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Frustrated and upset after failing a translation test....(They just told me I passed it)
מפרסם התגובה: Bo Smith

Bo Smith
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Says who I am in despair? Oct 28, 2004

Derek Gill wrote:
One denial and you're already in despair?


Of course I am not!!

I am very condfident in my expertise and translation quality and that's why I was upset with the test result. (Actually I was more like angry and unjustfied.) But then again, I should not be beaten by the result if I am so confident, right? I know it is a rocky and bumpy road to become a well-established translator and I am still far from that. I know being turned down once is not a big deal! I just want to get more information and feedback on the game rules of this agency-translator relationships. I have only worked for one agency so far.

I know this is probably the first denial of the upcoming 100 and I gotta be strong and learn it as a lesson. I just want to talk to you guys about it. Being freelance is kind of like being lonely since I don't know anybody else personally who is also a freelance translator.


Gloria Teixeira
 

Bo Smith
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Thank you all so much so much! Oct 28, 2004

I got up this morning and saw so many responses from you guys and it really made my day. Thank you all so much whether it was consolation or advice.

I will write them today and nicely ask for a feedback and the reason of rejecting the test. If I get a response, great! If not, then great too! (like one of you said, who wants to work with this kind of agency anyway) It is wrong that a agency or anybody can fail someone in a test without giving any reason or feedback.

I t
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I got up this morning and saw so many responses from you guys and it really made my day. Thank you all so much whether it was consolation or advice.

I will write them today and nicely ask for a feedback and the reason of rejecting the test. If I get a response, great! If not, then great too! (like one of you said, who wants to work with this kind of agency anyway) It is wrong that a agency or anybody can fail someone in a test without giving any reason or feedback.

I think the reason I was rather upset was because I am a bit at lost now on how to get works! Do we always have to work for an agency? Often times, agencies are just ripping us off! I will probably find a pile of discussions on this. I will dig in.

Thank you all so much! I am gald I spoke out. Now I have so many new friends who are just as passionate as me in translation.
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Last Hermit
Local time: 06:10
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Gettting a test offer doesn't necessarily mean getting a job offer. Oct 31, 2004

Sylvia Tseng wrote:
They did give me a detailed list of mistakes I made in the S. Chinese test and I agree though very strict and picky but the comments are acceptable.


Your situation could happen to most of us I believe. But you were not considered for the job probably because, aside from other reasons mentioned by other peers, your rates were too high for them. If you don't mind, you could send the files over to me,and I'll review it for you. Well, if you do trust that my translation skills are strong enough for the job. You can decide by viewing some works of mine at http://www.proz.com/pro/13750?show_mode=portfolio&float=&no_arrows=y&pe_mode=view


 

Bo Smith
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There is no job involved just yet. Oct 31, 2004

Last Hermit wrote:

Your situation could happen to most of us I believe. But you were not considered for the job probably because, aside from other reasons mentioned by other peers, your rates were too high for them. If you don't mind, you could send the files over to me,and I'll review it for you. Well, if you do trust that my translation skills are strong enough for the job. You can decide by viewing some works of mine at http://www.proz.com/pro/13750?show_mode=portfolio&float=&no_arrows=y&pe_mode=view



Hi,

Thanks for your reply.

There was not a job posted here or anywhere else. I just sent the agency an email to introduce myself since I haven known this company for a long time. The test was probably just a standard "entrance exam" for any translator who apply. You are right, passing the exam doesn't mean you will get any job. They probably just put you down in the database. (But it sure feels good to pass a test, isn't it? Even the test might not be well-justified.)

Rate was not an issue here. They have never seen my profile here at Proz. They are very happy with the proposed rate I offered them. In fact, it was lower than what they usually pay a T.C. translator.

Thanks for the offer and kindness. I trust your translation skills and expertise. But everything is clarified right now. I am a native T.C. speaker and I passed the T.C. test. I failed the S.C. test and I accepted the reviewer's comments! I was upset at first because I thought I faied both.

Thanks,
Sylvia


 

Francesco Sani  Identity Verified
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I had a strange rejection from an agency's proofreader/assessor. Aug 31, 2017

... Hello Prozzers!

I had a rejection and it mentioned 'too many spelling mistakes': I went back on the translation and only found one (it slipped the net), which also happened to be the same one that the assessor highlighted in his/her annotated document.

He/she said 'it it unacceptable [to make so many spelling mistakes] in a test translation': if one mistake over two test translations is one too many, what chances does anyone have?

Some of the punctuatio
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... Hello Prozzers!

I had a rejection and it mentioned 'too many spelling mistakes': I went back on the translation and only found one (it slipped the net), which also happened to be the same one that the assessor highlighted in his/her annotated document.

He/she said 'it it unacceptable [to make so many spelling mistakes] in a test translation': if one mistake over two test translations is one too many, what chances does anyone have?

