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giving personal information
Thread poster: Roy Williams

Roy Williams  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 17:28
German to English
May 28, 2008

Hi everyone. two days ago I responded to a job posting on Proz. As this was my first attempt to aquire freelance work outside of my in-house job. I was told that they were reviewing CVs and sample translation and in the mean time I should link my profile to their site to make it easier to notify me if I was selected and of future jobs. I thought this was great; this was a chance to get my foot in the door. I clicked on the link provided and was taken to a screen inviting me to register so I continued. After filling out the first page, which asked for experience, the next page prompted me to fill in my personal information. This is where I hit the brakes. Among the required information, indictated by a red star, was birth date and country of birth. I'm always hesitant to give my postal address and phone number over the internet (and when I say hesitant, I mean almost never) but date and country of birth seem a little too personal, especially when the native language has already been requested.

Needless to say I did not complete the registration. I am curious though, is requesting such information from a translator a common practice? What possible purpose could it serve? Anyone have a similar experience?


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Sanmar
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:28
English to Dutch
+ ...
Not unusual May 28, 2008

In my experience it is not uncommon for agencies to ask for information such as country of birth and your telephone/fax numbers. However, I always feel that the actual date of birth is not really relevant.

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Sandra Peters-Schöbel
Germany
Local time: 17:28
Member (2007)
English to German
+ ...
sense or nonsense of registration pages May 28, 2008

Hi Wilroy,

posting on proz.com is definitely a good way to start as freelancer.
I just have given up my inhouse employment myself to work freelance completely.

Well, regarding your comment: I personally do not find birth date and country of birth that personal that I'd never fill it in. But that is of course only my feeling.

The question is rather: do those registration pages make any sense at all? I sometimes use proz.com to check homepages of those bidding agencies, and sometimes I register myself. Some pages are very simple and ask for the basic information, for some you would need hours to fill in.
When I started I did register even on those ones, but if I remember right I have never got any job offers via those pages.
I got my first jobs via proz.com, just by sending my CV and pointing to my profile.
If the bidder is interested in your service, he/she will contact you and ask for rates again, details like delivery, availability, how often you are checking your e-mail account, if you are availabe via instant messaging...
those are - according to my understanding - the important details.

So continue bidding, and forget about those pages, if you do not feel comfortable with them. As soon as you will have finished your first freelance jobs and the customers like your work, they will contact you personally anyway instead of bidding or using your profile.

Good luck!
Sandra


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:28
Swedish to English
+ ...
You just got me thinking May 28, 2008

Personally, I would never give my d.o.b.

I might consider giving the year and place of birth though. That information might, and only might, give the client an idea of my scholastic background and linguistic ability (i.e. young, and not so young, people in Sweden today appear to have problems with the correct usage of de/dem (they/them). I've also heard rumours of school books hyphenating compounds to aid readability.

Now that you mention this, I can see a very good reason for anyone with a Swedish personal number not giving this info (this might apply to other Nordic countries as well).

A Swedish personal number uses the following formula: YYMMDD-XXX. If I give my d.o.b. I have effectively given the first 6 digits. The next two digits indicate the area where you were born. AFAIK, these have changed over the years, but in this scenario, I have given both the year I was born and the area. When I was born there were only three possibilities for Stockholm - so they now have the first 8 digits. The next digit indicates my gender - even number = female, odd = male. So now they only have five possibilities of getting this right. The final digit is a control number. I remember in my very first job (back in the stoneage), as an international telephone operator, using a formula to check whether a personal number was correct. You can easily google to find this formula.

By giving the info the agency requires, I would effectively give them my full personal number. And in Sweden personal numbers are used for almost everything - not at all comparable to UK NI numbers or US social security number. Identity theft here we go.

Maybe I'm just a little bit paranoid, but I see no reason to give a client, agency or end-client, this kind of info.


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:28
Italian to English
+ ...
Do you not need to quote it on your invoices anyway? May 28, 2008

Madeleine MacRae Klintebo wrote:

Personally, I would never give my d.o.b.

I might consider giving the year and place of birth though. That information might, and only might, give the client an idea of my scholastic background and linguistic ability (i.e. young, and not so young, people in Sweden today appear to have problems with the correct usage of de/dem (they/them). I've also heard rumours of school books hyphenating compounds to aid readability.

