Test Tasks: What’s Assessed and How When Choosing Localization Providers


When hiring, the majority of companies that specialize in translation and localization ask applicants to perform a test task. However, this can sometimes be a cause of frustration or strife. Together with the Inlingo team, we take a look at why to perform a test task and what to focus on to increase your chances of working with the company. 

To do or not to do? 

A test task allows you to give a complete picture of yourself as a translator. For example, with the help of a test task, the employer can assess:

  • your literary translation skills
  • your ability to meet deadlines
  • your work on culturalization and adaptation
  • your knowledge of working with the variables and technical features of game localization
  • your competence with basic and advanced game terminology
  • your ability to follow instructions
  • your information-finding skills
  • your ability to clearly communicate your thinking and justify your decisions.

Nonetheless, the necessity of performing a test task does sometimes prompt questions and doubts. Let’s take a closer look at two of the most common objections.

“So, I have to work for free?”

The company wouldn’t risk its reputation by splitting a real order between applicants, as this would seriously affect the quality of the translation and its consistency. It would be much easier just to translate the whole text from scratch than to try to patch together a cohesive translation produced this way.

“Why isn’t my work experience and portfolio enough?”

Experience and relevant examples of translation work will, of course, positively influence the speed of the employer’s response and increase your chances of reaching the next stage of the selection process. However, that really isn’t enough to get a full impression of your work.

It’s probably the case that the translation samples in your portfolio were proofread and edited more than once. A test task allows us to see how the translator works with a text when they don’t have the opportunity to make corrections and return to the text at any time.

Work in real conditions depends on a number of factors: the quality of the source text, the deadlines established, the project team, and your knowledge of particular genres and settings. Furthermore, clients have specific requirements: strict length limits have to be observed, a creative approach is needed for character names, or jokes and memes have to be adapted. A test task is compiled in such a way as to assess these skills in conditions that closely resemble work on an actual project.

Inlingo recruiting expert

Important things to consider when performing a test task

With most companies, test tasks are universal and compiled from the different types of texts that their translators work with: dialogues, names, interface elements, verse, etc. In rare cases when a project is very specific, a separate test task is created and a special team is assembled to assess it. When you check your work before submitting it, it’s worth paying particular attention to the following points:

✅ Responsibility and meeting deadlines

When you are discussing a test task with a recruiter, you should immediately assess the difficulty of the task and the proposed deadline, and ask all necessary questions. This emphasizes your responsible attitude to the task, which is very important in localization. A failure to observe deadlines can be a red flag at the first stage of the selection process.  

Grammatical agreement with variables

When translating lines with variables, it is important to remember that different numbers may affect grammar. This is precisely why a translation such as, “{0} minutes ago,” may signal that you do not have sufficient gaming experience or experience translating games.  

Understanding game mechanics and terminology

If, instead of “backpack” and “inventory”, you write “rucksack” or “bag” in the target, it’s worth adding a comment to the translation and justifying your word choice.   

Adaptation skills

In game texts, there are very often references to movies, literature, and, of course, memes. That’s why it’s very important to recognize and correctly adapt references like that in a test task. We recommend that you pay particular attention to this part, as this is a specific indicator of how well you can work in localization, and not just in translation.   

Overall accuracy

Typos, usage errors, incorrect punctuation and mistakes with capitalization, as well as an inability to express yourself clearly in comments, can all cast doubt on your competence. Furthermore, the employer may take this as a sign that you are not ready to read over your own translations, which, when working on a real order, can have critical consequences.  


An accurately and attractively presented test with tidy formatting that conforms to the requirements of the sample will also act as a recommendation for you as a candidate. Formatting demonstrates how seriously and responsibly you approach your work, as well as how much you value your own efforts and the company’s time.

A test task where the fonts aren’t jumbled up, and punctuation marks and parts of the task don’t go missing is a serious indicator of quality. This is particularly important if you are applying for work as an editor, as you absolutely have to be scrupulous and exceptionally attentive to detail. Clean and tidy text is the product of a clean and tidy mind.

Inlingo Lead Editor

Frequent mistakes when performing test tasks

Excessive gamer slang in translation

“Tank”, “nerf”, and “rekt” are all fine when you’re posting on forums, but aren’t used in interfaces and quests. On the other hand, it is highly desirable that you do know this type of slang, as you can’t work successfully in localization without some idea of how the gaming community talks.  

❌ Lack of culturalization

It is this in particular that differentiates localization from simple translation. This is why it is important to convert measurements of weight, length, time and temperature, to adapt cultural references, and to take into account political and ideological specifics in the target language, such as censorship or gender-neutral pronouns.  

❌ Lack of consistency

Unfortunately, it is often the case in test tasks that candidates don’t notice discrepancies in their translation or provide different translations for generic lines. It’s important to pay attention to the consistency of your terminology, as when you are working on a real project you do sometimes have to sacrifice the stylistic elegance of your text for the sake of prescribed translation rules and line limitations.

The most important thing is how naturally your text reads. Unfortunately, candidates often get bogged down in translating mechanics and terminology, trying to ensure that all variables work, but forgetting about the naturalness of the text. There’s only one piece of advice here: if you have time, re-read your text without looking at the source. Preferably, the day after you translated it. You’ll immediately be able to see what’s not right.

Inlingo Lead Editor

The test task’s ready. What now?

Usually, candidates will receive an answer within a week of submitting a test task. It’s important to understand that it’s not worth expecting detailed feedback on your translation, as that’s not part of the assessor’s job. Depending on how well you have performed the task, your application may be accepted or rejected.

There is also a third option—you did a good job with the task, but there are currently no suitable projects or another candidate did even better. In this case, you will be put into the reserve pool of freelancers.

Even if you did slightly worse on one part of the test task than on the rest of it, that’s no reason to give up. If you are good at finding and adapting pop culture references in a text, an error in choosing terms for Nintendo won’t be the reason for rejecting your application. There’s a good chance that we’ll find a project that allows you to demonstrate your talents and we’ll help you with issues in areas where your knowledge and experience is still insufficient.

Inlingo recruiting expert