One of the lessons I’ve learned when I started selling things (some time ago), is that you need to encourage your clients to show they’re serious, just like they expect you. Being serious means they can spend money.
So, how do you reconcile the constant requests for “free test translations” with the need to get some minimal commitment from the client?
When new (potential) clients approach us and ask for test translations, our goal is to build engagement. Engagement is a two-sided process. On our side, we do some work for free and on the client’s side, they evaluate this work, give feedback and would consider us for their translation work.
I’m thinking that we should have an official, published policy for test translations and I want your help to get it right.
How to Get Test Translations
In my opinion, the best way for giving test translations is from the project chat.
Clients invite translators to apply for their projects. This is already the beginning of a fruitful engagement. As translators, you need to spend time responding to these invitations, so translating a paragraph would not be any more effort.
We can encourage clients to send a test paragraph when interviewing translators. This would give clients what they want and would also give us what we need (direct interaction with the client).
Length of Test Translation
The second question is how long should test translations be? Of course, they need to be meaningful, but they shouldn’t turn into projects. And, we don’t want to be doing test translations the whole day. It’s supposed to show clients how we work, not do the whole job as a test.
What would you recommend for maximum test for test translations?