Should you say "Yes" to a free German to English translation to prove your translation skills?
This is a fairly common request.
It normally comes up when a potential client wants to be sure that the German translator can do the job before being officially given the go-ahead.
Although you wouldn’t expect a plumber/doctor/taxi driver to meekly agree to an unpaid test installation/examination/journey, somehow translation is regarded differently.
It’s “just translating”.
However, seen from the view of the outsourcer, your potential client, why should they spend potentially significant sums if they have no guarantee that the translation you’ll provide meets professional standards?
They want to avoid wasting time and money getting your text redone.
So, when asked, your answer is....JEIN! ("JA" and "NEIN" – i.e. "yes" and "no"!)
As so often, it depends.
You may agree to a free German to English translation test when you:
On the other hand, you might REFUSE to provide a free German to English translation where:
I’ve occasionally come across forum discussions on translator community websites warning about outsourcers who attempt to obtain a free German to English translation by asking several translators to provide “sample translations”.
Each translator is sent a separate section of the original text as the outsourcer attempts to get the entire text translated free of charge.
Luckily, active discussion and blacklists maintained by the translator community makes this sort of practice increasingly rare.
To secure the job, and hopefully win a new client offering repeat work, you may be tempted to offer a special reduced rate for a first translation.
But bearing in mind that it’s always harder to put your prices up than to reduce them (!), the terms of any such offer have to be clearly spelt out.
Quote your standard German translation line or word rate, and then offer a once-off discount, as a percentage. You might also want to specify a maximum text length to which this offer applies.
Any serious client will appreciate this offer.
This solution indicates that both sides are interested in entering a professional partnership.
I hope this gives you a little food for thought and helps prepare you for the inevitable free German to English translation request!
German Translation Tips & Resources
Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. There is no extra charge to you. I only link to products & services I think are good, or helpful to anyone interested in German translation!