Now that you mention this, I can see a very good reason for anyone with a Swedish personal number not giving this info (this might apply to other Nordic countries as well).

A Swedish personal number uses the following formula: YYMMDD-XXX. If I give my d.o.b. I have effectively given the first 6 digits. The next two digits indicate the area where you were born. AFAIK, these have changed over the years, but in this scenario, I have given both the year I was born and the area. When I was born there were only three possibilities for Stockholm - so they now have the first 8 digits. The next digit indicates my gender - even number = female, odd = male. So now they only have five possibilities of getting this right. The final digit is a control number. I remember in my very first job (back in the stoneage), as an international telephone operator, using a formula to check whether a personal number was correct. You can easily google to find this formula.

By giving the info the agency requires, I would effectively give them my full personal number. And in Sweden personal numbers are used for almost everything - not at all comparable to UK NI numbers or US social security number. Identity theft here we go.

Maybe I'm just a little bit paranoid, but I see no reason to give a client, agency or end-client, this kind of info.


The Italian codice fiscale, which is equivalent to a British NI number, is made up of the first three consonants of each of your surname and first name, your date of birth, a code corresponding to your place of birth and a check letter - so identity theft is a real possibility with this system too, but you have to quote it on everything, including invoices you send to the client (you also need to quote your VAT registration number, of course, plus the client's own VAT registration number and codice fiscale).


Anyway, to answer WilRoy's question, no it's not unusual to be asked to give so much information, but it's long been postulated on this site that the longer the form an agency asks you to fill in, the less likely they are to give you any work.

[Edited at 2008-05-28 14:18]

[Edited at 2008-05-28 14:20]


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:28
Swedish to English
+ ...
True, I had to when I resided in Sweden May 28, 2008

Marie-Hélène Hayles wrote:
Do you not need to quote it on your invoices anyway?

As I was registered as a sole trader, my company registration number was the same as my personal number. Only, by the time I issued an invoice I felt had already established some kind of relationship with the client. Giving this kind of info when filling in online forms for every Tom, Dick and Harry is somewhat different though.

But you are right Marie-Hélène, both in our private and professional lives, we constantly have to disclose personal information which could be used for identity theft. I'll just have to keep my paranoia in check.


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Thorson
Local time: 17:28
Danish to English
Illegal in the US May 28, 2008

It's illegal in the US for a potential employer to ask for your date of birth due to age discrimination laws.

Too bad the rest of the world doesn't prohibit age discrimination in employment.


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Roy Williams  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 17:28
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
thanks May 29, 2008

Thanks all for your insight. I'm still not sure if I'm going to register with this agency; though from their homepage they seem credible. If it's true that one almost never recieves work after filling out the form, I don't see the point in giving up so much personal information for nothing.

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Roy Williams  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 17:28
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
another good point May 29, 2008

Thorson wrote:

It's illegal in the US for a potential employer to ask for your date of birth due to age discrimination laws.

Too bad the rest of the world doesn't prohibit age discrimination in employment.


A good point, that's probably the reason that it struck me as odd. In the US, the date of birth is never included in resumes or job applications. Only information relevent to the position for which you are applying (education, experience, skills etc..). I was suprised when I started looking for work in Austria; not only date of birth is included but sometimes religon and gender as well.

Another thing is, one never knows how secure the agency's system is. The angency requesting the information may not be dubious but what if they decided to cut corners on virus/spyware protection?


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:28
Swedish to English
+ ...
Illegal in the UK, Sweden and I assume the rest of Europe as well May 29, 2008

Thorson wrote:

It's illegal in the US for a potential employer to ask for your date of birth due to age discrimination laws.

Too bad the rest of the world doesn't prohibit age discrimination in employment.


Don't know about the rest of the world, but there it's def. illegal in the UK and, AFAIK, Sweden.


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Luis E. Romero
Colombia
Local time: 11:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
personal info Jun 9, 2008

Just this past weekend I fixed up my father's CV. I'm not a translator but he is. Anyhow, when I got it I noticed that he wrote his passport number on the CV, which I immediately deleted among a few other things and basically wrote him back and told him writing your sensitive information like that on CV is NOT recommended ever. There is no reason why anyone or any agency needs that information unless it's for tax reasons.

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