Some of the punctuation changes he/she suggested were semicolons vs. full stops, which is not a mortal sin; semicolons can connect two sentences better than a full stop, in certain instances (this one being an example).

This was my second test of this kind, and I think the fact that the second text was industrial contract law (something I never translated before) was the main issue: I encountered words that took me hours to find translations for, mostly on credible forums like ProZ, and perhaps the assessor had a closer knowledge of the field, thus making a comment about this. I would say that this criticism was entirely fair and warranted, but the one about 'too many spelling mistakes' was not: who is right? The agency, of course; however, it leaves me with a funny feeling that the following can occur again: 1) having translated many legal texts of the wills/birth certificates/criminal records/university degrees type, I am bound to state that my experience is in 'legal' translations; then, something like the above example comes along - i.e. industrial contract law - and my 'legal' experience comes undone instantly; 2) I translate something to the best of my knowledge and see no spelling errors but...the agency returns a verdict of incompetent translation.

Having passed one (medical translation) test two years ago and having worked with that agency since, in spite of errors being made during that test (which was done in pen-and-paper form in one sitting, with no dictionaries), I see that every agency has different levels of tolerance for errors as well as different benchmarks in their system: it is hard to know what to make of a rejection when it seems unjustified, but in the end you are compelled to ask yourself who exactly is doing the proofreading/assessing, and what they mean by 'spelling errors'.

All good, formative experiences!

Cheers!

[Edited at 2017-08-31 09:09 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-08-31 21:03 GMT]
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Chris S  Identity Verified
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FWIW Aug 31, 2017

Francesco Sani wrote:
He/she said 'it it unacceptable [to make so many spelling mistakes] in a test translation': if one mistake over two test translations is one too many, what chances does anyone have?


Every chance!

I would fail a test translation on a spelling error, unless the rest of the text was truly mindblowingly 101% amazeballs.

If something as easily remedied as a spelling error slips through the net in a test translation, you have to ask what will slip through the net in a real-world translation performed under time pressure...


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:10
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On feeedback on test translations with agencies Aug 31, 2017

Feedback is rarely given. One agency I worked with explained that they never gave feedback, particularly with those they have refused. It simply generated an exchange of e-mail that neither had the time to deal with really, and, most importantly, would not change the agency's mind. It's frustrating, but I can understand that.

I once did a test translation where an agent did provide feedback. The proofreader had changed my English choice of "judge" for the French term "magistrat". In
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Feedback is rarely given. One agency I worked with explained that they never gave feedback, particularly with those they have refused. It simply generated an exchange of e-mail that neither had the time to deal with really, and, most importantly, would not change the agency's mind. It's frustrating, but I can understand that.

I once did a test translation where an agent did provide feedback. The proofreader had changed my English choice of "judge" for the French term "magistrat". In English, the term "magistrate" does exist but it is a false friend for the French term "magistrat". I will not explain the details, but it is an extremely basic false friend that any FR>EN translator with legal knowledge is aware of. I was turned down for that "mistake" and I did not feel bad, but reassured that I was not going to waste my time defending basic legal terminology and fighting against someone who would be adding mistakes and false friends to my work. More than my hard-earned reputation is worth.

P.S. Punctuation is a tricky thing that good agencies care about getting right. A corrected test can be returned with punctuation corrections that are in line with in-house requriements or simply mistakes that over time we have considered are correct, but are in fact incorrect. Punctuation evolves too and there are also important differences in usage and rules from one language to another.
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Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
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And the most important? Aug 31, 2017

Chris S wrote:

Every chance!

I would fail a test translation on a spelling error, unless the rest of the text was truly mindblowingly 101% amazeballs.

If something as easily remedied as a spelling error slips through the net in a test translation, you have to ask what will slip through the net in a real-world translation performed under time pressure...



Now and then I happen to review test translations. It has been several times already that I would recommend a translator with grammar mistakes (Sic! not just a spelling slip) over the one - the style of writing was indicating it was the same person - who spelt flawlessly but constantly didn't make sense in her texts.
Grammar shortcomings here and there are easy to fix but illogical, unnaturarlly sounding sentences take much more time and effort.


 

Francesco Sani  Identity Verified
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Thank you Chris, Inga and Nikki. Aug 31, 2017

You made some very good points!

 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
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exactly Sep 1, 2017

Chris S wrote:

Francesco Sani wrote:
He/she said 'it it unacceptable [to make so many spelling mistakes] in a test translation': if one mistake over two test translations is one too many, what chances does anyone have?


Every chance!

I would fail a test translation on a spelling error, unless the rest of the text was truly mindblowingly 101% amazeballs.

If something as easily remedied as a spelling error slips through the net in a test translation, you have to ask what will slip through the net in a real-world translation performed under time pressure...



As a PM, I noticed that the best translators had always done a spell check at the very end. If I opened the file and ran the spell check straight away, Word would tell me all was fine.

