I've been contacted as a freelancer about a project. It's not my field of knowledge exactly, as it's in a different language and all that, but we agreed it should be trivial to learn it and related technology in a timely manner. When I felt I know enough I was given a test project to show my skills. The tasks are quite simple and aren't the obstacle to the job. The bummer is that one of dependencies just doesn't work with a cryptic error message. The search on the Internet I've been conducting for the past week doesn't get me anywhere, and I'm getting progressively anxious and frustrated, since no proposed solution is applicable or working for me. I've tried asking in relevant IRC channels and in the official mailing list, but have gotten no responses so far.
While I was given "as much as you need" time to complete the tasks, I've not really done anything meaningful due to this since the error prevents the project from running at all.
How can I explain my situation the best to the employer? I feel I need to let them know I've not gotten anywhere, since just waiting for the problem to go away won't work, and probably they could have already encountered the exact error and could guide me in fixing it or at least decide to let me go right away, just so I wouldn't get worked over it too hard.