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Agencies asking for copies of degree certificates - Is this ok? Safe?
Thread poster: Phillippa May Bennett

Phillippa May Bennett
Portugal
Local time: 17:58
Portuguese to English
Jun 26, 2008

Hi,

I've been in contact with a couple of agencies recently and they have requested copies of degree certificates (scanned in and emailed). Is this normal practice? I know for full time employment copies of certificates can often be requested but for freelance work I'm not sure. The same agencies also ask for reference which I have to confess I am very reluctant to give!! (And I know this particular point has been discussed on here previously!)

I'd be grateful for any advice or opinions on the matter,

Phillippa


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Stephanie Sirot  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:58
English to French
+ ...
I would say it is OK Jun 28, 2008

I would say it is OK to scan and e-mail a copy of your degree. Some agencies do request it. I don't think it would be unsafe for you to send it, unless the agency sounds phony or doesn't look legitimate.

However you don't have to do it if you don't want to. It all depends on how this agency is important for your business.

Stephanie.


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Phillippa May Bennett
Portugal
Local time: 17:58
Portuguese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Jun 30, 2008

Thanks Stephanie - I have to make a decision - my certificate is very vague anyway as it doesn't confirm the languages I studied, just the level of my degree, so I'm not really convinced it would actually help them that much (by that I mean it doesn't 100% confirm what is on my CV).



[Edited at 2008-06-30 16:07]


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:58
French to English
Truth? Jun 30, 2008

phillippab wrote:
so I'm not really convinced it would actually help them that much.


Might help show them that you tell the truth. If you say that you have other talents, not backed up by certificates...
Personally, if I was interested in someone, and asked them to send a copy of a certificate, and they said "er, actually, I won't bother", I would be inclined to wipe them from my mind.
Even if the certificate isn't really relevant, sending a copy shows good faith, since you DID mention it in the first place


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:58
French to English
+ ...
routes Jun 30, 2008

There are various ways the agency could use to find out if you are actually a graduate of a certain university - one is contacting the university and asking them to confirm.

As the information is publicly available, it doesn't benefit you to refuse to provide copies of your certificates.

As an aside, I'm always worried about sending my BA certificate - it looks like a bad photocopy, not what you'd expect from a major British university. But it's never done me any harm, as far as I know.


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 18:58
English to Hungarian
+ ...
How would it not be ok? Jun 30, 2008

Do you want them to take your word for it? If I told you that I'm a surgeon would you not like to see my degree before hiring me to a hospital (or letting me operate on you)?
It's not like they can use it for anything else, apart from checking to see that you actually have that qualification. What could they do with a photocopy that you don't want them to???
This is almost as bad as people who are afraid of sending people their bank account number... All anyone could do with that is send you money... In that situation, I'd say, go right ahead!

And why exactly are you reluctant to give them references?

Imagine that you are a translation agency and someone who want to work for you says "Yeah, I know lots. I have a degree in translation and all that and I've worked for 3 multinational corporations and the European Parliament. I'm not in the mood to give you any proof of any of that right now. Who knows what you'd do with that precius information. Now gimme that job, I'll take care of it." Would you?


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Phillippa May Bennett
Portugal
Local time: 17:58
Portuguese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Don't get me wrong Jun 30, 2008

Hi,

Thanks for all the useful comments. Just so I can be clear, I'm not anti sending my certificates, I just wanted to check that it was normal practice. My only qualm isn't that it doesn't really confirm what I have claimed (MA Portuguese/French) as my degree certificate simply states MA Modern and Medieval Languages - nothing more detailed. You are right though Anglea, there are various ways for them to check this out!

Thanks for the help!

Phillippa


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Stephanie Sirot  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:58
English to French
+ ...
It should still be OK Jun 30, 2008

Don't worry too much, you should be OK. You said you had a Master's and that's what you are going to send them. It is quite common for university degrees not to be very specific. My degree only says Modern Languages, without telling anything else.
So far, I have never had any problem.

Stephanie.



phillippab wrote:

Hi,

Thanks for all the useful comments. Just so I can be clear, I'm not anti sending my certificates, I just wanted to check that it was normal practice. My only qualm isn't that it doesn't really confirm what I have claimed (MA Portuguese/French) as my degree certificate simply states MA Modern and Medieval Languages - nothing more detailed. You are right though Anglea, there are various ways for them to check this out!

Thanks for the help!

Phillippa



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Richard Bartholomew  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:58
Member (2007)
German to English
On the website Jul 1, 2008

All of my bona fides are published on my web site (http://www.meaningflow.com/certificates.htm). It never occured to me that anyone would be able to abuse this information.

The only information there that could have been abused was the social security number that some institutions sprinkled generously all over their transcript. It was easy to delete this information using paint. Clients can even download copies of the transcripts if they want to. I've never had any problems.


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 17:58
Could be a client requirement Jul 2, 2008

For some tenders, agencies are asked to provide translators CVs and copies of their degrees. This may well be the case here.

When I was a freelancer (am in-house again now in a different capacity), I was asked all the time for my CV, a copy of my degree, my postgrad Diploma in Gaelic, (which I then had to summarize in English because it was written in Gaelic), as well as copies of my invoices [with client details erased] that demonstrated that I had translated X amount of words in a particular subject or language pair.
Sometimes they even wanted blood

(...only kidding )

They just want proof that you have a certain standard of education. It is a pain, but after a while, I just had all these photocopies and scans saved on my laptop.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 17:58
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Ridiculous Jul 3, 2008

Orla Ryan wrote:
For some tenders, agencies are asked to provide translators CVs and copies of their degrees. This may well be the case here.
When I was a freelancer (am in-house again now in a different capacity), I was asked all the time for my CV, a copy of my degree, my postgrad Diploma in Gaelic, (which I then had to summarize in English because it was written in Gaelic), as well as copies of my invoices [with client details erased] that demonstrated that I had translated X amount of words in a particular subject or language pair.


I've seldom been asked to provide more than a CV and a few other details to agencies; if someone were to expect me to copy a stack of invoices and POs to prove experience, I'd tell them exactly what to do with that request. I did have a similar situation once when I had to prove a certain amount of experience to be admitted to the state exams in Berlin, and one client was kind enough to provide a statement of the payments made over a three year period, which I converted to a word count based on his billing rate. I then produced a report from my invoicing program that showed he accounted for about 20% of my volume, and given that his rate was average and the volume requirement was satisfied by that client alone, one could safely assume that I had four or five times the required "experience" at least. But these were all rather quick, off-the-cuff estimates. I simply don't see the point of providing mountains of such documentation and calculating the relevant word counts with great precision. No time for all that with a backlog of work to do.


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Phillippa May Bennett
Portugal
Local time: 17:58
Portuguese to English
TOPIC STARTER
I should think myself lucky... Jul 4, 2008

..only being asked for certficates then!

Thanks again for all your opinions and varied experiences.

Have a good weekend,

Phillippa

P.S Orla - I have done exactly as you said - the scanned copies of my certificates are already saved on my laptop ready to go!!

[Edited at 2008-07-04 11:35]


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