I (no - I believe EVERY freelance translator) am often asked to do a "trial translation" when I get in contact with a new company, or in some cases also for companies I have been working with for long years already, but where **new clients** ask for these trials. In the latter case at least the translation agency PAYS for the work done.
Otherwise somebody (who?) evaluates my work using some mysterious "quality criteria" that are neither defined nor disclosed and then comes to the conclusion, that I am not qualified - but, of course, cannot tell me why. I am sentenced guilty, but do not get a chance to defend myself (my work).
Typical example of a response from such a company:
"Our evaluators checked your translation strictly against the same criteria our Clients evaluate us, and we regret to inform you that your translation was not awarded a passing mark. We understand the disappointment, but in compliance with internal policies, evaluation details are kept confidential."
If they cannot tell ME about MY work, I must assume they are ashamed of THEIR work ...
In those cases in which the other party had the courage to show me (again an experience that probably ALL translators worldwide share) their "corrections" (those little red marks all over the paper), they usually turn out to be insignificant stylistic changes or even outright mistakes.
To quote someone from a (translators) mailing list:
"If you actually ask them to make a list of what is actually "wrong", most claims are usually unfounded (style issues, minor formatting, ambiguous source text, in-house company-specific abbreviations, job titles etc).
Style issues are particularly bad for English where there often myriads of alternatives but you can only pick _one_ word. Customer A wants that word, but Customer B wants one of the other ones and Customer C wants something different again.
Quite often also, the "issues" disappear completely as soon as you ask the agency to put something in writing."
In what other industry and for what possible product/service would this kind of claim be possible? For a reclamation about a defective product you have to produce evidence of the shortcoming/defect = show the defective product. If you take a written examination, usually you get back at least your grades and most likely also the examination paper WITH the correction marks.
If a translator does a trial which is then rejected, the company that considers the quality of that trial inferior, must certainly be very confident about the quality of their own work and the editors who evaluated the trial. If they are absolutely right and have so much confidence -> well then there cannot be any sensible reason for this secrecy!
For these reasons I have to decided NOT to do any trials any more. Above (refers to a page on my website: http://www.einklang.com/Translation%20samples.htm) I provided a number of actual translation samples. Check / investigate / judge them any which way you choose. If you like them: fine. If not: I am sorry.
And ... if ANY of (your) evaluators tells you, they can check/evaluate the quality of my translations ONLY using the sample that particular company has provided ... then you have a SERIOUS PROBLEM with your evaluator(s)!!!
The chief virtue that language can have is clearness,
and nothing detracts from it so much as the use of unfamiliar words.