The possibility of getting a job offer that does not fit your skill set will always be one of the worries of translators, may they be new in the industry or pro. Here are some warning signs that you should look out for when taking on a translation job to help protect yourself from taking in bad translation projects.

Unpaid “Translation Test”

Some job offers will ask you to take on an unpaid translation test so that the client will have a “general idea” on your level of translation knowledge and proficiency. Although tests are only logical as there are also some unscrupulous individuals who pretend to be translators, an unpaid testing is also a way for clients to save up as they can use that test for their project.

Get more information about the “test” that your client wishes you to perform. If it’s like a standard test where you answer some questions and will only take about 3-5 minutes yet still provide an accurate assessment of your skills, then that will be okay. However, if the test is about translating a full paragraph or a page, then insist that your client view your CV, provide an online portfolio, as well as a list of recommendations and testimonials for other clients. If your client insists, then be firm about asking for payment when doing so.

Volume for Discount

It’s amazing to get bulk projects, but some clients will give you a great number of translation projects to finish in exchange for a lower fee. What you need to always remember as a translator is that you are offering your services, not products that can be bought and sold by bulk. You’ve invested a lot of energy and money to become a successful translator, and providing discounts downplays your efforts and abilities as a translator.

Insist that you are provided with the project while retaining the same fees that you usually give for projects. It takes a lot of time and effort to complete a big workload, and you should be compensated accordingly

Requesting Lower Rates

Some clients will ask for lower rates claiming that the project is “simple” and “easy” to do for a translator at your level. They may even throw in that they can do it themselves if they only have the time to do so.

Remember that you have spent a lot for professional development, and a translation job may be easy for you simply because you have invested so much for your career. A professional translator will never play with fees and will always stick to their rates. Educate the client that lower fees mean lower quality of work, and their translation project will suffer. Not only that, your reputation as a professional translator will be compromised when news gets around that you’ve delivered a sub-standard output to a client.

Unrealistic Deadlines

Translation projects that are to be delivered yesterday spell trouble. A client who offers a translation project and expects it to be delivered within the hour or within an impossible time frame is one who does not know how the process of translation works.
Educate the client that translation needs time as you need to use several references and utilize tools that will help you deliver an excellent translation that will reflect on your skills and professionalism. Negotiate with the client and insist on a realistic deadline for the project based on your workload as well as your capabilities.

A translator’s skill is sharpened and honed with every translation project, but do not think twice about denying such offers, and don’t feel bad if you reject them. These translation projects will compromise your reputation and will also affect your skills. Repeated acceptance of such projects will eventually force you to be lax on your work ethics as you are not adequately compensated for your efforts. Steer clear from them and never lower your standards so that you will always get job offers that will provide both challenge and financial stability.