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Off topic: Long text to translate, going to be paid before starting
Thread poster: Mathieu Masselot

Mathieu Masselot
Germany
Local time: 08:54
German to French
+ ...
Sep 23, 2006

Hi!
today I received a job offer from a man on business trip in Bahamas. Here is what he wrote:
"Greetings,
My name is Martins Bartins.i'm from United state but precently in
Bahamas on a business.i would like to know if you can help
translate the document and get back to me with the following details..
full name:
address:
city:
state:
zipcode:
country:
phone number:
Deadline:
Word count:
Total charge:

I wait to hear from you as soon as possible."

I don't know what you think about it but he didn't even write for what for a firm he works. He didn't ask for references or previous translations. And the best: he didn't say in which language the text has to be translated!
Did somebody receive something like that? And what did/would you do?

Thanks for replies!


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Alina Matei  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 16:24
English to Romanian
+ ...
It sounds like a scam to me... Sep 23, 2006

I've received about 5 emails so far from various 'business people' who require translations, sound very nice, but cannot spell or punctuate. I normally ignore them. however, if you're thinking 'you never know', reply. If they're asking for your account details because they're paying in advance... send too much money by mistake ( by cheque ) and ask you to reimburse the difference... you know the story, probably.

I'd advise caution. Personally, I wouldn't even bother with a reply.

Take care.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
Nigerian Scam Sep 23, 2006

You must have heard of it. Of course they're not all Nigerian.

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Mathieu Masselot
Germany
Local time: 08:54
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I wasn't sure... Sep 23, 2006

Hi,
thanks for your replies. With the first email, I thought it might be interesting. But after the person had replied, I became suspicious: no firm name although the person wrote he was working for a firm in 6 countries. In that case, why didn't he use a business e-mail address? Only a yahoo.com one!
And the worst still is that he then wrote being willing to pay me 5 times the money I wanted for the job, I could pick my part and pay the rest further to a friend of his.
After having received the response, I knew what kind of spam it is. I know from the Nigerian or even Togo spams with sons of presidents, etc. But I didn't know they had new strategies!

Thank you for your comments. I won't reply to this person: it's a kind of stinky business...


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Peter Shortall  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:54
Member
French to English
+ ...
Similar(ish) e-mail... Sep 23, 2006

Today I received an e-mail (through a different site) not entirely dissimilar to yours:

"hi Peter Shortall
I am Andy,an international businessman.I deal with merchandize of varying type ranging from sculptural art design,tranditional staff and images,photo painting ,e.t.c to office and stationary items,hence,a large pool of customers.Recently there has been a tremendous increase in the volume of my french customers,however,necesitating the need to hire a translator officially.

I would like to hire you on a long term basis or rather if you would prefer being pay as you transilate.

i would appreciate you quote your terms and methods of payment.i would also appreciate you state your transilation price as in pay per page or pay per words.

Brdgs,
Andy"

No link to a website, no indication of which country he is in, and his e-mail address is also a yahoo.com one (the first part consists of his full name with an obvious spelling mistake). His name may not be as amusing as Martins Bartins, but his English and the way it is written are rather odd for an international businessman with a very British name. Interesting how Martins and Andy both tend to switch between "I" and "i" and don't bother with spaces after full stops...

I've had my fair share of "ordinary" scam e-mails not targeted specifically at translators, but it just depresses me that there are people out there who would deliberately target us as opposed to the public in general. I mean, what have we ever done to them?!

[Edited at 2006-09-23 21:28]


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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:54
English to German
+ ...
Google for the name Sep 23, 2006

This is something you should AT LEAST do before you react to any such email by someone who is completely unknown to you.

Then you will very easily find this link:
http://forums.craigslist.org/?SQ=martins%20bartins&act=RSR&searchAID=&forumID=8

And if you take a closer look at the text the person sent, you might be even more surprised. Just search for it on the Internet. I bet this person has taken it from there.

Any more questions?)


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Mariam Osmann
Egypt
Local time: 08:54
English to Arabic
+ ...
Nigerian Queens!! Sep 23, 2006

....... and please contact us at this phone number coz we are having problems calling you.

