One of the lessons we learnt when ICanLocalize first started, is that you need to encourage your clients to show you that they are serious, just like they expect you to be.
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 will consider us for their translation work.
How to Get Test Translations
In our 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. Translators need to spend time responding to these invitations, so translating a paragraph would not be much more effort.
We can encourage clients to send a test paragraph when inviting and interviewing translators (mainly for large website projects). This would give clients what they want and would also give us what we need (direct interaction with the client).
Length of Test Translation
How long should test translations be? Naturally, they need to be meaningful, but they shouldn’t turn into projects. In addition, 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.
After thinking it through we think a maximum of 200 words is fine for a large project of 2,000 words or more.
Clients, translators – any thoughts?