If you haven’t received a purchase order specifying timescales, wordcount and price, do take work in the meantime. A lot of projects get delayed and even cancelled, and you might find yourself twiddling your thumbs and regretting turning down other jobs.
If you’ve got experience and credentials (nevermind references), surely this demonstrates that you are a seasoned professional who can be trusted to do a good job. If you’re a beginner, be careful. What some unscrupulous agencies might mean is “Do a section of this for free, we’ll put it together with all the other “tests” we’ve sent round and voilà! Our project is done for free”. However, don’t dismiss all tests that agencies may ask you to do. I agreed to do a free test this year because the person who wanted to work with me sounded extremely professional, was offering interesting projects and didn’t haggle over rates. This has turned into a mutually beneficial work relationship. Trust your gut feeling on this one.
Before agreeing to deliver a translation at a certain time, even verbally, you must have a look at it. The 2,000 words might magically turn into 20,000 words (it has happened to me) and the “really easy” prose may be full of technical jargon that only 8 years of study in space science could prepare you for.
Maybe. First of all, ask for their details and carry out a quick Internet check to make sure they actually exist. Next, use translators’ lists on payment practices to ask colleagues whether they’ve worked for that agency and what their feedback is. Lastly, trust your gut feeling: is the tone of the email/phone call professional? Do they mention terms? Do they give details of the project?
No self-respecting professional would try and get another professional to cheapen themselves. You won’t be respected as a translator by devaluing your own work.
Of course, no problem. I just won’t include those words in my translation, and you can just add them yourself after delivery. Seriously, a text is an entity, and it is not practical or fair to ask a translator to not charge for certain words just because they appear more than once. We still have to type them, and they’re an integral part of sentences. Besides, “can” might well appear lots of times in your document, but just because I translated it a certain way the first time I came across it doesn’t mean that it should be translated in the same way in its subsequent occurrences.
One colleague’s rates and business practices are nothing to do with me. I charge a fair rate, which allows me to live decently and stay in business. Lowering my rates might mean having to take on another job, which would impact on the quality of my translations, or stop translating altogether and chose a more lucrative career.
Business relationships aren’t personal relationship and have to be regulated so that both parties agree on some basic terms. A purchase order protects the client (you’ve signed a paper specifying when and how you’ll deliver your translation) as well as the translator (you have proof that you got commissioned to do work in case of payment delays or problems).
Can you please send me the proofread translation with annotations from the proofreader? I am fairly certain I sent you a decent document and I would like to discuss any problem that arose at the proofreading stage before I accept to redo the translation.
This is none of my business. My business relationship is with you, not the end client. If you agree that I delivered a quality translation on time, then stick to the terms of our agreement