. They are not satisfied with your degree and/or your certifications. (Well, I have mixed feelings for these “sample translation for free”, I might even understand, since there is no proof at all, that you are, who you say, you are. In most cases I can’t even state, for which end-client I worked for because of some (stupid) non-concurrence rule, or NDA and and and. My name NEVER appears on a translation. (I bet if it would be the rule to put one’s name on it, there would be less “professionals” and more professionals in the market)

This agency wanted me to fill out a huge, complex excel file about my specialization. This included to state, how many words I did in a specific field, how many years of experience I have, if I want or not deepen my experience in that field.

I mean, right, you want to know more about me, but there were 87 different fields, I had to think about! They even made a difference between the different machinery. (I have no idea, how many packaging machinery manuals I translated, dunno how many woodworking ones and if there was or not an agricultural machinery. I have no diagrams like this. Maybe now with TO3000 it will be much easier)

Today I had this feeling of wanting to close some of my ongoing stuff. I downloaded the excel file again, opened it, and just couldn’t. Really I couldn’t go on with it. Then I read their e-mail again. They actually wanted me to fill in this endless form and only afterwards giving me translation samples to measure my translation skills and only afterwards I would have gotten into their DB (so actually not even getting a first job, just becoming a new entry). I mean, COME ON!

I responded to them, that I am happy to translate an IT text, in which I also have a certification from the  Association of Italian Translators and Interpreters and if they will be happy with the results, they can put my name among their Hungarian native IT translators.

Then I happily – and finally – archived the e-mail.


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