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Agency requests copy of diploma. Unusual?
Thread poster: Ben Dooley

Ben Dooley
Local time: 07:19
Japanese to English
Sep 20, 2006

An agency I applied to has asked for a copy of my university diploma. I find this somewhat unusual. I wonder if anyone else has experienced this?

I have already provided them with references and work samples and assumed that would be sufficient.

Cheers,
Ben


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Spencer Allman
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:19
Finnish to English
Not always unusual Sep 20, 2006

Hi

It is not unusual if the end client is a formal organisation such as the EU or a government department. Otherwise, it is.


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Zhijun JIANG  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:19
Member (2006)
English to Chinese
+ ...
A part of procedure Sep 20, 2006

One client needs my notarized diploma copies as a part of proof for our proficiency.

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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:19
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I do not think it is very unusual Sep 20, 2006

At least, the same question has been asked on these forums a number of times before.

I would assume that agencies newly starting up in business would, in particular, be eager to do everything the correct way, including inspecting copies of translators' qualifications. They may also possibly qualify for some sort of quality control award if they do, with a quality symbol that they can put on their web site.

Astrid


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:19
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
It's not unusual, but anything can be faked Sep 20, 2006

Ben wrote:
An agency I applied to has asked for a copy of my university diploma. I find this somewhat unusual. I wonder if anyone else has experienced this?


I have never had an agency request proof of my qualifications, but if any of them would do that, then I would tell them to amend my CV to exclude that qualification, and then decide if they'd be willing to hire me, based on what's left. I don't keep copies of my qualifications handy.


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Jodie H
Local time: 19:19
English to Chinese
+ ...
It's unusual, but acceptable. Sep 20, 2006

Anyway, you have show them. Just wait.

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Nadia-Anastasia Fahmi  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 14:19
Member (2004)
English to Greek
+ ...
I don't see why... Sep 20, 2006

this could be considered unusual.

When applying for any job, we provide the employer with copies of certificates of studies together with our CVs (and other information / documents is necessary) as proof of our qualifications.

So, why shouldn't a translation agency (employer in a sense) ask us to provide such documents?

And I think it is only fair to provide these documents to them.

My two cents for what it's worth.

Have a great day,
Nadia


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 14:19
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Depends on country again Sep 20, 2006

Those few times when I sent my diploma to some agency I never got any work from them. Good agencies have other stuff to do then scrutinise on diplomas and CVs. Its just part of a stupid burocratical habit.
Regards
Heinrich


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Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:19
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Happened to me recently for the first time Sep 20, 2006

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

Snip

Its just part of a stupid burocratical habit.
Regards
Heinrich


I couldn't agree more, Heinrich.

I haven't been asked in at least 15 years, so I was quite taken aback when it happened just recently, especially when I had given three very good references, as well, with encouragement to contact them. I have no idea where my B.A. diploma is, I've moved several times and it didn't seem important. I told the potential client I felt my references could tell them a lot more about my translation work than a piece of paper could. Well, they want the piece of paper, "because it's nice if the file is complete". Guess which country this potential client is in? Americans (though I am more than half German), do not care about paper, we care about results. I'll try to find it, then, but won't kill myself doing it (like unpacking old boxes, etc.).


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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:19
English to German
+ ...
A little off-topic: Latvian :-) Sep 20, 2006


I told the potential client I felt my references could tell them a lot more about my translation work than a piece of paper could. Well, they want the piece of paper, "because it's nice if the file is complete". Guess which country this potential client is in?


To say it with Douglas Adams: Must be Latvia ...



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Fan Gao
Australia
Local time: 22:19
Member (2006)
English to Chinese
+ ...
It's usually to satisfy the end client Sep 20, 2006

Hi,

I've had the same request on a couple of occasions whereby I've had to email a copy of my degree. Both times it wasn't so much that the agency wanted the information for their files but because they were desparate to hook a big client so they wanted to send as many professional details and references as possible in order to clinch the deal.

What weight it carries though is beyond me especially nowadays when people can just buy a degree on the Internet!

Best wishes,
Mark


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Trevor Butcher
Local time: 13:19
English
It might be just a piece of paper to you... Sep 20, 2006

Well, I have some possible alternative scenarios:

1. I want translators who are able to follow instructions, so if you can't send me your diploma without whinging, where will you be when I really need you?

2. If you have either the ability and staying power to get a diploma officially or the ability and courage to get a fake, at least I know that you are an achiever.

3. I have work involving translations of boring old borecracy, so if you do not value what your diploma stands for, maybe you will not value my work.

4. The walls of my reception are rather bare, it would be nice if I could decorate them with some impressive wallpaper.

5. In my country there really are people who believe qualifications count for more than ability - because they have qualifications without ability.

But remember, a diploma is nothing more than a dim opal.

Trevor


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Sonia Dorais
Canada
Local time: 07:19
French to English
+ ...
I've been asked for my transcript Sep 20, 2006

Not from an agency, but my current employer.

I don't find it unusual that they would ask for a copy of your diploma, however, more frequently I think they ask for credentials such as a membership to a translator organisation (e.g. OTTIAQ in Québec)...

My last employer even asked for my transcript (report card) from university.

I think that some employers/agencies may base your results and achievements as a way to get to know what kind of person you are. What do you think?


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Babelfischli  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:19
French to German
+ ...
Unusual but totally justified Sep 20, 2006

If an agency boasts they only work with people who hold a university degree, they are completely right to check that their translators fulfil this condition. I find it rather surprising that no agency has ever asked to see my diploma, it's rather touching as a matter of fact, so much trust in this cruel globalised business world of ours...

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Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:19
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
You can't really compare employers to agencies Sep 20, 2006

Sonia-Catherine wrote:

Not from an agency, but my current employer.

I don't find it unusual that they would ask for a copy of your diploma, however, more frequently I think they ask for credentials such as a membership to a translator organisation (e.g. OTTIAQ in Québec)...

My last employer even asked for my transcript (report card) from university.

I think that some employers/agencies may base your results and achievements as a way to get to know what kind of person you are. What do you think?


Hi, Sonia-Catherine - welcome to ProZ!

Of course, it's normal for an employer to require proof of an employee's academic and other credentials, but not for freelancers to have to submit them. Employers pay all sorts of benefits (life and health insurance, paid vacation/sick days, etc.) along with rights to a certain amount of your time per day. We don't have any of that and have to pay for everything ourselves (health and life insurance, and vacations represent not only expense based on the cost of travel, but also loss of income during that period, etc.), so it's really not comparable at all.

We get paid primarily on a per job basis, not per month. I've been freelancing for about 15 years, and translating even longer because I translated for a number of years as an employee, so it's really odd to me to be asked for my diploma, though it's clear there could be legitimate reasons for it. It just seems to me that if someone is still in the business after all this time, there must be a good reason for it - and that is good work. Plus I would think that good and recent references - as I mentioned above - would be more trustworthy and carry more weight than a piece of paper I earned more than 25 years ago.


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