It’s important not just to understand where people go wrong, but also to understand what you have to do to succeed. To read more on how we evaluate tasks, check out this article.
Since Unbabel was founded, we’ve seen thousands of editors take their first steps towards earning money with us. So we know what separates those who passed our simple evaluation tests and those who didn’t - and it’s not magic, it’s simpler than you think. We’ve put together this guide of common mistakes to help you with your next evaluation.
When you open up a task, you’ll see a register that’s set on the side of the page. It will either say formal or informal, depending on the customer’s needs. In limited cases, you’ll see N/A in the register field, which means you should make your own decision based on the source text.
It’s vitally important that you follow this - put simply: if you choose to write in a register that doesn’t match the client’s request, you will most likely fail that evaluation.
Check out the language guidelines and linguistic tips for examples of the correct register for your language. Remember, it doesn’t matter whether you would personally write that way - you’re not the one answering the email. Just follow the client’s specifications and you’ll be fine!
2 Language variety
It’s vital that you ensure the translated text is in the standard variety of the language as set out in the language guidelines. If you’re working with German, for example, this means working exclusively in standard German, from Germany. Any deviations from the standard we work with will be classed as errors, even if they are standard in a different form.
If you’re working with a language where we support more than one form, e.g. Spanish, Portuguese or Chinese, you must complete work as appropriate according to your language pairs. This means, for example, that if you are registered for European Portuguese, writing in Brazilian Portuguese would be classed as an error.
It seems like a small thing, but so many editors fail their evaluations because they don’t use the correct punctuation. Take a look at the examples below for a text in English - notice how different the text is with and without the correct punctuation.
Thank you for reaching out - we’re thrilled that you’ve chosen to shop with us
Although your delivery ordered on 25th January is eligible for our Special Delivery service we are currently experiencing very long wait times due to a shortage of delivery drivers
At this time we’d like to ask for your patience while we try to locate your order and we will get back to you soon we promise
Brenda Senior Customer Agent
Thank you for reaching out - we’re thrilled that you’ve chosen to shop with us!
Although your delivery (ordered on 25th January) is eligible for our Special Delivery service, we are currently experiencing very long wait times due to a shortage of delivery drivers.
At this time we’d like to ask for your patience while we try to locate your order, and we will get back to you soon, we promise!
Brenda, Senior Customer Agent
In the text on the left, not only are there several errors and a general lack of knowledge of general convention in writing an email, there are also a couple of points where the lack of punctuation proves confusing. For example, is Brenda a Senior Customer Agent, or is she a Customer Agent whose name is Brenda Senior?
Correct punctuation is vital. The misuse, overuse, or omission of punctuation will result in poor evaluation scores.
4 Poor post-edition
Sometimes the most well-meaning editors fall down at a hurdle that’s less obvious - they might be using their translation experience, but missing the point of post-edition. Over-editing or under-editing can both spell disaster for your evaluation scores. Take a look at our comprehensive guide to post-editing here.
5 Not reading the Language Guidelines
We really can’t say it often enough - it’s so important to know what we expect of you when working in your language. For this, it’s vital that you read our language guidelines and get to grips with our requirements before you attempt any tasks.
6 Not checking your work
Sometimes, the worst errors are those that we can identify ourselves easily. You’d be amazed what you can find at a final check before sending off the work, and those few seconds that you spend doing it could be the difference between a 3* rating and a 5* rating.
Check before you send - don’t lose access for something you would have spotted easily. You’re looking to answer the following question: does this sound like it was written by a native speaker?