IS THERE ANY BENEFIT IN TAKING A FREELANCE TRANSLATION TEST? When you are seeking clients as a freelance translator, applying to agencies is a logical place to begin. However when an agency or a client asks you to take a test as part of your application for project work, you need to tread carefully. Some agencies will tell you that they require a test to ascertain your proficiency level. All too often, these so-called “tests” have an unnecessarily large word count, making them appear to be more of an attempt to have text translated without charge than anything else. In addition, many of these agencies are notorious for their lack of communication regarding the tests results with the freelance translator who has submitted the application. So using this process to gauge your own proficiency is not viable. On the other hand, when a prospective client requests a test translation, you can communicate with them and make sure that the basics required for an accurate translation are included with these four tips: 1. Provide the client with a standardized word count format for the test translation can avoid confusion. Keeping in mind the time required to perform a translation, 250-300 words should be adequate to gauge your ability 2. Ask the client for materials that are relevant to the translation; such as reference material or technical information. 3. Ask the client to provide the context. This is especially important in technical or scientific translations. 4. Make sure you know who will read the translation. Writing about computer technology to professionals requires a different approach than writing on the same topic to teenagers. The bottom line to translating text at no charge is be sure that there is value in doing so; either it will give you the opportunity to gauge your skill or it will lead to an assignment.