May 11

Is this still a test translation?

I was recently asked to perform a test translation for one of the European translation companies. The test was from English into Polish and on the subject of Summary of Product Characteristics and Patient Information Leaflet. I was enthusiastic about it as I feel confident in this specialism.
I approached the test translation as any other translation job I receive from clients, which means I commenced with doing research. Since I know my tools and reference materials, it was natural for me to go to the website of the Polish Office for Registration of Medicinal Products, Medical Devices and Biocidal Products (Polish: Urząd Rejestracji Produktów Leczniczych, Wyrobów Medycznych i Produktów Biobójczych). As in any other country, this regulatory body makes available to the public a database of all approved medicinal products etc., including SmPCs and PILs.

I am sure you know what I am about to write: in the database I found the exact same text that I was to deliver as a test. Of course, it was already in Polish. After I read it, I had very little “from-scratch” source to translate.

I informed the TC that in the course of my research, I found the Polish counterpart of the test in the database and that the fact is that test did not serve its purpose. The company acknowledged receipt of my email and since then…. silence.

Not sure how to explain it. Perhaps it just takes this long to review it. This, though, made me think how difficult it is to derive a test that has not been translated before? Maybe for certain subject areas it is more difficult to find a unique document, but then at least change all brand names to XXX, AAA or really anything.

In fact, I started to doubt as to the usefulness of test translations. Can 200 words tell anything about a translator’s skills?

P.S. Got the result – PASS :)

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