The Institute of Translation and Interpreting’s 25th Anniversary Conference took place in Birmingham on 7-8 May. It was a fantastic event that gave us all lots to think about and plenty of great ideas to put into practice.
One of the workshops, No translator is an island, examined the sort of human interactions translators have to deal with in their work. A scenario that got the group pretty riled up was being asked to do test translations, especially unpaid ones. Yet many professionals and business owners offer a free consultation or trial run before you commit to their service. Marketing consultants or designers come to mind. Even lawyers.
Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to do a poll on this subject and compare the views of translators with those of other business owners.
For the record. I don’t like doing test translations but think a new client is justified in asking for one — of around 250 words, say — without charge or else payable on completion of the main project. As long as that project is reasonably long and/or will potentially lead to more work. However, if an agency I’d been working with for some time asked me to do a test — at the client’s behest — for what would end up being the agency’s new client, I’d expect the agency to pay me for it.
But I do see the client’s point of view on this issue. And, as top translator Chris Durban pointed out, translation clients can have a pretty tough time.
So, take the poll and let me know what you think. Or throw rotten tomatoes at me in the comments.
By Marian Dougan