An important aspect to consider with many test translations is the quality dilemma. On the one hand, a test typically involves several vendors competing with each other and/or very thorough evaluation by a customer who looks to choose the best quality. On the other hand, a vendor is expected to deliver the exact quality that it will maintain in future. This means that a test translation must be representative. Any misbalance negatively impacts the customer: it is not rare to see a vendor invest much effort in the test translation, and then, after winning the project, deliver a worse product.
Let’s take a closer look at this dilemma. While arranging a test translation, a customer often contacts several vendors and chooses the most appealing translation among the provided samples. Such test essentially becomes a competition between the vendors looking to win by providing the highest possible quality. Another reason for them to focus on quality is the special attention that the customer naturally pays when reviewing the samples. Due to this, the test quality is often above the average, “production” level typical for this vendor. Imagine that a translator generally produces 2,000 words daily. While translating a test sample, they invest more time in editing and polishing, yielding just 300 words on that day. However, in case they win, there is no way to keep spending the same amount of time on the actual translations, which means that the quality will decrease. The customer will always expect the high “test” quality, though. To add further insult to injury, it is generally difficult to maintain constant quality in this industry due to human error, i.e., the quality is likely to fluctuate anyway.
We always approach this dilemma individually for each test. Each time, we are looking to deliver a balanced sample that has the expected quality, while also representing our typical level. This ensures that our test sample demonstrates the exact quality we will deliver in future.
Interestingly, some customers, mainly agencies, tend to limit the timeframe provided for the test translation, artificially creating the “real project” conditions to specifically obtain the representative, not polished quality. However, this approach has a clear drawback for the translator who is deprived of the schedule flexibility. In case of an emergency situation, they will be either forced to translate in a hurry or simply fail to meet the deadline.
If you share our passion for translation quality, we might be a great match, so be sure to contact us for your English to Russian translation needs.