These were the translators who never missed a deadline, and who used natural, up-to-date language, who pointed out problems in the source text rather than just guessing what was meant, who did the research.

To the point that I would first run a spell check on any test. It usually wasn't worth my time looking any further (although I usually had to at least go through the motions).


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
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feedback Sep 1, 2017

Nikki Scott-Despaigne wrote:

Feedback is rarely given. One agency I worked with explained that they never gave feedback, particularly with those they have refused. It simply generated an exchange of e-mail that neither had the time to deal with really, and, most importantly, would not change the agency's mind. It's frustrating, but I can understand that.



We only ever gave feedback to students we had coming for internships, because they were there to learn to provide good work.


 

Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei  Identity Verified
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I don't assess translations any more but... Sep 4, 2017

I would consider failing a translator over a spelling error that could easily be caught by a spellchecker. Running spellcheck on a finished translation is the most basic of the basics. If you can't be bothered to do that, what else can't you be bothered to do?

Exceptions:
1. If the rest of the test is otherwise excellent, as Chris said. Good translators don't grow on trees.
2. If the "error" was down to differences in British and American English - "color" instead of "
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I would consider failing a translator over a spelling error that could easily be caught by a spellchecker. Running spellcheck on a finished translation is the most basic of the basics. If you can't be bothered to do that, what else can't you be bothered to do?

Exceptions:
1. If the rest of the test is otherwise excellent, as Chris said. Good translators don't grow on trees.
2. If the "error" was down to differences in British and American English - "color" instead of "colour," "instill" instead of "instil," etc.
3. If I knew the translation test came with a very tight deadline I might ding them only slightly and move on.


[Edited at 2017-09-04 00:36 GMT]
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Francesco Sani  Identity Verified
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Thanks for all the replies. Sep 4, 2017

By the way, I decided to switch off the spell-checker (it had been giving me a headache as I needed both languages on the same text and could only set the spell-checker to correct one); when I changed one of the words several times over, I must have slipped and read it wrong. If I were to do this again, I would probably split the text over two documents and run the spell-checker over the target text, then copy and paste it into the source text document. A better way to manually spell-check is to... See more
By the way, I decided to switch off the spell-checker (it had been giving me a headache as I needed both languages on the same text and could only set the spell-checker to correct one); when I changed one of the words several times over, I must have slipped and read it wrong. If I were to do this again, I would probably split the text over two documents and run the spell-checker over the target text, then copy and paste it into the source text document. A better way to manually spell-check is to print something and score each word manually, which I have used to good effect.

In the end, as I am only an occasional translator - my client base is very, very small and work comes seldom - I do not have a system that works for all eventualities or is geared to maximum efficiency: indeed, sometimes I spend a lot of time on something and charge very little, because the experience is worth to me more than anything.

Therefore, I was very happy to have had the feedback and tried my hand at the test, as it was a good proxy for any such tests that I may sit in the future. I would like to perhaps stress that the idea that a person making a mistake is not serious about learning or about being professional is not realistic: all I can say is that in the field I mostly work in (music) mistakes are part of the whole package, i.e. you would never turn down a candidate for playing a wrong note, because expression is worth a lot more than perfect tuning throughout in some cases. I imagine that part of the problem with this is that all my translations have been approved by a consulate certification process, so it perhaps gives me a false sense of confidence that what I translate is correct in all aspects: you never get feedback on your translation, just a seal of approval.

Going back to music and language, I imagine that if someone were to publish a book from a translated source they would probably look at the ability of the translator to translate and reinvent the feeling of the original text, and would not turn it down over typos at the proofreading stage; in music, also, even professionals make mistakes on stage, but the public do not demand a refund over a wrong note or two.

The translation test situation, therefore, is a very specific context, where you may have to judge how to use your time: if sufficient time for proofreading (including punctuation) is not been made due to more time spent on actual terminology, this will not necessarily be appreciated if it is a cut-and-dry assessment where one typo does not allow the assessor to deem a candidate's effort worthwhile.

Thank you for your professional insight and I may post back if I did do another test in the near future.

[Edited at 2017-09-04 15:32 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-09-04 15:34 GMT]
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Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
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Who is Sylvia? Sep 4, 2017

I thought his name (or her name?) was Bo Smith.

Bo: I checked your Proz profile and you state that you have three (3) years of translation experience. At the risk of sounding ageist: how old are you?

It's usually the very young who feel the sting of rejection the deepest.


 

Jean Dimitriadis  Identity Verified
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Back from the dead Sep 4, 2017

This thread dates back to 2004, user named Bo Smith wrote his last reply here back at that time.

Talk about some frozen working experience...

Anyway, mix-ups like that are bound to happen when users keep reviving old threads.

But then again, unlike most forums, where necroposting is being frown upon, in ProZ, this practice does not seem to raise too many eyebrows...

Jean


 
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