Today I want to talk about a controversial topic: translation tests and whether we should get paid for taking them or not.
I am sure this is not the first time you’ve heard about this, and no matter on which side of the conversation you are, it is always important to have that conversation.
If you are a translator, you know that many clients, especially translation agencies, ask for a translation test as part of the requirements to be added to their pool of linguists. Of course, you also need to send your up-to-date CV, forms, NDAs, and others.
When it comes to translation tests, they are usually short tests that are used to measure your knowledge and expertise as a translator. They can be of a general topic, or a specialized one if that is what you are applying for. The tests can have from 200 to 300 words, and you have a due date of about 2-3 business days to deliver them.
Now, I know that amount of words is not big but when you do have other actual paying projects, it can be difficult sometimes to squeeze in these tests. This means that you’d probably end up taking the test at the end of the day when you are already tired and won’t have a lot of time to review it before sending it back to the client.
So, are these tests the best way to measure our expertise? Can a translator’s expertise be measured in any way? I don’t think that one 200-300 words test can measure someone’s expertise. The client doesn’t know under which conditions you took it. I think the only way of really knowing how good a translator is, or isn’t, is by working with that translator for a while.
And then we get to the juicy part: Should we get paid for those tests? After all, we are using our time and resources to take the tests. This is something that is still in a gray area in the translation field. Some agencies do pay for the test but most, don’t do that.
I think that we deserve to get paid for anything we do, why should we be doing things for free? Because it has always been that way? I understand that. I’ve taken many tests for free, and will probably continue to do so if the industry doesn’t make any changes. But I’ve also been lucky to get paid for a few of them.
What has your experience been liked when it comes to translation tests? Do you get paid for them or not? I’d love to hear more about it in the comments… and don’t forget to hit the subscribe button!
Thank you again to Day Translations for sponsoring this blog post. Check out more about them and their services here: https://daytranslations.com/
And my next post will be about the results of those tests (get ready for that!).
Until then, take care and stay safe!