Be careful: fraud from "independent translator who needs help to finish a translation"
Thread poster: Nathalie YOUNG
| Hello Nathalie || Sep 24, 2006 |
Sorry to hear your story.
You can contact one of the Jobs moderators and attach the first email you received via your profile.
| | ViktoriaG
Local time: 05:08
English to French
I've received similar offers through my profile and I systematically don't answer them. However, if you really want to take a chance, because you don't get much contracts, because it fits within your specialization and you want to add it to your CV or for whatever reason, you may want to try taking it on. But DO by all means let the outsourcer know that, because of the limited amount of data you have on them and because mutual trust has to be developed before giving them credit (we really do give credit to outsourcers by delivering first and getting paid later), you are going to deliver the goods with a password on them and they will be impossible to open before you receive payment. Once you get the payment, you supply the password.
If the outsourcer is serious and intends to pay, they should not have a problem with this. Otherwise, it's too risky getting into this kind of job. Also, something many of us don't realize is that the first time we work with an outsourcer, we should get paid upon delivery and not 30 or 60 days after. There is no way to know if the outsourcer can be trusted EVEN if we have all their data, EVEN if they have a good BlueBoard record - no matter how good they seem, there is no guarantee you will get paid. However, by delivering the goods before payment, you provide more than the guarantee that you will deliver - heck, you provide the goods without getting any guarantee of getting paid!
This is the way companies handle it: they get a couple of orders from a client and if all goes well, they will end up opening an account and it's only at that point that they allow the client to pay AFTER delivery. Before they get to that point - COD! Keep this in mind.
Sorry about your problem - I know what it's like, this has happened to me before. You would be better off writing it off as a bad debt and going on to brighter things. If you worry too much about this, it will poison your life. It's not worth it. Consider this as a lesson learned and make sure you avoid this kind of fiasco in the future so you don't have to worry anymore.
All the best!
[Edited at 2006-09-24 17:05]
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| | Ara Mkrtchyan
Local time: 14:08
English to Armenian
| Password is a partial solution || Sep 24, 2006 |
Viktoria, the idea of a password protection sounds reliable at first glance, however, suppose you are expected to deliver your translation in the portable document format (pdf), for example. Even the latest Adobe Acrobat does not offer protection with its password. Send me ANY password-protected pdf, I will send all its contents back to you in a few seconds. And if I can do this, then many others can do it too. Theoretically (never needed to check this myself) MS Office passwords can be cracked by free programs available in the Internet (no knowledge required).
What I do in such cases is 1. get as much information as possible about the client using every reasonable source 2. negotiatnig with the client for part of the sum to be paid in advance 3. if still the job seems fishy, I reject it.
The other day I got a translation offer by a foreign company who sent me a 2-page translation sample! to test my skills. When I told them that their sample is 'a bit' too long for a test, I was answered that the client wants to 'feel the creative aspect of the translator' and that's why I had to translate these two pages, which, by the way, were taken from somewhere in the middle of the novel to be translated. Now - I don't mean that this was a fraud (their BlueBoard rating contained both positive and several very negative feedbacks), but in my particular situation I saw fit to refuse them (suppose you offer such tests to 50 translators 40 of which take the test - you've got 80 pages translated free of charge, and all you need to do is to pay s.o. for editing the whole stuff or do it yourself if you can).
In a word, when I am not in urgent need of money, there seems to be something fishy and the client doesn't want to pay in advance - I reject the job.
After all if the outsourcer IS an honest and professional client, there is no reason for them not to pay you part of the sum in advance (even in the case of an agency, if they get their own payment for that job in 30 days, they could pay you part of it in advance from their pocket, since if they get deceived themselves, it does not mean that YOU must bear the consequences - they naturally bear responsibility mediating between you and the first source).
[Edited at 2006-09-24 18:40]
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| Money upfront || Sep 24, 2006 |
The only way to protect yourself is money upfront e.g. by credit card, PayPal or bank transfer, esp. if the job is wanted in a tearing hurry or over the weekend.
Failing that. the usual checks:
ProZ Blueboard search;
Payment Practices check-out;
Dun & Bradstreet credit rating;
a website inc. full and not sketchy details;
Internet details that tally for an individual client with ostensible quals: Dr., Prof etc.;
a letter-headed job sheet or order form with full non-PO box no. address, phone and fax numbers, plus VAT and other tax ID numbers;
if appropriate, a UK free, barebones online co. search if a purported regd. UK co. - wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk
As for Ara's instinctive suspiciousness, all well & good. However, this patching-together of novel- or book-trans. test-pieces is supposed to be a myth since the variations in style would make editing into a coherent and cohesive whole well-nigh impossible and be utterly time-consuming.
[Edited at 2006-09-24 20:18]
I'm sorry. You can see you are not alone in this.
Once I received the same kind of email. Somebody saying he needed a translation that would fit my profile, mentioned he was working for an agency but no other data, only his name. If I was interested, he would send me the file at once. So I asked him to give me more details about the project and the agency, and of course, he vanished in the internet!
I think asking for details is enough; when realizing you see something fishy, he/she will not go on.
Better luck next time!
| | Nathalie YOUNG
Local time: 11:08
German to French
| Thanks for your comments and experiences || Sep 25, 2006 |
Thank you everyone for your comments and tips, it makes me feel better; I will be more careful next time and do all these checks. It is the first time it happens, I rushed stupidly but I will make sure it does not happen again.
| | xxxMarc P
Local time: 11:08
German to English
| Reality check || Sep 25, 2006 |
Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
I've received similar offers through my profile and I systematically don't answer them.
That's good advice.
But DO by all means let the outsourcer know that, because of the limited amount of data you have on them and because mutual trust has to be developed before giving them credit (we really do give credit to outsourcers by delivering first and getting paid later), you are going to deliver the goods with a password on them and they will be impossible to open before you receive payment.
This is... not such good advice. Is a fraudster going to be so kind as to tell you not to bother sending your translation because he wasn't thinking of paying for it anyway? Or, when he receives the translation, to pay for the password, if he originally had no intention of paying for the translation? Of course not. He may wait to see whether he can crack the password himself, and if not he will go looking for another victim. He may even send the same translation to several victims at the same time. The password may prevent him getting his fingers on the translation, but the translator has still done work that isn't going to be paid for.
Let's have a reality check here. Where, outside ProZ.com, do self-respecting businesses deliver goods or services to someone called "John" with a Yahoo! address and no other information?
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| | Wendy Cummings
Local time: 10:08
Spanish to English
| They're not all bad || Sep 27, 2006 |
I had a very similar experience. I received an email out of the blue, and I was very suspicious. The translator told how her young daughter had fallen ill, she had to go to the dentist, and other reasons why she was unable to do the translation herself.
I did reply and asked for references. She supplied not only her CV but her proz profile and the name of two references. I called them and they gave high recommendations and I checked out her past work.
It turned out it was totally above-board, and so we went ahead. We are now in touch fairly regularly and I really hope that it can be mutually beneficial in the future.
So yes, there are fraudsters out there and its sad that people take advantage this way, but there are also genuine translators who find themselves in difficult situations and who genuinely need help.
So unless I can't assist anyway due to a large work load, from now on I will take the time to check things out, because lending a helping hand is always a good thing, and I'm glad I made a buddy.
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| | Yassen Tounev
Local time: 12:08
English to Bulgarian
| "Independent translators" || Nov 20, 2006 |
If I get such an offer, I usually request for advance payment. They usually do not agree and go away:)