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Mathieu Masselot
Germany
Local time: 08:54
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No more doubts... Sep 23, 2006

Okay,
now I think it's really clear. As a translator, I didn't expect to receive such a targeted e-mail (as Peter wrote). This job is not really well paid, that's why I am always happy when a new client is contacting me. First, I didn't pay attention at things like 'I' and 'i' and spaces. Maybe these "businessmen" are in a hurry...

But then, when they make you an offer that is more than you have expected, it can't be real anymore. I admit that thsi time didn't understand at once, but a few months ago, I read something of this sort. People receive much money on their bank account: they can pick up 20% for themselves (sometimes more than 3000 €) and they have to transfer the rest to another account. At the beginning, everything is OK but then, your bank notices that the money you "received" didn't exist or hasn't really been transfered on your account because the source bank is unknown or something like that. However you really transfered 80% of the original amount. At the end, your account shows -xxx,xx€ and you can't do anything.

That's a really horrible thing and I swear to myself that I will be more cautious in the future but these persons have so many "good" ideas to be more credible...


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 08:54
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
"Going to be paid before starting" Sep 23, 2006

The scam (one of dozen I guess) goes like this:

1. you get Hamlet to translate - from English to American or whatever. They may not even tell you the language pair. And being the normal gullability level, you don't even wonder. It's so good it must be true...

2. enclosed a certified check for let's say 50.000 US

3. which is of course way beyond what you are supposed to be paid for, so

4. they tell you "Oh Jeese, did they really make if fifty instead of five?! Well, can you just deposit the check and have the bank send 45k to XYZ account? No, make it 40k and keep 5 for the service you're doing..."

Do I need to spell #5?

Regards


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Benno Groeneveld  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:54
English to Dutch
+ ...
I actually got a check Sep 25, 2006

from someone like that (I played along a bit).

Being the cynical sceptic that I am I hung on to the check (plus I phoned the bank that issued it, they said the check was probably bad).

A couple of days before I was suppose to do the work (interpreting), I received an email: a terrible accident had happened, all three people who needed interpreting were killed on the road.

I offered to send the check back rather than forward 90%. Never heard from them again.


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:54
Member
English to French
Are translators more gullible than other professionals? Sep 25, 2006

Does anybody know if this kind of scams also targets other Web-based freelance global trades with broad visibility on the Internet (maybe like website design, DTP...)?

Given the amount of such threads in the fora, I just wonder whether translators are some weird species deprived of any common business sense.

Regards,
Philippe


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Marianne Sonkse
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:54
English to German
+ ...
just go another Martins Bartins email Sep 26, 2006

Hi,
just to add another person to the laughing-stock of the translation fraternity - myself.
Just received 2 of these emails, with a text attached (wasn't, was below) of 31000 words!!
thank you for keeping me posted...
Marianne


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Mathieu Masselot
Germany
Local time: 08:54
German to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Reactions to those emails Sep 27, 2006

Since I received this email I have been searching for information on the Internet. It is without any possible doubt definitely a scam. Nowadays there are three sorts of reactions:

- People who believe it and never get the money for the job
- People who ignore it and delete the emails
- People who feign to believe it and answer with the aim to waste the time of these persons and make them angry. As I read, it may be really funny sometimes to see how they try to find stories to relate in order to remain believable. A website even spoke about "a new sport" called "scamming the scammers". Some only try to spend a funny time with it but some others want to receive their false check so that they have material proves and can go to the police station and lodge a complaint... If everyone knew what these emails really are and reacted like this, it probably could be the end of this kind of financial fraud...

I don't know what you personaly think about it but I think it is worth having a funny time between many and many serious jobs we have to do!


The texts to translate that I received where some kind of poetry. As I was having a longer look on them, I noticed it was something sounding mysterious or mystical or coded... Something like prophecies... Hmm... At once I thought about Nostradamus. I then scrolled up again to read the title: "The Centuries". Quick look on Wikipedia and... I was right! These Nostradamus text is probably available in every language on the Internet. So why still want somebody to translate it?
Thus, if the text is something like sounding famous literature, it's allways quite dubious...


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Carole Paquis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:54
Member (2007)
English to French
Nostradamus Jan 24, 2007

Got two emails today !
The 1st Century....to be translated from English into French...
I deleted the both emails.


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Parvamanara
English
me too... Mar 14, 2007

I have recived the same mail from Martins Bartins!! And some months ago I recived another mail form someone who wants to pay me a lot of money to do my work.

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