Translation and Language Industry Observations

As a translation company sales person or freelance translator, you may be getting requests to provide free samples. If you say yes, then you are probably wasting time and resources for nothing.

Hello, We are a law firm and used few human translation companies, but we are not satisfied with the quality of translation. I would like to request a free sample translation, a text less than 75 words to evaluate the quality of translation. Would you please let me know if this is something you could assist me with? Thank you

This is a typical request for a free translation sample. Notice the buildup to the request. The law firm used a few translation services and were disappointed with the translation quality. Now let’s consider that for a moment. If someone marries a woman who got divorced five times and he is husband number six, what are the chances the marriage will survive until death do us part? I would say zero chances. Because the five divorces did not happen for no reason. There is a systemic problem here. The same thing about this perennially dissatisfied law firm. It would be naive to think that your company or your service will give this firm great satisfaction.

The fact that this firm tried a few translation companies and was consistently dissatisfied with the result should already set off warning bells in your mind. And it may be a good idea to keep away from this client. If you work with them, then you may be looking for trouble. And if you give them a free sample, chances are that they will be dissatisfied. So why waste your time?

In our experience of 20 years in the translation business, providing free samples will almost never get you an order. If you are not very busy and can afford to give away free samples then do it. Just don’t build up any hopes or expectations.

Also consider that some dishonest people are looking for a way to get a translation that they need without paying for it.

What you should do when asked for a free sample?

  1. Say no or just ignore the request.
  2. Tell the customer that you will be happy to provide a paid sample for evaluation. That way, even if they are dissatisfied with the result then at least you get paid for it.
  3. Provide the customer with examples of translations that you have done for other clients. Of course you will need to redact the text if it contains any confidential information.
  4. Provide the customer with references who can be contacted to provide recommendations on your service.
  5. Point the customer to online reviews if you have any to show.

 

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